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French ATC and CPDLC

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French ATC and CPDLC

Old 14th May 2018, 16:32
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French ATC and CPDLC

France has the ability to use CPDLC. I also understand that CPDLC is one method of communication and not the main method. However in the whole of Europe they seem to be the least enthusiastic users. I was wondering why this is? Recently I have been passing through some very congested sectors with high loading on the frequency and have not been given the new frequency via the data link and it seemed very appropriate.
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Old 14th May 2018, 16:53
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However in the whole of Europe they seem to be the least enthusiastic users.
As compared to who or what countries in which continent?

Recently I have been passing through some very congested sectors with high loading on the frequency and have not been given the new frequency via the data link and it seemed very appropriate.
What sectors were these?
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Old 15th May 2018, 07:17
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Well the Swiss use it heavily.

Mostly Marseille are the least likely to use it. Somedays it is not used at all, as I said often when the frequency is a little overloaded and it seems it would help the controller. I was just wondering if some controllers prefer not to use it or of there is a reluctance to use it as it might be seen as a step towards automating your job away?

From a pilots perspective when it works it is fantastic and cuts down the chances of an incorrect read back almost completely and helps prevent loss of comms. It's just a bit frustrating that their seems to be a reluctance to use it in certain sectors.
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Old 15th May 2018, 08:26
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I’m not sure the French are uniquely “blocky” when it comes to CPDLC. Certainly going east/westbound over Europe at the upper levels it’s probably still quicker to list the sectors/FIRs that do use CPDLC, rather than trying to list those that don’t.
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Old 15th May 2018, 10:54
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Maybe they’re not sure how safe it is?

https://www.flightglobal.com/news/ar...e-risk-444057/
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Old 20th May 2018, 12:04
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Actually we'd love to use it more often, but only a small number of aircraft flying through french airspace are compatible with our systems (mainly Easyjet aircraft)
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Old 20th May 2018, 12:24
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Does the use of CPLDC involve the controller in extra work, e.g., typing on a keyboard when he would feel safer devoting his time to the real job?
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Old 20th May 2018, 19:11
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Originally Posted by HEATHROW DIRECTOR View Post
Does the use of CPLDC involve the controller in extra work, e.g., typing on a keyboard when he would feel safer devoting his time to the real job?
CPDLC is faster than voice with regards to physically issuing the instruction (there's no typing involved). However, it is slower than voice with regards to the actual aircraft physically performing the instruction. This is due to the time lag in the instruction being sent and received by the aircraft, the pilot acknowledging the message, then the pilot initiating the clearance. Voice is more or less instant. There's also a massive variance in the amount of time it takes for a message to be acknowledged. Sometimes it can be more or less instant, other times several seconds and sometimes the message will time out and not reach the aircraft at all. Voice is always instant - assuming the pilot is paying attention of course! :o) - so most controllers (in the UK at least) just stick to that. Or only use CPDLC for non time critical instructions, e.g. frequency changes/asking for preferred cruising levels instead of headings or level changes.

In the UK there are also lots of restrictions for it's use plus the huge difference in reliability between ATN and FANS equipped aircraft. FANS is so unreliable that controllers will mostly only use ATN.

Also, if there are any pilots reading this, please stop announcing on the frequency when you call on that you're CPDLC equipped. It's a pointless waste of RT when it's busy. We can see when you're logged and will use it accordingly if need be. Thanking you in advance!
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Old 20th May 2018, 19:18
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In the UK, we're not allowed to use it for instructions of a time or safety critical nature so it somewhat limits the use
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Old 21st May 2018, 15:03
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In France it still is a system issue. Therefor there is only limited use of CPDLC possible as @Makosa points out.
As I understand it, soon... (end of the year) it will be first Brest and Bordeaux who will be able to use it more as you are used to. The rest of France will follow at a later date.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 10:32
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Originally Posted by Juggler25 View Post
CPDLC is faster than voice with regards to physically issuing the instruction (there's no typing involved). However, it is slower than voice with regards to the actual aircraft physically performing the instruction. This is due to the time lag in the instruction being sent and received by the aircraft, the pilot acknowledging the message, then the pilot initiating the clearance.
I would disagree with that statement. It really depends on the local circumstances, airline, airframe and the kind of clearance. At Maastricht we can uplink complex clearances (ie. descend FL280 reach level by FIX) with a WCO received within 10 seconds from certain aircrews who are on the ball with CPDLC. In that amount of time I would barely finish the clearance and would be waiting for a full readback on voice.
I agree though, that as a controller you can't be sure of an instant reply due to the possible long latency - which is fortunately less and less the case. So up to CPDLC everyone - please
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Old 23rd May 2018, 11:38
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Originally Posted by HEATHROW DIRECTOR View Post
Does the use of CPLDC involve the controller in extra work, e.g., typing on a keyboard when he would feel safer devoting his time to the real job?
Can't speak for the en route use, but on the ground, on GMC / GMP positions it certainly involves less work, not extra work. Instead of the "write (click) + speak + wait for readback" process, you only need to click. 1/3 of the workload!!!
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Old 24th May 2018, 04:40
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Originally Posted by Juggler25 View Post
CPDLC is faster than voice with regards to physically issuing the instruction (there's no typing involved). However, it is slower than voice with regards to the actual aircraft physically performing the instruction. This is due to the time lag in the instruction being sent and received by the aircraft, the pilot acknowledging the message, then the pilot initiating the clearance. Voice is more or less instant. There's also a massive variance in the amount of time it takes for a message to be acknowledged. Sometimes it can be more or less instant, other times several seconds and sometimes the message will time out and not reach the aircraft at all. Voice is always instant - assuming the pilot is paying attention of course! :o) - so most controllers (in the UK at least) just stick to that. Or only use CPDLC for non time critical instructions, e.g. frequency changes/asking for preferred cruising levels instead of headings or level changes.

In the UK there are also lots of restrictions for it's use plus the huge difference in reliability between ATN and FANS equipped aircraft. FANS is so unreliable that controllers will mostly only use ATN.

Also, if there are any pilots reading this, please stop announcing on the frequency when you call on that you're CPDLC equipped. It's a pointless waste of RT when it's busy. We can see when you're logged and will use it accordingly if need be. Thanking you in advance!
There's lots of things to consider in this discussion. First, CPDLC capability is largely limited to western built civil heavy and super aircraft. Most military and the overwhelming number of narrowbodies do not carry it (Easyjet exception noted). Yes, there is some mouse work required by ATC to compose and send a CPDLC message that is by its nature slower than voice. The next factor is PBC. ATC separation standards are based on lots of things, one of which is the communications capabilities and speed between ATC and flights. While CPDLC is considered to be a form of DCPC, for the purposes of PBC and determination of separation standards it ranks lower than VHF voice because it is slower (as is SATPHONE) - has anyone tried vectoring by CPDLC or SATPHONE, for example? Having said that, it ranks higher than third party HF comms. CPDLCs greatest advantage lies in those regions that are outside VHF coverage - predominantly in oceanic areas. I can see less use of voice in the future, but our systems are not ready for it in a global sense yet.
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Old 24th May 2018, 07:12
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parishiltons, that is incorrect, nearly every aircraft carries it, the pilots are just not trained in its use so therefore not permitted to use it. In the UK Easyjet are by far the major "log on" outfit, however we are seeing more and more of the charter outfits now logging on too, I'd say here the narrow bodies outweigh the log ons by 2-1, but that could just be my sectors.
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Old 24th May 2018, 09:04
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Originally Posted by parishiltons View Post
There's lots of things to consider in this discussion. First, CPDLC capability is largely limited to western built civil heavy and super aircraft. Most military and the overwhelming number of narrowbodies do not carry it (Easyjet exception noted). Yes, there is some mouse work required by ATC to compose and send a CPDLC message that is by its nature slower than voice. The next factor is PBC. ATC separation standards are based on lots of things, one of which is the communications capabilities and speed between ATC and flights. While CPDLC is considered to be a form of DCPC, for the purposes of PBC and determination of separation standards it ranks lower than VHF voice because it is slower (as is SATPHONE) - has anyone tried vectoring by CPDLC or SATPHONE, for example? Having said that, it ranks higher than third party HF comms. CPDLCs greatest advantage lies in those regions that are outside VHF coverage - predominantly in oceanic areas. I can see less use of voice in the future, but our systems are not ready for it in a global sense yet.
Dear Parishiltons,

A lot depends on the region, centre/system and AO. And even more factors. Where in your situations it might not be quicker in other situations it can.

As stated above by Jagohu in Maastricht there are quite a number of situations where it can and is quicker. Specially with certain crews and AO's.
Within Europe the deadline for ANSP's to use CPDLC was the 5th of Feb 2018. And although still many centre's are increasing their CPDLC potential every day there is more and more exposure to crews. For AO's the deadline is the 5th of Feb 2020.
And another benefit it that during the time you are using the frequency to address one particular aircraft you can still address another (or more) aircraft using CPDLC. And it is not limited just to the one controller. Certain tasks can be delegated meaning there are more (lines of) communications possible at the same time vs the use of frequency only. Specially in dense traffic areas the RT time is one of the main bottleneck's in determining the amount of traffic that is acceptable within the airspace.

Another one to consider is the difference in working of ATN and FANS1/A. And the type of connection.


This all can have an impact on how you perceive CPDLC to work or to experience how "quick" it is.
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Old 24th May 2018, 15:58
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Originally Posted by zonoma View Post
parishiltons, that is incorrect, nearly every aircraft carries it, the pilots are just not trained in its use so therefore not permitted to use it. In the UK Easyjet are by far the major "log on" outfit, however we are seeing more and more of the charter outfits now logging on too, I'd say here the narrow bodies outweigh the log ons by 2-1, but that could just be my sectors.
I do take your point. But surely the difference is semantic. In a busy en route surveillance sector more comms can happen by voice in a given timeframe than by CPDLC. Sure the latter has a place (noting that Eurocontrol authorises it only for non time critical communications), but we are a long way from it supplanting direct voice comms.
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Old 24th May 2018, 16:02
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Originally Posted by CPDLC_EDYY View Post
Dear Parishiltons,

A lot depends on the region, centre/system and AO. And even more factors. Where in your situations it might not be quicker in other situations it can.

As stated above by Jagohu in Maastricht there are quite a number of situations where it can and is quicker. Specially with certain crews and AO's.
Within Europe the deadline for ANSP's to use CPDLC was the 5th of Feb 2018. And although still many centre's are increasing their CPDLC potential every day there is more and more exposure to crews. For AO's the deadline is the 5th of Feb 2020.
And another benefit it that during the time you are using the frequency to address one particular aircraft you can still address another (or more) aircraft using CPDLC. And it is not limited just to the one controller. Certain tasks can be delegated meaning there are more (lines of) communications possible at the same time vs the use of frequency only. Specially in dense traffic areas the RT time is one of the main bottleneck's in determining the amount of traffic that is acceptable within the airspace.

Another one to consider is the difference in working of ATN and FANS1/A. And the type of connection.


This all can have an impact on how you perceive CPDLC to work or to experience how "quick" it is.
Thanks EDYY. My response to zonoma is applicable here, too. The ability to delegate the sending of CPDLC messages (noting the non time critical rule) could be seen to be a luxury afforded to those ANSPs that use planners/assistants to the primary controller.

And regarding your final point, is not the GOLD sufficiently comprehensive? Cheers
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Old 24th May 2018, 19:05
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Originally Posted by parishiltons View Post
I do take your point. But surely the difference is semantic. In a busy en route surveillance sector more comms can happen by voice in a given timeframe than by CPDLC. Sure the latter has a place (noting that Eurocontrol authorises it only for non time critical communications), but we are a long way from it supplanting direct voice comms.
I disagree about being able to do more with voice comms in a given timeframe. I can be speaking to an aircraft to pass a frequency change and transfer 3 others in the same time via CPDLC. That said, I wouldn't undertake a busy radar session solely using CPDLC, but it's great for doing a few things whilst you're busy such as transferring aircraft or issuing the odd climb or direct routing that isn't safety critical. I agree that it'll certainly be a while before it supplants voice especially after the incident in the US where a message stayed stuck in the system for 24 hours and sent itself next time it found the flight number
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Old 24th May 2018, 20:07
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I will completely agree that it is a long way from replacing voice comms, I'd go further and say it will never be able to completely replace voice comms due to the maximum possible delay between sending a message and that message being actioned. As others have said as well, the ATN vs FANS systems is a problem (well FANS is a problem in itself) but I do use CPDLC to send 4 or 5 instructions whilst I give and receive read back of just one voice comms transfer. The equipment I use needs all the information typing into the system regardless if CPDLC or comms, I just have a choice of two buttons, one simply enters it into the system, the other sends it via CPDLC. Comms change is even simpler by left mouse clicking the radar data block & selecting it on the drop down menu that appears. However the messages can fail (more regularly that one would like), it isn't supposed to be used below FL195 (and I've seen consequences when it has), it can be slow (up to 60 seconds is a joke!), pilots can still try & use the rtf to confirm the message they have received & other incorrect responses to messages occur. We also get messages sent to us that are irrelevant (due to the sectors, upper limits etc) & the phraseology to disconnect a FANS aircraft is far more than it was worth trying to use CPDLC.

On a side & going back to the original thread, although France has turned on CPDLC and aircraft can log on, complying with the Eurocontrol timeframe, not all centres are currently equipped to send or receive any CPDLC messages.
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Old 25th May 2018, 07:56
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Originally Posted by zonoma View Post
I will completely agree that it is a long way from replacing voice comms, I'd go further and say it will never be able to completely replace voice comms due to the maximum possible delay between sending a message and that message being actioned. As others have said as well, the ATN vs FANS systems is a problem (well FANS is a problem in itself) but I do use CPDLC to send 4 or 5 instructions whilst I give and receive read back of just one voice comms transfer. The equipment I use needs all the information typing into the system regardless if CPDLC or comms, I just have a choice of two buttons, one simply enters it into the system, the other sends it via CPDLC. Comms change is even simpler by left mouse clicking the radar data block & selecting it on the drop down menu that appears. However the messages can fail (more regularly that one would like), it isn't supposed to be used below FL195 (and I've seen consequences when it has), it can be slow (up to 60 seconds is a joke!), pilots can still try & use the rtf to confirm the message they have received & other incorrect responses to messages occur. We also get messages sent to us that are irrelevant (due to the sectors, upper limits etc) & the phraseology to disconnect a FANS aircraft is far more than it was worth trying to use CPDLC.

On a side & going back to the original thread, although France has turned on CPDLC and aircraft can log on, complying with the Eurocontrol timeframe, not all centres are currently equipped to send or receive any CPDLC messages.
So you're not using Thales gear?
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