Air Wisconsin Airlines to Upgrade CRJ Fleet with Envoy Data Link System

Air Wisconsin is upgrading its Bombardier CRJ fleet to the Spectralux Avionics' Envoy data link system. (Spectralux Avionics)

Air Wisconsin Airlines, the regional subsidiary of United Airlines, will install the Envoy data link system onboard it's fleet of Bombardier CRJ aircraft, under a new deal that includes ongoing co-development activities that have already been for product life cycle support.

Envoy is a digital data link communications system consisting of three integrated avionics modules, including a communications management unit, VHF data radio, and multipurpose display. Developed by Redmond, Washington-based aircraft systems supplier Spectralux Avionics, a unique aspect of Envoy is its dual-stack data link capability, which means it is compatible with both the communications mediums for domestic Controller to Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC) data link in European airspace—Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) Link 2000+—and the Future Air Navigation Systems (FANS) 1/A architecture used by the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.

Now, a year after the FAA issued Technical Standard Order (TSO) approval for Envoy, Air Wisconsin will deploy Envoy across its CRJ fleet. The airline became the launch customer for Spectralux's previous-generation data link communications system, the Dlink+.

“The Spectralux Dlink+ system has served our airline exceptionally well,” Bob Frisch, Air Wisconsin’s Chief Operating Officer, said in a statement. “We now look forward to implementing the latest Spectralux product to further improve our operational efficiency and analytics of CRJ operations in North America.”

Air Wisconsin operates a fleet of 64 Bombardier CRJ aircraft. (Air Wisconsin)

Spectralux has also included a directional A739 interface that allows it to display and control a separate avionics module that can be displayed and controlled by a separate multifunctional display. According to the company's description of the technology, Envoy is also capable of wirelessly broadcasting stored aircraft system data and messages, "transmitted at specific intervals and received by an application running on a mobile device such as a tablet or smartphone."

Upgrading to the Envoy system for Air Wisconsin will mean its pilots can keep taking advantage of the FAA's Data Comm program, which is now operational at a total of 55 U.S. airports and 62 total air traffic control (ATC) towers. Data Comm services are also operational at three Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCCs), including Kansas City, Indianapolis, and Washington. The deployment schedule for the remaining 17 ARTCCs was put on hold due to COVID-19 and is being re-planned.

“Air Wisconsin continues to be a valued customer for Spectralux, and we appreciate the continued confidence they have in our data link products,” said Spectralux CEO Elwood Hertzog. “Envoy will bring a new level of safety and efficiency for global Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance (CNS) and Air Traffic Management (ATM) to Air Wisconsin and all our regional airline customers.”

Air Wisconsin operates a fleet consisting of 64 CRJ-200 jets, with flights occurring in midwestern and eastern U.S. airspace. The regional carrier expects its first Envoy-equipped CRJs to achieve initial entry into service early next year.

Receive the latest avionics news right to your inbox