SD's Plane Simple Antenna Enters Commercial Service

 - February 1, 2023, 10:32 AM
Satcom Direct founder and CEO Jim Jensen and the Plane Simple Ku-band satcom antenna. (Photo: Satcom Direct)

Satcom Direct’s Plane Simple antenna for IntelSat’s Ku-band satellite communications network is now commercially available, the Melbourne, Florida-based aircraft connectivity company announced today. The milestone comes after two years of development, testing, and in-service customer evaluation.

The company partnered with Germany’s Qest to develop the antenna, which consists of two LRUs, the SD modem, and a tail-mounted mechanically steered antenna. The equipment can be installed in unpressurized areas of the fuselage to free up cabin space, according to Satcom Direct. STCs for installation of the Plane Simple antenna are available for the Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, and Express/XRS; Dassault Falcon 2000LX/LXS; and Gulfstream IV through G550. EASA STCs are in hand for the aforementioned Bombardier and Dassault models.

Satcom Direct conducted flight tests of the Plane Simple Ku-band system and the IntelSat FlexExec satcom service on its G550, logging more than 560 hours of flight time. Executive Jet Management was one of the customers testing the new satcom system on a Global 5000.

IntelSat has dedicated the FlexExec satcom service to business aviation so its capacity isn’t shared with airline or military users. Service speed is 15 Mbps down and 2 Mbps up to the satellite, but that will soon grow to 20 Mbps down and, by year-end, to 35 to 40 Mbps down. Coverage is global except for polar regions.