A demonstration project of Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) launched under the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) initiative has been completed this week across UK and Italian airspace with commercial flights operated by AirFrance, EasyJet and Scandinavian Airlines.
CPDLC will help to reduce pilot workload and improve safety by automating many routine cockpit tasks, in turn increasing air traffic management capacity in overcrowded airways. The system will supplement voice communications and will reduce communication errors, bridging language barriers and other challenges.
The project was completed over 95 flights and operated with a team of 30 air traffic controllers and resulted in initial findings that show involved parties are ‘increasingly confident about the use of data link communications (CPDLC) in most operational conditions where radio telephony messages can be replaced.’
In the US, under the FAA’s NextGen program, similar trials are taking place to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of air traffic controllers being given the ability to send flight procedural information and revised clearance messages via CPDLC directly to the aircraft avionics systems.
The SESAR Joint Undertaking initiative (SESAR JU) plan to deliver the final results of all trials in July, ahead of the mandatory changes early next year.