Businessman in front of business aviation jet

New alliance aims to streamline tax reclamation for business aviation

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Businessman in front of business aviation jet

Satcom Direct (SD), the AI-powered spend management platform MySky, and tax reclamation experts, VAT IT USA, have entered into a strategic alliance to streamline VAT and tax reclamation to mutual customers by leveraging each partner’s technology.

The aggregation of the VAT IT tax recovery option with the MySky financial module, within the digital flight operations platform SD Pro, acts as a force multiplier for flight departments, operators, and owners. After a complimentary one time sign up to VAT IT, tax specialists will assess and process inputted expense and invoice data to initiate the VAT reclamation which saves money, reduces workload, and improves the overall ownership experience.

For those requiring Mineral Oil Tax reclamation, the VAT IT module also supports the highly complicated reclamation process to further enhance the offering.

The first phase of the integration will begin immediately, allowing SD and MySky users to sign-up for the gratis VAT IT service, with the full tax reclamation service slated to be made available through SD Pro and MySky in Q2 2022.

“This arrangement showcases the benefits of our open architecture platform, which allows integration of third-party suppliers to deliver tangible added value to the user experience,” sa Chris Moore, president business aviation, Satcom Direct. “We support an established, international, customer base that uses SD Pro to manage all aspects of flight operations, MySky has the technology to streamline financial management for operators and flight departments, and VAT IT has the expertise to facilitate valuable VAT reclamation for its clients. With this alliance we are truly optimising the power of integration to better serve our customers.”

The new agreement enables an unprecedented means of improving tax recovery, an often cumbersome, and ignored, time-consuming task. “The addition of VAT IT to the combined benefits of SD Pro and MySky heightens fiscal control and efficiencies, giving flight departments and operators significantly bolstered financial and taxation support. By simplifying tax recovery, we are delivering a winning formula for all stakeholders involved with managing the aircraft budgets; even corporate financial departments will welcome the VAT recovery option,” commented Carl de Lange, Managing Director of VAT IT USA.

The MySky module in SD Pro provides access to financial data and proprietary IT tools that help owners and operators reduce costs, refine spending, and improve the overall aircraft ownership experience. “MySky strongly believes in the importance of increasing efficiency for business aviation owners and operators. We are delighted that the alliance with SD and VAT IT significantly simplifies processes and saves time for users. This is another step forward to making operations smoother and more transparent within our sector,” added Jean De Looz, MySky Managing Director Americas.

ElitAvia will optimise SD connectivity in the flightdeck and cabin: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi

Elit’Avia selects Satcom Direct as preferred connectivity provider

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ElitAvia will optimise SD connectivity in the flightdeck and cabin: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi

Slovenia-headquartered aviation services company Elit’Avia has selected Satcom Direct (SD) to become its preferred supplier for the provision of voice, data, connectivity, and flight deck communication functionality, along with customer support and training.

The three-year agreement enables Elit’Avia to tailor SD services to meet individual aircraft requirements across its mixed fleet.

The Elit’Avia flight department already uses the digital flight operations system SD Pro to synchronise flight operations, access the SD Cyber Security Threat Monitoring module, and to track and monitor flights.

Elit’Avia is also benefiting from 24/7/365 customer support for any troubleshooting or real-time expertise as needed. The global network of SD offices, the speed of response to queries and the ease of access to technical experts, as well as ongoing training, were all factors that supported Elit’Avia’s decision to extend the existing SD agreement.

“We are a dynamic global business that puts safety and quality first to create a best-in-class customer experience. We wanted to work with a connectivity company that values partnership, and mirrors our operating philosophy, which is why we selected SD as our preferred connectivity partner. The SD team has already demonstrated the value they bring with their expert technical support, their genuine focus on customer service and the ability to deliver seamless connectivity across a range of aircraft types. Access to the growing cybersecurity offering is also an important factor for Elit’Avia’s operations team. We are excited to develop our connectivity services further with SD,” said Michel Coulomb, CEO & Accountable Manager of Elit’Avia.

Cabin router upgrades for aircraft that are not currently using SD connectivity solutions are also in discussion. The addition of the SDR Series supports customisation of aircraft connectivity needs, distributes cabin Wi-Fi for increased functionality and data capacity for passengers and crew, as well as interfacing with avionics systems to deliver validated, operational data to the Elit’Avia flight department.

“Being a preferred supplier to an operator of Elit’Avia’s size and quality highlights that our customer-centric approach of creating tailored connectivity solutions adds real value to an operator’s business. The ability to package connectivity services through our eco-system of hardware, software, and terrestrial infrastructure, to deliver powerful cyber threat monitoring services, and to support the differing requirements of a mixed fleet, highlights the value the SD Xperience portfolio brings to business aviation. With the expanded, long-term deal we are able to better serve their customers, crew, and operations teams by providing flexible, customisable connectivity solutions. We look forward to working with the Elit’Avia team to support their evolving needs,” said Michael Skou Christensen, SD VP International.

Image: Photo credit Daryl Cauchi.

Satcom Direct (SD) appointed SKYTRAC Iridium Certus reseller

Satcom Direct (SD) appointed SKYTRAC Iridium Certus reseller

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Satcom Direct (SD) appointed SKYTRAC Iridium Certus reseller

A newly ratified agreement has positioned SD as a global reseller of SKYTRAC Iridium Certus hardware and data services directly to business aviation jet owners, operators, and business aircraft manufacturers.

The agreement immediately adds an impressive range of Iridium Certus products to the SD Xperience portfolio. A full suite of robust connectivity options, powered by the Iridium LEO Certus constellation are available to satisfy the increased demand for connectivity from all sizes of business aviation aircraft. The SKYTRAC offering meets both cabin and flight-deck communication requirements for a range of business aviation platforms through its powerful broadband solutions.

“What sets us apart within the industry is our consultancy service that streamlines connectivity acquisition and ensures a seamless service that’s easier to manage. The addition of the SKYTRAC component enables a greater variety of options for owners and operators of business jets of all sizes, to receive consistent, secure, reliable connectivity, now. It also boosts our mixed fleet offering which, as we add more and more fleets worldwide to our roster, adds real value for the customer,” said Chris Moore, President Satcom Direct Business Aviation.

“SD has gained an impressive global market share of the business aviation sector and is dedicated to empowering owners by harnessing the full potential of data connectivity. This new relationship immediately broadens our potential customer base,” said Jan van der Heul, Vice President Sales of SKYTRAC. “The SD market penetration, combined with the expansion of the SD Xperience portfolio with the SKYTRAC products, adds up to a powerful connectivity offering for the international business aviation market. We’re excited to work with SD to bring our products to a much wider audience.”

Satcom Direct (SD) has validated the Plane Simple Antenna System during a series of transatlantic and European test flights.

Transatlantic test flights prove capabilities of Plane Simple Antenna System

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Satcom Direct (SD) has validated the Plane Simple Antenna System during a series of transatlantic and European test flights.

Satcom Direct (SD) has validated the Plane Simple Antenna System during a series of transatlantic and European test flights.

During over sixteen hours of testing across a three-day mission, the Ku-band Plane Simple Antenna System tail-mounted on SD Gulfstream G350, confirmed the reliability of the new hardware, which has been developed specifically for business aviation. Constant data transmission verified the terminal’s functionality across the Intelsat FlexExec network, stressed the system, and proved its capabilities across a range of aerial dynamics. The flight transitioned between three satellites on the Intelsat network as the aircraft flew along the east coast of the US, across the North Atlantic, and on to Ireland, before returning back to base in Melbourne, Florida.

The beam transmission was flawless as more than 29 GB of data was transmitted during the flight trials across Intelsat’s multi-layered, redundant, high-throughput satellite network. The SDR Gateway router supported Wi-Fi distribution to numerous personal electronic devices in the cabin, enabling multiple streaming applications, video conferencing calls, and Live-TV, to be simultaneously active.

“This heralds a new era for business aviation as it confirms SD has successfully developed a powerful hardware system that supports unparalleled connectivity services from a single source supplier. Contacting just one company for all connectivity needs streamlines the ownership experience, enhances customer support, and demystifies the complexity of aviation connectivity,” said President of Satcom Direct Business Aviation, Chris Moore. “The results prove that SD can support high-definition data streams for numerous on-board users concurrently and demonstrates that we remain committed to optimising the possibilities delivered by the digitisation of aviation.”

The Plane Simple Antenna System delivers a number of firsts to the business aviation sector. It consists of only two LRUs, an antenna and a modem, both of which are easy to access, enabling seamless upgrade paths and maintenance. The modem is positioned in the unpressurised part of the aircraft which also returns valuable stowage space to the passenger and crew.

SD is now working on generating commercial Supplemental Type Certificates to support Plane Simple installations. It is anticipated the first will be for Falcon 2000 owners, with others to follow by the end of the year to support business, military, and government aviation customers.

The tail-mounted Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series being developed by SD in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH. Once activated it will support the Intelsat FlexExec Ku-band service, which has been designed as the only airtime service dedicated exclusively for business aviation.

Satcom Direct (SD, has added its newly developed Aviation CyberThreat Awareness course to its training curriculum

Satcom Direct introduces new Aviation CyberThreat Awareness training

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Satcom Direct (SD, has added its newly developed Aviation CyberThreat Awareness course to its training curriculum

Satcom Direct (SD, has added its newly developed Aviation CyberThreat Awareness course to its training curriculum. The online, self-paced program, designed for end-users, delivers a comprehensive understanding of how to minimise digital risk, and ensure company compliance, by making simple changes in digital behaviour and device handling.

SD has designed the course specifically for users of computers, mobile devices, networks, and internet services, including members of flight departments, operators, crew, and passengers. The program explores how human and technical factors, impact cyber security. Modules detail best practices for implementing data security compliance, identifying common hacking and attack methodology, and how to recognise, and mitigate, inherent vulnerabilities on the ground or in the air. In addition, the course explores the importance of protecting data during international travel and is complemented by information relating to the use of personal digital devices before, during, and after a flight.

“The threat of cyber events continues to escalate in business aviation. It is not a matter of if a cyber event will occur, but when, so we wanted to provide our customers with an accessible course that supports cyberthreat prevention from an aviation user and facilitator, rather than purely technological, perspective,” said John Kummer, Senior VP Strategy and Programs. “With the rise of increasingly sophisticated bad actors there is a clear and present danger that all flight departments, corporate fleets, and business aviation stakeholders should be aware of. This course helps to clarify weak points, whether they be technical or human behaviour related, and provides solutions that will strengthen data practices.”

“The combination of our digital Learning Management System, and in-person tailored connectivity courses, increases access to this critical information. We are pleased to provide an educational platform that enhances the skills and knowledge of our customers, colleagues and the business aviation sector globally,” added Kummer.

SD named preferred connectivity supplier to Luxaviation Group

SD becomes preferred connectivity supplier for Luxaviation

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SD named preferred connectivity supplier to Luxaviation Group

Satcom Direct (SD) has signed a preferred supplier agreement with Luxaviation Group, under which it will provide connectivity solutions to the global Luxaviation fleet.

The scalable offering meets the specific connectivity needs, missions, and budget requirements of each individual Luxaviation aircraft.

The agreement provides access to high-speed data as well as SD FlightDeck Freedom which brings datalink functionality, improving situational awareness and flight deck communications for the crew.  Supporting the arrangement Inmarsat’s Jet Connex and SwiftBroadband services enhance passenger productivity, or relaxation, through high-speed cabin Wi-Fi capabilities, as well as bolstering crew operations.

Stuart Williamson, Chief Operating Officer of Luxaviation’s Business Aviation Support Services Division commented: “The ability to tailor the offering for each customer, and the responsive, global, pro-active customer service team, which has shown it meets and exceeds the needs of our clients, influenced our decision to switch to SD as our preferred supplier.”

SD is also working with Luxaviation to optimise the expanding suite of SD Cybersecurity solutions, accessed through SD Pro, the digital flight operations dashboard. “Finalising this agreement with Luxaviation highlights that our approach of creating tailored solutions, blended with genuinely expert customer service is extremely important to the end clients. We recognise value is not simply budget related, and the ability to package services to effectively support the differing requirements of an international mixed fleet, demonstrates the many advantages of the SD eco-system,” said Michael Skou Christensen, Senior Vice President, SD International.

“SD puts customers first in terms of productivity, entertainment, and flight efficiency, and Luxaviation recognises the significance of this to their successful operations. It is a tribute to our global team, their hard work, and dedication, that this deal has been ratified, and I’m extremely proud of them.  I know that the team is as excited as I am to build upon this relationship and begin the next chapter with Luxaviation.”

Satcom Direct has confirmed the installation of its Ku-band Plane Simple tail mount antenna on a second aircraft type, the SD Dassault Falcon 2000LX.

SD installs Plane Simple tail mount antenna on a Falcon 2000LX

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Satcom Direct has confirmed the installation of its Ku-band Plane Simple tail mount antenna on a second aircraft type, the SD Dassault Falcon 2000LX.

Satcom Direct has confirmed the installation of its Ku-band Plane Simple tail mount antenna on a second aircraft type, the SD Dassault Falcon 2000LX.

The antenna is already equipped on the SD Gulfstream G350. The addition of the Dassault platform to the validation process will double testing capacity to give direct comparative feedback about the system’s full capabilities.

“Adding a second platform will serve to further verify the benefits of integrating the new advanced technology antenna with the already proven SD ecosystem of hardware, software and terrestrial infrastructure. Our mission is to analyse the performance and deliver a powerful, reliable, validated, connectivity solution to our early adopter customers,” said Chris Moore SD President of Business Aviation. “The dual-testing on two very distinct aircraft platforms demonstrates our commitment to providing seamless end-to-end connectivity for a wider selection of aircraft types than ever before. Ahead of in-service evaluation with customers, which is slated to begin Q3 2021, it also provides us with the opportunity to generate our first commercial Supplemental Type Certificate which will support installation for Falcon 2000 owners worldwide.”

Further STCs will follow before the end of the year.

Installation of the Plane Simple dual variant antenna is taking place at the Dassault Falcon Jet facility in Little Rock, Arkansas. Aerial validation on the Falcon 2000LX begins in July and will confirm the terminal’s functionality across the Intelsat FlexExec network, stress the system by using simultaneous, multiple high-bandwidth applications, and verify its capabilities across a range of flight dynamics.

“We are focused on developing products for the business aviation community that have been designed specifically for the unique requirements of the sector. We are not repurposing existing technology but using our experience as business aviators to bring a series of antennas to market that will meet the demanding needs of our business, military and government aviation customers,” adds Moore.

The Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series of antenna systems being developed by SD in partnership with Germany-based QEST Quantenelektronische Systeme GmbH. Once activated the terminal will support the Intelsat FlexExec Ku-band service, which has been designed specifically to support business aviation operator needs.

The COMSAT teleports form an essential part of the SD terrestrial infrastructure network

SD concludes global infrastructure upgrades

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The COMSAT teleports form an essential part of the SD terrestrial infrastructure network

Satcom Direct (SD) has completed the next phase of terrestrial expansion to its global private network.

To strengthen its ground infrastructure and augment redundancy the global satellite solutions provider has enhanced individual Points of Presence (PoPs) and upgraded its global network to support the increasing connectivity needs of its customers. The update includes expansion into the Asia Pacific region to provide additional connectivity options for customers and complements existing PoPs in North American and Europe.

The enhanced terrestrial network enables SD to deliver greater flexibility as an Internet Service Provider (ISP) for its business aviation, military and government customers operating around the world. This effort further strengthens its global infrastructure which incorporates the COMSAT Tier 4 certified east and west coast US-located teleports. As part of the Satcom Direct family of companies, COMSAT collaborates with the Melbourne, Florida-located Tier III rated, ISO 27001 certified SD Data Center to support delivery of a suite of cybersecurity solutions which maintain customer data integrity. Customers can also access cloud services and cloud service providers via the terrestrial network and SD Data Center customers can use the teleports as a bridge for both legacy and new network technologies.

“For our customers, who are often operating in mission-critical environments, resilient high-speed connectivity is essential, which is why we’ve made these investments. With the latest upgrades we are delivering enhanced services, applying value-added functionality through accelerated data transmission, enriching our network management, and most importantly keeping our customer data secure,” said Founder and CEO of SD, Jim Jensen.

This latest infrastructure upgrade follows recent physical antenna upgrades at the COMSAT teleports which bolstered capacity across its entire network. “SD delivers a progressive, advanced and interconnected global terrestrial network that supports more satellite constellation providers, and customers, than any other independently owned network. Our strategy is focused on our customers ensuring our satellite partners in orbit and our connectivity customers on the ground remain seamlessly and safely connected at all times,” concluded Jensen.

Satcom Direct (SD) is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, the Florida-based flight crew training company.

SD offers aeroCNCT training with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute

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Satcom Direct (SD) is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, the Florida-based flight crew training company.

Satcom Direct (SD) is bolstering access to its Crewmember Network and Connectivity Training certificate program, aeroCNCT, through a new agreement with DaVinci Inflight Training Institute, the Florida-based flight crew training company. The SD aeroCNCT certified course is now being taught by an SD training professional at the DaVinci Institute on a quarterly basis. Theoretical and practical teaching leads to a professional credential upon successful completion of the course and examination.

The addition of aeroCNCT to the DaVinci curriculum aims to support the needs of an increasing amount of flight crew requiring comprehensive understanding of in-flight connectivity solution management. Designed to familiarise students with multifaceted connectivity concepts, the course includes modules on cabin network management, network applications and tools, and flight operation preparation. The resulting accreditation gives the flight professional the confidence to troubleshoot connectivity issues and serves to raise industry standards.

“We understand that connectivity is an essential element of the flight experience and that for flight crew it is a growing area of responsibility. DaVinci recognises that providing reliable training enhances the opportunity for greater professional development, so it makes sense to team up to offer our dedicated course through the institute. The aeroCNCT course complements existing DaVinci modules, and we hope that by providing a wide selection of courses at a single location, attendees can optimise the full training potential available at the institute,” explained John Kummer, SD SVP Strategy.

DaVinci offers a wide range of courses for flight attendants and crew, including culinary, cabin safety, and service training among others. “We believe that by adding tangible value to professional development with certified courses we are improving career prospects for our students and enhancing the business aviation sector. We are frequently asked for educational support relating to connectivity, so we are excited to add the SD connectivity module to our curriculum. We know it will appeal to many of our existing customers and be of great interest to new ones too,” said John Detloff, Chief Operating Officer at DaVinci.

The Plane Simple Ku-band tail mount antenna installed on SD Gulfstream aircraft for validation.

SD begins airborne validation of Plane Simple

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The Plane Simple Ku-band tail mount antenna installed on SD Gulfstream aircraft for validation.

Satcom Direct has begun airborne testing of its purpose-built Ku-band tail mounted antenna system, Plane Simple.

Inflight trials aim to validate the full performance capabilities of the Ku-band terminal and confirm the system’s integration with the SD ecosystem of hardware, software and supporting ground infrastructure.

The antenna, which is now equipped on SD’s Gulfstream aircraft, will provide empirical feedback about its functionality in an aerial environment.

“It is our company philosophy to always bring products to market that we have validated internally, and we are in a unique position to have the ability to undertake system testing on our own aircraft which gives us direct performance feedback,” said Satcom Direct Founder and CEO, Jim Jensen. “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, which will streamline the connectivity ownership experience and customer support services.”

The aerial testing follows successful completion of intense drive testing completed in Melbourne, Florida using a customised mobile platform. The Plane Simple tail-mounted antenna system will support super-mid to large-size jets and is being developed in partnership with Germany-based QEST, Quantenelektronische Systeme.

“Aviation is moving toward a digital industry, and data is the foundation for informed decision making by operations, finance and maintenance departments. It is essential that we can offer powerful connectivity solutions to a much broader business aviation audience which also support enhanced data management and analytics. The start of our in-flight testing within a year of announcing the hardware expansion highlights just how committed we are to meeting these market needs,” concluded Jensen.

The Plane Simple Ku-band antenna is the first in a series of antenna systems being developed by SD. As a Value-Added Manufacturer (VAM) and service provider (SP) for Iridium Certus, SD is also designing and manufacturing a Plane Simple antenna system for compatibility with the new network offering from Iridium, while also providing the service direct to the business aviation community. The company is aiming to launch a Ka-band variant tail mount antenna in 2022, followed by an electronically steered, fuselage mounted phased-array antenna which will deliver high-speed connectivity via upcoming LEO constellations.