Frequently Asked Questions

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What should be entered in the flight plan?

Operators of CPDLC capable aircraft, equipped with either FANS 1/A or ATN-B1, shall insert in Item 10 of the ICAO flight plan form, one or more of the following items:

  • J1 for CPDLC-ATN-B1 VDLM2
  • J2 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A HFDL
  • J3 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A VDL MODE A
  • J4 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A VDL MODE 2
  • J5 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A SATCOM (INMARSAT)
  • J6 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A SATCOM (MTSAT)
  • J7 for CPDLC-FANS 1/A SATCOM (Iridium)

Operators of CPDLC capable aircraft equipped with FANS 1/A and ATN-B1 shall insert item J1 and one or more of the items J2 to J7, as applicable, in Item 10 of the ICAO flight plan form .

Flights, planning to use CPDLC ATN-B1, shall include in Item 18 of the flight plan the indicator CODE/ followed by the 24-bit aircraft address (expressed in the form of alphanumerical code of six hexadecimal characters). Example: CODE/ F00001

Flight plans should not contain J1 if the crew is not trained and ready to use CPDLC.

Flights, planning to use CPDLC FANS 1/A, shall include in Item 18 of the flight plan the indicator REG/ followed by the nationality or common mark and registration mark of the aircraft, if different from the aircraft identification in Item 7.

For flights, conducted wholly or partly in the EUR CPDLC airspace specified in 3.3.1.1 (of Doc 7030/5), and not equipped with CPDLC ATN-B1, but which have been granted an exemption, either automatic or by EC Decision, should include the letter “Z” in item 10 and the indicator “DAT/CPDLCX” in item 18 of each flight plan. (Note this answer used to say RMK/CPDLCX but has been amended to align with the EASA SIB 2020-03 regarding exemptions). This also applies to aircraft that are operating with inoperative data link equipment which is under conditions specified in an applicable MEL.

Flights made by aircraft that are both exempt and equipped should file J1 and the aircraft code as described above if they intend to use CPDLC or file Z and DAT/CPDLCX as described above if they do not intend to use CPDLC, but not both.

To avoid an automatic rejection of the logon/notification, the pilot should ensure that the Flight Number and Destination/Arrival parameters contained in the logon message are exactly the same as the Flight Number and Destination/Arrival parameters filed in the flight plan.

Listed below are some typical scenarios and an illustration of what should be filed for an aircraft with the ICAO code ‘1CA0DE’:

* The aircraft is CPDLC/ATN equipped and the crew are trained

  File ‘J1’ in field 10 and ‘CODE/1CA0DE’ in field 18

* The aircraft is CPDLC/ATN equipped but the crew are not trained

  Nothing should be filed for CPDLC/ATN. This flight is in contravention of the regulation.

* The aircraft is not exempt and is not capable of CPDLC over the ATN

  Nothing should be filed for CPDLC/ATN. This flight is in contravention of the regulation.

* The aircraft is exempt

  File ‘Z’ in field 10 and ‘DAT/CPDLCX’ in field 18

* The aircraft is exempt but capable of CPDLC over FANS 1/A

  File the appropriate J codes for FANS1/A capability and ‘Z’ in field 10 and ‘DAT/CPDLCX’ in field 18

* The aircraft is exempt but capable of CPDLC over the ATN

  File either i) ‘J1’ in field 10 and ‘CODE/1CA0DE’ in field 18 or ii) ‘Z’ in field 10 and ‘DAT/CPDLCX’ in field 18, depending on whether or not the crew intend to use CPDLC/ATN on this particular flight.

What will the NM do when an airline files a flight plan with a route above FL285 in data link airspace but does not file ‘J1’ to indicate it is capable of performing CPDLC over the ATN or ‘DAT/CPDLCX’ to indicate that it is exempt from the data link regulation?

NM expects aircraft operators to comply with the regulation, but flight plans will not be rejected at this stage. NM will monitor the situation and take action as needed. At this stage NM is considering sending a warning to aircraft operators who file flight plans that contravene the regulation. The situation will be reviewed with the ANSP Directors of Operations at the NDOP meeting in March 2020 and further action may follow.

If my aircraft are not on the white list are they still considered compliant with the data link regulation and will they suffer any restrictions?

The white list is an operational response by some ANSPs to improve the performance of data link by not allowing aircraft that are observed to perform poorly from logging on. Whether or not an aircraft is on the white list does not effect whether an aircraft is considered compliant with the regulation. Aircraft not on the white list will still be considered compliant with the regulation if they are equipped in accordance with the regulation. However aircraft not on the white list are not permitted to logon to use data link by the ANSPs that implement the white list. There are currently no plans from the white list ANSPs to apply any restrictions to aircraft not on the white list, other than not allowing those aircraft to logon to data link.

Is my aircraft exempt?

All queries about the exemption status of an aircraft should be addressed to EASA at the following email address: atm@easa.europa.eu

Is there an EASA FAQ for data link?

The EASA FAQs regarding data link can be found here.

Who do I need to notify that my aircraft is exempt?

EASA recommends the operators to notify their Competent Authorities.

Knowing that the DLS IR mandates the provision of CPDLC above FL285, what are the rules for use of CPDLC below FL285?

A number of States will indeed implement CPDLC in parts of their airspace not governed by the DLS IR and offer the services in these areas as well. The extent of these areas will be published in local AIPs and local operating procedures will contain detailed provisions for the usage of CPDLC in these areas.

What are the provisions for execution of instructions that I receive via CPDLC?

Briefly put, the flight crew should first send the appropriate CPDLC response to the instruction, and only afterwards execute the instruction. Section 8.13 of the LINK2000+ Flight Crew Operational Guidance document contains detailed information on this subject.

What is the exact meaning of “MESSAGE NOT SUPPORTED BY THIS ATS UNIT”?

The ACC/UAC controlling you at the moment does not support usage of the particular request that you have downlinked. This will typically be the case in States that have decided to implement only those messages that are required as a minimum.

Where can I find information about the data needed for a manual re-logon to the same ACC/UAC for which the CPDLC connection has been unexpectedly terminated, if necessary?

The message archiving/logging function of your HMI should contain the necessary information in the latest UM183 message - CURRENT ATC UNIT [facility designation], [facility name], facility function] that you received.

What should I do if my downlinked request times out?

You will receive an error message from the ground. At the same time the controller will be notified and may possibly handle your request via voice. All depending on the nature of your request you may also decide to restate your request via CPDLC.

Can I send downlink requests as soon as I have established the CPDLC connection (CDA)?

No, you should wait until you have received the UM 183 message - CURRENT ATC UNIT [facility designation], [facility name], facility function]. Note: Technically speaking – you could send downlink requests earlier, but operationally it wouldn’t be acceptable as you would be still under the control of the previous controller (ATC) – on voice. Your ‘first’ CPDLC connection will normally happen some time before you are under control of the first CPDLC-equipped ACC/UAC in the DLS IR airspace, any requests that you might downlink will result in the following error message from the ground system: CPDLC TRANSFER NOT COMPLETED – REPEAT REQUEST.

How do I know which ACC/UAC I have to manually log on to?

Your flight planning department will normally make this information available to you, but in general terms it will always be the first ACC/UAC of the airspace covered by the DLS IR that your flight encounters. The European ICAO Aeronautical Fixed Service Group (AFSG) Planning Group maintains a registry document of the ATN NSAP (CM) addresses. This document can be downloaded from the ICAO Paris Office - search for 'ATN NSAP address'.

Do I have to manually log on to each ACC as I move along?

No, you should only need to log on to the first ACC/UAC of the airspace covered by the DLS IR that your flight passes. Ground system automation will ensure that relevant details are forwarded between the ACCs concerned as your flight progresses.

Note: During the early stages of CPDLC deployment it is unavoidable that there will be “white spots” in the CPDLC coverage and this may necessitate one or more re-logons as the flight progresses.

How do I know that I am within VDL2/ATN coverage and what is the right time to manually logon to an ACC?

The VDL2/ATN air-ground network covers the geographical area of the Implementing Rule. When the aircraft is in sight of a VDL2/ATN signal, an indication is provided on the aircraft’s HMI and is implementation specific (e.g. “ATN is available”). The appropriate time to initiate a manual log-on request, prior to entering the DLS IR airspace may vary, but will generally be between 10 and 20 minutes.

Note: During the early stages of CPDLC deployment it is unavoidable that there will be “white spots” in the CPDLC coverage and this may necessitate one or more re-logons as the flight progresses.

If there is an aircraft change at the last minute, will this have to be disseminated through a CHG message, indicating the changed 24bit address of the replacement aircraft?

Yes, absolutely. Failure to do so will prevent you from logging on successfully to the ground system since your logon will simply be rejected. In the event of a mismatch between the 24-bit aircraft address in the flight plan and that of the aircraft trying to log on, the logon is rejected. This ground system behaviour was designed for safety reasons to ensure that data link exchanges only take place with the intended aircraft.

How do I indicate that I am exempted from the DLS IR – and do I have to?

If you are exempted from the DLS IR (either automatically by virtue of one of the cases listed in Article 3, para 4 of the rule itself or by approval obtained through application) you must indicate this by inserting the letter Z in Item 10a of the FPL, and then inserting the indicator DAT/ followed by the descriptor CPDLCX in Item 18, resulting in: DAT/CPDLCX. A 2009 amendment to ICAO Regional Supplementary Procedures (SUPPs) – Doc 7030/5 (Serial No.: EUR/NAT-S 09/03-EUR 2-4 and 3-2) contains the relevant provisions.

Where can I find Contact Management (CM) address information?

The European ICAO Aeronautical Fixed Service Group (AFSG) Planning Group maintains a registry document of the ATN NSAP (CM) addresses. This document can be downloaded from the ICAO Paris Office.

Where can I obtain information about the data link service provisions and procedures of each individual ACC/UAC?

Each State publishes the data link provisions, starting date of data link operations and relevant operational information by means of an Aeronautical Information Circular (AIC) or Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). An AIC is an advanced notice of changes to the AIP.

Note: Information on harmonised procedures can be found in the LINK2000+ ATC and Flight Crew Operational Guidance documents.

Will ANSPs provide ATC data link services to the FANS-equipped aircraft or will it be voice only in domestic airspace?

ANSPs which decide to accommodate FANS (like Maastricht UACC) could decide to provide ATC data link services (FANS) or continue to control the aircraft via voice R/T communication.

What parameters should the ANSPs monitor to monitor the quality of service?

A proposed set of metrics for ANSPs to use as the basis for reporting the quality of service to their regulators is available here .

What's the difference between the DPMG and the DSG?

Both DPMG and DSG ae addressing datalink (as their name replies) aspects. However, the two groups are complementary and do not overlap.

DPMG is a group established by EUROCONTROL/NM following the request and mandate by the EC aiming to support performance monitoring and reporting (Datalink Performance Monitoring Function/DPMF). A key task for DPMG is to monitor the datalink performance in Europe and develop reports in coordination with the concerned stakeholders, for the use of the stakeholders themselves but also for other bodies such as EASA, EC NM Board etc. More information on the DPMF/DPMG is available in the DPMG OST at https://ost.eurocontrol.int/sites/DPMF

DSG is new group that has been established in Q3 2019 by EASA, ECTL and SDM, aiming to push for solutions to identified/pending/new problems encountered by stakeholders in the datalink implementation. DSG brings together all relevant datalink stakeholders (Users: Controllers and Pilots, CSPs, industry), EASA, NSAs, …) aiming to collectively work on identifying and implementing solutions to datalink problems. Participation in/following of DSG should benefit all stakeholders who are implementing datalink with the aim to identify solutions to their existing problems and benefit from awareness of problems encountered by other stakeholders. More information on the DSG is available in the DSG OST at https://ost.eurocontrol.int/sites/DSG.