hand at controls

June 22, 2021

To help applicants organize and expedite their applications for A056 data link authorizations, the FAA Flight Technologies and Procedures Division has published the significantly revised Data Link Communications Compliance Guide, Version 06.21.

The 39-page guide is an online, fill-in-the-blank document that debuts a new Appendix A, dedicated to “Final Application Preparations,” which addresses the file naming convention of the supporting documentation and how to attach the Adobe Acrobat PDF files to the application.

“If the FAA’s subject matter experts receive the A056 application and attachments as described in the guidance, they can go though it point-by-point in one sitting and sign it off if it meets all of the necessary technical requirements,” said Rich Boll, a member of NBAA’s Access Committee, who along with committee colleague John Kernaghan, represents the NBAA on the FAA’s Data Communication Integration Team.

“If the application is missing an attachment, the SMEs send it back with a request to try again,” Boll added. “If it arrives as paper, they don’t have the time for that so they fold it up and send it back.”

Tables and the new Appendix C flow chart guide operators through application requirements for the six different data communication operations: 1. U.S. Domestic CPDLC-DCL (Departure Clearance); 2. U.S. Domestic CPDLC-DCL and CPDLC En Route; 3. U.S. Domestic CPDLC-DCL, U.S. CPDLC En Route and Oceanic and Remote (Non Performance-Based Communication and Surveillance, PBCS); 4; PBCS (Oceanic/Remote Operations) only; 5. DCL/Oceanic and Remote Only (Non-PBCS); 6. U.S. Domestic CPDLC-DCL and CPDLC En Route and PBCS.

The application form comprises Section 2 of the guide. Radio buttons, click-boxes and fill-in-the-blanks take applicants through it one step at a time. It covers new A056 applications, adding identically and non-identically equipped aircraft to a current A056 authorization, and adding data link capability to an existing A056. Section 3 addresses aircraft eligibility with check boxes for statement of compliance and equipage compliance.

Section 4 covers operational requirements with check boxes for the required attachments such as communication service provider, performance monitoring, and training. It dedicates paragraph 4.4 to flight plans, because “the majority of A056 applications do not submit flight plan codes per their aircraft capabilities.”

Part 91 operators do not need an A056 letter of authorization for U.S. domestic data link operations. “But it is incumbent, worth their time and effort to go through the guide and make sure they meet all of the requirements to use data comm,” said Boll.