US satellite communications equipment manufacturer Thrane & Thrane has launched 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 a smaller antenna than the one-year-old Aviator 300/350 system - formerly Aero-SB Lite - on which it is based. 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 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," it adds.

Source: Flight Daily News