International Communications Group Pursuing STC for Sora System with Landmark Aviation

They are working to obtain a STC from the FAA to install a version of the Sora advanced voice and data satellite communications system on Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft.


NEWPORT NEWS, VA (MARCH 22, 2011) International Communications Group, Inc. (ICG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Landmark Aviation to obtain a Supplemental Type Certificates (STC) from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to install a version of its Sora advanced voice and data satellite communications system on Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft.

ICG and Cobham Antenna Systems originally introduced Sora (Japanese for “sky”) at the 2009 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Annual Meeting & Convention in Orlando, Florida, to provide potential customers with the opportunity to tailor their cabin and flight deck packages to their specific requirements.

The version being installed by Landmark has been designated the Sora ig package. The ig bundle combines ICG's Iridium voice and data transceiver, the ICS-120A, with Cobham’s Intermediate Gain Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (SBB) antenna, the IGA 5006 and an SDU 7320 Satellite Data Unit to provide rapid connectivity and versatile functionality.

Landmark is scheduled to begin installing the system in a Challenger series aircraft at its Winston-Salem (INT) MRO facility in April and expects to complete the necessary flight testing and certification program by mid-May. Customer availability for Challenger installations from Landmark are expected in to begin at the end of May 2011.

"Obtaining this STC represents not only another important milestone in the Sora program and a key addition to the installed base for our products but a valuable strategic alliance with a highly respected systems integrator and installer," said Scott Trainum, CEO of ICG. "We look forward to working directly with Landmark Aviation on future projects."

Landmark Avionics Manager, Dwayne Chandler commented, "To maintain our competitiveness in this industry, we need to offer our customers a choice of connectivity solutions across a broad range from voice to internet on their aircraft. By collaborating with ICG to obtain this STC, we are expanding our expertise and the range of options from which they can choose."

ICG’s Sora ig package is built around the NxtLink Series ICS-220A, a three-transceiver device which provides two channels of global voice and dedicated DataLink services. The system supports Safety Voice, Future Air Navigation System (FANS1/A), Controller Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC) and ADS-C messaging, as well as Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) requirements.

The ICS-220A is an ideal fit to the aftermarket because the system will provide services where there is no Inmarsat coverage in extreme Northern and Southern latitudes, allowing business jet operators to take advantage of Polar Routing and save significant amounts of time and money.

Sora, which offers both Iridium and Inmarsat Swift Broadband (SBB) voice and data services worldwide, received an initial STC in the spring of 2010 for an installation on a Gulfstream G200. That certification provided the basis for subsequent installations on additional business jets.

Sora enables WiFi devices such as Blackberries, iPhones and personal computers to operate on the high speed SBB channel, while the cabin and crew communicate using Iridium’s worldwide voice. Additionally, the flight crew can utilize a dedicated Iridium channel for Datalink safety messaging and also have available a priority voice channel for air traffic management and flight operations personnel.

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