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airplaneComms Moving to Texting?

An enlightening story from GASCo (Genreal Aviation Safety Council)

As soon as you have re-equipped with 8.33 MHz radio you may next have to turn your mind and your credit card to a data unit.

In the USA there are the beginnings of a changeover from voice communication between aircraft and controllers to text communication. Considerable efficiencies are expected to result from this move which will probably start with departure clearances. These are sometimes lengthy and complex, requiring accurate verification and read back before the clearance is complete, thus taking up much valuable air and personnel time.

The alternative of sending the clearance by something very similar to an e mail introduces time savings for the controller and eliminates the necessity for the aircrew to laboriously copy the clearance and read it back. Instead they simply press the 'Wilco' button on their data unit. As with e mail as opposed to telephone communication, texting is particularly attractive for multiple communication. Information for all such as airfield details could very easily be broadcast by text.

Will touch typing become an important controller and pilot skill? There is a interesting FAA video on this subject at:


Airtime is following these developments closely and will be at the forefront of procurement, installation and assisting pilots with the technology if it is introduced into the UK.


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