Associated Air Center president, Mr James Colleary is pleased to announce what he refers to as a ‘significant industry accomplishment’, as his company are awarded supplemental type certification for an out-of-production Boeing aircraft.
The company was awarded STC for installation of CPDLC-FANS system on the Boeing 757-200, which includes an ICG Iridium satcom system, new ACARS and a cockpit voice recorder.
Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) and Future Air Navigation System (FANS) are set to become mandatory by 2020 as a part of the Single European Sky initiative, which will make the congested skies over Europe safer and more easily managed.
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.
Honeywell have introduced a new software upgrade that promises to double inflight connectivity speeds using Inmarsat’s SwiftBroadband service.
Honeywell expect it to be a ‘very popular upgrade’ which will also support current requirements and future mandates for safety, such as CPDLC and FANS, saving fuel and increasing safety as pilots are enabled to fly preferred routes.
The transition to Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC), according to the original timeline, should by now be well under way, with retrofit requirements under the Single European Sky initiative due by next month.
The European Commission has indicated that the deadline will now be moved to make sure that the industry is ready and that CPDLC avionics are reliable. Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) are implementing the infrastructure in advance of the mandates and the SES initiative is still a global reality.
Although the process is slow, and the costs for retrofitting high, the transition to CPDLC will save airlines and operators in the long-term and increase safety for the skies on a worldwide scale. It is unlikely that CPDLC will replace voice communications altogether, but datalink messaging needs to be implemented in order to cope with the upsurge in air traffic that is expected over the next two decades.
It is not just Europe that is attempting to embrace the CPDLC technology. Data link communications are being trialled in the U.S. under the NextGen program and in Canada, nationwide implementation of CPDLC was completed last summer.
Although phase two of the SES initiative was planned for next month, it seems likely that the plans, so far fraught with technical difficulties, training delays and the cost of retrofitting, may be moved as far as five years into the future.