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.
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 Future Air Navigation System or FANS component updates for the FAA’s NextGen air traffic control modernisation plans have been released in an instructional eBook by Duncan Aviation.
The company released the updates at the NBAA Convention and compiled the information to include an explanation of the FANS Component 1/A, what equipment will be needed to upgrade, how it works, all the regulatory information and what the benefits will be of the enhanced communications systems for CPDLC and ATS services.
Justin Vena, a Duncan Aviation avionics installations sales representative said, “Although there are no easy answers in the retrofit market, our ‘Straight Talk About FANS’ is meant to clarify the FANS protocol and how the mandates affect communications systems in various aircraft.”
An instructional information ‘class’ was held at the Las Vegas Convention Centre, to explain CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications) and ADS-C (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract), including component bases, set-up and ATC hand-off. In addition, the session also addressed the NextGen FANS component updates for the mandatory introduction in Europe and the North Atlantic tracks.
Airtraffic Controllers Association of Ghana (ACAG) held an open day in Accra last week to showcase Controller Pilot Data Link (CPDLC) capabilities amongst its other activities to the public.
The open day was held in the Control Tower Building at Kokota International Airport (KIA) which opened its doors to the Presbyterian Boys Senior High School, Journalists and St Thomas Aquinas Senior High School as well as members of the public.
It is hoped that the open day will generate interest in air traffic control as a specialist career and encourage students to follow a path in aviation.
Air traffic control is a varied and interesting career, requiring specialist knowledge and ability in order to apply separation rules to maintain safe flying distances between aircraft in their assigned airspace as well as on the ground.
Mr William Amoako, an Airtraffic controller with GCAA, conducted the tour of the facility and stressed the importance of the role that the sector plays in the safety and efficiency of flying time.
Controller Pilot Data Link (CPDLC) is gradually replacing radio communications and is the future of air traffic management. CPDLC helps to reduce pilot workload in the cockpit by automating many routine tasks and reduces radio congestion.
In light of the upcoming deadlines for CPDLC mandatory regulations, it is necessary for upgrades to be carried out to ensure compliance.
Ruag Aviation technicians have completed their first upgrade in a Falcon 900EX using Honeywell’s EASy II avionics suite. The EASy flight deck, based upon the Primus Epic avionics system from Honeywell, includes SmartView synthetic vision system (SVS) with HUD symbology displayed on PDFs.
CPDLC, or Controller-Pilot-Data-Link Communications supplements voice communications between ATC and pilots, increasing air traffic management and safety aspects as routine tasks can be automated. This will reduce the workload in the cockpit and further add to safety concerns with fewer errors or misinterpretation of radio messaging.
The use of CPDLC is mandatory already in specified airspace and is the future of aviation communication in the congested airways above Europe.
The European Aviation Safety Agency and EuroControl have established a co-operative plan for the improvement of aviation, focussing upon the implementation of the Single European Sky, with environmental protection, training and the development of the EU External Aviation Policy as priorities.
The co-operative plans will establish a common foundation, general framework and a programme on a formal basis, expected later this year. There will be an evaluation of national civil aviation authorities’ mandates and the requirements of military airspace users in addition to overseeing the SESAR deployment.
EASA executive director Patrick Goudou said “the new framework is instrumental in the development of a more competitive air transport industry in Europe. EUROCONTROL believes this agreement will provide the optimal framework to combine the expertise and resources of the two European organisations, following the extension of EASA competences to ATM/ANS and aerodromes”
It is believed that EUROCONTROL will support EASA’s regulatory work with its air traffic and route management.
The new Single European Sky is a direct initiative borne from the heavy congestion over Europe. Part of the directive spells the need for CPDLC capability in the cockpits to free up the airwaves.
Airservices, Australia’s air navigation service agency and the Dept of Defence have put out a request for tender for the creation of an aligned Air Traffic Management platform that is intended to harmonise the ATM & CPDLC requirements of both civil and defence movements.
The organisations want the new system to increase co-operation and reduce overlapping, improve communications via CPDLC and to streamline processes and equipment including training and subsequent expertise that can be shared across the workforce.
Airservices CEO, Margaret Staib said, “Through more flexible use of airspace, it will enable better management and prioritisation of an increasingly complex traffic mix. In an environment of projected growth, it will also allow us to connect the Australian aviation industry to deliver world-best industry performance.”
The aim is to bring Australian aviation airspace into a unified state, rather than accepting the limitations of separately managed volumes. A shared and harmonised airspace, including CPDLC and air traffic management solutions will increase safety aspects and operational efficiency across the board in the increasingly complex range of traffic.
Air Marshal Brown, Chief of the Air Force said, “The streamlining of equipment and processes will bring with it shared expertise and facilities, creating economies of scale whilst delivering greater flexibility meeting the needs of airspace users.”
SunExpress, a joint venture between Lufthansa and Turkish Airlines plan to completely revamp its entire fleet of Boeing 737 with the Rockwell Collins Link 2000+ starting later this year.
The retrofitting will allow for compliance with Eurocontrol’s new CPDLC mandate that states that by 2015, all flights operating above 28,000 feet in European airspace must have CPDLC capability. The mandate is currently under review for private aircraft, but will move forward in improving air traffic management and capacity throughout Europe under the supervision of Eurocontrol.
Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) is clearly the future of cockpit efficiency, reducing the workload for pilots and allowing for greater air traffic management as the skies grow busier and traditional voice radio communications in congested airwaves makes controller-pilot communication more difficult.
CPDLC providers are preparing for the ultimate changeover and many, such as ARINC, offer an advisory service to airlines concerned with refitting or retrofitting aircraft with a range of solutions, enabling them to be CPDLC ready when the time comes.