FCC installs its first Ka-band system on Bombardier Challenger 604.

Flying Colours Corp set for its first Challenger 604 Ka-band install

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FCC installs its first Ka-band system on Bombardier Challenger 604.

Flying Colours has begun its first Ka-band installation on a super-mid-size, privately owned Bombardier Challenger 604.

As part of a wider 96-month heavy maintenance check the Flying Colours Corp. avionics team will equip the aircraft with a Honeywell JetWave Ka-band high-speed satcom system. Installation of a tail-mounted antenna, internal wiring, and fitting of a Satcom Direct Router (SDR) will optimise cabin connectivity and Wi-Fi access in-flight.

“The installation of Ka-band on larger jets is the norm, but this is the first Challenger 604 that we have upgraded to the high-speed offering. It highlights the growing importance of connectivity across the aviation spectrum,” said Executive VP, Flying Colours, Eric Gillespie. “Our customer recognised the many benefits of the higher frequency service and how it enhances the flight experience, especially on international flights. The upgrade was available through the Bombardier Service Bulletin and we’re excited to make the installation. Looking forward we anticipate we’ll be seeing more requests for faster connectivity solutions on a wider number of airframe sizes as connectivity becomes a lead priority for owners and operators.”

GDC Technics completes head-of-state B777-300ER modification

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GDC Technics has delivered a B777-300ER completed with exterior modifications and a fully customised interior cabin for a confidential head-of-state customer.

The wide-body aircraft was completed under the GDC cabin weight reduction initiative using innovative, lighter weight engineering solutions resulting in overall weight savings for the aircraft. In addition, GDC was able to achieve noise levels below 50 decibels in the VIP areas of the aircraft. Furthermore, the aircraft was customised with a GDC engineered and certified modular lower lobe crew rest compartment that comprises of six sleeping pods with full capabilities for the crew to utilise during longer flights.

The cabin also features in-flight data, connectivity, and passenger comfort capabilities for full range IFE functionality. The exterior modifications includes a full security system, forward- looking, quad, downward zoom, and tail fin cameras, and world-wide connectivity – including a duel satcom system, Ka-band antenna, Iridium system, and satellite TV antenna to provide live, 4K Television.

The aircraft was also equipped with lower lobe fly-away kits that contain all materials necessary for on-site repairs and/or interior improvements during travel. To comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the final certification and approval of the aircraft was facilitated via a live-stream video with the FAA to witness and complete its compliance inspection, resulting in the FAA Issuing an “Achievement Award” to the certification team.

Viasat connects Bombardier Challenger 300 and Challenger 350 business Jets

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Viasat’S Ka-band in-flight connectivity (IFC) business aviation service will be available aboard new and in-service Bombardier Challenger 350 aircraft, as well as on in-service Challenger 300 aircraft.

Viasat expects to have its FAA Supplemental Type Certificate for the jets by the end of October 2020.

“Our goal is to give passengers flying on Bombardier Challenger aircraft an enhanced connectivity experience through all phases of flight,” said Claudio D’Amico, business area director, Business Aviation, Viasat. “We’re confident our new Ka-band service offerings will deliver a no-compromise, premium, home-like connectivity experience for Bombardier’s super mid-size business jets.”

Viasat recently announced it had removed internet speed limits delivered to the aircraft across all of its business aviation Ka-band service plans. In recent speed tests, Viasat customers have seen 40 Mbps and higher download speeds across the new service plans.

Interior of Bombardier 350 aircraft, showcasing the CMS feature

Bombardier enhances cabin experience of Challenger 350

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Interior of Bombardier 350 aircraft, showcasing the CMS feature

Bombardier has announced a new suite of cabin enhancements for the Challenger 350, which will be available later this year.

New features include the introduction of Viasat’s high-speed Ka-band connectivity. This offering will be available on new and in-service Challenger 350 aircraft, as well as on all in-service Challenger 300-series aircraft.

Bombardier is also refreshing the user interface for the cabin management system aboard the Challenger 350 aircraft, taking inspiration from the design of Bombardier’s Global 7500 aircraft, to include side ledge touchscreens and a new, platform-specific app, which integrates moving maps.

Customers will also have an expanded cabin design selection thanks to a collection of sophisticated and contemporary interior design schemes that strike the perfect balance between aesthetics and ergonomics.

Bombardier has made several other recent enhancements to the Challenger 350 aircraft, including class-leading cabin sound-proofing technology, refined cockpit aesthetics and an available Head-up Display (HUD) and Enhanced Vision System (EVS).

“The Challenger 350 aircraft stays on top because it’s the best, and these new features set this business jet even further apart from competitors,” Peter Likoray, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Sales and Marketing, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Customers prefer this aircraft because it offers performance without compromise and a cabin experience you can’t find anywhere else in this category.”

Viasat removes Ka-band speed limits for biz av customers

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Viasat has removed internet speed limits and doubled its minimum committed internet speed to
Ka-band business aviation customers who now also have the option to subscribe to Viasat Unlimited Streaming, which allows passengers to access online media services without impacting monthly data allowances.

“Today’s offering delivers a completely new and premium in-flight experience made possible by Viasat’s innovative technology,” said Claudio D’Amico, business area director, Business Aviation, Viasat. “We believe this key differentiator is expected to dramatically change the onboard connectivity experience for Viasat’s business aviation Ka-band customers. By removing speed limits, we are creating a home-like connectivity experience for mid-cabin to large- and long-range business jets.”

The Viasat Ka-band business aviation IFC solution uses Viasat’s Global Aero Terminal 5510, which taps into the ViaSat-1, ViaSat-2 and European Ka-band satellite platform and is expected to be forward-compatible with Viasat’s next-generation satellite systems. Forward-compatibility allows customers to install the Viasat shipset and subscribe to a Viasat service package today, with assurances that they can access additional satellite capacity, including larger data volumes and expanded coverage once Viasat launches its ViaSat-3 satellite constellation.

China’s Qingdao Airlines has begun serving passengers with an in-flight entertainment and connectivity service, based on Gilat Satellite Networks’ Taurus aero modem.

Gilat powering Qingdao Airlines’ IFEC service

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China’s Qingdao Airlines has begun serving passengers with an in-flight entertainment and connectivity service, based on Gilat Satellite Networks’ Taurus aero modem.

China’s Qingdao Airlines has begun serving passengers with an in-flight entertainment and connectivity service, based on Gilat Satellite Networks’ Taurus aero modem.

The service is provided by China Satcom, over CS-16 Ka-HTS satellite together with its partner China TDT LINK (contents/service provider to passengers). The whole Ka-band IFEC system was integrated by Chinese system integrator FTS, who received the relevant STC/VSTC early this year and retrofitted on the aircraft.

“Gilat is proud to have been selected by our long-term partners China Satcom and FTS, and most pleased with the joint effort of integrating our proven IFC modem, Taurus, to enable opening of the Chinese skies for broadband connectivity,” said Yuan Si, China Country Manager for Gilat. “Gilat views China as a strategic focus area, and this success marks yet another important landmark in Gilat’s vision of enabling plentiful quality affordable broadband connectivity everywhere. We look forward to continued collaboration with our strategic partners, to jointly reap the benefits of this multi-million-dollar China IFC market.”

AMAC Aerospace Global Express

AMAC Aerospace picks up three new contracts

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AMAC Aerospace have kicked off the new year with a series of contracts and successful maintenance and refurbishment projects at its base in Basel, Switzerland.

This week the company has signed several new contracts including three contracts regarding two Bombardier aircraft and an Airbus ACJ.

By the end of the month, AMAC will welcome a Bombardier Global 5000 in Basel, Switzerland, which will undergo a 15-months and 750-hours check with miscellaneous Airworthiness Directives and Service Bulletins.

Meanwhile, the company signed a contract with a new customer for a cabin refurbishment and reconfiguration on a Bombardier Global 6000 set to arrive in May. An Airbus ACJ319 is expected to arrive in April where the technicians will install a KA-Band antenna.

AMAC Aerospace has also revealed a successful refurbishment of an Airbus A319 for a Swiss airline for the first time. The refurbishment and reconfiguration took place during the downtime of the aircraft for some minor maintenance tasks and the aircraft was released to service ten days after its arrival.

“We are very proud to have been awarded from a Swiss airline company and to make a step towards the commercial market. We are delighted to have performed this maintenance input for a commercial operator. Furthermore the Airbus A319 we installed the maximum amount of passenger seats and added an additional row,” said Alexis Ott, Director Maintenance Sales & Key Account Management.

The company also signed a contract for its first KA-Band installation on an Airbus A321, extending its STC capabilities which already cover A319 and A320ceo and neo types.

Earlier in February, AMAC Aerospace was awarded the ISO 45001-2018 certificate, ensuring health protection as part of the company culture.

Mitsubishi antenna

Mitsubishi Electric develops extra-thin antenna for in-flight connectivity

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Mitsubishi antenna

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has collaborated with Japan’s National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) on the development of an extra-thin Ka-band (27 to 40 GHz) active electronically steered array antenna (AESA) featuring a profile of less than three centimetres, to deliver high-speed in-flight connectivity services via satellites at data rates beyond 100 Mbps.

The company has also developed the antenna elements and, in collaboration with Tohoku University and Tohoku MicroTec Co., a radio-frequency integrated circuit (RF-IC) for an envisioned millimeter-wave V-band (40 to 75 GHz) AESA that will be capable of delivering in-flight connectivity at even faster speeds.

Mitsubishi Electric’s new Ka-band AESA is thin and small enough to be installed in any aircraft, regardless of its size, and it can operate even at high latitudes, which will allow passengers to enjoy on-demand streaming and other high-speed internet services on flights worldwide. The proprietary antenna ensures high performance even when beam steering at an elevation angle of as low as 20 degrees, thereby enabling operation in the high latitudes .

Following further testing and demonstrations, the company plans to commercialise its Ka-band AESA after 2023 and a V-band AESA after 2027.

High-power and low-noise amplifiers for transmission/reception circuitry are needed to miniaturise satellite-communication antennas as well as improve their performance. Mitsubishi Electric’s new Ka-band RF-IC incorporates a high-power amplifier boasting an unprecedented power-added efficiency rating of 29.1% (when converting DC input power to RF output signals), 1.8 times that of an existing RF-IC made by Mitsubishi Electric. The RF-IC’s low-noise amplifier achieves an unprecedentedly low noise figure of just 1.8 dB, about 20% lower than that of a conventional model.

For Mitsubishi Electric’s next-generation V-band AESA, RF-ICs are being miniaturised for arraying at narrower intervals than in the case of the Ka-band AESA. Mitsubishi Electric, in collaboration with Tohoku University and Tohoku MicroTec Co., has developed the world’s first three-dimensionally integrated millimeter-wave RF-IC, which it stacks in pairs using a through-silicon vias.

Hong Kong Airlines

Hong Kong Airlines to deploy IFEC suite with Aerkomn

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Hong Kong Airlines has selected AirCinema and Ka-band AERKOMM K++ in-flight entertainment and connectivity solutions from Aerkomm subsidiary Aircom Pacific.

The IFEC solution will be installed on the airlines’ fleet of five Airbus A330-300 aircraft and 12 A320s which will also be kitted out with AERKOMM AirCinema system.

The AERKOMM AirCinema system, which Aircom is designing and implementing specifically for Hong Kong Airlines, will introduce free high speed internet access to the seat back screens of Hong Kong Airlines’ Airbus A320 aircraft, connected via the Ka-band AERKOMM K++ IFEC system. Instead of the traditionally preloaded and fixed selection of in-flight entertainment, passengers will have access to high-speed internet steaming services for videos, music, live TV, and social media. Aircom and Hong Kong Airlines will work closely together to develop the AERKOMM AirCinema system, thus making Hong Kong Airlnes the launch customer for this innovative solution.

The AERKOMM K++ IFEC system will also provide passengers of Hong Kong Airlines with an “at home” network experience by giving free access to on-board Wi-Fi internet connectivity to all passenger personal devices, including laptops, mobile phones and tablets. The AERKOMM K++ system will be ready future-proof and compatible with the next generation of satellite technologies. This system will also provide passengers of Hong Kong Airlines with access to e-commerce amenities such as in-flight shopping and travel services.

Jeffrey Wun, CEO of Aerkomm, commented: “This agreement marks the next step in our partnership with Hong Kong Airlines, who will be the launch customer of our AERKOMM K++ IFEC sytem. In addition, this agreement, as the first application of our technology to a commercial passenger fleet, is a milestone in the commercialisation of our AERKOMM K++ IFEC system. We look forward to furthering our partnership with Hong Kong Airlines to implement our industry-leading technology.”