Data Link

Bookmark and Share

Business Aviation Drives Expansion of Data Comm Departure Clearances

April 19, 2018

Business aviation has been a driving force behind the widespread rollout of data communications technology to enhance operational safety and efficiency at some of the nation's busiest airports, and even greater capabilities are on the horizon.

John Glenn International Airport (CMH) in Columbus, OH recently became the 58th airport in the United States to offer CPDLC-DCL services, allowing operators to receive and acknowledge text-based departure clearances through the aircraft's flight management system.

Four more airports, including Van Nuys Airport (VNY) in southern California, are slated to become CPDLC-DCL operational by mid-July as a result of input from the business aviation community.

"Our industry has been a bigger player in this area than initially expected," said NBAA Director of Air Traffic Services and Infrastructure Heidi Williams. "The FAA has indicated many times they underestimated the number of business aircraft operators that would equip for these capabilities."

First deployed across oceanic airspace where voice communications are often unreliable, CPDLC also benefits domestic operators by offering improved pilot comprehension of complex clearances while also reducing radio frequency congestion. The FAA also plans to deploy en-route data link communications and clearance information to aircraft later this year.

Many business aircraft operators are already equipped with CPDLC for international operations, said Rich Boll, chair of the Airspace, ATC and Flight Technologies Working Group of the NBAA Access Committee.

"Business aviation has outpaced other segments of the industry in adopting this technology," he said. "Our group is continually working to ensure our industry is properly represented as deployment of CPDLC continues and that adequate guidance is made available to operators about what this technology means for them."

NBAA has also been a leading proponent for expanding CPDLC-DCL to include pre-departure clearance (PDC) capabilities, in which IFR clearances may be transmitted to aircraft through a company's flight dispatch operation. PDC is currently offered at several airports across the country and is slated to come online at VNY next month.

"Data comm is a ‘NextGen' technology that business aviation has embraced and is benefiting from," Williams concluded. "Our industry stands ready to support further rollouts of these capabilities going forward."