‘Low-cost’ Airborne Satellite TV System STC’d
Flight Display Systems and The Maintenance Group last week won an FAA STC for Ellipse TV, their new low-cost ($99,650 uninstalled) airborne satellite TV system. According to FDS, the system can be installed on virtually any corporate aircraft, from turboprop singles to large-cabin jets, because the 69-pound external “ruggedized” DirecTV antenna is dorsal mounted, requiring only slight modifications of the leg attachments for different fuselage curvatures. Installation time is estimated to be about 100 man-hours, versus a claimed 500 to 600 hours for competing tail-mounted systems. The initial STC is for installation on the Bombardier Challenger 600, with a pending amendment for the Challenger 601 through 605. Multiple STC approvals are in the works for other aircraft, including various Gulfstreams, Falcons, Hawkers and Citations. Currently, the system can receive DirecTV signals only in the continental U.S. and as far as 200 miles offshore, but the companies do plan to offer systems that can capture satellite TV signals in other world regions. Ellipse TV will be available for delivery and installation by the end of this month.