Satcom Direct, the business aviation connectivity, software and hardware provider is participating "virtually" in Australia's most challenging aviation competition – The Classic Safari Company Outback Air Race time-trial. As sponsor of the Outback Aviators team, SD is providing aviation connectivity services to seamlessly maintain constant contact between the pilots and ground support team to underpin flight planning during the extreme navigation event. As competition-success is based on teams accurately anticipating a specific flight time between self-designated start and end points, the need to synchronize crew and operational planning is key to victory.
To ensure connectivity for the event duration, The Airplane Factory two-seat Sling aircraft is carrying a Broadband Global Area Network terminal, 'GO' and press to transmit radios. The connectivity platforms enable pilots, Stephen Limkin and Shannon Samarasekera, to use voice and text messaging, browse the internet, review latest weather and route info, as well as maximize VOIP and push-to-talk services to meet the anticipated flight times between the start and finish points. It also links up the feisty duo, the ground support team and online followers giving the competitors greater confidence in their navigation and flight operations, as well as providing essential moral support from terrestrial followers.
"Our decision to sponsor is multi-purpose. We want to support the aviators on their challenging journey by providing a robust connectivity solution to keep them safe and connected, showcase how SD makes synchronizing flight operations a reality, stimulate awareness of the importance of general aviation to the Australian nation, and most importantly help raise funds to outfit vital RFDS aircraft. We are extremely proud to be part of the event," says Nathan Andrews, SD APAC regional director.
"Having access to the SD equipment and satcom facility is a major boost to our winning potential. The race is not about speed, it's about navigating with accuracy and adjusting routes according to flying conditions. Connectivity is crucial in making this happen. We can also interact with our followers, donation givers, family and friends to tell the story of our adventure. We can't express how important it is to have this. We only started planning a few months ago and the SD services have helped make the impossible, possible," says Outback Aviators pilot, Limkin.
Participating in the time-trial gives the pilots an opportunity to inspire a future generation of aviators to recognize that whatever the challenges - one of them had a fear of flying - you can overcome obstacles to achieve your goals. "We believe in inspiring a new generation to get involved with aviation. If we have a vibrant aviation sector, we have more connected services in remote and regional Australia. Living away from large population centers, can make it more difficult to access services like health, education, transportation and basic everyday items others may take for granted. Being connected physically and virtually is extremely important which is why having SD on board with us really adds a value to the team," says Limkin.
The Classic Safari Company Outback Air Race sees competitors and aircraft pit their skills against each other in a GPS navigation time-trial crossing Australia's unforgiving outback. The 9000kilometer (c 5592mile) aerial voyage from the east to west coast has raised over two million dollars for the Australian Royal Flying Doctors service since wheels up in 1996. The stories from the spirited pilots also bring awareness of the importance of aviation to a country as vast as Australia. This year crews took off from Brisbane, Queensland and will finish the race in Broome, Western Australia.