United Airlines’ First SB-S-Equipped B767 Enters Service Evaluation

By S.L. Fuller | November 16, 2017
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Cobham Satcom Aviator 300D. Photo courtesy of Cobham Satcom

United Airlines has entered into service evaluation its first Boeing B767 aircraft with Inmarsat’s SB-Safety (SB-S), Inmarsat said. This is part of a technology evaluation for the flight deck communications platform.

The B767’s SB-S was installed with Cobham’s Aviator 300D satcom system. It offers global, high-speed, secure connectivity for the flight deck, Inmarsat said, which allows for real-time communication. SB-S also introduces “new, always on, always secure applications,” according to Inmarsat, which is available to United Airlines. These apps include continual positional awareness for flight tracking, flight data streaming (Black Box in the Cloud) and real-time electronic flight bag applications.

Inmarsat said that during the evaluation, the airline would deploy its aircraft equipped with SB-S in the highly congested North Atlantic airspace and would use the new platform for communications and surveillance with controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC) and automatic-dependent surveillance contract (ADS-C) messaging.

Aviator 300D systems include Cobham’s IGA-5001 intermediate gain antenna, which ensures “a low profile on the fuselage, provide fast and reliable connectivity on the Inmarsat satellite network,” according to Inmarsat. One of the latest additions to Aviator, Inmarsat continued, it offers recurrent maintenance savings due to the integral high reliability of the underlying technology platform and weight savings over traditional aviation satcom systems.

“United is excited to have this powerful new capability in flight today,” said Chuck Stewart, United Airlines chief technical pilot for communications. “We look 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.”

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