BBJ Approved for North Atlantic CPDLC Trial

 - October 8, 2007, 5:22 AM

Boeing Business Jet operators are being invited to join an airborne trial of controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) over the North Atlantic as part of an evaluation by airlines of future air navigation system (FANS) concepts.

According to Mike Hewitt, chief pilot for Boeing Business Jets, operators interested in participating in the program can install additional required avionics and seek approval from the FANS central monitoring agency, a joint FAA and ICAO group. So far the monitoring agency has approved three BBJ operators for the trial, in addition to Boeing, which has installed the CPDLC gear in its own BBJ.

Once approved, pilots flying across the Atlantic between the U.S. and Europe are allowed to use CPDLC text messages instead of satcom or HF voice to communicate with controllers. Some 300 preprogrammed messages can be sent through the airplane’s FMS, including requesting a different altitude and reporting the airplane’s position. The upgrades that are required for participation in the trial involve sending the FMS to Teledyne for a new software block change and faceplate, said Hewitt.

Once the upgrades have been made, operators can use CPDLC in other FANS regions, including over the Pacific Ocean and in the Oakland and New York FIRs. Hewitt pointed out that the FANS program is separate from the FAA’s Miami Center CPDLC evaluation, which has run into budget and technological proble