FAA’s Data Comm reaches 1m flight milestone

US air traffic controllers and pilots have used NextGen Data Communications (Data Comm) technology to clear more than one million flights – reaching the significant milestone within budget and nearly two-and-a-half years ahead of schedule.
As part of the FAA’s NextGen air traffic modernisation programme, Data Comm transforms controller-to-cockpit communication – augmenting traditional voice communication with more agile and efficient digital communication.
This streamlines communication between pilots and controllers during airport clearance delivery, a process that can consume several minutes using only voice communication. The digital process not only saves time, but eliminates read-back/hear-back errors between controllers and pilots.
This clearer communication allows the US National Airspace System (NAS) to handle more air traffic, reduces flight delays, routes aircraft more efficiently and enhances safety – all while reducing operational costs for commercial aviation stakeholders.
Harris Corporation is providing integration and engineering services for Data Comm as part of the Data Comm Integrated Services (DCIS) contract, including management and delivery of the air-to-ground data communications network that connects FAA air traffic control (ATC) sites and data communications-equipped aircraft.
A collaboration between the FAA, airlines and aircraft manufacturers, Data Comm is operational in more than 3,000 aircraft and has been deployed at 55 US airports. Based on its success, the FAA has approved implementing Data Comm at seven additional airports.
“Data Comm is a testament to what government and industry can accomplish working together to modernize the NAS,” said Ed Zoiss, president, Harris Electronic Systems. “The Data Comm programme showcases our 25-plus-year partnership with the FAA in enhancing safety and improving efficiency for all commercial aviation stakeholders, including the flying public.”
Harris is a leading contractor and technology innovator for the FAA, including managing and operating the FAA Telecommunications Infrastructure, the agency’s nationwide network connecting all its facilities and operations. In addition to DCIS, Harris is the prime contractor for five of the FAA’s seven NextGen programmes – including the NAS Voice System, Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast, System Wide Information Management and Common Support Services-Weather.