World first helicopter circumnavigation relies on SwiftBroadband

16 June 2017: A father and son team is marking Canada’s 150th anniversary by flying a helicopter around the world.

C150 helicopter

With their C150 Global Odyssey (C150GO), Bob and Steven Dengler are aiming for two achievements – the world’s first Canadian around-the-world helicopter flight, and the first ever father-son global aerial circumnavigation.

Together with retired test pilot Rob MacDuff, the Denglers will fly a Canadian-made Bell 429 Global Ranger helicopter over 20,000 nm (37,000 km) in just over one month. Starting out on 1 July, the anniversary of Canadian confederation, they will visit more than 100 airports in 14 countries, including the UK.

HDR service

To help keep the team safe and in the public eye throughout the journey, Inmarsat and manufacturing partner Honeywell are supporting C150GO with satellite communications equipment and airtime.

The helicopter has had an Aspire 200 SwiftBroadband system installed. This supports Inmarsat’s new SwiftBroadband high data rate (HDR) service enabling simultaneous voice and data connectivity at rates up to 650kbps – so as well as transmitting photos, updating social media and making video calls, the crew will also be able to broadcast live from the sky.

Explaining the importance of having satcoms onboard, Steven said: “One of our key mission parameters was to share our experiences with Canadians around the country and the globe. Inmarsat technology makes this possible. As we travel across Canada and the world, we will be able to upload images and videos in real time from even the most remote places.

Manage risk

“In addition to sharing our historic journey, Inmarsat also helps us manage mission risk. Some of our legs are pretty extreme: travelling from Baffin Island to Greenland, and later from Greenland to Iceland, each requires flying almost 400 nautical miles over the north Atlantic, with zero room for error. Having Inmarsat data in the cockpit means that we can monitor weather, temperature, and winds in real time, ensuring that we have up-to-date access to all relevant parameters to ensure mission success.

“And since we’re always in live communication with the ground, our followers (and families) always know that we’re safe. It’s no exaggeration to say that Honeywell Aerospace and Inmarsat are enabling us to conduct the first truly 21st century, internet-enabled aerial circumnavigation.”

C150GO will also be raising money for Canadian charities.