IFATC in real life? Hello, CPDLC!

December, 5, 2021 by

Most of us are familiar with the IFATC system that we use and love in Infinite Flight. But here’s a thought: what if such a system was implementable in the real world?

Enter CPDLC, aka Controller-Pilot Data Link Communications. What is this all about?


CPDLC is a two-way data-link system by which controllers can transmit non urgent ‘strategic messages to an aircraft as an alternative to voice communications. The message is displayed on a flight deck visual display.

The CPDLC application provides air-ground data communication for the ATC service. It enables a number of data link services (DLS) that provide for the exchange of communication management and clearance/information/request messages which correspond to voice phraseology employed by air traffic control procedures. CPDLC consists of text messages transmitted between air traffic controllers and the pilots of aircraft in the air and on the ground. Those messages are operational, and communicate ‘non-urgent strategic messages’ as an alternative to voice communications.

Sooraj Bishnoi is a contributor for the IFATC Education Group. He is a music producer and singer-songwriter by profession, and is also a real-world pilot. He holds a multi-engine commercial pilot certificate, as well as an advanced and instrument ground instructor rating, and is keen on learning and helping others learn from his real-world and virtual experiences.