STCs have been confirmed for the Satcom Direct Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mounted antenna system. A multi-model (AML) FAA STC approval enables the installation of the terminal on Gulfstream G550, G450, GV and GIV types.
The Satcom Direct Gulfstream G550 is the first aircraft carrying the Plane Simple antenna technology, powered by the Intelsat FlexExec satellite network. The antenna installation required the fitting of two line replaceable units, the tail-mounted antenna and the SD modem unit. This installation was carried out by Gulfstream at its facility in Appleton, Wisconsin.
In parallel EASA has released an STC for multiple Bombardier types, covering the Global 6000, 5000, Express XRS and Express. SD collaborated with Alamo Engineering to generate the first EASA STC for the Global airframes. A privately owned Bombardier Global Express is the first aircraft equipped with the Plane Simple Ku-band terminal outside of the USA, with equipment installation completed by ACC Columbia Jet Service at its MRO facility in Hannover, Germany.
“This is a monumental day for Satcom Direct demonstrating we have taken our initial concept of a simplified connectivity hardware system, that can be easily installed, maintained and transitioned, and made it a reality,” said Jim Jensen, SD founder and CEO. “We announced we would do it just over two years ago and we have stuck to our plan as SD Avionics, our expert hardware team, worked with our production partner QEST, to create a whole new class of antenna hardware. It completes our connectivity puzzle, adding to our existing software, ground infrastructure and hardware. More importantly it gives our customers greater flexibility, cost-effective connectivity options, and a single resource to fulfil each and every connectivity need. It is what they were asking for and we have delivered it; I could not be prouder.”
The antennas will form part of the in-service evaluation programme, delivering additional feedback about system performance. Multiple units are currently being delivered by SD Avionics to customers who will join the in-service evaluation programme.
“Until now high-speed connectivity options were limited by capacity, restrictive plans, invasive installation and the complexity of transition pathways,” said Jörg Gorkenant, co-owner and head of design and airworthiness at Alamo Engineering. “With the Plane Simple tail-mounted antenna these needs are resolved in one simple step. We’re excited and extremely pleased to have worked with SD and ACC Columbia Jet Service to generate the first European STCs for this impressive new technology.”
Designed exclusively for business aviation aircraft, the Plane Simple terminal and Intelsat FlexExec network deliver high-speed data access for government, corporate and private customers. The initial swathe of STCs, which increases access to the Ku-band offering for international customers, are to be followed by further approvals from the FAA, Transport Canada and EASA for more airframe models, by the end of the second quarter of 2022. The official approvals and customer in-service evaluations represent the penultimate phase before the SD Plane Simple antenna system enters commercial service in the third quarter of this year.