Gogo's 2Ku antenna. Photo (Gogo).
The de-icing modifications added to Gogo’s 2Ku antenna are resolving performance degradation issues experienced by airlines while flying aircraft equipped with the in-flight connectivity (IFC) technology in cold weather.
Gogo published a response to investor inquiries on the performance of its 2Ku antenna system stemming from recent significant winter storm activity. As of Dec. 10, their IFC network had experienced no incidents of 2Ku system degradation on aircraft installed with Gogo's recent de-icing modifications.
John Wade, president of Gogo's commercial aviation division told Avionics International that the modifications are being completed across all in-service and in-production aircraft.
“The modifications include sealing the 2Ku radome adapter plate to the fuselage to prevent fluid getting under the radome during the de-icing process,” Wade said.
Gogo's 2Ku radome. Photo (Gogo).
Underneath the radome, are two symmetrical, phased-array antennas that rise four inches in profile above the airframe. Both antennas are capable of transmitting and receiving satellite signals in any direction without tilting or moving vertically.
Antenna performance was primarily affected by moisture and liquids leaking onto the antenna apertures as a result of the de-icing procedures.
Gogo Chief Executive Oakleigh Thorne addressed the 2Ku antenna de-icing issues during the company’s third quarter earnings call in November. He said Gogo also has provided a modification to the bottom cover of the radome and may also roll out a top-cover modification, but that will require further testing.
Thorne said the modifications can eliminate up to 90 percent of the de-icing events that occurred on 2Ku-equipped aircraft during the winter of 2017.
The majority of the de-icing activities are occurring in North America, and the modifications are being applied to newly equipped 2Ku aircraft internationally as well. Gogo has applied the de-icing modifications to 95 percent of its in-service North American fleet, according to Wade.
“Our deployed modifications have enabled us to avoid de-icing issues and drive high 2Ku system availability during this initial cold weather period,” Wade said.
The 2Ku system is now featured on 898 aircraft operated by 14 different airlines globally.
A total 600 aircraft equipped with Gogo’s de-icing modifications have made 2,601 flights, according to the latest available FAA data regarding airports that have experienced de-icing conditions.