Wi-Fi

If your plane doesn’t already have Wi-Fi on it, it’s time to seriously consider adding it. In this day and age, many travelers can’t afford to be out of pocket during the work week. Not having access to the internet for a few hours during the middle of the day can turn into a major detriment to business leaders. “Time kills deals,” as they say, and responding to an email four hours after it was sent can do just that. And it’s not just business leaders that need Wi-Fi. In-flight Wi-Fi allows passengers to stream video and music, talk on the phone, and download files and mobile apps for both business and pleasure. If you don’t want your kids fighting on the divan, it’s probably worth the cost, whether you’re a business leader or not.

While Wi-Fi is a pretty expensive upgrade, it adds significant value to your aircraft if 1. You decide to charter it out, or 2. You ever want to sell it. In fact, many private aviation users won’t even consider purchasing or using an aircraft for charter if it isn’t equipped with Wi-Fi for the reasons mentioned above. Pricing for the addition of Wi-Fi is dependent upon the capabilities you choose to go with, as well as your aircraft’s size, geographic location, and what the installation agency charges for labor. Gogo Biz, one of the most popular providers of in-flight Wi-Fi, offers the following internet systems:

  • ATG 1000
    The ATG 1000 is the most basic of in-flight Wi-Fi systems, allowing passengers to send and receive emails, send text messages and make calls from a mobile phone.
  • ATG 2000
    The ATG 2000 is the next step up, offering email capabilities, calling, texting and web browsing.
  • ATG 4000
    Yet another step up that includes all of the above capabilities, but also gives passengers the ability to download files in-flight.
  • ATG 5000
    ATG 5000 is the most expensive and most robust Wi-Fi system that Gogo Biz offers for private aviators, providing the most bandwidth with the ability to surf the Internet and talk on the phone simultaneously.

*Gogo Biz recently announced that they are soon releasing 4G connectivity, claiming that the new technology will triple existing Gogo Biz data speeds.

 

ADS-B

As you’ve likely heard by now, the FAA has released a mandate requiring the vast majority of business jets and turboprops to equip their aircraft with ADS-B capabilities by the year 2020. That, in and of itself, should be all the reasoning you need to equip your plane with ADS-B. You may say to yourself, “Well, I have until 2020. I have plenty of time.” Wrong… The longer you wait, the more expensive the upgrade will become. When the FAA released a similar RVSM mandate in 2005, owners were actually selling their slots in the maintenance shops to other owners in need of the upgrade that were willing to pay a premium for faster service.

The closer we get to 2020, the more likely your plane will be grounded for an extended period of time, as well. As of January 5, 2017, 177 planes would have to be upgraded each day for every aircraft to meet the necessary requirements by 2020. That number is no doubt even higher at this point. There simply isn’t enough time or maintenance shops to accommodate that many planes. Long story short: get ADS-B now! Learn more about who needs the upgrade and what exactly needs to be done by checking out our blog on the topic.

 

Winglets

If your plane doesn’t already have winglets, it may be something that’s worth looking into, but the upgrade isn’t cheap. Adding API winglets can run you anywhere from $400,000-plus on a Hawker to $750,000 on a Falcon, including the cost of parts, labor and any paint touchups, according to API’s Sales Director Robert MacKenzie.

Winglets aren’t available for every aircraft, but they’re available for many business jets and turboprops. API currently fits the Hawker 800A and 800XP, the Falcon 50 and 50EX, the Falcon 2000 and 2000EX, the entire Falcon 900 series, and the Gulfstream II (though those winglets have admittedly been sitting on the shelf for quite some time). You can also find winglets for many King Airs and Citations, including the X.

Although the exact value-add of winglets when you go to sell your aircraft depends upon the current state of the market and your broker’s ability to land a deal, winglets will objectively increase your aircraft’s value. In the meantime, you get a safer airplane that climbs faster, performs better in the case of a single-engine failure, and drift that’s slowed down in case of complete failure. It’s impossible to put a price on safety.

At high-speed cruise, API winglets also reduce fuel usage by five percent, a number that climbs to seven percent at normal cruise. While that may not make a significant impact on your checkbook immediately, after years of usage, it adds up. It’s also tough to put a monetary value on the decreased flight hours you’ll have on the aircraft over time. On a Hawker, the addition of API winglets knocks 6 to 10 minutes off each trip, on average, meaning that over time, your aircraft will have fewer hours when it comes time to sell, making your aircraft all the more valuable.

Another improvement that winglets bring is ramp presence. An aircraft from the early 2000s, when equipped with winglets, all the sudden looks like one of the newest planes on the tarmac. If ramp presence is important to you, it’s another in a long list of benefits that winglets add to your aircraft.

 

Storage Lockers

Depending upon your mission, adding storage lockers to your aircraft can add a lot of value, though it’s tough to put an exact number on it. If you typically take only a business partner or two with you, your plane probably rolled off the production line with enough room for your luggage.

If you’re cramming eight people, each with a week’s worth of luggage, into a King Air, however, Raisbeck’s aftermarket wing lockers are probably worth looking into, unless you like to sit with your duffle bag in your lap.

Wing lockers from Raisbeck, not including installation or painting, typically run between $50,000 and $65,000, and require 115 hours for installation. When you go to sell or charter your aircraft, the potential buyer’s ability to bring his or her golf clubs onboard could be the difference maker…

We also broke down the value of adding mods to your King Air in a previous blog. Check it out by clicking here.