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Satcom Direct Improves Onboard Flight Communication with Inmarsat-4, Datalink

Satellite Technology

Satellite Technology Feature Article

July 02, 2009

Satcom Direct Improves Onboard Flight Communication with Inmarsat-4, Datalink

By Jayashree Adkoli, TMCnet Contributor

Satcom Direct, a provider of satellite voice, fax, and Internet data service solutions, announced that it has successfully sent and received satcom datalink (AFIS/ACARS) messages over the Inmarsat (News - Alert)-4 satellite constellation – technological advancement that’s expected to improve communications between onboard flight and ground stations.

Carried out for the very first time onboard a Global Express aircraft, the technology leveraged Satcom Direct’s FlightDeck Freedom in collaboration with SITA’s datalink network and the new Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation.
As the first service provider to send and receive satcom datalink messages, Satcom Direct said that it worked directly with SITA, which is the first network provider to deploy classic aeronautical service over the new Inmarsat-4 satellite constellation. The company built the technology upon SITA’s milestone, in order to offer dual-direction service for satcom datalink messages.
Satcom Direct provides various bundled solutions which include voice, fax, Internet, and datalink communications, such as FlightDeck Freedom. By leveraging FlightDeck Freedom, customers can access multiple flight plan and trip planning providers and have flight information sent directly to the aircraft via datalink.
Additionally, this communications solution also enables text and graphical weather, pre-departure clearances, oceanic clearances, digital ATIS (News - Alert) (DATIS), text message delivery, and satcom systems status, plus use of VHF and satcom for datalink, all for a fixed annual fee with no extra charges for satellite communications.
“FlightDeck Freedom is a revolution in bundled aviation communications that offers customers a complete range of satcom options, especially when combined with SITA and Inmarsat,” said Scott Hamilton, vice president of business and strategic development of Satcom Direct. “By utilizing existing technology from SITA and Inmarsat and combining it with our knowledge and experience, we continue to set the industry standard for providing excellence in satcom services, support, and technology.”
In addition, the FlightDeck Freedom also interfaces with different types of avionics, such as Honeywell (News - Alert) AFIS, Honeywell Primus Epic, Rockwell Collins CMU-4000, Teledyne Controls Telelink, and Universal Avionics Unilink. It is compatible with aircraft produced by Boeing (News - Alert), Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault Falcon Jet, Gulfstream, Hawker, and others, said Satcom Direct.
Now, Satcom datalink messages can be sent or received via FlightDeck Freedom through Inmarsat and SITA. With this, pilots can leverage Satcom datalink to upload flight plans into the aircraft flight management computer and to receive weather updates, text messages, Air Traffic Control clearances, and various other items pertaining to the flight, including position reporting.

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Jayashree Adkoli is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Jayashree's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michael Dinan

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