Data Link LOA Support

Be Prepared for Mandates with our Data Link LOA Support!

There is already a mandate in place for aircraft to be Data Link Communications (DLC) equipped and authorized for core tracks in the North Atlantic, and a similar requirement is coming soon for Europe. If your aircraft was recently upgraded with DLC capabilities (including ADS-C or CPDLC), don’t wait to apply for your authorization from the FAA!

We offer support for your authorization with our DLC procedures, either as a supplement to your RVSM / International Operations Manual or as a standalone document. We can also provide you with supporting documentation and assist you in putting together an appropriate and thorough application to your FSDO or IFO.

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We know that the acronyms can get confusing, so there may be something you need without even knowing it.

ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast)

ADS-B systems broadcast your aircraft’s position to ATC and other appropriately equipped aircraft / vehicles using new avionics (usually tied to your transponder). There are two types of ADS-B transmissions: ADS-B Out, which are the transmissions going out from your plane, and ADS-B In, which are transmissions that your aircraft can copy if you have the proper equipment.

Virtually all corporate aircraft are required to be ADS-B Out capable in the United States by 2020. There is no requirement to obtain a Letter of Authorization for domestic ADS-B Out operations. A Letter of Authorization is required for international ADS-B Out operations or any ADS-B In operations.

ADS-C (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Contract)

This is a Data Link Communications application that allows the aircraft to form an automatic position reporting contract with ATC. When enabled, the aircraft will automatically provide data to ATC without further input from the pilots. Although it has some similarity with ADS-B (Broadcast), the two technologies are different systems and have entirely separate standards, mandates, and requirements.

ATN-B (Aeronautical Telecommunication Network – Baseline)

This is a type of Data Link Communications system that provides the aircraft with the capability to perform CPDLC. It is a digital-based system and it is frequently used in continental airspace. (See also “VDL-Mode 2.”)

B-RNAV (Basic Area Navigation)

Also known as “RNAV-5” or “RNP-5”, it refers to an aircraft’s RNP ability in the continental en-route area. An LOA is not strictly required, but is recommended in case you have a SAFA check.

CPDLC (Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications)

This is a Data Link Communications application that allows pilots to provide text reports to ATC in lieu of radio contact. In many airspaces where CPDLC is supported, the preference is for pilots to use CPDLC to send reports to ATC and to receive clearances, with HF radio used as a backup; this helps to alleviate radio congestion.

DLC (Data Link Communications)

This is an umbrella term that covers various technologies, systems, and mandates, including FANS, FANS 1/A, LINK-2000, and more. DLC refers to the aircraft’s ability to communicate with ATC using Data Link functions – specifically, CPDLC and ADS-C. Data Link Communications systems enhance efficiency and safety resulting in lower costs overall for civil and commercial aviation. Some areas of the world are already requiring that aircraft be DLC capable, and a Letter of Authorization is required for DLC operations.

FANS (Future Air Navigation Systems)

This is an analog system that provides CPDLC capability and is used in remote / oceanic airspace.


This is used to refer to a Data Link system that includes both analog (FANS) and digital (ATN-B) components, which is applicable in remote or continental airspace. It can be viewed as the broadest-reaching and most capable Data Link system.


This is the European program that requires aircraft to be CPDLC capable by 2015. If you receive DLC authorization from the FAA, you will also meet the requirements for LINK-2000 and you do not need to obtain additional authorizations.

Note: LINK-2000 is the name of a government program only and does not refer to a specific set of avionics. A LINK-2000 compliant system is ultimately a CPDLC system.

NAT HLA (North Atlantic High Level Airspace)

This refers to the standards required to operate in the North Atlantic (NAT) region. A Letter of Authorization is currently required for NAT HLA / NAT operations, but will eventually be replaced by a PBN requirement.

PBN (Performance Based Navigation)

PBN is an umbrella term for RNAV / RNP specifications and was created to simplify the language used when listing requirements for different airspace. Eventually, Letters of Authorization will be issued based on the “PBN requirements” of an airspace.

P-RNAV (Precision Area Navigation)

Also known as “RNAV-1” or “RNP-1”, it refers to an aircraft’s RNP ability in the terminal area (approaches / departures). An LOA is required for P-RNAV operations, especially when operating in Europe.

RNP (Required Navigation Performance)

This is the aircraft’s ability to meet navigation requirements within a specified margin of error, usually indicated by a number (e.g., RNP-10, RNP-4, etc.). It is similar to “RNAV” and will eventually be referred to by the term “PBN.” Aircraft are required to have an RNP-10 Letter of Authorization to operate on many oceanic routes, and some areas mandate a Letter of Authorization for RNP-4.

RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum)

This is a standard for vertical separation that is usually applied between FL290 and FL410. It requires aircraft to meet certain equipment and performance standards, and a Letter of Authorization is required for RVSM operations.

VDL – Mode 0/A

This is the technical specification for an analog-based Data Link Communications system, also known as FANS.

VDL – Mode 2

This is the technical specification for a digital-based Data Link Communications system, or ATN-B.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you provide Data Link LOA Support / CPDLC training?

Currently, we do not offer instructor-led training for Data Link Communications. Instead, we provide online knowledge testing (quizzes) that you can use as part of an in-house academic training program. Please note that you may still need to complete additional practical training on Data Link systems and procedures before you apply for your LOA.

Is ADS-B the same thing as or a more advanced version of ADS-C?

No. Although there are some similarities in terms of purpose and implementation, ADS-B and ADS-C are two different technologies that utilize separate avionics. Each one has its own set of mandates for operations throughout the world. We offer support services to obtain LOAs for both systems.

Will you apply to the FAA on my behalf?

Because the FAA is providing an operational authorization, they require the Operator or its authorized agent to apply for the LOA. Although we do not formally serve as an agent, we actively advise and support our customers to ensure a successful submission.

Can you send my manual directly to the FAA?

The FAA typically will not accept a manual if it is not sent by the Operator or their Agent for Service. In some cases, we can send documents to a specific Inspector if you have already spoken with them and they are expecting a shipment from us.

What happens if my FSDO doesn’t like the manual?

To date, we have not had any of our manuals denied by the FAA. There may be differences between the various FSDOs and sometimes they will return your application with an expectation for changes to be made. In those situations, we will make all requested changes at no additional charge. We can usually provide the updated manual within 1 to 2 business days.

How long will it take to get my LOA?

It depends on your local FSDO or IFO. We can prepare a manual and application package for you in approximately 2-3 business days or less. However, each individual FAA Office and Inspector has a different workload and process. It may take anywhere between 2 weeks or up to 6 months in some cases for the FAA to approve the application. We recommend that you contact your FSDO directly to obtain the most accurate estimate.

Mandate Preparation with Data Link LOA Support

Be prepared for upcoming mandates and get your CPDLC / ADS-C LOA with our Data Link LOA Support & Communications procedures. Read more.