What do the capabilities offered by the smartphone in your pocket have to do with the connectivity experience available in today’s business jets? A lot more than you might think.
“In its simplest form, a smartphone is just a mobile phone. But what all the available apps enable it to do is to connect to the Internet and use it to do practically anything you want,” stated Chris Moore, president of business aviation for Satcom Direct. “Our SD Pro® data management platform brings that kind of software-driven flexibility to business aircraft operators.”
Moore further explained that by leveraging elements from the aircraft’s SD connectivity services, hardware platforms, and ground network infrastructure, the company is uniquely positioned to create a centralized data management infrastructure that automates and enhances the flight department’s communications and operations.
“We can use any number of SD and third-party applications to do anything and everything necessary regarding pre-, and post-flight operations, en-route connectivity, engine and aircraft health monitoring–everything,” he continued. “The SD Pro platform acts as the source of data for all types of critical flight department management and operations coordination.”
SD Pro’s open architecture closes the data loop
Moore stated that the key to SD Pro’s unique capabilities is the system’s completely open architecture, which enables it to work seamlessly with qualified third-party applications. This kind of flexibility was a key point during SD project development meetings with the 20 flight departments on its Customer Advisory Board.
“We already integrate with CAMP, Flightdocs, Rolls-Royce, Universal Weather, ForeFlight, World Fuel Services…and can potentially work with any other aviation app. We can provide real-time off-aircraft data transfer, which is then automatically entered into the appropriate application,” he said, “Our PostFlight module saves the flight crew a load of time, and work. It also gets accurate timing into the hands of operations and maintenance people in real time.
“Another big benefit to SD Pro’s open architecture is its flexibility. No matter if the operator has one aircraft or 100, the solution can be tailored to meet their exact needs,” Moore continued. “We don’t overwhelm our customers with information they don’t want or need. Whether they want a lot of information or a little, the operator creates the SD Pro solution that best fits their needs.
“Whether you’re using it for pre-flight planning, en-route connectivity management, or post-flight data collection, SD Pro is a cohesive product suite that streamlines operating procedures,” he said. “It also enables flight departments to more efficiently manage multiple assets and increased passenger demand.”
Speaking of demand, one of the things that Moore stressed was the increasing number of operators demanding the extremely high network security level that the entire Satcom Direct portfolio of connectivity solutions provides.
“Our clients range from head-of-state, to corporate, to military aircraft operating around the world. Because of their needs, our entire network features ‘military-grade’ encryption,” he said. “It’s probably the most advanced cybersecurity system in all of business aviation. Each and every one of our 8,000 customer aircraft benefits from the security of our network.”
Smaller antenna with a larger reach
While Satcom Direct is justifiably proud of what SD Pro brings to business aviation operations, Moore said that one of the significant additions that will continue to enhance these benefits to more customers is the company’s new Plane Simple™ two-piece antenna system.
“We are one of the few connectivity providers that also manufactures its own hardware. The newest piece is our Plane Simple, tail-mounted, Ku- or Ka-band antenna system,” he said. “It’s much smaller and easier to install than three- or five-piece systems, which means it fits into more types of legacy aircraft. You don’t have to be flying a large-cabin business jet to benefit from what SD can deliver into your cabin.
“Whether it’s new hardware or our SD Pro data management platform, we can deliver the solution to enhance every aspect of the passenger’s airborne connectivity experience,” Moore said. “When that experience is good, passengers are happy. And happy passengers make for a happy flight department.”