Avionics Update: Avidyne demonstrates Nexcom digital radio

 - August 4, 2008, 11:52 AM

As part of the FAA’s Nexcom initiative to develop next-generation digital datalink radios for general aviation, Avidyne last month announced it has successfully demonstrated a VHF datalink (VDL) Mode 3 radio at the FAA’s technical center in Atlantic City, N.J. Touted as the first-ever test of a commercial VDL-3 device, the demonstration was an important milestone for the FAA as it strives to create a radio network for the 21st century. Nexcom is an analog/digital system incorporating a number of technological advances in radio communications. It will provide capability to accommodate more sectors and services, reduce logistical costs for the FAA, replace VHF and UHF radios and provide datalink communications. The demonstration was flown in an FAA test airplane using a prototype ground station at the technical center. All ground-station modes were demonstrated during the flight, said Avidyne, including urgent downlink request, next channel uplink, controller override and digital voice. The FAA has also commissioned Honeywell and Rockwell Collins to develop Nexcom radios, with demonstrations of flight hardware scheduled to start soon and continue through late next year.