FAA Advances on Controller-Pilot Datalink Availability

The announcement came a month after NBAA and GAMA petitioned the agency to act on the issue.

[Courtesy: NBAA]

Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on AVweb.com

The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) has announced that the FAA recently made permanent its plan to enable business aircraft operators to participate in enroute controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC). 

The announcement came just a month after NBAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) petitioned the FAA to act on the issue for the benefit of all appropriately equipped general aviation aircraft.

CPDLC enables aircraft to communicate and exchange information and data digitally with air traffic control, rather than relying on voice communication. 

According to the NBAA, “The FAA continues to work with the industry to broaden the participation of CPDLC enroute and open the opportunity for business and general aviation to participate in the enroute environment. In August, the agency noted it anticipates opening enroute datacomm beyond the existing trials that have been in place for several years.”

Heidi Williams, NBAA’s senior director of air traffic services and infrastructure, said, “The FAA lines of business have come together and decided on a path forward, opening that enroute environment to the broader industry.”

NBAA said that, as enroute CPDLC is deployed throughout the U.S. National Airspace System, avionics performance requirements for participating in the CPDLC system are evolving. “Once fully deployed and the ‘acceptable’ CPDLC performance requirements are completely understood,” NBAA said, “the defined performance criteria for long-term CPDLC participation will be published.” May 2025 is the FAA’s target deadline for completing this phase.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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