The Future of Data Link Communication
Will Take Off
Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
Title of Paper
Data Link Communication will be used universally, as the main source of
communication between air traffic controllers and pilots.
Maastricht Upper Area Control Centre sees
a future for data link technology.
In Europe, data
link has been in use for nearly fifteen years.
positive outcomes from the fifteen years testing it, plans to utilize data link
communication more widely are being set.
has expressed this method of communication to be positive overall.
i. Written communication is clearer.
is more efficient.
allows electronic communication between sectors.
technology offers benefits to both pilots and air traffic controllers.
communication eliminates misunderstanding caused by varying dialects.
allows for automatic deliverability of aircraft instrument data to ATC, without
needing to contact the pilot directly.
allows for clear, lengthy messages to be sent long range.
eliminating high volume radio exchanges, air time for communication is
communication can be reserved for critical situations.
III. There are risks and challenges to using controller-pilot
data link communication.
The CPDLC system
is not yet universal.
pilot flying between sectors may be in communication with one operator via radio,
while simultaneously using CPDLC with another.
pilot may be issued contradicting clearances from two different operators.
A pilots’ ability
to stay continually aware of nearby aircraft is diminished.
i. The system does not share messages between other aircraft and controllers.
dialog over paired radio frequencies, a pilot is unable to listen in on the
status of aircraft in the proximate area.
eliminating shared radio frequencies, a pilot may miss an opportunity to
recognize potentially hazardous situations that may have been overlooked by ATC.
The chance of miscommunication via digital
exchange is possible.
i. During high volumes of air traffic, chances
of delivering a wrong message to the wrong aircraft increase.
If a message is sent or received out of
error, it is suggested that audio communication is used to immediately to countermand
Using radio communication instead of
digital, would eliminate a situation like this altogether.
containing incorrect spelling or grammatical errors create opportunity for
CPDLC is likely
to be used internationally in the near future.
among the first to implement this technology, is only planning to expand its
The United States
has already begun using this system.
i. The FAA has been working, for several years, to
integrate this system into airports.
ii. Trials were initially made at Houston airports and Salt
c. Though this is still a
relatively new method of communication, it will continue developing in order to
reduce current flaws.
overall, offers benefits in efficiency as well as clear and prompt