En Route CPDLC to Reopen for Business Jets

 - May 26, 2023, 11:13 AM
(Photo: Gulfstream Aerospace)

The FAA plans to allow business and general aviation aircraft to resume using en route Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) by August 31 under a plan presented at a meeting of its Data Communications Implementation Team on May 24.

The FAA en route CPDLC trial that was suspended in October 2022 will now sunset but about 1,000 business jets enrolled will be allowed to resume using the service by August 31. By that date, the FAA will lift the October 2022 Notam that restricted business and general aviation aircraft from using en route CPDLC. It will also allow new business, general aviation, and Part 135 aircraft to use CPDLC if there are no known avionics issues.

Leading up to that, the FAA plans to rescind the notice in June that restricts agency inspectors from consenting to the use of CPDLC. The FAA will make changes to operator-held letters of authorization with restrictions on using domestic CPDLC and in a related effort is considering not requiring domestic CPDLC authorization.

The agency will reconfigure and manage the list of aircraft and avionics configurations approved for enroute CPDLC itself and will now categorize most of the 1,000 business jets as Yellow (aircraft with known CPDLC avionics issues but able to participate pending avionics upgrades). Some of the 1,000 jets and a few turboprops will be transferred to the Green list (aircraft without CPDLC avionics issues). A Red category will be for aircraft with critical CPDLC avionics issues that exclude participation. 

GAMA and NBAA wrote a letter to the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization in March asking for clarification on acceptable performance requirements for en route CPDLC. Now the FAA says it will continue to gather data on this and establish specifications for civil and military aircraft by May 2025.