Broadband Systems Approved For Gulfstream G650

Bill Carey, Aviation Week

Inflight connectivity options for the Gulfstream G650 have grown by two with announcements by Flexjet and Satcom Direct of approvals to install broadband satellite communications terminals on the long-range, large-cabin business jet.

Flexjet said Sept. 19 that it will install SpaceX’s Starlink system on its fleet of G650s based on a supplemental type certificate (STC) developed by Starlink Aviation and Nextant Aerospace, Flexjet’s sister company under the Directional Aviation umbrella. Once G650s are equipped, the fractional ownership provider plans to certify and install Starlink across other types to include the Bombardier Challenger 350/3500 and Embraer Praetor 500/600 midsize jets and the Phenom 300 light jet.

On Sept. 18, Satcom Direct (SD) announced that its Plane Simple Ku-band tail-mounted antenna has received STC approval from the FAA for installation on the G650. SD, a hardware and service provider, worked directly with airframer Gulfstream to obtain the STC. The Plane Simple Ku-band variant will be available for installation throughout the Gulfstream service network by October.

SD’s mechanically steered, tail-mounted antenna system connects with the Intelsat FlexExec network of Ku-band geosynchronous satellites. Starlink uses an electronically steered phased array antenna mounted on top of the fuselage to connect with its growing constellation of Ku-band low earth orbit satellites, now numbering around 4,500 spacecraft.

Flexjet is the first fractional ownership company to provide Starlink service, the culmination of an 18-month process that included a technology evaluation and collaboration between Flexjet, Nextant Aerospace and Starlink.

“As the first global business jet operator to adopt Starlink, Flexjet is leading the way in bringing a truly reliable high-speed internet solution to its aircraft owners,” said Chad Gibbs, SpaceX vice president of Starlink Business Operations. “Our focus from day one was to solve for the shortcomings of existing in-flight technology and ensure that Flexjet could offer a seamless connectivity solution from ground to flight and back.”

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