LiveTV, a leading innovator of inflight entertainment and connectivity, and Greenwich AeroGroup, a leading aviation services company have achieved a milestone in inflight connectivity by demonstrating their LiveAero™ connectivity solution on a Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. S-92® helicopter. LiveAero’s side-looking high-speed connectivity solution is powered by the Iridium OpenPort ™ broadband service, ensuring pole-to-pole connectivity by leveraging Iridium’s network of Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.
“Conventional wisdom has been that the helicopter rotor interferes with the satellite signal and makes it impossible for high-speed connectivity while in flight. Our LiveAero product overcomes this issue and allows uninterrupted high-speed communications for the first time,” said LiveTV President Glenn Latta. “We have a low-cost, robust solution for the entire rotorcraft industry that works everywhere in the world, pole to pole.”
“We see this technology as a vital tool for rotorcraft in search and rescue, VIP and off-shore transportation, medical emergency, law enforcement and border patrol roles,” said Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Greenwich AeroGroup Daniel Lafrance. “LiveAero’s broadband connectivity enables mission critical data and real-time video transmissions at very competitive cost.”
LiveAero Satellite Communications, a subsidiary of LiveTV, and distributor Greenwich AeroGroup were chosen by Sikorsky to install and deliver LiveAero’s system to seven Sikorsky S-92 custom-equipped helicopters to be used primarily for search and rescue missions. The LiveAero high-speed connectivity will allow medical personnel to provide inflight care and triage with assistance via live broadband, voice and video links to medical facilities. Installations are scheduled to begin in late February 2014.
The LiveTV breakthrough uses a multi-element seven-panel phased-array antenna to communicate with Iridium’s network of 66 LEO satellites in orbit and manage the bandwidth between satellites. The demonstration included space vehicle passes at a variety of azimuths, showing continuous connectivity in flight. This confirmed that the technology provides the rotorcraft industry with a very stable, high availability link.
“On board connectivity is becoming increasingly important,” said Tom Tully, Engineering Project Manager for Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation. “The immunity of LiveAero’s satellite network connectivity to rotor blockage is impressive. This now enables us to offer data transfer systems not previously considered for airborne rotorcraft operation.”