Satellite communications provider Satcom Direct, well known in the business aviation market, is expanding rapidly, investing in its capability and in a production ramp-up, and introducing service innovations as it prepares to open an office in Hong Kong to cover the Asian market.
Satcom Direct held its 9th annual conference in early February, bringing together not only its own customers but also a variety of hardware manufacturers and other companies that benefit from and provide services via satcom. The conference grows every year and is evidence that the steady pace of satellite communications development has led to a greater variety of airborne telecom services–and even some reductions in pricing–for aircraft operators.
As Inmarsat prepares to launch the first Global Xpress Ka-band satellite later this year, Honeywell engineers have successfully completed the preliminary design review of satcom hardware that will be installed in aircraft. The review covered the satcom terminals and antenna subsystems that Honeywell will manufacture for commercial and business aircraft. This included “external interface control documents and fuselage- and tail-mount antenna specifications,” according to the company.
From satellite communications equipment, to surveillance cameras, to life-support equipment, electronics systems and safety equipment, Cobham is displaying a wide-range of products at Heli-Expo ’13.
“We do really well with special-mission operators such as air medical, law enforcement or oil exploration,” Rob Creighton, marketing manager for Cobham Aerospace Communications, told AIN. “Anyone who has a determined task to perform.”
Satellite communications service provider Satcom Direct has unveiled the company’s first certified aviation hardware product, a router that integrates with any satcom and manages cabin communications, runs software apps and connects to 3G/4G cellular networks. The new Satcom Direct Router (SDR) weighs less than 10 pounds, meets DO-160G and DO-178B Level E (soon D) standards and will be available in May. “We wanted to make this [router] as robust and flexible as possible,” said Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and owner.
Mid-Canada Mod Center has signed a dealer agreement with Satcom Direct. A provider of global satellite communications, Satcom Direct is best known for its success in pioneering 10-digit dialing service to aircraft in flight. Branded Global One Number, the technology allows callers on the ground to reach any handset on board an aircraft in flight by dialing a single telephone number regardless of where the aircraft is located. Satcom Direct also offers FlightDeck Freedom, a datalink service that is compatible with all avionics and airframe manufacturers.
Satcom Direct of Satellite Beach, Fla., will be touring the U.S. during June and July to promote new products and features, including updates on new mobile applications, maintenance training and troubleshooting.
Free training for Satcom Direct users includes hands-on work in the Satcom Direct mobile lab, a 40-foot Monaco Diplomat Coach, and features services from satellite providers Inmarsat, ViaSat Yonder and Iridium.
Satcom Direct recently launched the FlightDeck 360 iPad app, which provides pilots access to airborne datalink communications and real-time flight data. A key benefit of FlightDeck 360 is that operators can use their satcom Internet connections to gain datalink functionality, without needing or having to install a flight management system.
Cobham is now Cobham Satcom (Booth No. 1773), an amalgam of Cobham and the Danish satcom company Thrane & Thrane, which it acquired earlier this year, the company said in an announcement at NBAA’12. “As the demand for airborne, land-mobile and maritime satellite communications continues to increase we are working hard to make it easier for customers to buy from us a wider range of satcom equipment and integrated solutions,” said Richard Tyson, president of the Cobham Aerospace and Security division that includes the new company.
Danish satcom system manufacturer Thrane & Thrane, which was acquired by UK avionics manufacturer Cobham in June, believes that there is massive untapped potential to create data “pipes” to connect thousands of aircraft around the world. These aircraft miss out on the advantages of broadband connectivity, including WiFi in the cabin and operational connections for the crew that can enhance efficiency and safety. Thrane & Thrane also believes that people assume satcom is more expensive than it actually is.