Tag Archives: data link communications

Rockwell Collins' ARINC HFDL CapabilitiesRockwell Collins demonstrated the capability of their Pro Line Fusion flight deck to be utilised as a ground control station last month as a part of a flight demonstration with the University of Iowa College of Engineering Operator Performance Laboratory (OPL).

Alex Postnikov, principle engineering manager at the Rockwell Collins Advanced Technology Center said that the aim of the flight was to ‘test the operational capability of a distributed Flight Management System using a certified digital communications link.’

The flight was conducted with a surrogate unmanned aircraft with a safety pilot onboard in order to test some of the repurposed Rockwell Collins technology for manned aircraft, with a view to applying that to unmanned aircraft.

“One of the big parts of the certification with the FAA is being able to handle lost link procedures. Today in the military world, when you lose a link, the [unmanned] aircraft essentially starts spiralling up with the hope of getting a line of sight to the radio. When it is unable to do that for some time it just flies in a straight line to the point of origin or where it is launched from,” said Postnikov. “Imagine doing something like this in the NAS. You cannot do that. The aircraft cannot just spiral up and just fly it in a straight line somewhere. So you have to follow the Standard RNP procedures, you have to use the standard navaids that are understood by everybody who flies in the NAS. That’s the piece that we believe has very strongly positioned us because the Pro Line Fusion has that capability. While this test focused on demonstrating the datalink capability, the emphasis of the September flight test was to “ensure that we can exercise our distributed Flight Management System (FMS).”

The only part of the flight test that was not automated was the take-off and landing procedures. The test team artificially broke the data link between the aircraft during the test and the modified Pro Line Fusion ground station, which was connected to the radio that was in communication with the aircraft.

Cost is a major issue with HFDL communications and Rockwell Collins are, through their acquisition of ARINC last year, offering cost effective solutions for aircraft messaging across the world, whether in manned or unmanned aircraft.

Global SwiftBroadband Providers for Flight Deck CommunicationsL2 Consulting Services, avionics engineering, integration and installation services providers, have announced a contract from Cobham SATCOM to develop the STC for AVIATOR SwiftBroadband installations for Hawaiian Airlines 767-300 series aircraft. The certification will apply for the use of ACARS Ground Gateways (AGGWs) for FANS and ACARS safety messages.

With the design phase already in action, prototype installations and certification is on track for the projected completion deadline during the first quarter of next year.

President of L2, Mark Lebovitz said, “This FANS 1 Controller Pilot Data Link Communication and Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract to implement over SwiftBroadband Safety Services certification project is intended to support the FAA’s initiative to evaluate communication technologies that are expected to be viable in meeting the needs of the aviation community. We are delighted that Cobham SATCOM has entrusted our company with such a significant program to support FANS Evaluation flight trials towards meeting ICAO GOLD RCP240 requirements for support of 30/30 NM operations.”

AVIATOR SwiftBroadband is capable of delivering voice and data communications in addition to the provision of other critical services, such as aircraft tracking data, support for Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) and Ethernet connectivity for devices such as the Aircraft Interface Devices (AIDs).

Other Providers of CPDLC SolutionsHungaroControl, 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.

Find out more about CPDLCPilots 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.

Data Link Communications ProvidersSince 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.


Learn About CPDLCFollowing a two-week search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, regretfully confirmed the loss of the Boeing 777 after information provided by UK satellite company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

Inmarsat explained that CPDLC – Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications, the ACARS system onboard responded to text ‘handshakes’ send periodically via Inmarsat ground stations to the satellite network, then onto the aircraft. When an aircraft is within range, or over land, the ACARS messages are relayed over VHF radio.
Inmarsat and AAIB have been involved in the global operation to find the missing aircraft since 15th March and provided the data that enabled the investigators to indicate the likelihood of the plane taking the northern and southern corridors. Further calculations using the data provided have led to the conclusion that flight MH370 found its final resting place in the Indian Ocean.

CPDLC uses electronic data messages relayed to the ground via the satellite networks and carries information such as route instructions, clearances and NOTAMs. It was discovered that the onboard communications services had been manually shut down during the early stages of the flight. The datalink systems will however, continue to respond to the electronic handshakes while the flight is operational.

Until the flight recorder is recovered, we will never truly understand the nature of the disaster that has befallen the aircraft nor the plight of the passengers and crew.

data linkThe Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) will move the aviation industry forward with the implementation of advanced data link communications by 2020.

At Aviation Week, hosted in Washington, leaders from airlines, industry providers and government agencies held discussions and shared critical facts and data in order to reinforce the implementation of the future of air travel with the proposed data link mandates.

At the show, the NextGen Showcase was aimed to help airlines find the right providers, simplifying the selection process and highlighting where the smartest investments in technology would lie.

The showcase was all about imparting the industry with the changing rules within NextGen, making sure that advances in technology in the cockpit can be embraced and used to their full potential as NextGen approaches.

NextGen will help to improve safety with data link communications, in addition to creating more fuel efficient routes, less congestion and increased operability solutions for airlines.

Industry leading data link providers bring many solutions to the table, with retrofit avionics, data link packages and cost effective innovations, such as ARINC’s HFDL solution.

Data link technology is widely used in today’s busy skies, helping to create a safe and secure airspace across the globe.  NextGen will reinforce the use of data link communications with the issue of mandatory rules and specific routes for carriers of data link.

By 2020 data link communications mandates will be imposed under regulatory conditions.  Air carriers are advised to look at the possibilities now, for retrofitting.  All new aircraft off the production line are being fitted with data link technology in preparation.

Data Communications Network Services The data communications network services (DCNS) forms an essential portion of the FAA’s NextGen initiative, which will help to reduce congestion of the airways over the busiest global cities, improve flight safety and increase the efficiency of real-time communications with the replacement of voice with digital data transmissions.

The data communications network services contract is a portion of the 7 year, $150 million that was awarded to the Harris Corporation last month.  The entire contract for data communications integrated services, of which DCNS is a part, was awarded last September to Harris.

ARINC is providing data communications network services under DCNS that will assist the FAA with the integration of its end-to-end data communications system.  ARINC’s services will include the enabling of Communications Service Provider (CSP) network access and the provision of professional services for test, engineering integration and implementation of DCNS into the Data Communications System.

ARINC and the FAA go back a long way, with a working relationship that has been in place for over 50 years.  The industry-leading communications providers pioneered the now standard ACARS messaging system and have been involved in data link technology since as early as 1978.

John Belcher, Chairman  & CEO of ARINC Inc said, “Our DCNS work will tackle some of the most crucial issues in the aviation industry—saving fuel, reducing flight times and increasing air traffic capacity. We are proud to be building on our industry-leading legacy by providing solutions that have met the aviation needs of the past and will help solve the challenges of the future.”

LOT Polish Airlines, long-term customer of ARINC Inc, has chosen GLOBALink ACARS data link program for the provision of essential communications for its new Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  LOT Polish Airlines is the first European operator of the Dreamliner, which heralds a new design of lighter passenger jets.

“We are delighted to support our valued customer LOT Polish Airlines as they bring new benefits to their passengers through the introduction of the 787 fleet,” said Alexis Hickox, Senior Director, Aviation Solutions, at ARINC EMEA. “We believe the cost saving benefits they have received from using GLOBALink ACARS in the past will prove equally compelling in the future.”

ARINC currently provide GLOBALink ACARS data link services for reliable messaging and the new contract will seamlessly integrate the 787 data link programme into ARINC’s data link management system and with LOT’s existing fleet.

“ARINC has been providing LOT with industry leading technology for over a decade,” notes Tomasz Balcerzak, Board Member for Operations and Maintenance at LOT Polish Airlines. “We are pleased with the entire portfolio of ARINC services and look forward to many future years of working together.”


data link communicationsThe much-talked-about and Rockwell Collins’ largest deal yet, the purchase of ARINC Inc for nearly $1.4 billion, will give them its fundamental data link communications connection to the FAA’s NextGen System.

ARINC is an industry-leading name in the field of aviation communications and this will increase Rockwell Collins’ immediate revenue potential by over 10%, with the commercial from 50% to 54% and next year’s military to 46%, which, it is said, is key for the company with declining military sales figures.

ARINC is most famously known as the pioneers of the ACARS messaging service and leads the way with their provision of air-ground digital VHF communications for airlines and business jets, flight support services, airport communications and the vMUSE platforms for passenger processing and the hugely successful self-check in operations.

Rockwell Collins hold more important ideas for the future with the increase in data link communications connectivity between cabins and flight decks with the ground, as the FAA’s NextGen plan will include the expansion of further data link communications; real-time weather information and re-routing plans and all-but replacing voice transmission.

“There is no doubt the digital information exchange will continue to expand at a rapid rate,” says Rockwell Collins CEO Kelly Ortberg, adding that the acquisition “substantially expands Rockwell Collins’ position in the growing aviation information-management space.”

The sale is expected to be finalized later this year, approximately 90 days after the acquisition announcement on August 11th.