Adding satellite WiFi to an airplane isn't as simple as mounting an antenna up top and flipping the switch on a router -- even installing a cockpit printer requires FAA approval, so as you can expect, the Federal Aviation Administration won't check off on major modifications without some thorough testing. JetBlue's new Fly-Fi service is well on its way to getting a formal green light, though, and is expected to launch before Q3 is through. This week, the carrier is running through a variety of flight tests with one of its Airbus A320s, including maneuvering the plane with some pretty unusual weight loads, such as the rear center of gravity positioning you can see demonstrated above. After that's complete, it's time to wait for FAA certification before moving onto performance testing, and if all goes well, passengers should expect to hook up to ViaSat-1 from 30,000 feet in mere months. Once Fly-Fi goes online, it'll be by far the fastest commercial in-flight WiFi option -- we really can't wait!
Filed under: Transportation, Wireless, Internet