DataComm Program Could Start in 2015

This week we heard that digital data messaging between pilots and air traffic controllers is scheduled to begin replacing voice-based communications in U.S. airspace in the next three years.

A multifunction control display unit in aircraft cockpit shows a controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) message. (Photo: FAA)
A multifunction control display unit in aircraft cockpit shows a controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) message. (Photo: FAA)

The data communications program is considered one of six “transformational” programs leading to the Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen).

Data messaging for air traffic services is expected to improve controller productivity and reduce workload by automating delivery of routine clearances, freeing controllers to handle increased traffic. Safety will be enhanced by reducing misunderstandings and radio congestion arising from voice communications. Data communications are integral to the networked, data-centric vision of NextGen.

The chosen contractor will provide ground-to-ground and air-to-ground segments of a data network between FAA air traffic service points and data comm-equipped aircraft. In the DCIS solicitation, the FAA said it expects the contractor to use one or both of the current commercial providers of air/ground communications–a reference to Arinc and SITA–to provide a VHF Digital Link Mode 2 (VDL-2) datalink for air traffic services that also accommodates aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (Acars) messages.

Acars is used mainly for data communications between an airliner and its operations centre.

ARINC has been providing flight deck communications to the commercial industry for over 20 years – tailoring it to individual needs and operational preferences.

Over half of the world’s business jets rely on ARINC for their air-to-ground communication needs. From the value and reliability of ARINC’s SATCOM and Iridium-based solutions, to the proven industry-standard ACARS and expanded capabilities of VDLM2, to ARINC’s expert Air Traffic Services (ATS) and world-class weather graphics technology – ARINC Direct goes above and beyond to ensure airlines have communications they can always trust.

More information about ARINC’s business aviation communications services can be found at

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