High-speed inflight connectivity for helicopters has always been problematic, but Honeywell and its Aspire 200 satellite communications system is making it more accessible.
The problem is that rotors on helicopters effectively chop up the incoming and outgoing microwave radio beam, causing errors and driving down the effective speeds.
But it isn’t all bad news for owners of helicopters, thanks to Inmarsat’s High-Data Rate (HDR) mode on its L-band SwiftBroadband service.
HDR came about after Inmarsat performed a software upgrade to its satellites. SwiftBroadband’s original short-burst waveform was extended to include longer bursts of data.
HDR has the benefit of providing faster speeds for fixed-wing aircraft, giving aircraft operators and passengers a faster and more efficient broadband experience when browsing the internet, checking emails, accessing instant messages and using streaming services while in the air.
But the newer interleaving bearers can re-arrange information packets across a longer burst, making it more robust in tough conditions, including under helicopter rotors.
Honeywell says its Aspire 200 SwiftBroadband system brings reliable, consistent, high-speed connectivity capabilities to the helicopter.
Available in a variety of antenna options, Aspire 200 and its HDR software package mitigate the impact of the rotor blades on the satellite signal to bring high-speed broadband to helicopters.
Honeywell recently demonstrated the system’s beyond line of sight (BLOS) capabilities on a customer’s Leonardo AW139 helicopter by connecting a passenger to the ground for a FaceTime conversation.
Watch the video below: