Associated Air Center (AAC), through its in-house organization designation authorization (ODA) delegation, has obtained FAA STC approval for its first installation of a controller-pilot data link communication (CPDLC) system, as part of the requirements for Future Air Navigation System (FANS) on a BBJ 737-300.
This low time/cycles 737-300 platform, manufactured in 1990 and operated by a head-of-state customer, is an out-of-production, classic aircraft. Although CPDLC/FANS certification is available for new-generation aircraft, Boeing does not offer a technical solution, in the form of a service bulletin or master change of FAA-approved engineering data and parts kit, for the installation and integration of the CPDLC/FANS system on older aircraft.
AAC’s in-house engineering department developed the engineering data package to support the installation and integration to qualify for the required FAA STC approval. The workscope included the installation of a FANS-compliant flight management system, aircraft communications addressing and reporting system, Iridium satcom system, and cockpit voice recorder equipped with a back-up battery (replacing the original cockpit voice recorder); as well as a new VHF communications antenna, a new GPS antenna and a new Iridium communications antenna.
“This particular VVIP customer flies to international destinations requiring CPDLC/FANS compliance for better flight planning along heavily congested, direct routes and flight levels to optimize fuel burn and range,” said James Colleary, president of AAC. “We are pleased to provide an FAA-approved technical solution, and we are currently addressing additional interests from other VVIP aircraft platforms.”
All work for this project was completed at AAC’s facility at Dallas Love Field, Texas, USA. AAC installed and certified the CPDLC system during a regularly scheduled maintenance event.