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Data Link (DLK) Users Forum/Workshop

Last Update: June 12, 2015

Co-Chairman: Colin Gallant, British Airways
Co-Chairman: Joe Slavinsky, FedEx

Goal: The goal of the Data Link (DLK) Users Forum is to assist aircraft operators to improve the system performance and maximize the operational and economic benefits of air/ground data link communication services through the exchange of technical information. The DLK Users Forum is a coordinating activity among airlines and cargo carriers, aircraft manufacturers, avionics manufacturers, and data link service providers on technical issues of mutual interest leading to the identification and resolution of common problems. The DLK Users Forum also provides an opportunity for coordination among airlines, civil aviation authorities, and air traffic service providers on the direction and schedule of new Air Traffic Service (ATS) datalink programs.

Project: Interoperability and Spectrum Efficiency

Scope: A major objective of the DLK Users Forum is to establish and maintain interoperability between airborne users and ground communication service providers. A second major objective is to ensure the efficient use of the limited frequency spectrum allocated for use by the air transport industry. The DLK Users Forum provides an opportunity to identify, discuss, and resolve interoperability and spectrum-related issues, concerns, etc.

Benefit: A key benefit of the DLK Users Forum has been that airlines are able to interoperate more effectively among ARINC, SITA, AVICOM Japan, AEROTHAI and ADCC as a result of their promotion of interoperability through definition and adherence to standards. Airline users have been able to increase the number and complexity of applications that utilize air-ground communications without loss of reliability and within the spectrum available.

Project: Advanced Data Link Communications

Scope: The DLK Users Forum is promoting a rational progression from the legacy ACARS® air-ground communications to the much more capable Aeronautical Telecommunication Network (ATN) embodied in the European Link 2000+ and SESAR programs as well as the US NextGen/Data Comm Programs. An enabling technology of the ATN is a new VHF Data Link Mode 2 (VDLM2) air-ground link. New links (e.g., Iridium) are enabling AOC communications over IP-based air-ground links. If these links are sufficiently robust, the AOC capability may lead to ATS communications over IP-based air-ground links as well.

Benefit: The DLK Users Forum is assisting the airlines in gaining access to the higher throughput available through the use of VDLM2 which provides an effective increase in data rate of approximately 700 percent over VHF ACARS®. Full ATN implementation will make the use of bit-oriented applications possible without accommodations to the current limitations of the character-based air-ground link. ATN is also envisaged as the basis for a world-wide set of air traffic services, through NextGen/SESAR, that will yield air traffic system capacity increases and reduce holding time for aircraft arriving at busy air terminals.

Project: ATS Data Link Communications Applications

Scope: The Users Forum affords both airspace users (i.e., airlines) and ATS service providers an opportunity to coordinate datalink applications. This coordination can be in the form of exchanging operational experience, harmonization of procedures, identification of problems or opportunities for system improvements. The DLK Users Forum is also attempting to establish and maintain consistency among the services offered by air traffic service providers. This is accomplished by providing a forum for airspace users (i.e., airlines) to describe their experiences in using the various different implementations of the same service in different geographical or political regions. Information gathered is coordinated with one or more groups, either one of the AEEC subcommittees or an outside group, such as RTCA, EUROCAE, or an ICAO panel.

Benefit: The benefit of having coordinated applications and procedures worldwide for the same ATS services provided by the various ATS service providers will directly contribute to a global, seamless Air Traffic Management (ATM) system, minimize the requirement for specific crew training, and will increase overall ATM system effectiveness—including safety.

Next Meeting Announcement:

Data Link Users Forum (DLUF) (pdf, 240K)
September 15-17, 2015, in Toulouse, France
sub bulletRegister On Line

Action Items, Working Papers and Questionnaires:

Data Link Users Forum Agenda

Data Link Users Forum Pre-Registration List

Click here to access this collection of information.


DLK Users Forum Presentations
February 3-4, 2015, in Panama City, Panama

Click here to access the User Forum Archive.

Latest Meeting Report:

Data Link Users Forum
February 3-4, 2015, in Panama City, Panama

Staff Contact

Vic Nagowski