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.
Arizona-based Associated Air Centre, an aircraft maintenance and modification specialist, has been granted FAA STC for its Boeing VIP business jet, giving the go-ahead for CPDLC installation.
CPDLC is a part of the requirement for FANS compliance, and is being much discussed in the industry in terms of the benefits for flight deck communications around the world, weighed with the additional burden of cost implications.
Regardless, the mandates are forging ahead with plans for completion in 2020 – an extension of the previous 2016 deadline.
Providers of Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) systems around the globe are hailing CPDLC as the only answer to safety in the skies as burgeoning air traffic numbers continue to rise year-on-year.
As a part of the Single European Skies ATM Research (SESAR) joint undertaking, the Iris Precursor Programme phase one completion takes Europe another step closer to its goal of creating the worlds most advanced air traffic management infrastructure.
Now, with phase one completed, another €7.6 million of funding will now be made available by the European Space Agency (ESA) and its partners to commence phase two, which will focus on the satellite network overlay.
ESA’s Iris Precursor Programme is operating in partnership with Inmarsat, the well-known British satellite company and will provide the means to streamline the current ATM system and allow aircraft to use Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) to its maximum efficiency, increasing safety significantly over Europe.
This week, at the European Regions Airline Association assembly, speakers echoed the concern that is spread across the aviation industry about the upcoming mandatory regulations in Europe for CPDLC cockpit upgrades that are averaging $500,000 per aircraft in retrofit costs. Sectors are hoping for a delay to the mandate, which is intended to be in place by February 2015.
Also at the assembly, Steven Tyler, IATA director general says he has grown tired of trying to fight for reform in other areas.
Echoing the thoughts of many members, he said, “Everybody agrees with [changing the rules], but nothing ever happens. So the only conclusion you can reach is the reason they’re there is somebody likes it the way it is, and ‘the somebody’ is the governments. We can all agree it would be a good thing, but it’s just not happening, and the reason it’s not happening is because people like it the way it is. It may be illogical, it may be hypocritical, but I’m afraid that’s life. And that’s why I haven’t put all my own energy and all the energy of the organization, of IATA, into campaigning on this particular issue, because it would be wasted effort.”
HungaroControl, Hungary’s Air Navigation Service Provider, have announced the modernisation of ATC with the implementation of Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) under the Single European Sky initiative.
CPDLC reduces the reliance upon voice communications and can streamline the messaging system between pilots and ground operations, improving efficiency and safety through reduction of pilot workload in the cockpit. CPDLC uses VDLM2 avionics to enable aircraft FMSs to receive data link communications regarding route clearances, weather information and other mission critical transmissions.
“HungaroControl is also in the vanguard of developing the CPDLC technology in Europe, and we are convinced that using data link communication may considerably improve flight safety and the capacity of air navigation service providers,” said Kornél Szepessy, chief executive of HungaroControl.
The CPDLC changes in Hungary will fall in line with the mandates for the Single European Sky by February 2015.
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”.
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.
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.
Avionics engineering company, L2 Consulting Services, Inc. (L2) recently announced it has received a Federal Aviation Administration Supplemental Type Certificate (STC) for the installation of the International Communications Group, Inc. (ICG) Iridium Communications System on 767 series aircraft.
A dedicated datalink channel will be able to support Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), Future Air Navigation System (FANs) messaging, Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC).
Having developed the integration engineering, produced the installation kits and project managed throughout, including the STC process, L2 will now be allowed to install comprehensive communications systems via ICG NxtLink Series ICS-120A and ICS-220A line replaceable units.
Michael Eiras, Senior Director of L2 Technical Services welcomed the Iridium Communications System STC on the 767 aircraft saying it would ‘complement the companies current portfolio of SATCOM installations on the 737, 747, 757 and 777 aircraft.’