Direct your attention to Qest

Qest antenna.jpg

Some folks wonder about my fascination with aircraft antennas. Maybe I’m just a bi-directional kinda gal (don’t all agree at once). Or maybe, this is a subject seriously worth staying on top of…like a fuselage-mounted radome.

The fact is that airlines are increasingly adopting in-flight broadband and live television solutions for their passengers. And antennas play a big part in making that happen. An interesting new player on the scene, one whom I’ve written about a number of times, including in an October article for Flight, is Germany’s Qest.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who feels this way. RWG can reveal that:

On 20 November, Qest will receive a Technology Innovation Award for its antenna designs from a major market research company.

Qest recently teamed up with US antenna firm Tecom to take full crack at the Ku-band market. The company’s director of sales and marketing Michael Stobinski says Qest “has the first machined parts of its new Ku bi-directional aperture in house now” and that first measurements “look very promising”.

“The full assembly is expected to be ready by the end of November,” adds Stobinski.
More details later.

(The Qest antenna pic is simply an example of a fuselage-mount configuration. I know, the gray on gray is very appealing)

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2 Responses to Direct your attention to Qest

  1. Bob November 17, 2008 at 11:33 am #

    After further analysis, I don’t get something. There is all of this talk about lowering weight and drag on aircraft to help cut fuel costs, correct? American is getting rid of a bunch of magazines, water and ovens, Southwest waxes their aircraft and installs winglets on their 737′s when they come in for checks, Hawaiian and American are both putting new blended winglets on their 767′s and many airlines that fly MD-80′s want to park them. Most airlines taxi with one engine now. All for fuel savings.

    In Feb 2008, RWG interviewed John Guidon who stated that the antenna for the Row44 system adds about 50lbs of drag to the aircraft. The rest of the eqipment needed can only add more weight to an aircraft. The airines portion of the $9.95 or $12.95 charge for service is probably not covering the added fuel to fly this equipment around.

    Capt. Steve Chealander, Manager of Fuel Efficiency Operation for American Airlines, stated that for every 100lbs of weight savings per plane, they save 1.4 million gallons of fuel per year, (at the time of that staement would equal $3 Million.)

    Will being the first to have new IFE/Connectivity equipment installed on their aircraft worth the added weight and fuel consumption in the long run?

  2. Mary Kirby November 17, 2008 at 4:30 pm #

    Hey Bob,
    These are all the questions that even the highest level IFE&C execs are still trying to answer. Systems are decidedly less heavy than the days of CBB. Other cost factors have been reduced.

    But take-up needs to be quite robust. Apart from basic fee-for-service deals, there are sponsorship and advertising opportunities being explored. And some really creative ones at that. Will it eventually cover the cost? The jury is still out, as they say. But you’ve got every reason to be skeptical, I’d say.