This month, the Plane Simple™ Ku antenna system is being installed on our SD aircraft to begin flight testing. The transition from development and ground assessment to the aerial testing phase aims to validate the full capabilities of the terminal’s performance. Inflight trials will also confirm the system’s integration with the already proven SD ecosystem of cabin hardware, operations software, support tools, and ground infrastructure. The antenna will be stretched to the limits of its abilities while providing empirical feedback about its functionality in an aerial environment.
To support the final goal of providing seamless end-to-end connectivity through all phases of flight, a number of key capabilities are being assessed. The terminal’s ability to accurately point to and switch between network satellites, to maintain communications protocols with the network operator, and efficiently transmit data to remote terminals in the aircraft, and on the ground, are all being established. Data rate speeds to and from the aircraft, as well as other supporting network activities, are also being assessed. The testing will continue until the feedback collected confirms the antenna, and associated systems, meet the specified requirements for market entry.
It is our company philosophy to always bring products to market that we have validated internally, before we offer them to our customers. This validation emphasizes our confidence in delivering the highest quality offerings so our customers can meet their mission requirements each and every time. We are in a unique position to have the ability to undertake system testing on our own aircraft which gives us direct performance feedback from two very different platforms. The aerial validation is the next step in becoming a single source provider of end-to-end connectivity solutions for business and government operators worldwide.
The aerial testing follows successful completion of rigorous drive testing completed in Melbourne, Florida using a customized mobile platform before outfitting the aircraft. SD’s investment in the hardware series is satisfying the broadening segment of the business aviation sector’s appetite for flexible, reliable connectivity solutions. The tail-mounted terminals will support super-mid to large-size jets and are being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH.