Avionics providers are looking for possible opportunities to furnish FANS 1/A-compliant equipment for business aircraft, such as this Gulfstream 550. Latitude Technologies received type certification for the company's DL150 satellite data unit for Gulfstream 450 and 550 series aircraft last year (Gulfstream Aviation Photo)
Taking its cue from a National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) warning in May, 2017, Canada-based Latitude Technologies said in a Tweet this week that business aviation "crews will increasingly discover that non-FANS [Future Air Navigation System] North Atlantic Track system routes are harder to come by, with most disappearing completely on Jan. 30, 2020."
"Equip, or take the long way around," Latitude Technologies said. The company is promoting its DL150 satellite data unit for the Iridium network to meet the FAA's FANS 1/A mandate for oceanic flights above 29,000 feet up to 41,000 feet in North Atlantic airspace beginning on Jan. 30 next year. Latitude Technologies said that the DL150 is a solution for "any aircraft needing to be FANS 1/A+ compliant."
California-based Flight Data Systems, a sister company of Latitude Technologies–both owned by Drew Marine UK Holdings Ltd.–referred potential customers to Latitude Technologies in a Tweet by saying that "FANS 1/A is right around the corner and the efficiency of your business aviation operations may be in jeopardy."
FANS 1/A consists of controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC) and automatic dependent surveillance-contract (ADS-C) to enable controllers to monitor and communicate with flights or reduce aircraft separation distances in areas in which radar is not feasible.
Airlines and business jet operators have moved to install FANS 1/A, and the International Air Traffic Association (IATA) praised the implementation of FANS 1/A thus far.
"IATA’s Americas Region is pleased to note that FANS-based data communications in the USA NAS [National Airspace System has, to date, eliminated more than 15,000 hours of flight delay and avoided 25,000 hours of voice communications, according to FAA figures," a IATA spokesman wrote in a Dec. 18 email to Avionics International.
The FAA monitors statistics for FANS equipage in oceanic airspace from the New York, Oakland and Anchorage Air Route Traffic Control Centers, so-called en route centers. The latest FAA statistics from December last year revealed that business aviation operators lagged airlines in ICAO-established benchmarks for Performance Based Communication and Surveillance (PBCS), the combination of CPDLC for datalink and ADS-C for position information .
A report by the International Civil Aviation Authority's North Atlantic Technology and Interoperability Group after its eighth meeting in Toulouse on Oct. 7-11 found that FANS 1/A equipage as of last June varied by region with the New York East and Gander Flight Information Regions (FIR) having the highest usage rates of CPDLC and ADS-C–95 percent for CPDLC and ADS-C in the New York East FIR and 93 percent for CPDLC/94 percent for ADS-C in the Gander FIR.
The Santa Maria and Reykjavik FIRs had the lowest such rates–81 percent for ADS-C/82 percent for CPDLC in the Santa Maria FIR and 62 percent for ADS-C/54 percent for CPDLC in the Reykjavik FIR (south of 82N).