Ok. I’m going to give the OnAir/Ryanair story a rest for a bit (but I think I’ll allow myself the right to point out (just one more time) that the mobile connectivity service touted by OnAir and Ryanair – and deserving of what looks like a French Can Can or an Irish jig – is now no longer available on the Irish carrier.)
What is worth talking about (for those in the IFEC community) is whys and wherefores of Row 44′s decision to select the Tecom/Qest KuStream 1000 antenna for equipage across Southwest Airlines’ fleet over the Aerosat antenna it used in all its flight trials.
Last week, at the World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) single focus workshop on in-flight connectivity, I put the question to Row 44 chief John Guidon, and I didn’t get a very satisfactory answer. In all fairness to John, a quick Q&A probably wasn’t the best time to talk about the intricacies of FCC filings.
Thankfully, a good source has pointed me to the answer.
Says the good source:
Row 44 put an amendment, SES-MOD-20091021-01342, into the FCC to use the new antenna, and had to point out the differences from the Aerosat antenna.
The main thing seems to be, from Attachment A, B, C:
In North America, the modified subsystem [Tecom] operates similarly to the current configuration [Aerosat] supporting an elevation range from 90° to 0° of continuous coverage with an azimuth coverage that is continuous over 360° while extending the skew to +/-35 degrees from +/-25 degrees.
“The skew angle is the range of angles in which you can operate with a given satellite. The narrower the skew angle, the narrower the cone of coverage extending from the satellite, and less range you have per satellite (east west). This limits the coverage, particularly as you move South. With the Aerosat antenna you probably would have, therefore, needed more satellites to cover North America, which would have made the economics for difficult” says the source.
Read the whole FCC exhibit here: Exhibits_A,_B_and_C.pdf It even contains some juicy bits about Row 44 holding a license from Industry Canada and a declaratory ruling from Mexico (yeah, we like all the Americas!)
Now, speaking of skew angles, I wonder what the conversation between Ryanair and OnAir sounded like before OnAir announced its termination of their contract. Here is what I imagine in my daydreaming moments: “Right then OnAir, you can say you dropped us, but we at Ryanair can say we’re looking elsewhere.” For the love of God.
Ok. I’m done. It’s out of my system. I think.