Statesville, NC – Most weekends, you can find Joey Meier high in the stands, scanning a NASCAR track as the eyes and ears of Championship Driver Brad Keselowski. As a professional spotter, he knows everything about the car, the race strategy, and even the weather. All to feed Keselowski vital information in the #2 Ford and help him win.
But the checkered flag isn’t the end of Meier’s work, because not only is he Brad’s race spotter, he’s the Chief Pilot of Keselowski’s Lear 45 business aircraft. And in that capacity, Meier knows that real-time information is just as vital in the cockpit as it is in a NASCAR race.
“For years, as soon as you closed the cockpit doors, you were done. You couldn’t use things the way you could on the ground anymore. Whether it’s weather, catering, transportation, delays, diversions, whatever - you had to wait until you were in radio reception or had to call an airport below you and ask for a favor. And then you waited for a reply. Wi-Fi alleviates all that. You can take care of it all immediately in the air because you’re never out of reach.
Meier, who has more than 12,000 hours during 28 years of flying, is part of growing trend of pilots who now find onboard Wi-Fi indispensable.
“Now we simply have better information,” he continued. “Faster departures. Faster communications. Quick resolutions. Better logistics and planning. And I’m a huge fan of being able to text and call back to base to communicate with my director of maintenance. It’s the little things that add up to a big difference when you do them all the time. And it’s why everyone I know in racing has connected their plane.”
For Meier and Keselowski, their world moves fast, and connectivity has helped solved numerous logistic issues. They both use Gogo Wi-Fi (the aircraft is equipped with a Gogo AVANCE system that taps into the Gogo Air-To-Ground network) to leverage airborne internet for everything from EFBs to their personal smartphones.;
“Simply put, Wi-Fi helps me to make more educated decisions,” says Meier. “As an experienced corporate pilot, connectivity adds to my arsenal of information. Whether it’s data for my apps, radar, weather, or calling the FBOs, I have better information and more efficient communications.”
Meier, like most pilots, uses multiple flight deck apps in his Lear cockpit, including ForeFlight and WingX EFBs (click here for an interesting blog on pilot apps). After flying connected for years now, he has no desire to go back to the way it was before Wi-Fi.
“Ours is a non-towered field. So it used to be that when we’d take off, if I’m 3 hours away, that meant I had to wait to find weather. If there was a storm, or fog, I had to wait. But with Wi-Fi, now I can see the weather from 3 hours away all the way back to our base.
“And Gogo Wi-Fi can connect to both of our apps,” he says. “It’s a solid pipe that doesn’t care what I’ve got in the cockpit, which is great because I’ve had times when I need to make app updates. With Wi-Fi, I get redundancy so I can update one while using the other, which helps me make everything work.”
More from Gogo’s interview with Meier can been seen in this video. And for Brad Keselowski’s perspective on inflight connectivity, watch this video. To learn more about Gogo’s inflight connectivity solutions, please visit business.gogoair.com.