British satellite communications network, Inmarsat, has announced the award of an ESA contract to develop the European requirements for next-generation aircraft communications and air traffic management.
Inmarsat will head a team constructed from more than 30 aviation industry companies to ensure operational efficiency for the program, which will focus on the improvement of data link communications using satellite technology.
Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications, known simply as CPDLC, increases the efficiency of flights, and under the SESAR initiative, will allow operators access to approved routes which can also save fuel and flight time.
The introduction of CPDLC mandates by 2020 will relieve pilot and flight deck workload and greatly improve the congestion of European airspace, optimising route and airport capacity, and also reducing CO2 emissions.
More about CPDLC, from industry-leading Inmarsat partner-providers.
A new eBook was launched earlier this month to coincide with the Paris Air Show. The new book, entitled, ‘Harnessing the Power of Aviation’s Information Age’ shares insights into the ways that the latest technology can be utilised to streamline and secure the information that flows between modern aircraft and ground-based operational departments.
The book, authored by industry experts from Rockwell Collins, addresses the future and existing opportunities for flight deck systems, connectivity and IFE and is introduced by Jeff Standerski, senior vice president of Information Management Services and Kent Statler, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Commercial Systems at Rockwell Collins.
The eBook is available and can be downloaded now. Click here for further information.
The much-anticipated decision to move the CPDLC mandate deadline has been announced this week by the European Commission (EC). The new deadline will now be February 2020 for operators to equip their aircraft with Controller-Pilot Datalink Communications (CPDLC).
In a statement to Avionics magazine, Gzim Ocakolu, EC Directorate for Mobility & Transport policy officer said, “I can indeed confirm to you some recent important developments related to the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 29/2009.”
The news is welcomed across the industry following concerns regarding the technical issues related to the radio frequency environment and the infrastructure of the ground-based operations currently in place. It is these issues, discovered during an EC investigation into the implementation of DLS ground infrastructure, that have led to the delay for mandatory CPDLC installation, which would have been activated last month.
“Certain air navigation service providers have already taken mitigation measures, consisting of the restriction of DLS operations to aircraft equipped with specific avionics through so-called ‘white lists,’ so as to address potential safety impacts of those PAs in the operations of data link service,” the EC said.
Just 40% of operators would have been ready for the mandate, the investigation found, and only 70% of the necessary ground infrastructure would’ve been ready and fit for use. The implementation of CPDLC is critical to European airspace, with voice channels that have become heavily congested. Compliance will involve retrofitting aircraft with FANS, 1/A router, antenna, CPDLC interface and VHF Data Link Mode 2 radio (VDLM2).
The FAA’s Bruce DeCleene will be a keynote speaker at the Avionics for NextGen 2015 conference later this year, opening the discussions about the modernisation of the National Airspace System.
The two-day conference, set for October 14 and 15 will open with Mr DeCleene’s discussion about the FAA’s progress with the implementation of major flight technology projects for the benefit of the aviation community as a whole.
Four initiatives are to be targeted over the next two to three years:
- Performance Based Navigation (PBN)
- Multiple runway operations
- Surface & data sharing
Also open for discussion at the conference will be the ability of a range of different aircraft types to use existing infrastructure to implement next generation communications initiatives, such as CPDLC, and the ADS-B network in addition to discussions regarding Optimised Profile Descents (OPDs) and the wide area augmentation system.
The challenges associated with the provision of new procedural initiatives and the creation of increased peak throughput at the U.S.’ busiest airports, including re-categorisation of aircraft wake turbulence characteristics will be highlighted at the conference and attendees will hear from pilots and air traffic controllers about the advantages of Controller-Pilot Data Link Comms (CPDLC) and Required Navigation Performance (RNP) in terms of the improvisation of the use of national airspace, fuel cost savings and operational efficiencies.
It is hoped that many questions will be answered at the conference and operators will be assisted with their decision-making regarding the right investments to make for onboard technology to meet the objectives of the NextGen air transportation system.
Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers in Canada are embracing aviation technology’s finest innovations and are using text messaging rather than radio to relay mission-critical transmissions and instructional data.
Pilots are able to text changes to flight requests and can receive altitude information, headings, speed and routings via text messages. With the use of the new, text-based messaging service in Canadian skies, particularly for routine communications, the cockpit is becoming more and more automated. The benefits do not stop there – using datalink technology can help to overcome the issues created with international flight. Standard text can eliminate language barriers and potential issues with misunderstanding an accented voice.
With an estimated 2,500 messages per day, the new service is set to streamline Canadian cockpits, saving time and increasing operational productivity.
Rockwell Collins have announced the launch of a new FANS 1/A+ and CPDLC training course in an agreement signed with Kobev International, data link training provider. A unique Pilot Trainer program, designed to emulate a pilot’s real-world communication with ATC services will aim to provide a realistic experience for pilots in addition to traditional classroom methods.
Rockwell Collins will address CPDLC as one of the several NextGen technologies, introducing pilots to Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B), Aeronautical Operational Control (AOC) and Aeronautical Fixed Telecommunications Network communications over ACARS protocols.
The aim of the course will be to further improve pilot interface and interaction with new avionics systems onboard modern aircraft before the CPDLC mandates come into force early in 2015.
Bob Richard, staff vice president of ARINC Direct IMS division of Rockwell Collins said, “Using our Pilot Trainer emulation program enables pilots and flight crews to have an interactive experience with real time feedback, which provides an improved understanding of FANS”.
L2 Consulting Services Inc have announced the grant of Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) validation from EASA to install Iridium Satellite Communications System of NextGen Aircraft 737-700/800/900/900ER.
L2 will now be able to offer European customers a fully certified NxtLink ICS-220A and IRT-2120 communications system that will give the flight crew a dedicated datalink channel, supporting Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), FANS messaging, ACARS messaging and global voice channel.
Vice President of Operations for L2, Dean Rudolph said, “An EASA STC validation is required for European operators integrating FAA certified systems. We are delighted to now offer our European customers a fully certified Iridium Communications solution on the B737NG series aircraft.”
Rockwell Collins, recent acquirers of ARINC Inc, has announced an expansion on its Future Airspace Navigation System (FANS) 1/A capability and is offering an upgrade to Dassault Falcon 50EX, 2000 and 2000EX that are currently equipped with their avionics and flight management systems. The upgrades will be available during 2015.
The FANS a/A upgrade will bring operators savings of both fuel and time, helping to reduce the pilot’s workload with CPDLC capability and Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and offering enhanced clarity of communications in remote oceanic and Polar Regions of the globe.
Since the disappearance of Malaysia flight MH370, questions have been asked about the ability of radar to track aircraft worldwide. We know the technology exists, so how is it possible to ‘lose’ an aircraft to such an extent.
According to NZ Airways, who are responsible for the country’s 30 million square kilometres of airspace, a mere 60% of flights were tracked using satellite. Head of Auckland operations, Tim Boyle said, “It’s either radio or via what we call data link… through satellites.”
‘If data link updates were missed, and the aircraft remained out of radio contact, then Airways would have no way of knowing where the aircraft was’, he added.
The only route that has data link satellite mandates in place is within the North Atlantic route, according to Inmarsat senior vice-president of external affairs, Chris McLaughlin. It was an Inmarsat network that picked up data ‘handshakes’ from the missing Boeing 777 for up to five hours after it had left Malaysian airspace.
Black spots exist across the globe, for airlines that choose not to ‘opt into’ a contract for data-link systems. Neither Australia or New Zealand have any mandatory regulations to specify position reporting and it is thought that many aircraft are flying for long hours without reporting their positions.
VHF coverage is now extended with a combined effort from Satcom Direct, TAG Farnborough Airport and SITA, who have based their new VHF ground station equipment in Hangar 2.
The new equipment and subsequent VHF coverage will enable the airport to provide enhanced services to operators and aircraft owners with the addition of the aircraft datalink services.
CPDLC is a growing requirement in the aviation industry, with mandatory regulations for Europe coming into play at the end of this year and the beginning of next year. Although business and private jets are exempt from the ruling, it is only a matter of time.
CPDLC (Controller Pilot Data Link Communications) give greater flexibility in the cockpit and on the ground and eliminate many previous problems that are encountered during communications. The mandates will open up better opportunities for flight operations as the airwaves become less congested. Streamlining communications with aircraft datalink is not only more efficient, but also globally recognised, without interruption, given provision from a reliable and reputable supplier.
Companies such as SITA and ARINC have global ground stations to aid the facilitation of aircraft datalink messaging.