Last week we reported on an equipment issue with Iridium satcom that prompted a ban by a number of Oceanic ATC agencies. Some aircraft were receiving massively delayed clearances sent by ATC via CPDLC – and one took the instruction and climbed 1000 feet, even though the message was meant for the flight the aircraft operated previously.
Today, we checked-in again with all the oceanic ATC centres, to see what their current policy is on the issue.
EGGX/Shanwick told FSB that they are aware of the issue, reviewed it, but have decided not to ban the use of Iridium for either CPDLC or ADS-C just yet. LPPO/Santa Maria have the same position. So, in this airspace, you can use Iridium, for now.
CZQX/Gander said they did a safety analysis of it, and decided not to ban it. They have all kinds of conformance alerts in place to prevent any problems from happening – so if aircraft deviate they get notified immediately.
BIRD/Reykjavik aren’t that concerned about the issue – they use HF most of the time anyway.
New York (KZNY and KZWY)
All these centres have published Notams instructing crews not to use Iridium for CPDLC or ADS-C. Until the fault is fixed, in those regions you’ll have to either use HF for ATC comms, or use another SAT provider.
Auckland (NZZO) and Brazil (Atlantico SBAO) have applied the ban to CPDLC alone. Use ADS-C if you like.
From Iridium themselves, they told FSB: “We’ve updated their queue management system. Every minute, there is a queue check. If there is any message that is older than 4 minutes, it marks as timed out, and will not be delivered. This update was done at ground level, so it does not require any software updates by the user. We’re still waiting on feedback from FAA workgroup on the fix and if it’s sufficient to allow use of Iridium for CPDLC and ADS-C.”
That’s it for now! We’ll keep you posted, or, even better – tell us below in the comment section if you hear news.