Alphabet soup for pilots: FANS 1/A+ CPDLC and ADS-C

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There’s a lot of talk lately about FANS 1/A+ CPDLC and ADS-C, but what does it really mean to operators? What is truly the value?

FANS 1/A, or Future Air Navigation Systems, is the suite of avionics upgrades that implement Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Contract (ADS-C) and Controller Pilot Data Link Communication (CPDLC).  When position reporting is established, ADS-C provides position, altitude, speed, intent and meteorological data direction to ATC with no crew intervention.  CPDLC is a data application that enables text-based message transmissions between the air traffic controller and the flight crew.

So, why use data link messaging instead of voice transmissions?

First, it reduces the chances of human error. Secondly, it increases the efficiency and volume of pilot requests that can be handled by ATC. As ATC moves towards best equipped, best served operation, FANS 1/A+ provides even more benefits for operators and pilots.  Top five benefits of FANS 1/A and CPDLC include:

  • Allows pilots to fly more optimal flight levels, consuming less fuel.
  • Allows ATC to reduce minimum separation requirements between aircraft
  • Minimizes language barrier issues and other communication errors through the use of a standard message set.
  • Reduces pilot  and air traffic controller workloads through the use of automated position reporting.
  • Replaces verbel air traffic control instructions and crew requests over radio frequencies, reducing frequency congestion.

Today, we offer upgrades to FANS 1/A+ for some Rockwell Collins-equipped aircraft types. After your aircraft is equipped to utilize FANS 1/A+, our ARINCDirect team can test your system and provide the required training for operation. We also offer FANS testing for all ARINCDirect customers for new FANS installations, refresher training for flight crews and troubleshooting assistance for any FANS issues that may be encountered.  In addition to our manual FANS testing stations, we also have automated FANS test stations which are available 24/7 from anywhere in the world.  

For more information regarding FANS testing or to schedule a testing session, please email ADFANS@arinc.com or call +1 410-266-2990.

Read more about author Erin Santiago.

A big step toward NextGen: DCL in the U.S.

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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has begun the deployment of its Data Link Departure Clearance (DCL). This service will be available at 56 major airports in the U.S. by the end of 2016. This is the first step towards nationwide enroute CPDLC coverage. DCL enables your departure clearance to be delivered and responded to via FANS CPDLC. Potential revisions will be delivered via CPDLC, all clearances will be in a loadable route format.

Whew! Now that we’ve gotten the technical description out there let’s talk about what this really means for operators and why operators may want to take advantage of it.

  • The Data Link Departure Clearance Service (DCL) provides automated assistance for delivering initial, and revised departure clearances.
  • DCL does not replace Pre Departure Clearances, but is the next step in the evolution of data link.
  • The service provides the ability to introduce revisions to a previously cleared flight plan, which can be received at any time until the aircraft is handed off to the tower for takeoff.
  • In the not too distant future, logging on to receive your DCL clearance will seamlessly transfer you to enroute CPDLC after takeoff.
  • ARINCDirect has administrative access to the FAA’s Subscriber Database and manage our operators DCL and PDC preferences.

If you need more information about how DCL can work for you, contact our training team for more information: ADTraining@arinc.com.

Read more about author Christian Renneissen.