Satcom Direct Introduces AeroIT; Training and Certification for IT in Aviation

Aug. 18, 2015
Demand for in-flight connectivity requires many aircraft maintenance technicians to also be IT experts

When it comes to keeping aviation professionals up on the latest technology, Satcom Direct wrote the book. Six hundred pages, in fact. The book is the exam study guide that prepares individuals for AeroIT certification, an industry first.

AeroIT is an information technology certification designed to help aviation professionals expand their knowledge of today’s sophisticated airborne communications systems, and it’s only the beginning.

Because of the burgeoning demand for in-flight connectivity, aircraft technicians need to know more than airframes and powerplants -- they have to be IT experts as well. To address this need, Satcom Direct developed AeroIT, the world’s first IT training and certification course for aviation. Designed specifically for aircraft systems, the training covers network configurations and troubleshooting, SATCOM systems and avionics.

Need for IT training

“There is a strong need for IT knowledge in the flight department and no one was teaching that, not even the primary IT certification providers,” says Jim Jensen, Satcom Direct founder and CEO. “Our customers told us that they needed a greater understanding of aircraft networking, so we developed AeroIT to meet that need.”

AeroIT equips flight departments with a thorough working knowledge of onboard networks and SATCOM systems. This education both supports customer missions with better technology utilization, and enhances the technician’s career development with educational credentials that are recognized in both IT and aviation sectors.

AeroIT instructor-led exam preparation classes are available to provide a focused learning environment. The classes are held at Satcom Direct’s global headquarters in Satellite Beach, FL, and include four days of instruction, along with review and the opportunity to take the exam. The exam study guide also is available for those who want to prepare for the certification exam on their own schedule. Since the first training courses opened last March all the sessions offered have been completely full. Individuals passing the exam to date include numerous flight departments as well as all members of the Satcom Direct support team.  The company’s international training offerings are being expanded to include AeroIT in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, this fall.

“Customer feedback shows that the training is spot on,” says Mark Mata, director of technical training for The Americas, who developed AeroIT with Satcom Direct colleague Josh Wheeler, technical training manager.

Mata says the course is appropriate for individuals with approximately two years of SATCOM experience and a basic knowledge of networking such as setting up a home router – although anyone with a strong desire to learn is encouraged to attend. “Successful completion of the certification takes commitment from the attendee to assimilate the information,” he says.

What is Covered

The AeroIT certification focuses on four main areas with the majority of the course being focused on network theory, including security:

  • Satellite networks
  • Network theory
  • Troubleshooting aircraft networks
  • Network management

The study guide, which the publisher reports is selling well, was written to be used as a reference guide on the job.

“I have the AeroIT Study Guide; the layout appears to be very logical with an eye towards the average corporate A&P (airframe and powerplant) with satcom training and experience in supporting that aircraft. This is what we need for A&Ps working on advanced corporate aircraft today. We are expected to be knowledgeable on a wide variety of systems and avionics that are all interconnected through networks on these aircraft,” said one customer.

Satcom Direct created the AeroIT certification in conjunction with CompTIA’s Examplify subsidiary to ensure the examination meets credentialing and testing standards. The certification is similar to other IT industry credentials which validate technical knowledge and the application of that knowledge. The certification exam is offered at any Pearson VUE test center that currently offers CompTIA testing. The AeroIT credential is valid for three years and then must be renewed.

“We’re so committed to AeroIT certification that a new Pearson VUE test center is being installed in our worldwide headquarters, currently under construction in Viera, FL,” adds Jensen. The facility will open in late 2015.

Industry Solution

AeroIT is getting industry attention, too. The National Center for Aerospace & Transportation Technologies (NCATT) and FlightSafety International are both considering adding the training to their offerings.  Several colleges are looking at the program including one which is considering making it a semester-long course.

“It’s an excellent endorsement to have educational institutions looking at offering AeroIT,” says Mata.  Both Mata and Wheeler currently teach the program, but it’s become so popular that Satcom Direct is adding a technical trainer dedicated to instructing the course full-time.

“We keep hearing that AeroIT is ‘long overdue’ and ‘what the industry needs,’ ” says Mata. “It’s exciting to see that it is so well received, and even more exciting to know that we’ve developed something that really benefits our customers and the industry as a whole.”

Another customer recently seconded that sentiment after taking the training course: “My congratulations to Jim Jensen and the rest of the associates at Satcom Direct for having the foresight to see this need and bring something such as the AeroIT Certification into existence. Stay tuned for my feedback and others that will be studying and growing with the info that you are providing with this training.” 

Additional certification levels are in development and will begin to be available within the next year.

For more information and registration details, visit

Jana Rucker is senior manager – Group Communications for Satcom Direct, a satellite communications solution provider serving business, military, government, and heads of state aircraft. Based in Satellite Beach, FL, her background includes building brands and messaging strategy for Fortune 500 companies such as Sprint and AT&T, and in the financial services sector.