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Airborne Wireless Technology

Written by on Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Most great ideas seem to be created on the back of napkin in a bar or restaurant and the birth of airborne wireless technology is no different. In 1991, in a sit-down barbeque restaurant in Denison, Texas, Jimmy Ray jotted down a concept of creating an airborne wireless capability on the back of a napkin. Jimmy Ray was a telephone equipment supplier and was discussing a concept of using existing cell phone towers to provide airborne connectivity to pilots. As a private pilot himself, Jimmy knew the advantages of having a device that could take advantage of existing infrastructure and create a network for airborne passengers and pilots.


With little more than an idea and a dream, Jimmy Ray enlisted the help of aerospace and cellular engineers and was granted an experimental license from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to test his concept. Armed with his Cessna 414, he set off to test various antennas, transmitters and receivers and after many trials, his concept worked. He then formed a company called Aircell and was able to successfully bid for a little-used 3 MHz spectrum in 2006 and actually won exclusive buy antibiotics online without rx rights to the bandwidth. With financial backing from investors, Aircell was able to fund dedicated digital cell towers and spread his concept across the United States. With a fully supported system and a concept that was proven, business aircraft operators flocked to his service. In 2008 the company was renamed Gogo and expanded into the commercial aviation field where customers once again were knocking on the door to use the airborne wireless technology. To date, Gogo has equipped more than 1,500 commercial aircraft and 5,000 business jets with its service.

With a dream born on the back of restaurant napkin, Jimmy Ray was able to follow his passion and create a company that now has 700 employees and generates about $250 million in business annually. His dream to provide airborne wireless services to passengers and pilots has been realized and he is a perfect example of what can happen with a little idea and a lot of perseverance.

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