Jan. 13, 2016

The shift from voice to data communications between pilots and ATC is expected to gain traction in 2016, so business aircraft operators need to familiarize themselves with these new technologies, especially since they will be introduced at two key business aviation airports this spring – Teterboro, NJ (TEB) and White Plains, NY (HPN).

Voice communication frequencies between pilots and ATC are becoming increasingly congested and are contributing to misunderstood communications, read back/hear back errors, both of which create more inefficiencies in pilot/controller communications. As a result, FAA is transitioning to controller pilot data link communications (CPDLC), which will enable many routine exchanges between pilots and controllers to be handled via data comm.

FAA has begun rolling out an initial use of the technology, controller pilot data link communications-departure clearance (CPDLC-DCL). Aircraft equipped with FANS 1/A VDL Mode 2 can use CPDLC-DCL at participating ATC towers to obtain an IFR clearance.

FAA already has implemented CPDLC-DCL at several airports, and the agency plans to have it available at 56 airports by 2017.

“Data comm is one more tool in FAA’s NextGen toolbox,” said Bob Lamond, NBAA’s director of air traffic services and infrastructure. “We’re encouraging business aircraft operators to get up to speed on how it works and learn how it will benefit the entire aviation community.”

One way to learn more about this topic is to participate in a free NBAA webinar, which takes place at 1 p.m. (EST) at Jan. 27, and will provide pilots and other interested stakeholders with an overview of the upcoming changes.

The webinar, titled “FAA NextGen Data Comm: CPDLC DCL New Operator Introduction to Tower Service,” provides an overview of the technology’s rollout and discuss its benefits. Presenters will describe the direct link between ground automation and flight deck avionics that enables efficiencies not possible using the voice system.

View a CPDLC-DCL instructional video.

View the FAA Flight Deck User’s Guide for CPDLC-DCL.