data comm: easy and efficient cockpit communication

April 28, 2020

Technology is changing the way we fly. Technological advancements are improving the safety and efficiency in how we aviate and navigate through increased in-flight automation and GPS navigation. Today, tech is even enhancing the way we communicate, with digitally delivered text messages — known as datalink communications — in the cockpit. These services, known as Data Comm, are expanding throughout the world to complement traditional voice communications between flight crews and air traffic controllers. That helps save time, reduce delays and cockpit workload, and more.

What are datalink communications?

In two words: text messages. The datalink communications network is a series of VHF ground stations and/or satellites delivering messages between air traffic controllers and pilots. Traditionally, pilots received their departure clearances and weather reroutes via radio transmissions. It’s an effective system, but Data Comm services offer an alternative to avoid frequency congestion and mitigate delivery or read back errors by sending clearance and reroute information directly to pilots in text format. This method was originally intended to help reduce the number of miscommunications — and ultimately reduce pilot workload.

How does it work?

When an aircraft is flying above land with ground-based coverage, the VHF ground stations act as the primary communication link. For oceanic flights where ground stations aren’t available, a satellite network becomes the primary mode. At select airports with controller-pilot datalink communications (CPDLC) departure clearance capabilities, pilots can send their flight information to air traffic control from the flight deck, either upon departure or via pre-departure clearance services. Upon receipt and approval, controllers respond with route details, departure clearance information and approval. Additionally, reroute information can be sent via Data Comm for pilots to review and respond accordingly via digital text message.

For several aircraft types equipped with our G3000 or G5000 integrated flight decks, compatible Data Comm equipment and enablement, these messages and flight information can be directly uploaded and incorporated into the flight plan for added convenience.

Garmin datalink communications solutions

Garmin offers a wide range of datalink communications solutions tailored to meet diverse aircraft and operations. Through the FltPlan.com team at Garmin, pilots can take advantage of U.S. FAA Data Comm departure clearances, en route services and more for $499 per select aircraft per year.