NextGen success linked to FAA pilot data

The Controller Pilot Data Link Communications – Departure Component (Data Comm) of the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) NextGen program shows NextGen’s potential, the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) said.

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NextGen program’s aim is to make flying safer and more efficient by implementing technology.

Data Comm was introduced at three airports in the autumn of 2015 and was in place at 55 airports by the end of last year. The system streamlines departures for both commercial and business aviation. It converts messages air traffic controllers and pilots voice to a written message.

The rollout is two years ahead of schedule and also was under budget.

More than 1,100 aircraft are Data Comm equipped, according to the FAA.

Approximately 2,000 business aircraft flights are receiving Data Comm clearances, according to FAA Data Comm integrator Harris Corp.

“We look at it as a positive,” Jeff Soder, director of aircraft operations and head pilot for Valero Energy Corp, said. “Allowing us to receive and directly upload any re-routes into the flight management system is a tremendous benefit. It also greatly reduces radio congestion and lost time setting up cockpit flight planning tasks.”

Valero operates three Data Comm capable aircraft and has used the system at a dozen airports.