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Honeywell Forge Gives More Pilots Access to Digital ATIS Info

Honeywell Forge Gives More Pilots Access to Digital ATIS Info

It’s easier for business jet flight crews to get timely information about their destination airport with enhanced datalink capabilities from Honeywell Forge, the new in-flight connectivity, flight planning and optimization, and flight database services platform from Honeywell.

Generations of pilots have relied on Honeywell datalink services to deliver reliable, real-time digital communication between their aircraft and the ground, including connecting flight crews and air traffic control authorities. 

Pilots use the automatic terminal information service (ATIS) to give them essential information needed to land safely and efficiently at busy airports all over the world. The ATIS provides current weather information, active runways, available approaches and other useful bits of data.

ATIS is delivered as a continuous audio recording that pilots access before contacting with the air traffic controller. The recording is updated regularly and assigned a letter code (alpha, bravo, etc.) to ensure pilots and controllers are on the same page and are using the most up-to-date information when they speak to each other.

As aircraft and ATC have become more digitized and connected, airports also provide ATIS information to the cockpit via a datalink service, like ACARS. Information is uploaded to the aircraft using an ARINC format. Flight crews see the information as text on their flight management system or electronic flight bag screen.  

Most pilots prefer Digital ATIS (D-ATIS), which provides anytime, anywhere access to terminal information. This means flight crews can anticipate airport conditions and start preparing for their approach and landing much earlier than with the conventional audio version of ATIS, which is only available as the aircraft nears the terminal area.

An update of the ARINC format to Version 623 prevents some business jets with legacy avionics systems from receiving D-ATIS messages. Honeywell estimates that as many as 30-35 percent of business aircraft are unable to receive digital messages, meaning those operators are limited to using the less-preferred audio version of ATIS.

The newest Honeywell Forge Datalink software release solves the problem and opens the world of D-ATIS to the entire business aviation community. The Honeywell software automatically translates ARINC Version 623 messages sent by air traffic control into a digital format legacy avionics can receive and display in the cockpit.

The whole process is transparent to Honeywell Forge datalink customers, including users of the new low-cost Honeywell Forge Lite Link datalink plan, which is ideal for operators who fly less frequently.

Honeywell continues to build on more than three decades of datalink experience to set the standard for the business aviation industry, with datalink services that are highly reliable and always available.  

James Buckner
Senior Technical Sales Cockpit Services

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