Satellite communications company Iridium now has a really nifty little product called the Iridium Zoleo Satellite Communicator. Most pilots who fly newer Cirrus Aircraft will be familiar with the company name Iridium. Iridium manufactures the built in satellite phone that is an option in all Cirrus after 2012. The Iridium Zoleo brings messaging capability to any airplane in a cost effective and simple manner.
The Iridium Zoleo is a device roughly the size of a walkie-talkie. It links up with the Iridium satellite network to send and receive messages and emails anywhere in the world (or air!). To make things easier, the Iridium Zoleo links with a phone via Bluetooth to a free app that allows the user to write a message directly from the phone and send through the device.
The Iridium Zoleo is affordable at only $200. A plan has to be purchased in order to send messages, with 3 different levels of subscription offered: 25 messages a month for $20, 250 messages a month for $35, or unlimited messages per month for $50. Each plan offers a $6 upgrade to allow unlimited worldwide breadcrumbs and tracking.
The Iridium Zoleo has a 200 hour battery life and is designed to be shock, dust, and water resistant. Plus, the device has a built in SOS that can be used anywhere in the world. So, you can take it rafting down the Grand Canyon, hiking in the Andes, flying over the Atlantic, or SOS if you are stranded in the middle of the Indian Ocean.