Garmin has announced its inReach Mini, probably the tiniest satellite-based inflight connectivity communicator that could be carried on a business or private aircraft.
While not providing full two-way IP connectivity such as found with an air-to-ground, L-, Ku- or Ka-band satellite system, it can offer a lot of peace of mind for the pilot and passengers of light aircraft.
The communicator enables two-way messaging and a 24/7 SOS function when combined with an inReach subscription to access the Iridium satellite network.
Measuring just under four inches tall by two inches wide, and weighing 3.5 ounces, the inReach Mini can easily be carried on an aircraft.
Dan Bartel, Garmin Vice President of Global Consumer Sales, said: “We are thrilled to introduce the inReach Mini into our growing line of satellite communicators.
“You’ll never have to sacrifice space or weight; it’s small enough to stow nearly anywhere so it can be out of sight, but still give you – and your loved ones at home – peace of mind that it’s there when you need it.
“The inReach Mini is an invaluable companion no matter where or how far off-the-grid life takes you.”
The inReach Mini enables messaging, tracking, and declaring an SOS. It can be used on its own or paired with a compatible device.
The Earthmate app easily pairs with the inReach Mini via Bluetooth to a compatible smartphone for access to unlimited maps, aerial imagery, and U.S. NOAA charts.
The Earthmate app also allows all of the inReach features to be accessed through the paired mobile device, so a user can reach anyone in their contact list. The app will seamlessly allow the user to access their compatible device’s contact list for quick access without manual entry.
Pilots will also have the same ability to send and receive messages conveniently through their Garmin Pilot app right from the cockpit.
Garmin Pilot leverages the inReach Mini’s GPS positioning to drive a georeferenced aircraft position symbol on a tablet’s moving map display. Garmin says the device has the ability to provide tracking for those wanting to follow the flight, using the web-based MapShare page created for each inReach account.
Like all inReach devices, a user can hit the SOS button in case of emergency, which then sends a distress signal to GEOS, a 24/7 International Emergency Response Coordination Center.
GEOS will track the device that triggered the SOS, notify the proper contacts, and send the necessary emergency responders to the exact location. GEOS will deliver a confirmation that help is on the way and also continually update the user on the status of the response team.
GEOS will also reach out to the user’s emergency contact and alert them of the situation.
Every inReach device also gives users access to a cloud-based website to not only plan future trips with specific waypoints and routes, but to create pre-set messages and quick texts.
On the website, users can sync and manage their device settings, update firmware, link social media accounts and store unlimited location tracking data.
To receive weather forecasts, the optional service provides detailed weather updates directly to the inReach Mini.
To access the Iridium network and communicate with an inReach Mini device, an active satellite subscription is required. Depending on the frequency of use, a variety of airtime plans that range from flexible month-to-month options to an annual contract package are available for individuals or professionals.
The inReach Mini is impact resistant (MIL-STD-810F) and water-rated to IPX72, so it’s built tough to withstand extreme conditions.
It also features an internal, rechargeable lithium battery for up to 50 hours of use at the default 10-minute tracking mode and up to 20 days at the 30-minute interval extended tracking mode.
Available in Q2 2018, the inReach Mini will have a suggested retail price of $349.99.