As a part of the NextGen initiative, the text messaging capabilities of aircraft data link – CPLDC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications) – are being hailed as the way forward in the bid to eradicate the use of voice communications for the transmission of critical aircraft communications such as weather data, position reporting and other ATC operational messages.
Under the new initiative, pilots will be able to ‘accept’ messaging over text, without the need to make a verbal or data-based response.
The NextGen initiative is designed to improve aircraft communications with the simplification of messaging, avoiding misinterpretation, and standardising messaging protocols on the flight deck.
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 head of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), has called for new measures to strengthen the country’s systems and processes for Air Traffic Management (ATM) and physical airports security, with surveillance as a priority.
Mr Abdulsalam has called upon airspace management at the Airspace Managers’ Forum recently held in Kaduna State, to upscale vigilance over the holiday period, when traffic inevitably increases.
Recently, the country’s airspace management teams have worked towards the digitalisation of air traffic control with the implementation of additional towers, ADS-C and Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) to address the next-generation global standards for air traffic management.
CPDLC standards are being globally addressed to provide a unification of flight deck communications in order to raise the quality of messaging and ultimately strengthen safety.
A FANS 1/A STC for Bombardier’s Challenger 604 involved a collaboration of Rockwell Collins and Jet Aviation St Louis, combining experience from both companies on the airframe.
The aftermarket FANS 1/A solution package offers CPDLC compliance and ADC-C to reduce the workload for the crew on the flight deck while navigating remote global airspace and vast oceanic expanses.
As we know, CPDLC gives access to equipped aircraft to preferred tracks, further enhancing flight efficiency with the benefit of time and fuel savings. Rockwell Collins’ Pro Line Fusion avionics is a necessary suite for FANS and is already widely used.
Italian ANSP, ENAV, has formed an agreement with SITA OnAir for the provision of VHF communications equipment in 19 Italian airports, including Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport Fiumicino.
This will allow airlines equipped with the technology, using Italy’s airspace, to access CPDLC via provision from ENAV.
CPDLC forms part of the NextGen SESAR initiative, enabling airline pilots and ATC to communicate using text, which improves the quality of operational communications, the safety of aircraft and the ATC management efficiency.
A comparison of the proposed plans to reform the US ATC system has been conducted by the Department of Transportation Offices of the Inspector General (DOT OIG) and a new report has been issued highlighting the impact these are likely to have on the NextGen modernisation program.
A reform of the ATS structure in the US, due to the size and complex nature of its airspace – which is up to 2.5 times the size of that in the UK – could make the implementation of NextGen initiatives difficult.
Comparisons were made with the UK, Canada, Germany and France and the US has more GA aircraft in operation than all four of these countries combined. The creation of an independent ANSP, a part of the reform plans, could cause further, potentially catastrophic delays to the NextGen program.
Other countries, such as Canada, will be using a multi-phase process for the implementation of Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), but the US will be looking at a full-scale modernisation, developing new technology and not modifying current products, which other countries and ANSPs will do, forming partnerships and using private companies to meet their requirements.
CPDLC will revolutionise current aviation ATC, centralising these vital processes as the world’s air traffic increases. The NextGen initiative is designed to make ATC more efficient and will open up new tracks to further increase this efficiency.
Congress and the aviation industry in the US are in talks to find a solution.
In a bid to improve efficiency and safety of the flow of air traffic in Southern California, the FAA and the US Dept. of Transportation have released a Draft Environmental Assessment (Draft EA) as a part of the Metroplex project, which proposes the replacement of a number of current air traffic procedures.
The replacement of conventional procedures with satellite-based solutions, in accordance with the latest NextGen system will include a roll-out over most of South California and will encompass six of the region’s major airports.
The FAA has released the Draft EA for public review and is inviting comments on the proposals.
It has recently been announced that Chicago Jet Group (CJG) and Universal Avionics has received the first FANS CPDLC Certification after retrofitting a Dassault Mystere Falcon 50 with the CPDLC system over Iridium.
CJG completed the installation of UniLink UL-801 CMU with VHF VDLM2 receiver, which will provide the flight crew with a global voice and datalink channel for ACARS, CPDLC and FANS1/A+ messaging.
“The certification of this integrated retrofit system in the Falcon 50 entitles international operators to utilize the significant time and cost advantages offered by flying FANS preferred airspace. This solution provides a certified FANS system prior to the first mandate of February 5, 2015,” said Mike Mitera, President of the Chicago Jet Group.
The retrofit CPDLC system is now ready for the approaching mandates for NextGen, Eurocontrol Link 2000+ which will require the CPDLC for European airspace. With aircraft flying frequently in the North Atlantic Track System (NATS), the retrofit will allow access to the most preferred tracks, saving time and fuel on transatlantic flights.
“Universal Avionics proudly recognizes Chicago Jet Group’s efforts, working diligently to achieve the first FANS/CPDLC retrofit STC,” said Bruce Bunevich, Universal Avionics’ Great Lakes Regional Sales Manager. “We will continue to work together to provide NextGen avionics solutions for additional airframes,” he added.