How One New In-Flight Technology is Making Travel Safer – and Faster
How do you optimize the miracle of human flight? Make it more efficient.
The United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Data Communications (Data Comm) program revolutionizes controller-to-cockpit communication. Using data link technology, Data Comm is moving the U.S. air traffic community from dependence on voice-to-voice communication to more agile and efficient digital communications, allowing operators to save time and fuel, and meet future air traffic demands. As a trusted partner of the FAA, Harris is lending its expertise to this quest to enhance safety and improve efficiency in the nation's airspace.
Data Comm provides revised departure clearances through data link, rather than voice instruction. This streamlines communication between pilot and controller during airport clearance delivery, a process that can consume several minutes via voice. The digital process not only saves time – it eliminates read-back and hear-back errors, benefiting Air Traffic Control, airline and airport operations, as well as the flying public.
The FAA has conducted studies to measure Data Comm’s impact, including time saved and errors averted. The improvements in efficiency and safety have also reduced environmental impact from unnecessary fuel burn as well as departure delays.
The pilot community has applauded the ability to load departure clearances into the aircraft’s flight management systems, given the time savings and overall safety benefit. Moreover, Data Comm’s departure-clearance service provides airline dispatch with a real-time copy of the clearance, enhancing situational awareness and response times in weather-related rerouting.
Data Comm is now in use at more than 20 U.S. airports and 56 will deploy it in the near term.