Text message landing clearance

OMG, U R Clr 2 Lnd
After suffering a total electrical failure last November, a Piper Seneca pilot received his landing clearance via a text message on his mobile phone. The Seneca had taken off from Kerry, Ireland, on a flight to Jersey in the United Kingdom, and the 39-year-old pilot reported he lost all electrical power en route. He called the Cork, Ireland, air traffic control facility on his mobile phone, advised them of his situation, but soon lost the connection. Realizing that text signals are more robust than voice, the quick-thinking controller issued a text message to the pilot’s phone, indicating that the aircraft was in radar contact, and the pilot was clear to land at the airport in Cork. After a flyby to confirm that the manually extended landing gear appeared down and locked, the twin landed without further incident. None of the five occupants was injured. A report issued last week from the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch praised the controller for his resourcefulness in recognizing that a text message might get through even after voice contact was lost.

This shows how modern electronics can be used to improve the air traffic control system. How about this becomes standard- there is a computer on board all aircraft that receives ATC messages and displays them on a screen, and controllers will then be able to limit radio communications and send standard messages- such as headings, departure/arrival/approach vectors and altitudes, takeoff/ landing clearances etc. with the touch of a few buttons, and pilots can read back by pressing a button on their end.

So, why do we need all that meatware in the loop?

that’s a good idea, but I think these kind of things are so rare that most companies wouldn’t be interested in investing in this.

ACARS can do that already. It’s been talked about (issue ATC instructions via data link) before.

I suppose it’s a good idea. Never gave it much thought. We use it now to communicate with our company, but not ATC.

Just hope the controller doesn’t tend to transpose headings… Like sending you 310 when he meant 130…

It’s part of the now and the future with ADS-X (Automatic Dependant Surveillance) and CPDLC (Controller Pilot Data Link Communications).

From a avionics meeting I attended last year. CLICK HERE

I wonder if they could incorporate this into the PFD’s of planes (like the Cirrus, Cessna, Mooney, Piper, Beech etc.). Isn’t there something similar to this in airline cockpits, where the company can send messages to the flight crew?

I heard two girls in a Seneca from my old flight school had complete electrical failure and conversed with ATC via cell phone (voice, not text) last summer.

CPDLC is already very common in the Pacific Oceanic area, and I’d imagine that goes for the Atlantic side too. It’s stands to be a big part of the “nextgen” atc system, whenever that gets here. I don’t think a CPDLC like system will completely replace voice comm though. Also when I was in the military, stationed in Mississippi, it wasn’t uncommon for pilots to call for their clearance using their cellphones sitting in the plane at the end of the runway of many of the small uncontrolled airports in our airspace.

My local tower staff have said its fine to call them. They’ve also said their phone takes a back seat to everything else.