JetBlue subsidiary LiveTV has satisfied the new criteria mandated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for testing large radomes, the Florida-based connectivity provider says.
The FAA approved new Ka-band wi-fi installations on JetBlue Airways’ Airbus A320s and United Airlines’ Boeing 737s last year, however the supplemental type certificates (STCs) included exemptions that allowed the project to be approved under the condition that the new tests would be completed at a later date.
This testing will remove the exemption from LiveTV’s A320 STC, and the firm expects the same to occur with the 737 and 757 models soon.
The FAA required LiveTV to conduct bird strike tests to show that the radome could withstand structural damage when struck by a 4lb (1.8kg) bird at speeds of more than 400mph (643.7 km/h), says LiveTV.
"This is an outstanding accomplishment for LiveTV and a tribute to what can be accomplished when government regulators raise the bar in the interest of public safety and the industry works in collaboration by leveraging technical advances in manufacturing to meet a common goal," says Nick Drivas, LiveTV’s vice-president of corporate quality and certification.
Flightglobal first reported in April that certification of Gogo’s Ku-band wi-fi system was taking longer than expected on Delta's 767s due to additional bird strike testing. The carrier was required to show the radome was compliant with regulations regarding bird strikes in a different way than it previously anticipated after applying for certification in early 2013.
United also revealed at the Airline Passenger Experience Association (APEX) Expo last September that about 100 wi-fi installations from multiple providers had been delayed in light of the new requirements.