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New System Transforms Communications for Airline Pilots

Under the leadership of the German Aerospace Center, a new system that will lead pilots into the digital world of the 21st century has been tested in flight trials. A single device transmits communications with the ground and via satellite, digitally at high speed. Detailed information, such as the weather or the traffic situation can therefore be exchanged between the tower and the aircraft quickly and reliably, which increases air traffic safety.
"We have developed a system that combines all communication channels in one device and adds a reliable automatic data transfer system to the ground and via satellite. Communication in the cabin and the cockpit is focused outwards," said Simon Plass from the DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation in Oberpfaffenhofen.

Depending on availability, the SANDRA system automatically connects pilots to fast broadband connections, or the pilot can connect using an analogue system. Plass has a clear vision for future air traffic: "One day, the pilot in the cockpit will be able to see all the information on weather, air traffic and current decisions at the same time as his colleagues in the tower. Automatic flight corrections to avoid critical situations and misunderstandings will be much easier."

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