Five Travelers’ Favorite Gear

Aug 22, 2016 - 7:15 PM

When you spend lots of time in business jets, you inevitably come to treasure certain technological solutions that make the airborne life more pleasant and productive. We asked five frequent fliers to tell us about their favorite on-board gear.

Making Smartphones Even Smarter
In 1984, at the tender age of 17, Les Goldberg started the video-equipment-rental firm LMG. Since then, the company has grown to become a major provider of video, audio, and lighting supplies to the U.S. entertainment industry. Goldberg is LMG’s CEO and the proud owner of a new Embraer Legacy 450 business jet. “I chose the Legacy 450 because it is a modern, reliable fly-by-wire aircraft with high-quality fit and finish and the newest technology,” he says.

Goldberg’s favorite cabin-tech product is Gogo Text & Talk. It is an add-on to the $10,000 Gogo Biz on-board equipment. Gogo Talk & Text allows the CEO to directly make and receive calls with his smartphone over Wi-Fi using the Legacy 450’s communications system—just as if he were calling on the ground. Gogo Biz is a broadband and voice service covering the U.S. and populated areas of Canada that is provisioned by one of Gogo’s four on-board hardware units. Each such unit supports full internet connectivity to in-cabin devices over Wi-Fi. Gogo Text & Talk uses a downloadable app to connect smartphones seamlessly to the Gogo Biz unit.

“When I am at 40,000 feet, people can call my smartphone, and it rings,” says Goldberg, “I am totally into the fact that my customers can call me anytime. Meanwhile, being constantly connected to my business while flying is very cool. I don’t miss a thing.”

Being able to access the company’s data server in San Diego while flying around the world “allows us to thoughtfully discuss important business plans,” notes Monte Montefusco.

The Sweet Sound of Quiet
As CEO of Cambryn Biologics and Aviation Partners of America, Mark Famiglio spends about 150 hours a year flying for business in a Gulfstream G200 jet. In a bid to arrive as relaxed as possible, he creates a quiet zone for himself by wearing a Parrot Zik noise-cancelling wireless headset. It uses four built-in microphones and associated circuitry to capture, analyze, and cancel background noise.

“The Parrot headset is beautifully designed, with touch-sensitive controls,” says Famiglio. “It also connects to my telephone via Bluetooth.”

By wearing the headset in flight, Famiglio is able to enjoy his favorite music wirelessly while staying available to his phone, all while blocking out cabin noise. “I have grown accustomed to the Parrot’s great specifications and receive many comments on its handsome design,” he says. “I arrive much more rested and ready to do battle when I land in a distant town to do business.  Also, I return home with energy to focus on my wife and young children.”

The new Parrot Zik 2.0 comes with an Android/Apple app that allows users to manually tune the frequency response via a five-band parametric equalizer with reverb and virtual speaker spacing. Custom equalizer presets tailored for specific types of music have been created for the Parrot Zik 2.0 by artists DJ Jazzy Jeff, Andrew Watt, and La Roux, among others.

Airborne Internet Is a Game Changer
With its instruments being played by the likes of  Taylor Swift, Jason Mraz, and Dave Matthews, Taylor Guitars has grown to become one of the top names in its field. [See April/May 2016 BJT cover story. —Ed.] As a result, director of sales Monte Montefusco spends lots of time in the company’s Gulfstream G450, as he wings  around the world meeting with customers. “I fly several weeks a year, mostly for Taylor Guitars’ international business,” he says.

His favorite cabin technology? It’s the Gulfstream satellite communication system (known as Broadband Multilink) and on-board Wi-Fi, Montefusco says, adding that “having worldwide reliable internet service has given Taylor Guitars a distinct competitive advantage.”

Being able to access the company’s data server in San Diego while flying around the world “allows us to thoughtfully discuss important business plans,” notes Montefusco. “Being able to leverage uninterrupted communication in the air has been a game changer for us.”

Gulfstream’s Broadband Multilink (BBML) uses an aircraft’s satellite connectivity to send and receive emails, download attachments, and connect to the internet. BBML can support multiple passengers, using Wi-Fi-connected computers, tablets, and smartphones. To maximize connection speeds, BBML first searches for Ku-band satellite channels that offer higher data rates (available only over North America, the North Atlantic, Western Europe, the North Pacific, and parts of Africa and South America). If these aren’t detected, BBML connects to slower, globally available L-band satellite services.

Monitoring Sleep and Making Movies
Adam Twidell founded the UK-based charter broker PrivateFly in 2008 after a career in the Royal Air Force and then as a private jet pilot.

When he flies, he takes along a variety of tech toys, starting with the Fitbit, a wrist-worn device that helps him track his physical activity. “When you travel a lot, you need to make sure you keep moving as much as you can,” Twidell says. “This helps me monitor my sleep pattern when I’m flying long haul, and motivates me to find fitness time around my business schedule.”
Twidell also travels with a GoPro Hero 4 digital camera. This is the small, rugged camera often worn by athletes to capture their antics from their point of view, in 1080p HD video or 12-megapixel still photos. “As a keen photographer and AV geek, I love capturing amazing landings and other video content for business,” Twidell says.

He additionally packs a Squid Power Bank rechargeable power supply. “I always carry my Squid,” he says. “With 10400 mAh, it has kept me doing some vital business on the move.” Finally, he uses Bose QuietComfort 25 noise-cancelling over-the-ear headsets to block out background noise when he is aloft.

Lighting Sets the Mood
Mark Bonfigli leads a busy life. He and his wife Marisa Mora Bonfigli compete on the International Tennis Federation’s Beach Tennis circuit, which takes the pair all over the world in their Gulfstream V, which they’ve branded SEXYjet. Its eye-catching exterior paint job, which draws from Bonfilgi’s work in the automotive industry, required more than 3,000 hours of labor from Duncan Aviation.

Bonfigli’s favorite on-board technology is Gulfstream’s LED mood-lighting system. “While it offers all the colors of the rainbow, my favorite is red,” he says. “This mood lighting comes from massage studies, where light therapy feels very relaxing.

“The interior looks sporty,” Bonfigli adds, “but it has the comfort of a Bentley—a big touring car that you fall asleep in. You can’t help but feel good when you step onto the SEXYjet in the evening and there are glowing red lights, cream leather seating, and our theme song, Phil Collins’s ‘In the Air Tonight,’ is playing.”