Bizjet and VIP connectivity can sometimes seem like a highly-secretive world. Suppliers don’t talk about what the clients have and the names of VIP customers tend to be a closely-guarded secret.
What we do know is that there are a number of niche suppliers who service this market, one of whom is Florida-based Satcom Direct.
Satcom Direct has a range of inflight connectivity solutions with a number of offices around the world, including the USA, UK, UAE, Hong Kong, Brazil, Canada and Moscow.
Its services include both inflight telephony and internet, supporting Inmarsat, Iridium and ViaSat Yonder satellite connectivity. It is also a reseller of SITA’s VHF data network.
Supported services include Inmarsat’s “classic” Aero-H, Aero-I and Swift-64 services, as well as Inmarsat’s L-band SwiftBroadband. Satcom Direct has also been appointed as a distribution partner for Inmarsat’s future Global Xpress Ka-band service, which will launch fully in 2015.
But what else can it offer the business market?
The company’s Satcom Direct Router (SDR), is design to fit in a bizjet cabin. It is lightweight and can integrate with any satcom system and manage cabin communications, runs software apps and connect to 3G/4G cellular networks. Data plans for domestic and global roaming with the SDR’s Dual-SIM module are available to provide competitive roaming rates around the world.
The SDR weighs less than 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms), and meets DO-160G and DO-178B Level D standards.
Chris Moore, Satcom Direct’s VP aviation, explained: “The idea behind having 3G/4G capabilities, plus satellite, is that passengers can be using connectivity on the ground and the router will seamlessly switch to satellite once in the air. That way there is no manual switching of networks required.”
Satcom Direct is also bringing moving maps to bizjet passengers with its MYflight app for the iPad.
Designed to be completely mobile, the company says MYflight is the first moving map of its kind that doesn’t require any additional hardware, only an internet connection.
The app displays the aircraft’s position, speed, altitude, and other flight information, plus weather data. It also shows the aircraft’s telephone number as a reminder to passengers.
Chris Moore said: “Because it is an app MYflight doesn’t need any STCs, no installation and therefore no aircraft downtime.
“In future editions you will also be able to customise the display.”
Satcom Direct also has other connectivity products for the business aviation sector, including FlightDeck Freedom (FDF), which provides bizjet operators with a cost-effective datalink.
The FDF globally-redundant datalink network provides pilots with critical data such as pre-departure clearances, digital ATIS, oceanic clearances, airport weather, graphical weather, aircraft performance group (APG) calculations and flight plan routes are always received upon pilot request.
FDF also enables pilots to monitor cabin communications to assure telephone and internet services are working for passengers/VIPs. dispatchers and maintenance personnel can monitor the aircraft through automated takeoff and landing reports, email messages to/from the aircraft, and can see aircraft position at any time with Satcom Direct’s exclusive SD Flight Tracker.
Satcom Direct also has its Unity cable kit, which enables the company to “remote in” to an aircraft’s satcoms equipment and reconfigure it from anywhere in the world.
The company has also pioneered 10-digit dialling service to aircraft in flight, known as their Global One Number service. This technology allows callers on the ground to reach any handset onboard an aircraft in flight by dialling a single telephone number no matter where the aircraft is located.
Satcom Direct, which is aptly headquartered at Florida’s Satellite Beach, has a number of other connectivity applications including SkyTicket, which offers charter operators a Wi-Fi “hot spot” in the air.