Business aviation integrator Satcom Direct completed testing of its new Plane Simple in-flight connectivity antenna solution, confirming full functionality of the kit across multiple satellites and geographies. Across three days of testing the aircraft flew for 16 hours, transitioning between three satellites on the Intelsat FlexExec network, including crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
This heralds a new era for business aviation as it confirms SD has successfully developed a powerful hardware system that supports unparalleled connectivity services from a single source supplier.– President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore
The tail-mounted Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series being developed by SD in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH, a worldwide market leader in innovative aeronautical antennas. Once activated it will support the Intelsat FlexExec Ku-band service, which has been designed as the only airtime service dedicated exclusively for business aviation.
Test flights were performed on the Satcom Direct G350. Ultimately, however, the company intends to generate Supplemental Type Certificates to support Plane Simple installations across a range of business jet models. First up will be the Falcon 2000. Others are anticipated to follow by the end of the year, supporting military, business, and government customers.
Read more: Keeping it mechanical: QEST announces new Ka-band antenna
Speaking to the success of the testing program SD Business Aviation President Chris Moore says, “The results prove that SD can support high-definition data streams for numerous on-board users concurrently and demonstrates that we remain committed to optimizing the possibilities delivered by the digitization of aviation.
The Plane Simple system requires only two LRU in the avionics bay, a very small footprint for such a solution. The modem portion of the kit sits in the unpressurized area of the aircraft with the antenna, further reducing the stowage space required on board.
But it is also still a mechanically steered antenna. While the industry continues to talk about a transition to electronically steered solutions that will support instant switching between satellites, conformal designs, and higher efficiency of transmission, the systems being certified and deployed are of the more traditional design.
Satcom Direct and QEST continue their efforts to develop the newer flat-panel antenna solutions, building new mechanical models remains the more popular path for near-term installations.
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