Customer Installation In Falcon 900 Expected In Second Quarter This Year
International Communications Group, Inc. (ICG) and Chicago Jet Group (CJG) announced Tuesday that they are on schedule to obtain a group STC from the FAA for the installation of a version of ICG’s Sora advanced voice and data satellite communications system on a Dassault Falcon 900 series aircraft.
Three versions of Sora (Japanese for “sky”) packages have been created by ICG and Cobham Antenna Systems to allow potential customers to tailor their cabin and flight deck voice and datalink communications to their specific requirements. The version being installed is a Sora ig+ package which combines ICG's ICS-220A Iridium voice and data transceiver and NxtMail Server with Cobham’s IGA-5001, the smallest intermediate gain Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB) antenna currently on the market, an HLD-7260 high power amplifier and Diplexer/Low Noise Amplifier (DLNA), and an SDU 7320 Satellite Data Unit to provide rapid connectivity and versatile functionality. The package supports Future Air Navigation System (FANS-1/A), Controller Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC) and ADS-C messaging, as well as Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) requirements.
"Falcon operators will greatly benefit from the use of FANS-1/A over Iridium (FOI) features. It will permit them to comply with Global Datalink requirements and enhance operational efficiency and fuel conservation by allowing more direct and exclusive flights as well as reduced lateral separation minima. The Sora ig+ bundle gives the flight crew a global voice Satcom system that can serve as an alternative to a second High Frequency (HF) radio. The system will improve the reliability of communications on transoceanic flights and is compliant with the emerging NextGen safety services requirements," said Scott Trainum, CEO of ICG. "An added benefit of having this Sora ig+ installation is that the flight crew can utilize dedicated Iridium Short Burst Data (SBD) communications for CPDLC and ADS-C messaging. ICG’s proprietary priority and preemption software also allows both voice channels to be shared with passenger in the cabin, too. They, in turn, will be able to move
about the cabin while using our recently-released, sleek new wireless ePhone, which is compatible with this system,” he added.
“By collaborating with ICG and their Sora ig+ package, we are able to provide a versatile solution to our clients, as this state-of-the-art equipment provides global coverage including the Polar Regions. This equipment is easier to retrofit, draws much less power and is significantly lighter in weight than previous Satcom systems it will replace. The customer is going to get more 'bang for the buck,' and better coverage for a fraction of the cost of Inmarsat systems of the past. This package also takes the urgency out of meeting pending requirements for the use of CPDLC when flying North Atlantic Tracks between Flight Levels (FL) 360 and 390, expected to take effect in 2013. In addition, it also prepares us to comply with Europe's LINK 2000 directives for aircraft operating above FL 285, which take effect in January 2014," said Mike Mitera, President of Chicago Jet Group.
Sora offers both Iridium and Inmarsat Swift Broadband (SBB) voice and data services worldwide. It is an ideal fit for the aftermarket because the system will provide services where there is no Inmarsat coverage in extreme Northern and Southern latitudes, allowing business jet operators to take advantage of Polar Routing and save significant amounts of time and money.
The first Sora installation--on a Gulfstream 200-- received U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Supplemental Type Certification (STC) in the spring of 2010. That STC has provided the basis for the subsequent installations on additional business jets.
Chicago Jet Group has finished installing the system for the Falcon 900 series aircraft at its Chicago/Aurora facility and expects to complete flight testing by April 12th and anticipate receiving certification by the end of this month. Customer availability for installations from Chicago Jet Group is expected to begin in the second quarter of 2012.