Data Communications (Data Comm)

Wednesday, August 23, 2023

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 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. The switch from voice to data message doesn't just speed things up, it also enhances safety which reduces the chance of a read-back error while relaying information. In addition, it allows controllers to send data message 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 data message 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 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 65 air traffic control towers. Its rollout of tower services at the original 55 airports was under budget and more than two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule. Those budget savings enabled the FAA to deploy Data Comm at seven more airports than originally planned at no additional cost. Data Comm has declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) at four Air Route Traffic Control Centers ARTCCs (Kansas City, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, and Atlanta). Eight additional sites are operational 24/7 pending IOC declaration (ZDC, ZOA, ZMA, ZAU, ZSE, ZDV, ZLC, and ZHU). The program is working with the final 8 ARTCCs on their site implementation plans.

  • Albuquerque
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Baltimore-Washington
  • Boston
  • Buffalo
  • Burbank
  • Charleston
  • Charlotte
  • Chicago O’Hare
  • Chicago Midway
  • Cincinnati
  • Cleveland
  • Columbus
  • Dallas-Ft. Worth
  • Dallas Love
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Fort Lauderdale
  • Fort Myers
  • Houston Bush
  • Houston Hobby
  • Indianapolis
  • Jacksonville
  • Kansas City
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Louisville
  • Memphis
  • Miami
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul
  • Milwaukee
  • Nashville
  • Newark
  • New Orleans
  • New York John F. Kennedy
  • New York LaGuardia
  • Palm Beach
  • Oakland
  • Ontario
  • Orlando
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Pittsburgh
  • Portland
  • Raleigh-Durham
  • Reno-Tahoe
  • Sacramento
  • San Juan
  • St. Louis
  • Salt Lake City
  • San Antonio
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • San Jose
  • Santa Ana
  • Seattle
  • Tampa
  • Teterboro
  • Van Nuys
  • Washington Andrews
  • Washington Dulles
  • Washington Reagan
  • Westchester County
  • Windsor Locks (Bradley)