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Michael Skou Christensen  

Connecting You Now

Installation that’s Plane Simple

By Michael Skou Christensen, Chief Commercial Officer, SD.

As SD marks a year since the commercial introduction of the Plane Simple Ku-band antenna, Michael Skou Christensen, chief commercial officer at SD, explains why creating a product that does what it says it will, is easy to use and install, continues to exceed expectations.


In the 1990s, Ronseal, a British manufacturer of wood care and finishing products, introduced an ingenious ad campaign. Each of the company’s tins featured a product name indicating its purpose. Weatherproof wood paint, interior gloss varnish or total wood preserver.

The advertising slogan? “It does what it says on the tin.” The phrase aimed to highlight the simplicity and reliability of the products and resonated with a market tired of exaggerated, over-complicated marketing claims and unfulfilled promises. It showcases the power of simplicity, transparency and putting focus on what customers want.

SD concurs with that approach. We have created products that are simple to acquire, uncomplicated to use, and perform even better than customers expect. They are also cost-effective, with the end result protecting the customer’s investment by enabling the simple acquisition of hardware, tailored connectivity packages, and industry-leading customer service to support each client’s specific mission.

Jean-Francois Martin, Director of Avionics at SkyService, the Canada-headquartered MRO which generated the Transport Canada approval for the Plane Simple Ku-band Supplemental Type Certificates for Bombardier Global and Challenger types, says, “As we see it, one of the main advantages of the Plane Simple offering is the service plan. In addition to saving money on the installation, our customers also save money on service plans. In some cases, customers are paying 40 percent less for large aircraft connectivity.” In addition, the systems are future-proofed for an era where the connectivity landscape is frequently morphing.

SD Plane Simple Ku-Band antenna in situ.

SD Plane Simple Ku-Band antenna in situ.

With MRO requirements in mind, SD ensured that installing its Plane Simple antennas is truly plain simple, a real value-add. The terminal is designed to comprise just two line replaceable units: the SD Modem Unit and the antenna. Linked together by cabling designed to support each of the SD Plane Simple antenna variants, customers have the option to select upgrade pathways with minimal new cabling installation costs and reduced downtime.

The first of the series, the Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mounted antenna, is one of the smallest currently available in aviation. It is lightweight, and the modular approach makes for easy handling. It has a simple mounting feature that does not require expensive, purpose-made tools to fix or adjust the terminal. Martin says, “We used standard tools for installation. There were no special requirements; basic avionics tooling was all we needed to complete the install, unlike some of the other systems on the market.”

SD Modem installation.

SD Modem installation.

We have also made sure that intuitive step-by-step instructions guide technicians through each installation stage. We incorporated technology that further simplifies the installation process by enabling automatic alignment with satellites, eliminating the need for expensive manual adjustments as satellite constellations transform. The turnkey nature of the system, along with the detailed installation manual and SD’s award-winning customer support, ensures that even users with limited technical expertise can successfully deploy the antenna. “It took us only three weeks to install our first Plane Simple Ku-band terminal,” says Martin, “That’s almost half the time taken to install other antenna systems. It is so straightforward that as soon as you’ve done one, you’ll be even quicker on the second one.”

If support should be needed, SD is there in person. “When we undertake an install, Satcom Direct comes onsite to support us if needed,” confirms Martin, “They do the activation and calibration in person and have even trained our people and the customer’s crew on various points while here.”

Its innovative design and user-friendly features make installing Plane Simple antennas straightforward for SD’s MRO partners. As Martin says, “Overall, the installation and potential upgrades of the Plane Simple Ku system aim to provide a reliable and efficient high-speed internet solution for aircraft, with considerations for ease of use, future technology advancements, and cost savings during ground operations.”

SD has done what it says on the tin and will continue to keep the process Plane Simple as it connects customers beyond expectations.

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BlueSky Business Aviation News | 2nd November 2023 | Issue #722


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