While the planned rollout of controller/pilot datalink communication (CPDLC) in the U.S. has been pushed back slightly during the Covid-19 pandemic, NBAA is urging aircraft operators to review available approved procedures as Data Comm continues to expand across the National Airspace System and is anticipated for completion by year-end 2022.
L3Harris, a primary contractor on Data Comm, has published a free online resource detailing these procedures and has been working with the FAA and OEMs to work through issues involving transmission success rates that have excluded a number of general aviation aircraft from Data Comm trials.
NBAA said these efforts have enabled several general aircraft types to participate in CPDLC and more aircraft will be added over time. In addition to providing detailed information regarding the CPDLC procedures being added, the L3Harris resource details where operators can find approved FANS-capable CPDLC avionics and equipage needs.
“The L3Harris Pilot Handbook is an important and detailed resource that provides clear guidance on key aspects of CPDLC,” said Richard Boll, chair of NBAA’s ATC, Airspace, and Flight Technologies Working Group and one of the association’s representatives on the government/industry FAA Data Comm Integration Working Group that has been developing resources in support of Data Comm.
Boll cited as an example the format of route clearance messages outlined in the handbook. “The route message is one of the most powerful functions of CPDLC because it enables the controller to tactically change the route of the aircraft while avoiding the repetition inherent in voice communications,” he said. “However, it is imperative that pilots understand that for this to work at its best, route clearances must be loaded into the flight management system with the push-to-load function.”