The top four things you need to know about Ka-band Connectivity

Click to enlarge image

No matter what conference you attend, publication you read or blog you follow – it seems like everyone is talking about on-board connectivity. Why? Because it’s clear that passengers want the ability to do the same thing they do on the ground (send and receive emails, check social media, watch movies, etc.) in the air. With so much information available and key technologies changing on just about a daily basis, it can be difficult to understand the benefits each type of connectivity technology has to offer.

With that being said, operators still need to cut through the clutter to understand the best solution for their aircraft. One of the top connectivity providers in this space is Inmarsat. In 2008, Inmarsat launched SwiftBroadband. At the time, it provided the fastest high-speed connectivity available in business aviation. And while it’s still one of the most effective means of cabin connectivity, a new generation has arrived – Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX (JX).

JX operates over the Ka-band satellite network, a major leap forward in terms of speed and reliability. Each of the network’s three I-5 satellites operate 89 highly efficient Ka-band spot beams. A foundation layer of global coverage is capable of providing up to 50 Mbps to fuselage mounted, and 33 Mbps to tail mounted, antennas. What does this mean? It means that JX provides passengers and crew with nearly the same connectivity experience in flight as they have in their homes and offices. A fourth I-5 satellite – when launched in the future – will provide even more capacity and redundancy.

If the possibility of high-speed, seamless connectivity is something you’re interested in, here are four things to keep in mind about Inmarsat’s JX and Ka-band technology:

1) It is backed by a fully redundant ground network.
The Inmarsat Ka-band network is supported by a fully redundant ground infrastructure, ensuring network availability of 95 percent or greater. What does that mean? This optimized ground network protects against outages from functional failures and fade events, meaning less service interference.

2) The service offers a consistent, reliable, high quality connection.
Because of the satellite network’s combination of spot and steerable beams, Ka-band provides operators with a more consistent, reliable and high quality connection. As noted previously, the three, I-5 satellites create a foundational layer of worldwide coverage. Capacity is supplemented by the network’s unique steerable beams, which means that the busiest flight routes are always covered, even during peak periods.

3) Users can expect higher throughput.
Ka-band operates at a higher frequency, which enables up to 10x more throughput. As a result, JX delivers higher bandwidth per aircraft, which means Ka-band has much more potential to support the ever-growing customer demand for bandwidth.

4) You can expect guaranteed Committed Information Rates (CIR).
JX is the only service with guaranteed CIRs. Each subscription has a defined CIR which is the minimum throughput guaranteed to each subscriber. JX is able to offer this guarantee due to its global coverage.

As the market continues to evolve, there will always be new and different offerings to consider. No matter what technology you choose, one of the most important decisions you make is about selecting the right service provider. If you’re thinking about adding on-board connectivity and have questions, ARINCDirectSM can help you determine the best solution for your needs.

Read more about author Audrey Ndengue.

A One/Two Punch: The 2 Hottest Topics for LABACE 2017

LABACE 2017 Aerial View

There’s a lot going on in the business aviation industry and LABACE is a great place to learn about the newest innovations in the market. While sales of new and used aircraft remains sluggish, the service side of business aviation continues to be quite strong with innovative technologies continuing to transform the market.

Some topics remain at the forefront of what’s happening (yes, yes connectivity). We are also seeing how new mandates are generating a lot of interest-and questions.

With that, I wanted to share what we see as the two biggest topics at LABACE 2017.

1) Connectivity is king. Study after study shows that travelers are demanding the always – available internet experience they enjoy at home be available in the sky too. And even though inflight Wi-Fi hasn’t been available for very long, the demand for the service is high so much so that many passengers say they are willing to choose an alternative to their preferred airline just to access in flight internet.

The good news is that there are many new connectivity options available that can satisfy not only the demand for access, but also access to high-quality service. From Inmarsat’s Jet ConneX to ViaSat’s mobile broadband via the Ku-band network to Iridium’s NEXT and others, reliable, high speed connectivity is here. The question now becomes – what’s the best choice and how can I work with a service provider to implement it in a cost-effective manner?

2) Mandates are driving ADS-B Out, FANS equipage. Regulatory agencies across the globe, including in the U.S. and Europe, are requiring the use of ADS-B Out in aircraft that are operating in controlled airspace by 2020. And that’s good, because ADS-B Out technology provides some significant benefits: it allows an aircraft to continuously broadcast its GPS position, heading, velocity and other surveillance information to Air Traffic Control (ATC). But, the new mandates are driving business aircraft operators worldwide to get equipped so that they can continue to access increasingly modernized airspace and creating an urgent need to plan for completing ADS-B Out installations by the end of 2019.

In addition to ADS-B Out, the FANS 1/A North Atlantic mandate will reach a significant milestone at the end of 2017, requiring all aircraft operating in the North Atlantic Region between Flight Levels 350 and 390 to be equipped with a FANS controller pilot data link communication (CPDLC) and automatic dependent surveillance-contract (ADS-C) technologies. In 2020, the North Atlantic FANS mandate will expand to include all traffic at Flight Level 290, and above, throughout the North Atlantic Region. The trend that “prime” airspace is being reserved for those operators that are well equipped is not being lost on the industry as more operators seek to understand, implement and get trained on these new technologies.

These are some of what we see as hot topics for LABACE 2017, but we’d love to hear what you think. Comment below or if you’re attending LABACE 2017, please visit us at stand #2016. Our team will be on hand, waiting to talk with you.

Read more about author Ben Gambrell.

Connectivity: Point of no return

From visual signaling to the globally connected passenger, pilot and plane

Flying in the old days was a heroic adventure for the aircraft, pilot and passengers. From visual signaling, megaphone and long days in route, no one would dare then to dream about easy air-to-ground communication, up-linking flight plans, aircraft tracking, cabin entertainment systems or in-flight internet.

Although today we can all benefit from these available technologies that keep us connected, in Brazil the majority of the 800 business jets flying currently have no connectivity service. For those of you that believe there are better ways to connect today besides visual signaling, smoke signs, or handmade flight plans, read on.

By incorporating connectivity tools into operations you can expect:

Operational efficiency

Your safety and efficiency are improved by having accurate flight plans sent right from the ground to your Flight Management System (FMS) or iPad, receiving weather updates, real-time position data or just sending a simple message to your Fixed Base Operator (FBO) to request services before landing.

Onboard satellite connectivity is transforming communications in the cockpit and supporting communications between the aircraft and the Air Traffic Control.  Current satellite technologies allow a wide range of capabilities onboard the aircraft in comparison to legacy systems.

Meeting the cabin needs for passengers

Today, we are more connected than ever.  Our personal and business lives depend heavily on access to our devices. We often feel the need to be in touch with family and colleagues regardless of where we are.  This need to stay connected to our professional responsibilities make the “office in the sky” even more valuable.

Faster data connections with reliable service are key factors driving the market. Passengers not only want access to email and internet as in previous years, but also the ability to seamlessly continue their business in-flight using high-speed data. This may include applications such as uploading and downloading data, video conferences or high definition on-demand TV.  From the passenger perspective, the data connection should be seamless – indeed plug and play-connecting their device to the Wi-Fi aircraft network to fully enjoy the ride.

So while the days of visual signaling may be far behind us, countries like Brazil are just starting to catch up and take advantage of the new era of connectivity onboard.  The safety and efficiency added is undeniable. Making compromises for staying connected while you travel is over.

Are you ready to connect?

Read more about authors Vinicius Freitas.

Alphabet soup for pilots: FANS 1/A+ CPDLC and ADS-C

There’s a lot of talk lately about FANS 1/A+ CPDLC and ADS-C, but what does it really mean to operators? What is truly the value?

FANS 1/A, or Future Air Navigation Systems, is the suite of avionics upgrades that implement Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC).  When position reporting is established, ADS-C provides position, altitude, speed, intent and meteorological data direction to ATC with no crew intervention.  CPDLC is a data application that enables text-based message transmissions between the air traffic controller and the flight crew.

So, why use data link messaging instead of voice transmissions?

First, it reduces the chances of human error. Secondly, it increases the efficiency and volume of pilot requests that can be handled by ATC. As ATC moves towards best equipped, best served operation, FANS 1/A+ provides even more benefits for operators and pilots.  Top five benefits of FANS 1/A and CPDLC include:

  • Allows pilots to fly more optimal flight levels, consuming less fuel.
  • Allows ATC to reduce minimum separation requirements between aircraft
  • Minimizes language barrier issues and other communication errors through the use of a standard message set.
  • Reduces pilot  and air traffic controller workloads through the use of automated position reporting.
  • Replaces verbel air traffic control instructions and crew requests over radio frequencies, reducing frequency congestion.

Today, we offer upgrades to FANS 1/A+ for some Rockwell Collins-equipped aircraft types. After your aircraft is equipped to utilize FANS 1/A+, our ARINCDirect team can test your system and provide the required training for operation. We also offer FANS testing for all ARINCDirect customers for new FANS installations, refresher training for flight crews and troubleshooting assistance for any FANS issues that may be encountered.  In addition to our manual FANS testing stations, we also have automated FANS test stations which are available 24/7 from anywhere in the world.  

For more information regarding FANS testing or to schedule a testing session, please email ADFANS@arinc.com or call +1 410-266-2990.

Read more about author Erin Santiago.

Flying to the 2016 Summer Games

First and foremost, Landing permits

As we inch closer to the long awaited Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro, deadlines for necessary arrangements are approaching to ensure fluid travel into the lively city. While all destinations require a certain amount of pre-planning, Brazil’s unique systems require a bit of additional attention. While landing in Brazil can come with the typical slot challenges, the slot revision process can be troublesome if not handled correctly. These slots can be especially difficult to obtain during times of high flight traffic such as the Summer Games.  With such a highly anticipated event, it would be best to begin your arrangements as soon as possible.

Brazil’s airport system requires you to have your landing permit in hand prior to reserving a slot.  Travel schedules also need to be concrete and verified before landing permits can be secured. The Brazilian Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC)  will only allow three changes before canceling a request, making you start the process over. So, when sending aircraft and crew documents along with the permit request, it is critical to present the most current and legible copies. Improper documentation will be returned and will be considered the first of the three permit changes.

Although landing permit approvals typically take 24 hours around the time of a large event, the wait can be significantly longer. During the Summer Games you should anticipate four business days for approvals, assuming that all documents are in order.

It is very important that clients arrive in Rio/SBGL during the approved times (0500-1100z, 0200-0800 lcl).

If a client wants to arrive outside of the authorized time it will be considered yellow zone air restriction time and there will be strict procedures in place. These are mandatory and will require entering via a predetermined HUB airport (Manaus/SBEG, Recife/SBRF, Salvador/SBSV) to clear customs and going through an extremely thorough special inspection by the Federal Police. This process will need to be requested well in advance as it will take quite some time, as well as incur extra fees. So, we strongly recommend avoiding yellow area air space restrictions.

Security throughout Rio, including at airports, is expected to be intense to maximize safety for all in attendance. ANAC has already clearly stated to all handlers that crew changes will be scrutinized rigorously leading up to the event. Primary pilots (a maximum of three) may be registered on the landing permit. Alternate crew members (a maximum of three), must also be specified and accounted for, however alternate aircraft will not be accepted on the request.  If multiple aircraft are heading to the event, separate crews are required for each tail.

Here’s a breakdown of some key facts about the documents required for travel to Brazil:

Crew |Three (3) legible and valid documents:

  • Pilot License – Front and back copy of most current license
  • Medical Certificate – Must be valid until after the final departure date. (1 yr. validity from exam date; 6 month validity if older than 60 years old)
  • Passport

Aircraft [Part 91] | Three (3) legible and valid documents:

  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Worldwide Insurance – Indicate worldwide coverage, third-party coverage, third-party coverage amount, and full operator address

Aircraft [Part 135] | Five (5) legible and valid documents:

  • Airworthiness Certificate
  • Registration Certificate
  • Worldwide Insurance – Must indicate worldwide coverage, third-party coverage, third-party coverage amount, and full operator address
  • Air Operator Certificate (AOC)
  • Operations Specifications – Must include tail of aircraft that will be landing in Brazil

Note:

  • Private aircraft registered in charter companies fall under Part 135.
  • Some airports, customs will request chartering contracts, including a list of passengers.
  • All aircraft (Part 91 and Part 135) will need to provide a letter explaining the purpose of the trip as well as a letter of authorization for the SLOT request (template will be provided).
  • A letter of authorization will be required for each tail requesting a slot. If any changes need to be made, Brazil will cancel the existing slot and issue the new one as a new request, both of which will incur a charge.

Need someone to walk you through the logistics of traveling to Rio for the Summer Games?  Our International Trip Services team is waiting to help.  Contact them at +1-713-430-7200 or ops@rockwellcollins.com.

Read more about author Michelle Torres.

*Rockwell Collins is not a sponsor or in any way affiliated with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A big step toward NextGen: DCL in the U.S.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun the deployment of its Data Link Departure Clearance (DCL). This service will be available at 56 major airports in the U.S. by the end of 2016. This is the first step towards nationwide enroute CPDLC coverage. DCL enables your departure clearance to be delivered and responded to via FANS CPDLC. Potential revisions will be delivered via CPDLC, all clearances will be in a loadable route format.

Whew! Now that we’ve gotten the technical description out there let’s talk about what this really means for operators and why operators may want to take advantage of it.

  • The Data Link Departure Clearance Service (DCL) provides automated assistance for delivering initial, and revised departure clearances.
  • DCL does not replace Pre Departure Clearances, but is the next step in the evolution of data link.
  • The service provides the ability to introduce revisions to a previously cleared flight plan, which can be received at any time until the aircraft is handed off to the tower for takeoff.
  • In the not too distant future, logging on to receive your DCL clearance will seamlessly transfer you to enroute CPDLC after takeoff.
  • ARINCDirect has administrative access to the FAA’s Subscriber Database and manage our operators DCL and PDC preferences.

If you need more information about how DCL can work for you, contact our training team for more information: ADTraining@arinc.com.

Read more about author Christian Renneissen.

4 things you need to know before traveling to Cuba

You’ve no doubt seen the recent headlines of U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Cuba. Not surprisingly, the interest in traveling to this beautiful island has drastically increased as well. While the process of traveling there by corporate or private aircraft may have been streamlined, the criteria to go remain unchanged.

If you’re a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you must still be authorized by meeting certain conditions defined by the Cuban Assets Control Regulations. The latest amendments do not provide additional categories of authorized travel, but do offer some interesting examples of what actually qualifies for the general license for people-to-people travel.

So, before your flight department considers adding Cuba to your itinerary, here’s the CliffsNotes to the amended regulations:

1. Visas are a must-have

Visas are required for entry into Cuba.

Passengers:
– Visas must be obtained prior to entry into Cuba and they must be sourced in advance directly from the sponsor in Cuba.

Crews:
– Visas can be obtained upon arrival.
– Not required for crew dropping off/picking up passengers but recommended.

2. Complete information for your sponsor in Cuba is required

Be sure you have all the required details for your sponsor in Cuba. Cuban authorities will be verifying the following information at a minimum:

– Company name
– Individual to be contacted
– Title of contact individual
– Address
– Phone number
– Fax number and/or email

3. Approved ports of entry / exit are no longer required

The Interim Final Rule that was published by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the Federal Register on March 21, 2016, addressed changes to the regulations regarding flights to and from Cuba. Essentially, 19 CFR 122, Subpart O has been removed, eliminating the need for aircraft flying to and from Cuba to utilize specific airports of departure and arrival.

4. No need to obtain a temporary sojourn license

A Temporary Sojourn License is no longer required, with two key restrictions:

– The aircraft/crew cannot stay in Cuba for more than 7 consecutive days.
– The aircraft cannot go to more than two airports within Cuba, and both must be international airports (entry and exit point).

This is not an exhaustive list of considerations before heading to Cuba, but it should get you started. Once you’re ready to take flight, let us help!

Get all of your questions answered and even set up your trip to Cuba by contacting us at ops@rockwellcollins.com or by phone at +1 713.430.7200. Safe travels!

Read more about author Rick Snider