European stakeholders will meet next month to try to reach consensus on the Single European Sky implementing rule governing air/ground datalink communications, writes David Kaminski-Morrow.
Three alternatives have been put forward for a rule to regulate the enabling technology to support initial mandatory datalink services. The first option is the most open to new technological development, requiring simply that any datalink technology complies with the requirements laid down by the Eurocontrol Link 2000+ datalink oversight programme.
In a document detailing the three options, Eurocontrol favours this approach, stating: “On the one hand, it clearly defines the level of requirements necessary for safe and efficient implementation of datalink services… on the other hand, it leaves the door open for the development and possible recognition in the future of other means of compliance.”
The second option is less flexible and prescribes the use of the aeronautical telecommunications network (ATN) and VDL Mode 2 datalink, to which airlines have been migrating to achieve faster ACARS communications. Europe’s new VDL Mode 2 infrastructure is also the foundation for controller-pilot datalink communications.
The third option builds on the second by accommodating both ATN/VDL Mode 2 and the
FANS-1/A datalink capability currently used in low-density, oceanic and remote-region airspace. These two datalink technologies are currently incompatible. All three contain prescriptions for the interoperability and performance of the air/ground communications link and other aspects of the technology.

Source: Flight International