UAL747
Posts: 6725
Joined: Mon Dec 13, 1999 5:42 am

Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 8:48 am

Right now I'm listening to JFK approach/departure on my computer, and I noticed that sometimes it's very hard to make out what the planes/ATC are saying. Is there any chance that communication between airplanes and ATC will change to a more modern mode?

UAL747
"Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy. Bangkok Tower, United 890 Heavy.....Okay, fine, we'll just turn 190 and Visual Our Way
 
kl911
Posts: 3981
Joined: Mon Jul 21, 2003 1:10 am

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 8:51 am

'''Will ATC Ever Go Digital?'''

Soon everything in the world will be digital.. So I say yes, it will happen.
It all depends when the money will be there to do it.

KL911
 
gigneil
Posts: 14133
Joined: Fri Nov 08, 2002 10:25 am

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 9:09 am

Um, it already is in much of the Pacific region.

FANS and datalink based ATC have been around awhile now, just not required everywhere.

N
 
SafetyDude
Posts: 3654
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 10:02 am

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 10:16 am

I was recently talking to some controllers in the Texas area, and I was told that while they wanted - and it was highly recommended by other government bureaus - to upgrade the ATC (it might not have been to digital), the money was not "really" there.

Apparently, there is actually plenty of money in the "ATC fund" (I forget what it is called) that is meant to do the project - but the government does not want to spend it as they would then have (relatively) very little money left. The controllers were pretty upset with that.

Do not flame me. That is just what I was told.

-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"
 
sccutler
Posts: 5567
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2000 12:16 pm

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 10:43 am

No flames needed, Safetydude; you speak the truth.

The Aviation Trust Fund, fed by user fees and ticket surcharges, has been essentially impounded by the federal government so it can remain as an on-budget item, artificially improving apparent performance of the feds.

And (no flames for me, please) it is a trick which has been used by both parties, don't know who started it and don't particularly care.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
buckfifty
Posts: 1278
Joined: Tue Oct 16, 2001 4:05 pm

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 10:48 am

However, a fully digital system would probably be not advisable. Especially in emergencies, it is easier to talk rather than to send messages on CPDLC. So talking ATC will always have a role in aviation.

Over the Pacific, you will find that CPDLC does prove more reliable than HF. But on first hand experience, I've been mostly using only HF, as most of the fleet I fly on do not have CPDLC. It's also a pain in certain areas, especially over the Indian Subcontinent/Ocean.
 
AgentM
Posts: 42
Joined: Wed Jul 21, 2004 12:58 pm

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 2:56 pm

I remembered reading an article about this in Flying magazine, after going through my old issues I found it in the February 2004 issue. I also searched online and found the same article here: http://www.flyingmag.com/article.asp?section_id=11&article_id=357
To summarize a little bit of the article...

  • The FAA is flight testing the new system called "Nexcom" for "Next-generation communications"

  • Modernizing the ground based communication network will cost $1.7 billion over the next 15 years. Which probably means $6 billion over the next 25 years  Smile

  • The system will initially be mandated for Class A airspace, which is from FL180 to FL600, then terminal areas in the US. But from the posts here it looks like there's something like it already in use over the Pacific

  • Using VHF digital link mode three, or VDL-3 the system will allow voice up to 200 miles with datalink.

  • The system will be backwards compatible with today's system (meaning it will be analog and digital).

  • The Avidyne model is expected to cost around $5,000, there was a picture in the printed article... But the radio looks like any other GA radio out there.


It sounds like a really nice upgrade to the system. I sometimes have a hard time hearing ATC when I'm talking to them... And I'm sure they sometimes can't understand me. Maybe it will also resolve the issue of two people trying to transmit at the same time (being stepped-on).
 
echster
Posts: 393
Joined: Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:01 pm

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Thu Sep 02, 2004 4:15 pm

Well, my first post here. I've been reading everything for the past 2 weeks and have decided to join up.

That being said, CPDLC and NEXCOM radios have bitten the dust with the FAA due to budget cuts. Also, there isn't a lot of money for airlines to go out and buy the equipment.
 
JeffDCA
Posts: 473
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 7:12 am

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:30 am

Right now I'm listening to JFK approach/departure on my computer, and I noticed that sometimes it's very hard to make out what the planes/ATC are saying.

If you're not experienced with ATC comms, then it can sometimes be a little difficult to make out what they're saying, also in my experience i've found internet ATC to be of a much lower level of clarity than what's heard in the air.

Cheers,

Jeff
If something hasn't broken on your helicopter, it's about to.
 
SafetyDude
Posts: 3654
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 10:02 am

RE: Will ATC Ever Go Digital?

Fri Sep 03, 2004 1:35 am

No flames needed, Safetydude; you speak the truth.
That makes me so happy.  Smile/happy/getting dizzy

I am just so surprised that with all of the taxes going on tickets, there could not be a $1 tax for ATC that would boost up the fund.

-Will
"She Flew For What We Stand For"