An Invitation to Full Transparency

 In Blog, In the News, ThinAir

Informed selection of an inflight connectivity solution involves consideration of several crucial factors, and ThinKom clearly stands out with its numerous advantages. These include low power consumption (no thermal management challenges), proven high reliability, unlimited gate-to-gate operation, multi-orbit compatibility and unparalleled GEO performance.

The ability to effectively operate on GEO satellites is particularly critical in more northerly, high-user-density locations (airport hubs and metro areas) where limited LEO network capacities are recognized to be insufficient to meet demand.

Drag and Fuel Burn: Who Has the Lowest?

In addition to these key factors, aerodynamic drag and fuel burn (and associated operating expense and CO2 emissions) are increasingly important considerations … and ThinKom antennas lead here as well! Please allow us to elaborate as we look to clarify.

Industry-leading aerodynamicists concluded that compared to competing low-profile, no-radome ESAs, ThinKom’s Ka1717 is 40% to 80% lower in drag (depending on the aircraft).

Claims, if They are Valid, Should be Supported With Data

In a Nov./Dec. 2023 Inflight Magazine article, Stephen Rice, VP of Business Development for Stellar Blu claims their no-radome solution provides “a significant advantage in drag and fuel burn over other antennas, including other ESAs.” In the same article, Bill Milroy, ThinKom’s CTO claims ThinKom’s Ka1717 provides “significantly lower aerodynamic drag compared to any ESA in the market today.”

They can’t both be correct.

ThinKom contracted two recognized industry aerodynamicists, who used computational fluid dynamics (CFD) which show that flat surfaces create very poor aerodynamics and that the conformal mold line of the Ka1717 provides far lower drag than the flat-surface ESAs.

Comparative CFD Analysis

An Open Invitation

In the interest of full transparency and providing airlines accurate fuel-savings and effective weight numbers to support informed decision making, we invite Stellar Blu Solutions to join ThinKom in selecting an aerodynamicist to do a side-by-side comparison.

How Would This Work?

It’s simple. Both ThinKom and Stellar Blu would supply a 3D model for the selected expert to analyze and provide a comparison of key metrics such as flow separation, pressure, and lift and how these translate to drag and subsequently, fuel burn. The results will be shared publicly, here and on LinkedIn, for industry stakeholders to freely access.  

$10M+ Fuel Savings

ThinKom is confident that the analysis will show, consistent with the results of two completed independent studies, that the ThinKom Ka1717 provides fuel savings exceeding $10 million (NPV over 10 years) compared to the Stellar Blu SIDEWINDER ESA.

This significant savings is based on an evenly split fleet of 100 ERJ-175 and CRJ700 aircraft. Along with the fuel savings, the aerodynamic benefits of ThinKom’s solution provides a significant environmental benefit, equivalent to over 10M lbs. (4.5M kg) of CO2 emissions annually for this same 100 aircraft fleet!

Let’s Get Things Started!

Our goal here in the challenge is to set the drag/fuel-burn record straight . . . and yes, we do like to win!  However, let’s not lose sight of what’s at stake here, in terms of protecting fleet operating fuel budgets and in protecting our environment.

With this in mind, should Stellar Blu accept this challenge, ThinKom will donate $10,000 to the Nature Conservancy, regardless of the outcome of the study. In this way, everybody wins!

We look forward to Stellar Blu contacting us to select an aerodynamicist and schedule the analysis. 

See results from the previous study conducted in October 2023.

Update: February 2, 2024

To date, Stellar Blu has declined our invitation for a side-by-side comparison. They’ve also failed to refute our data-backed results, either anecdotally or with actual analysis to back up their claims of having the lowest drag.

Our invitation remains open should they reconsider.

We encourage airlines to do their own analysis, as those completed by two well-known industry aerodynamicists show the drag/fuel-burn savings with the ThinAir Ka1717 is very significant.

Start typing and press Enter to search