Satcom Direct’s Plane Simple antenna series has officially entered commercial service. Following what the company says was two years of development, rigorous testing and a thorough customer in-service evaluation, the first antenna in the series is now commercially available for aircraft owners and operators seeking reliable, global, customized connectivity solutions that are future-proofed for evolving connectivity needs.
The SD Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mount terminal is already revolutionizing business aviation connectivity with its purpose-built design developed to meet the sector’s specific needs. The terminal is powered by the multi-layered, high-throughput Intelsat FlexExec network, the first airtime service dedicated to business aviation. Customers are benefiting 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 to ensure the system exceeds customer expectations. More than 560 total hours of flight time have been logged to confirm the global commercial readiness of the system. “We are passionate about raising industry standards, and the Plane Simple Ku-band terminal, when married with SD’s FlightDeck Freedom, allows for real-time network monitoring to assure crew and passengers are supported by our world-leading customer service team. The mantra in our NOC is we ‘know before you know’, indicating that we are always one step ahead of the aircraft connectivity to ensure unbroken coverage globally.”
Confirming the success of the terminal’s flight trials, all those participating in the in-service evaluation have transitioned to customer status. David Utley of Executive Jet Management, which evaluated the system on its Bombardier Global 5000, added, “The tools and service provided by SD are impressive. 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 optimize them and troubleshoot in flight, empower me to maximize 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 state-of-the-art hardware in partnership with QEST, a worldwide provider of innovative aeronautical antennas. The singular design of the first antenna consists of just two line replaceable units, the SD modem unit and tail-mount antenna. This minimizes installation times, reduces maintenance fees, and, located in the unpressurized part of the fuselage, frees up valuable cabin space.
With the Plane Simple commercial service introduction on the Intelsat FlexExec network, operators only need to make one call to SD to source end-to-end connectivity acquisition and management. Supported by 24/7/365 customer service, the technology delivers inflight productivity, enhances leisure time, and improves operational management for more aircraft types than ever. Developed on an open-architecture platform, the system supports the integration of third-party suppliers to add further operational value.
The system has already received Federal Aviation Administration STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express, Express XRS, Dassault F2000LX/LXS, Gulfstream GIV, GIV-X, G450, GV, GV-SP, G550 types with the European Aviation Safety Agency also confirming STCs for Bombardier Global 5000, 6000, Express, Express XRS and Dassault F2000LX/LXS models.