Thrane & Thrane (stand 190) launched at the show what it describes as "a revolution in airborne communications for small aircraft". Aviator 200 - which is designed to access Inmarsat's recently announced SwiftBroadband 200 service - provides a compact, lightweight system that offers reliable, affordable connectivity to the broadest range of aircraft possible. First customer shipment is scheduled for August 2010.

Aviator 200 has an antenna less than half the length of the one-year-old Aviator 300/350 system - formerly Aero-SB Lite - on which it is based and at 0.7kg (1.5lb) it is around a third of its weight. It provides data speeds up to 200Kbps and has a single channel for voice calls, "providing smaller aircraft with a complete airborne communications solution where this was not achievable before", says Thrane & Thrane.

Aviator 200 is primarily targeted at the smaller business jet and turboprop sectors. Hawker Beechcraft announced at the show that it has selected the system to provide broadband connectivity for its Beechcraft King Air family, including 90, 200, 300 and 350 model aircraft.

"We expect King Air operators all around the world will enjoy the added productivity that broadband connectivity delivers while developing new ways to utilise their aircraft," said Christi Tannahill, Hawker Beechcraft vice-president, global customer support.

"Aviator 200 will introduce in-flight broadband communication to an entirely new segment of users [particularly those with wi-fi enabled portable devices including BlackBerrys, iPhones and iPads], providing airborne connectivity for business, military and government users, particularly where weight and space may be particularly critical considerations," Thrane & Thrane adds.

Source: Flight Daily News