Avionics Update: Arinc's digital ATIS package aimed at smaller airports

 - August 4, 2008, 11:53 AM

You’ve probably never given it much thought, but recording and updating those ATIS voice messages is a royal pain in the neck for controllers. Arinc last month unveiled a new product package that the company said makes digital ATIS service cost effective for smaller airfields frequented by business aircraft. D-ATIS technology–introduced at major airports about a decade ago–eliminates manual voice recording and copying by providing automated text messaging to aircraft. The FAA provides D-ATIS service at the 57 busiest airports in North America (including busier non-commercial fields), but the system’s high cost has kept it from being used at many smaller airports. Now, in partnership with software developer STR-SpeechTech of Victoria, B.C., Canada, Arinc has engineered a compact D-ATIS package that, it said, sells for far less than traditional systems. The technology uses a “natural sounding” text-to-voice translator that converts text messages to synthesized voice for automated ATIS broadcasts. The D-ATIS text is also sent by datalink (over Arinc’s Globalink air-to-ground network and other datalink services). The system has been installed at McGuire and Wright-Patterson Air Force Bases, and is ready to make its debut at other airports, said Arinc.