Live television has become available to business-aircraft users, following US certification of Datron Systems' new satellite-television antenna for corporate aircraft.

The Escondido, California-based company, launched its direct-broadcast satellite antenna DBS-2100 at the National Business Aviation Association convention in September 1997. The system underwent its first flight tests at the end of December on board a Gulfstream III business jet and has since entered service with an undisclosed corporate operator.

The DBS-2100 consists of an 290mm-diameter dish antenna and control electronics which automatically acquire and track signals from the satellite. Designed for mounting in the tail fin of a corporate aircraft, "about the size of a Cessna Citation X upwards", the antenna allows reception of over 175 channels of direct-broadcast television and is capable of receiving wideband data.

Datron has teamed with Dynatech subsidiary Airshow and Racal Avionics to design, develop, manufacture and sell equipment which permits reception of live satellite television onboard the aircraft. Airshow, which provides passenger flight-information systems for airline and corporate aviation from its Tustin, California, headquarters, will market a satellite-television reception system worldwide under the title Airshow TV. Racal Avionics will manufacture the radomes for Datron's antenna system and ensure compatibility with its own satellite-communications antenna.

The UK company will also be responsible for acquiring the necessary international aviation-authority certifications.

Source: Flight International