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Input Output Devices in Aviation


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Input-Output Devices in Aviation

David Campbell

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Computer input-output technology is being used increasingly more in the aviation field every day. This is especially true for communication between pilots in the air, and air traffic controllers on the ground, allowing them to communicate through text messages. Previously, the only way to communicate was by talking over the radio on VHF frequency. This technology is a great benefit to pilots and controllers reducing their work load. But some challenges lie ahead to fully integrate this system. Europe has been using this technology for a few years now while the United States is just recently out of the testing phase to implement this technology. (Eurocontrol.TV, 2010) The flight data processing system in Europe is trajectory based, and is constantly being updated throughout the flight. This gives flight controllers the most up to date information and gives them the ability to predict workloads for various control sectors. This technology allows controllers to view instrument data from the cockpit in real time. Commercial aircraft in the United States has just recently started using the global High Frequency Data Link (HFDL) network as a means to communicate with ATC. This gives controllers and pilots the ability to exchange text and data messages over a long range utilizing high-frequency radio signals. (Keller, 2012) “FANS is short for the Future Air Navigation System avionics, which enables aircraft pilots and air traffic controllers to exchange data, such as clearances, pilot requests, and position reporting.” FANS is used by transmitting data over the HFDL. This technology will reduce the workload and safety of everyone on and off the aircraft by automating the transmission of data. Although this technology is very beneficial to both pilots and air traffic controllers, some challenges still lie ahead to fully integrate this system. Aircraft systems currently in service will need to be upgraded in order to be compatible with the CPDLC system. High Frequency radio signals are not always the most reliable, so there is the possibility of loss of coverage when transmitting data. There is a risk of satellite interference to disrupt communication from the plane to the ground. In the long run, data link communication will prove to be a very effective form of communication between pilots and controllers. This technology will increase efficiency of how flight operations are conducted by reducing the work load of pilots and controllers. Flight data will be transmitted to controllers automatically instead of by voice as it was done in the past. Increasingly this technology will become more important as flight operations are expected to become more dense as time progresses.

Retrieved from: Eurocontrol.TV (Director). (2010). The Future Today [Motion Picture].
Retrieved from: Keller, J. (2012, February 12). FAA approval paves the way for commercial aircraft to exchange data with ATC over HF radio. Retrieved June 23, 2014, from military aerospace website:

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