Inmarsat and Cobham SATCOM have announced that SB-Safety (SB-S) has entered service evaluation on the first United Airlines Boeing B767 aircraft.
The important milestone was achieved as part of a technology evaluation of Inmarsat’s next generation SB-S flight deck communications platform, which has been installed on United Airlines’ Boeing 767 aircraft with Cobham’s AVIATOR 300D SATCOM system. SB-S offers global, high-speed, secure connectivity for the flight deck, enabling powerful and flexible communications in real-time, enhancing airline safety, asset use, security, and operations.
During the evaluation, United Airlines will deploy their aircraft equipped with SB-S in the highly congested North Atlantic airspace. The company will use the new platform for communications and surveillance with Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) messaging. United Airlines’ evaluation of SB-S is part of the carrier’s ongoing commitment to best-in-class operations, safety and service.
In addition to capabilities of today’s cockpit SATCOM, SB-S introduces new, always on, always secure applications, which are available for United Airlines’ use. These include continual positional awareness for flight tracking, flight data streaming (Black Box in the Cloud) and real-time electronic flight bag applications, such as networked graphical weather. Other benefits of the service include operational efficiency, in the form of more fuel-efficient routes and the ability to transmit vital aircraft performance and positioning data in real time.
The AVIATOR 300D systems, which include Cobham’s compact and lightweight IGA-5001 Intermediate Gain Antenna to ensure a low profile on the fuselage, provide fast and reliable connectivity on the Inmarsat satellite network. As one of the latest additions to Cobham SATCOM’s established, innovative AVIATOR portfolio, further advantages include recurrent maintenance savings due to the integral high reliability of the underlying technology platform and weight savings (approximately 50 to 150 lbs) over traditional aviation SATCOM systems.
Chuck Stewart, United Airlines Chief Technical Pilot for Communications, said that United looks forward to seeing improved operational efficiencies with a fully connected flight deck, using the platform for improved communications and real-time updates that previously had to be done on the ground.
Captain Mary McMillan, Inmarsat Aviation Vice President of Safety and Operational Services, added that United sees the value of next generation IP broadband in the cockpit and how it delivers operational savings and enhanced safety. This moves satcom from a safety utility to a true, strategic asset for aviation.