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THE PREMIER APPROACH: Current CPDLC Measures in Europe

Continuing the theme of CPDLC mandates buried by COVID news, CFMU issued their own new measures on Feb 5, 2020. In it, aircraft are required to be ATN-B1 equipped or otherwise be restricted to FL285 or below. Because of the similar timing with the North Atlantic’s own separate mandate, many have had difficulty distinguishing the two.

ATN-B1 is an entirely differently network from FANS 1/A, meaning NAT-approved CPDLC equipment on board your aircraft is not compatible with the bulk of the network in CFMU.  If ATN-B1 equipped, this should show in item 10a of ICAO filings as J1, whereas FANS 1/A are indicated by J2-J7 in the same block. Some regions of high-traffic EU airspace and UIR’s adjacent to the NAT have both networks available, meaning crews can be logged on to either one to communicate with ATC and avoid having to switch between them in these locations.

LOGON LIST

One additional step must be taken to utilize CPDLC in Europe.  In the past, the ATN network would become bogged down with messages that would time out due to aircraft with deficient equipment or out of date software.  To reduce network strain, CFMU implemented a logon list for ATN equipped aircraft intending to use CPDLC, and operators can apply for it here. Additional information about approved avionics and providers is also provided through CFMU. Approved tails will be added each AIRAC cycle (every 28 days). Directs and other more efficient route options will be available to those on the Logon List.  If not, operators must revert to voice-only communication with ATC, however, those not qualifying for the Logon List will not be restricted to FL285 and below.

EXEMPTION STATUS

For aircraft lacking ATN-B1 avionics, exemptions exist based on criteria listed below that allow flights to operate above FL285 (as outlined by the European Data Link Mandate in Regulation (EC) No 29/2009 Article 3 Paragraph 3):

  • Aircraft with max seating capacity of 19 passengers or less and certified MTOW of 100,000 lbs or less AND Certificate of Airworthiness first issued prior to 05 Feb 2020.
  • Aircraft with COA first issued prior to 01 Jan 1995.
  • Aircraft with COA first issued prior to 31 Dec 2003 that will cease operation before 31 Dec 2022.
  • Aircraft with COA first issued prior to 01 Jan 2018 and fitted prior to this date with data link equipment compliant with the requirements of one of the Eurocae documents specified in point 10 of Annex II.
  • State aircraft.
  • Aircraft flying in the airspace referred to in paragraph 3 of Article 1 for testing, delivery, or maintenance purposes or with Data Link constituents temporarily inoperative under conditions specified in the applicable minimum equipment list required by point 1 of Annex III.

Non-equipped flights falling under any of these exemptions need to ensure code “Z” is in Item 10 along with “DAT/CPDLCX” in Item 18 of their ICAO filings. Exempt aircraft that lack this information in their ICAO filings will not automatically reject at FL285 and above, however, ATC has authority to restrict altitudes of non-compliant aircraft. While this covers most GA aircraft, notable exceptions would include G-650’s and Global 7500’s with COA’s issued after 05 Feb 2020

Flight Pro’s Global Trip Support (GTS) team is available 24/7 to offer further guidance and provide assistance updating your aircraft profile.

FLY HIGH, FLY FAR!

Written by: Greg Garner, Sr. Meteorologist & Flight Planner

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