Feb. 1, 2016

Business aircraft operators that are equipped to use data communications (Data Comm) to communicate with air traffic controllers are encouraged to take advantage of the safety- and efficiency-enhancing technology, which is close to rolling out at two key business aviation airports: Teterboro Airport (TEB) in New Jersey and Westchester County Airport (HPN) in White Plains, NY.

Data Comm capability for IFR departure clearance already is in place at about half a dozen U.S. airports, and the FAA plans to have it at 56 airports by 2017. Data Comm operations are expected to start at TEB in late March, with HPN following in mid-April.

“The FAA is really interested in getting operator participation at those two airports,” explained Chris Collings, program manager at Harris Corp., which is leading the Data Comm implementation. “It is very important for FAA to have a number of operators using Data Comm at those two airports so controllers become familiar with Data Comm and pilots get the benefits it offers.”

Collings explained during a recent NBAA webinar that FAR Part 91 operators do not need special permission from the FAA, such as an OpsSpec change or a letter of authorization, to use Data Comm. However, he recommends Part 91K/135 operators check with their FAA principal operations inspectors before using the new technology.

As for equipment, aircraft must be equipped with FANS 1/A and VDL Mode 2 or VDL Mode 0 (ACARS) to use the system.

The system, officially known as controller pilot data link communications-departure clearance (CPDLC-DCL), will shift many routine exchanges between pilots and controllers from voice to data. The move will ease the burden on increasingly congested voice channels and help cut down on issues such as misunderstood communications and read back/hear back errors that create inefficiencies in pilot/controller communications.

As part of its work, Harris Corp.’s Data Communications Integrated Services team is offering various resources for operators that want to learn more about the system. The team has a dedicated website, with information and technical documentation. View the Harris website.

Harris also is offering free one-on-one consultation with operators that have specific questions. For more information, contact DCIT@harris.com.

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

View the Harris Corporation CPDLC DCL Presentation from the Teterboro Users Group Meeting on Feb. 17, 2016

View an FAA Data Communications presentation on CPDLC-DCL