For Immediate Release
October 17, 2018
Contact: Tammy L. Jones or Paul Takemoto
Data Comm is an FAA technology that is revolutionizing communications between air traffic controllers and pilots.
Controllers traditionally have used radio voice communications to give clearances and other flight information to pilots. Voice communications are time consuming and labor intensive, slow down operations and can lead to miscommunications between controllers and pilots known as “talk back, read back” errors.
Data Comm, by contrast, gives air traffic controllers and pilots the ability to transmit flight plans, clearances, instructions, advisories, flight crew requests, reports and other essential messages with the touch of a button. This switch from voice to text doesn’t just speed things up. It also enhances safety – reducing the chance of a read-back error while relaying information. In addition, it allows controllers to send text instructions to several aircraft at once – a much more accurate and efficient process than having numerous conversations.
Data Comm also cuts down on travel delays. For example: Two planes are in line for takeoff when a storm requires air traffic controllers to re-route them. The plane using voice has to wait for its new instructions and has to use existing two-way voice communications. This process can take 15 to 30 minutes or longer, depending on how many aircraft are in line for departure.
However, the flight crew on the plane using Data Comm receives its new flight plan via a text that an air traffic controller sends directly to the flight crew. The crew reviews the new clearance and accepts the updated instructions with the push of a button. The plane keeps its spot in the takeoff line or may even be taken out of line and sent directly to the runway ahead of other non-equipped aircraft. The plane then departs on time; saving countless minutes of delay over the non-Data Comm equipped aircraft.
Data Comm helps airlines stay on schedule, helps deliver packages on time, and helps passengers get off the tarmac, into the air, and to their destinations more quickly.
Data Comm is now operational at the 62 air traffic control towers listed below. Its rollout of Tower Services was under budget and more than two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule. That budget savings enabled the FAA to deploy Data Comm at seven more airports than originally baselined. We also are in the process of implementing Data Comm in high altitude airspace, and have started key site testing at Indianapolis, Kansas City, and Memphis. The program plans to have the service deployed to all 20 Centers by the end of 2019.
New York John F. Kennedy
New York LaGuardia
Salt Lake City
Windsor Locks (Bradley)