Research is being conducted into the use of data link communications on low-altitude flights between UK’s Bristol and Edinburgh this week by the National Air Traffic Services (NATS).
CPDLC will eventually completely replace European-wide voice communications and streamline flight deck communications under the SESAR European Single Sky Directive, run and managed by EUROCONTROL.
The UK trials are being conducted at low altitudes to assess the impact of the system for the provision of the same benefits at flight levels as low as 10,000 feet. The current European mandate will cover altitudes of over 28,500 feet.
In the U.S. the datalink directive is already in place, modernised by the Data Comm Air Traffic Management program (ATM). In the North Atlantic tract datalink is mandatory and access to these valuable routes saves time and fuel for operators.
In addition to these current datalink flight trials, NATS will also perform trials between Bristol and Rome and Scotland and Scandinavia.