EBACE2015: Satcom Direct expands training programme

Satcom Direct's Chris Moore, chief commercial officer (left) and Derek Donahue, regional director Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Satcom Direct’s Chris Moore, chief commercial officer (left) and Derek Donahue, regional director Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Florida-based Satcom Direct has launched its new inflight connectivity AeroIT certification and preparatory course for international customers at EBACE 2015.

Sanaa Sadaani, Satcom Direct’s head of training, said that it is now a certified training provider with AeroIT, the world’s first IT training and certification courses for aviation created in cooperation with CompTIA’s Examplify subsidiary

In addition to courses covering all technical networks in aviation communications, the new AeroIT training provides advanced knowledge and certification testing.

A study guide is available for self-guided preparation. The subsequent AeroIT certification-proctored exam will be offered at any Pearson VUE testing centre, worldwide.

The certification is valid for three years and must then be renewed. Attendees have the opportunity to register for the AeroIT prep course at Ebace.

Sanaa Sadaani, Satcom Direct's head of training
Sanaa Sadaani, Satcom Direct’s head of training

“AeroIT expands upon the existing base of knowledge and focuses on the IT aspects of avionics systems. It’s a great way for technical team members to add value to their flight department and enhance their own professional development,” said Saadani.

Aircraft technicians need to be IT experts to efficiently serve owners’ and operators’ communications needs. Satcom Direct says it has therefore developed AeroIT in response to this demand.

It builds on Satcom Direct’s existing training programme, which includes a foundation course focusing on troubleshooting and SATCOM schematics.

A course about Inmarsat aviation provides training on legacy and next-generation Inmarsat systems, whilst an IP and voice course focuses on introducing maintenance and operational professionals to troubleshooting IP networks, which are vital to today’s aircraft.

Sadaani added: “We want to train up our customers’ own maintenance engineers so that they have a competitive edge. None of our competition are doing this, and we are now running courses worldwide.

“Everything on an aircraft is now becoming connected and engineers need to understand the complexities of internet protocol (IP) addressing and networking. Even the fridge on a Gulfstream G650 can now tell the ground via a satcom connection that it is running out of certain products.”

New appointment
Satcom Direct has also made a new appointment. Derek Donahue is now regional director Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, and has moved to Satcom Direct’s Dubai office, with responsibility for the Middle East and Russia.

The company now has 14 staff in the UAE to service its growing inflight connectivity customer base.

Chris Moore, Satcom Direct’s chief commercial officer, said “We now have a truly global reach, with new offices also opening up in Jakarta and Melbourne. And the demand for aircraft e-enablement will only increase over the coming years.

GlobalVT launched
Satcom Direct also launched its new GlobalVT service recently, which allows anyone to contact you while you are in flight via your own cellphone number.

The service acts like a global GSM roaming service, routeing all calls and texts to your smartphone number via a satellite connection.

All passengers need to do is download and install an app to enable the service. They then switch their phone to inflight mode and enable a Wi-Fi connection to the onboard Satcom Direct SDR router, which requires a software update for the new service to work.

Formerly known as AeroV+, the new brand better reflects the functionality of the system.

Calls to and from the ground are treated as VOIP calls via the satcom connection. All outgoing calls will correctly show your number as the originator, which increases the chance of it being answered. Incoming calls also correctly display the number of the person calling you.

Chris Moore said that the system will work with ViaSat Ku-band systems and Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB). ViaSat can support up to two voice calls concurrently, while SBB can support up to four.

“The call quality is excellent,” said Moore. “Before this you would have needed the phone number of the aircraft and know that the person you are calling is actually onboard.

“And with outgoing calls there is no “+87” or other strange number displayed when you call, so your recipient is more likely to answer it.”

The Apple iOS app is ready and Android is coming soon. A Windows Phone app is also in the pipeline and Blackberry compatibility is being looked at.

Users pay per minute or per text. Satcom Direct can also bill the aircraft owner, and give a full breakdown of all call costs if required. It says the service has been trialled around the world with more than 10 different customers.

Satcom Direct’s headquarters and primary operations centre is located in Satellite Beach, Florida, with additional office locations now in the United States, Canada; Farnborough, UK; Dubai, UAE; Geneva, Switzerland; Hong Kong, PRC; Melbourne, Australia; Moscow, Russia and Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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