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PDC … It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3

PDC … It’s Easy as 1, 2, 3

The advent of Pre-Departure Clearance (PDC) means pilots don’t need to reach for their radio dial to get a clearance. There’s no need to listen for a departure procedure, initial climb altitude and squawk code and repeat it back verbatim. There’s no more scribbling a clearance on a piece of paper, either. Instead, it’s all done electronically, via text, streamlining the process and reducing the chance for errors.

A PDC is simply an electronic version of the instrument flight rules (IFR) clearance that pilots customarily received from air traffic control verbally over the radio. Only now it appears to them as a message on their flight management system screen.

The PDC is actually sent by air traffic control to a datalink service provider, like Honeywell. We send the clearance to the aircraft when the pilot is ready to receive it.

Newer in the mix are Departure Clearance Service (DCL) messages, which are an alternative to PDC messages for aircraft equipped with FANS (Future Air Navigation System) capabilities. DCL messages require a KUSA login. Both PDC and DCL messaging is used for domestic U.S. air traffic.

International flights use a slightly different system and protocol, called Controller Pilot Data Link Communication Clearance (CPDLC) DCL, which uses the A623 message protocol and is accessible on the ATS menu on the FMS.

Honeywell is a leading provider of the datalink services pilots need to use PDC and other text-based communications options. With more than three decades of datalink experience on our resume, Honeywell provides pilots with seamless, worldwide, two-way communication between an aircraft, air traffic control and other ground operations. All through our Honeywell Forge Datalink service portfolio.

James Buckner
Senior Technical Sales Cockpit Services


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