How we try before we fly
From the early days at GEE, we knew it was critical to put our inflight broadband technology through its paces in the air. So we brought one of our most valuable assets on board: Albatross One. Since its first flight in 2008, Albatross One has flown throughout North America as part of our rigorous test program.
The Albatross One story
The Albatross One is a 1951 Grumman HU16B Albatross, a twin-radial engine amphibious flying boat built for open ocean landings. Our Albatross One, which is one of only 466 constructed, was delivered in January 1952 to MacDill Air Force Base, where it was used by the 33rd Air Rescue Squadron over the Pacific Ocean for search and rescue missions.
Inflight training ground
NASA then used our particular plane as part of the training program for Space Shuttle astronauts. During training, the astronauts signed one of the cabin walls as a sign-off for a mission accomplished. We have taken special care not to meddle with the special bits of our plane’s history, while completely redesigning the roomy interior to make it more passenger-friendly. Today, Albatross One is equipped with our third-generation system, which includes high definition live television, high-speed broadband and streaming video-on-demand.
Putting our technology through its paces
Albatross One has proven invaluable in testing new and improved inflight technologies before we bring them to market. A unique benefit of using the Grumman Albatross is that it exhibits intense vibrations that normal aircraft do not experience, thereby simulating a “worst case” scenario that ensures that we can provide our airline partners with a highly dependable system. We have also found that a constant program of test flying is vital in helping us maintain a stellar inflight entertainment service for our customers.