TrueNorth’s DLU-vox to provide ACARS/CPDLC and Voice capabilities in a small, lightweight, standalone form factor

Geneva, Switzerland | May 21, 2017– TrueNorth, an SD Company, will introduce a new FANS-1/A over Iridium data link unit (DLU) with voice at EBACE 2017 – Booth S80. DLU-vox, will provide data link capabilities (ACARS, ADS-C, and CPDLC) plus flight deck safety voice capabilities in a small, lightweight, standalone form factor. The new DLU-vox has the same dimensions and footprint as TrueNorth’s existing FAA TSO-C139a Data Link Unit (DLU), and will give operators cost effective options for a data only (DLU) or a data and voice solution (DLU-vox).

Committed to integrating the most effective technologies into its products, TrueNorth continues innovating to give flight crews critical communications capabilities. “Our focus is to consistently improve the user experience, be it in the cabin or the flight deck,” said Mark van Berkel, general manager, TrueNorth. “Our new DLU-vox will allow operators to better manage their workload. Text-based contact with air traffic control reduces communication errors, and a channel of enhanced quality voice provides added flexibility. Both will help foster smooth flight operations.”

Based on TrueNorth’s flagship data link unit—aviation’s most popular Iridium-based FANS-1/A solution, with more in service and more STCs than any other system—the DLU-vox is a lightweight, standalone device for the flight deck. Following in the footsteps of the first and only, FAA, CAN and EASA TSO certified system for FANS over Iridium, the product is designed to fully comply with current and foreseeable TSO specifications. Additionally, DLU-vox will be compatible with a variety of MCDUs (multipurpose control and display units) and FMS’ (flight management systems). Both products simplify pilot to controller communications, to increase efficiency in congested airspace.

“The DLU-vox is an important addition to our product portfolio,” says Chris Moore, chief commercial officer at Satcom Direct. “FANS-1/A capabilities offer clear operational and business benefits. Pairing DLU-vox with SD services, like our FlightDeck Freedom application, gives operators the ability to work more effectively, fly more efficient routes and reduce fuel costs; significant considerations that are important to both pilots and aircraft owners.

A distinguishing feature of the new system is enhanced voice quality, which contributes to safer flight operations by providing clearer voice than traditional HF radio. Supporting simultaneous data and voice transmissions through a dual element Iridium antenna, the DLU-vox enables operational efficiencies, allowing pilots to talk and use the text-based interface at the same time.

Notes van Berkel, “Part of our mission is to provide flight crews with the most effective means of communicating with ATC, ground operations and other aircraft without disrupting cabin communications. Through the direct connection into the flight deck voice system, DLU-vox gives pilots the ability to communicate in a manner that best dovetails with their own working routines.

TrueNorth’s Simphone¯ OpenCabin airborne telecom system to provide cabin communications for L-3’s completions

Ottawa, Canada, November 23, 2010 — TrueNorth Avionics has been selected by L-3 Communications to provide cabin communications for its client. Effective immediately, L-3 will use TrueNorth’s Simphone¯ OpenCabin system in its high-performance integration solutions.

“This selection further validates our concept of designing Simphone¯ OpenCabin to be the industry’s premier airborne telecommunications solution,” said Mark van Berkel, TrueNorth’s president. “Not only did L-3 determine that our system’s performance was superior, but they also confirmed that our interoperability made Simphone¯ OpenCabin the right choice for their integration programs.”

A revolutionary software-centric concept, Simphone¯ (pronounced ‘symphony’) OpenCabin brings an unprecedented degree of reliability, connectivity options and capability to business aviation. Where existing airborne telecom systems are heavy, complex, expensive to maintain and life-limited, the modular, single-box Simphone¯ OpenCabin is easy to use, saves up to 70% on ownership costs, and combines limitless customization with a lifespan as long as most aircraft.

Perhaps you read about the latest LiveTV, TrueNorth Avionics, Satcom Direct hookup that was formed to bring low speed data to business aircraft, ostensibly to facilitate air-to-ground data connectivity. As you might guess, there are a couple of back stories as well. One is a new service from LiveTV called BOB (BlackBerry On Board)…and no, it has nothing to do with that old Microsoft, GUI-driven OS. The second is that the consortium mentioned above will be rolling out the Next-Generation Magnastar system in 2011, adding data services and global connectivity via Iridium to the current service package.

At first glance, BOB is an upgrade to Magnastar, providing voice and data to the old Verizon Airfone (now LiveTV) Ground-To-Air, voice and data network, but BOB is just the beginning. TrueNorth also announced two other Magnastar hardware options, one portable and one a fixed installation, based on their own Express box, which brings worldwide email connectivity to existing satphone-equipped aircraft. With over 2,000 planes still flying the system, LiveTV envisioned a future low speed data network supported by existing and modified hardware. If you are interested in finding out a bit more about Magnastar, click here.

Now, going beyond this email upgrade and using the 1 MHz of bandwidth (in the 800 MHz range) they purchased from an FCC auction a couple years back, LiveTV, hardware vendor TrueNorth and service provider Satcom Direct formed a team that can only be called a solution provider. This announcement was made at this past NBAA with the intent to provide an upgrade path for existing Magnastar users, as well as an affordable business service for operators not currently equipped with a Magnastar. Note that this is a CONUS service using ground stations primarily in the US. But there is more.

TrueNorth will work with LiveTV to build an even more capable Magnastar hardware solution and if you visit their website you will get an idea into the broad capabilities of this company…specifically into satcom voice and data integration. See where this is going? Aware of the low speed nature of the BlackBerry-based system, we could not help but wonder why the next move would not be connectivity as well. Iridium appears to be the next target for TrueNorth and Magnastar. We see worldwide coverage and expect to hear this additional hookup next year. LiveTV showed their hardware at the WAEA show and we expect TrueNorth to integrate them both.

Now, back to BOB. We wondered why a BlackBerry network, but soon realized that with over 28.5 million subscribers (As of approx. one year ago – RIM does not disclose the number today) the answer is obvious. We also noticed that there is another device that is selling better – the iPhone – and were curious about it’s applicability. We asked Bill Johnston, TrueNorth Marketing, if it would work on the network. “Yes,” he replied, “… but you must remember the delivery network from the ground is operating at 9.6 Kbps, so it’s really designed as an email system for now”. Email is email and most executives who, until this time, have had no connectivity, will have no problem with it… at least today.

And while on the subject of data speeds, one might inquire about the future for this effort. This team knows about Ku Band and we see no reason to rule it out for Magnastar. The TrueNorth capability in this area and in connectivity in general is probably why Airbus has signed an exclusive contract with them at the NBAA show for the Airbus Corporate Jet Centre business products.

By the way, Satcom Direct is an interesting service provider and, from one source, we were told they provide some 90% of business aircraft connectivity services today for the Fortune 500 business fleet. By looking at the intended usage of a client’s communications and data requirements, where they plan to operate, and what equipment is onboard – they recommend communication and data services, satellites, and assemble a composite billing for them… a one stop shop. We see their extensive experience in satcom services as a real plus.

Today, LiveTV equips a bizjet by providing a laptop/WAP device that interfaces with Magnastar/TrueNorth hardware and delivers a BOB-enabled experience with virtually no hardware modification down time. You can get your plane outfitted for $10K and unlimited data for $300 per month. That’s a bargain for connectivity if you have a Magnastar system today. This might explain why TrueNorth is getting plenty of calls from business aviation operators and fractional ownership folks. But the reason why we wrote this story is because of the other calls they have been getting – the regional commercial carriers. “Designed to be powerful, easy to use and to work with any type of network, our single-box systems were designed initially for VIP and business aviation operators,” said Mark van Berkel, TrueNorth’s president, “But we’re also hearing from regional airlines, fractionals and other fleet operators that our modular, software-centric approach is a good fit for them as well.”

New Magnastar™ system will add data, Wi-Fi and global coverage to the Airfone® network’s industry-leading voice services

MELBOURNE, Fla., Oct. 18 /PRNewswire/ — LiveTV Airfone LLC, TrueNorth Avionics Inc. and Satcom Direct Inc. have announced plans to develop and market a next-generation Magnastar™ system that will be the first terrestrial network to encompass voice, data, Wi-Fi, smartphone support, e-mail, text messaging and multichannel VoIP for a complete business solution. Available in 2011, the new Magnastar™ system will be based on a hardware concept derived from TrueNorth’s open-architecture Simphone OpenCabin™ system, and will be available both for new customers and as an upgrade for existing Magnastar™ operators. Service will be managed by Satcom Direct and will include Airfone®’s current voice and data services while adding Iridium satellite communications when the aircraft is out of Airfone® range.

TrueNorth and LiveTV will co-develop the new system’s hardware by combining a new Magnastar™ radio with TrueNorth’s advanced Simphone OpenCabin airborne telecom solution. The new system will use LiveTV’s exclusive 1-Mhz air-to-ground frequency license, which provides a dedicated spectrum allocation for these capabilities. Among the features that won’t change are the superior voice quality and broad coverage of Airfone®’s continental US (CONUS)-wide network. “It’s a perfect match of network, hardware and value-added services,” said Mike Moeller, VP of Sales for LiveTV. “It’s also a great way for both new and current Magnastar™ customers to affordably get the communications they want.”

Satcom Direct will be the service provider for billing and customer support, and will also provide customers with access to its other popular airborne business services, such as Global One Number and Flight Deck Freedom. “We love the low cost, simplicity and global reach of this product,” commented Jim Jensen, President and CEO of Satcom Direct. “Many of our customers have been waiting for a direct replacement of the Magnastar™ system to become part of our Global One Number service, and the next-generation Magnastar™ system will give them the quality they have always enjoyed while adding a wealth of new capabilities.”

New TrueNorth cabin communications system selected after independent ‘fly-off’ test
Ottowa, Canada (February 9, 2010)– After independent tests among the leading airborne telecommunications systems, TrueNorth’s advanced Simphone¯ OpenCabin system has been selected for retrofit on its first Falcon 900EASy executive aircraft. Determining that only Simphone¯ OpenCabin offered the clarity, volume, longevity and performance its executives desired, the corporate Falcon EASy operator sent their newly delivered aircraft to the Dassault Service Center in Wilmington, DE, for a telecom upgrade to TrueNorth.

A revolutionary software-centric concept, the new Simphone¯ (pronounced ‘symphony’) OpenCabin system uses a suite of enterprise-level software applications (‘apps’) to bring advanced voice and data-management capabilities to business aviation. Since current hardware-centric airborne telecom systems are heavy, complex, expensive to install and prone to obsolescence, TrueNorth developed a converged solution that interfaces with virtually any corporate aircraft, turning the airplane into an extension of the company’s IT and communications networks. Benefits include robust performance; an unlimited lifespan; enterprise-level security; significant long-term cost savings; and the ability to add a wide variety of custom functions by simply uploading software.

“We’ve heard that operators of these high-end aircraft are tired of noisy, poor-quality voice calls, where passengers complain about not being able to communicate clearly. They want to be heard ‘loud and clear’, and Simphone¯ OpenCabin lets them do that, along with many other things,” noted Mark van Berkel, TrueNorth’s president.

Mission, Kansas (August 24, 2009) — TrueNorth Avionics has introduced the industry’s first broadband router application, to provide seamless integration with all brands and models of broadband equipment while virtually eliminating the need for future hardware upgrades. Resident on TrueNorth’s single-box Simphone¯ Chorus hardware platform, the new OpenCabin (OC) Router application was installed with a Rockwell Collins HST2110B (SwiftBroadband) system and offers Internet service as well as voice and data over BlackBerry®. The installation, performed aboard a Challenger CL-604 aircraft by Mid-Canada Mod Center, Mississauga, Ontario, also marks a compatibility milestone, in that TrueNorth systems are now proven to work flawlessly with every major Satcom broadband provider, including Cobham (Chelton), Thrane & Thrane, EMS Satcom, Honeywell and Rockwell Collins.

“We’re pleased to be the only airborne telecommunications provider to offer broad-ranging, plug-in compatibility with all the major Satcom equipment,” said Mark van Berkel, TrueNorth’s CEO. “And the fact that our OC Router application is simply the beginning of this application-centric approach to increased functionality and low-cost upgrades is even more exciting for the future of airborne communications,” he added. “We were happy to offer our customer such an innovative, efficient and cost-effective communications solution,” said Bill Arsenault, Mid-Canada Mod Center’s vice president. “Equally impressive was the fact that we simply plugged everything in and the entire system, comprising equipment from three different manufacturers, worked immediately —something we rarely see in this business,” he noted.

About TrueNorth: Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, with U.S. offices in New Jersey and the Kansas City area and distributor support in Dallas, TX, TrueNorth Avionics, Inc., is a world-class technology company that develops integrated communications solutions for business aviation. Its premier product, the Simphone¯ (pronounced ‘Symphony’) airborne telephone, is an executive-class system that combines superior voice quality, unmatched ease of use, advanced functionality and a unique degree of personalization. Options include embedded W-Fi, TrueNorth’s Smarter™ interface for BlackBerry® and iPhone® data, Iridium fax, and a new broadband interface. Learn more at