Commercial launch for SD Plane Simple antenna series


Satcom Direct has confirmed that the Plane Simple antenna series has officially entered commercial service. The first antenna in the technology series is now commercially available, following two years of development, rigorous testing, and a customer in-service evaluation.

The SD Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mount terminal has a purpose-built design developed to meet the specific needs of business aviation. The terminal is powered by the multi-layered, high-throughput Intelsat FlexExec network, an airtime service dedicated to business aviation. Satcom Direct said customers benefit from greater flexibility, connectivity options that align with anticipated operational costs, and a compact terminal system that supports simplified dynamic upgrade paths.

“We had an idea that we believed would change how aircraft owners and operators think about connectivity. Together with our partners, we are developing, building, testing and proving the Plane Simple technology, a product line that helps our customers be prepared for now and the future,” said Jim Jensen, CEO and founder of Satcom Direct. “Prior to the Plane Simple offering, high-speed connectivity options were limited by capacity, restrictive pricing plans, invasive installation, and were incompatible with changing satellite markets. The Plane Simple antenna series resolves these needs, and we’re proud to make this advanced, innovative antenna technology available to new and existing customers.”

The Satcom Direct flight department has test flown the Plane Simple Ku-band technology using its Gulfstream G550. More than 560 total hours of flight time have been logged to confirm the global commercial readiness of the system. Teaming the Plane Simple Ku-band terminal with SD’s FlightDeck Freedom allows for real-time network monitoring.

Confirming the success of the terminal’s flight trials, all those participating in the in-service evaluation have transitioned to customer status. “The tools and service provided by SD are impressive,” said David Utley of Executive Jet Management, which evaluated the system on its Bombardier Global 5000. “We particularly welcome the opportunity to integrate third-party tools as it helps us operate more efficiently. These capabilities, combined with SD’s advice and recommendations on which tools to use and how to optimise them and troubleshoot in flight, empower me to maximise our connectivity. This consultative approach means I always know what is going on. That is important for a busy aircraft frequently flying around the globe.”

Satcom Direct Avionics, the SD manufacturing division, has developed the hardware in partnership with QEST, a worldwide provider of aeronautical antennas. The design of the first antenna consists of two line replaceable units, the SD modem unit and tail-mount antenna. This is intended to minimise installation times, reduce maintenance fees, and located in the unpressurised part of the fuselage, free up cabin space.

With the Plane Simple commercial service introduction on the Intelsat FlexExec network, operators can source end-to-end connectivity acquisition and management by making one call to SD.

The technology is supported by 24/7/365 customer service. Developed on an open-architecture platform, the system supports the integration of third-party suppliers.

The system has received FAA STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express and Express XRS; Dassault F2000LX/LXS; and Gulfstream GIV, GIV-X, G450, GV, GV-SP and G550 types; with EASA also confirming STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express and Express XRS, and Dassault F2000LX/LXS models.

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Izzy has been part of the Business Jet Interiors International team since its second issue, and the editor since 2011. She also edits Auditoria and Railway Interiors International. Outside of work, Izzy is rediscovering her love of art by learning how to paint with watercolors.

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