Performance Based Communications and Surveillance (PBCS)

Communications & Surveillance

Eddie sez:

PBCS is akin to Performance Based Navigation (PBN) when it comes to communications and surveillance. You measure PBCS in terms of Required Communications Performance (RCP) and Required Surveillance Performance (RSP). As is true with Required Navigation Performance (RNP), the objective is to pack more and more airplanes in the same amount of airspace.

Everything here is from the references shown below, with a few comments in an alternate color.

Last revision:

2021-02-20


Location

[ICAO Doc 9869, ¶1.6.5] RCP and RSP specifications can be applied to communication and surveillance capabilities in an airspace or to support an ATM operation. Examples of such applications include:

  • a defined airspace (e.g. North Atlantic or Pacific Regions) for safety or to support application of a 5-minute or 55.5 km (30 NM) longitudinal separation minimum;
  • a fixed ATS route (e.g. between Sydney, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand);
  • random track operations (e.g. between Hawaii and Japan); or
  • a volume of airspace (e.g. a block altitude on a specified route).

Performance Standards

[AC 90-117, ¶22.15.1] An RCP specification represents operational parameters for the complete communication transaction. It is identified by a designator (e.g., RCP 240 or RCP 400) in order to simplify the designator naming convention and to make the RCP Expiration Time (ET) readily apparent to airspace planners, aircraft manufacturers, and operators. The designator represents the value for the communication ET after which the initiator is required to revert to an alternative procedure. The RCP specifications are applied to achieve the performance required of the communication process and may support aircraft separation minima.

[ICAO Doc 9869, ¶2.2.1.13] RCP 240 may be applied to maintain the performance for normal means of communication, which supports controller intervention capability in procedurally controlled airspace, where the separation minimum applied is predicated on communication performance.

[ICAO Doc 9869, ¶2.2.1.14 RCP 400 may be applied to maintain the performance for emerging technology (e.g. satellite voice) used to provide normal means of communication supporting controller intervention capability in procedurally controlled airspace, where the separation minimum applied is based on position reporting at compulsory reporting points. RCP 400 may also be applied to maintain the performance required for emerging technologies used to provide alternative means of communication, that may be required in combination with the normal means of communication, to which RCP 240 is applied.

You can think of RCP 400 as old school and RCP 240 as full up CPDLC at the highest levels available in 2020.

[AC 90-117, ¶22.16.3] An RSP specification is identified by a designator (e.g., RSP 180) in order to simplify the designator naming convention and to make the RSP Data Operational Overdue Time (OT) readily apparent to airspace planners, aircraft manufacturers and operators. The designator represents the value for the surveillance data delivery time when the surveillance data delivery is considered overdue. RSP specifications are applied to airspace based on specific objectives (e.g., the performance required of the surveillance process used to support particular separation minima). The RSP specification is a set of requirements/operational parameters for ATS provision and associated ground equipment, aircraft capability, and operations needed to support performance-based surveillance. Surveillance performance requirements are included and allocated to system components (Required Surveillance Technical Performance (RSTP)). It includes surveillance data delivery time, continuity, availability, integrity, and safety. A specified RSP specification is intended to define the surveillance performance required of a surveillance process to support a particular ATM function. RSP specification is applied to the airspace, route, or procedure based on the most stringent RSP specification of the required ATM functions.

[ICAO Doc 9869, ¶2.4.1.1] RSP 180 may be applied to maintain the performance for normal means of surveillance, which supports controller intervention capability in procedurally controlled airspace, where separation minimum applied is predicated on surveillance performance.

[ICAO Doc 9869, ¶2.4.1.11] RSP 400 may be applied to maintain the performance for emerging technology (e.g. satellite voice) used to provide normal means of surveillance supporting controller intervention capability in procedurally controlled airspace, where the separation minimum being applied is based on position reporting at compulsory reporting points. RSP 400 might also be applied to maintain the performance required for emerging technologies used to provide alternative means of surveillance, that may be required in combination with the normal means of surveillance, to which RSP 180 is applied.

You can think of RSP 400 as old school and RSP 180 as full up ADS-C at the highest levels available in 2020.

Documentation / Certification

Aircraft Eligibility

[AC 90-117, ¶3.3] Due to the complexity of the criteria to determine eligibility, the operator must obtain a statement of compliance from the entity that owns the design approval for their data link installation. This may be the aircraft manufacturer, the operator, the manufacturer of the data link system, or another party. The statement of compliance should be provided in the AFM, AFM Supplement, or other acceptable document.

Authorization

You will need A056 to use data link outside the United States and you will have to be authorized specifically to use PBCS airspace at that level.

[FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 3, Chapter 18, §3, A056, ¶B.] This paragraph is for U.S. aircraft and operators conducting data link communications operations under parts 91, 91K, 121, 125 (including part 125 LODA holders), and 135. NOTE: Part 91 operators do not require operational authorization for the use of data link in U.S. domestic airspace. For data link operations in oceanic and remote continental airspace and/or foreign countries requiring specific data link approval, LOA A056 applies.

[FAA Order 8900.1, Volume 3, Chapter 18, §3, A056, ¶C. 1) b)] If applicable, the SOC should reference AC 20-140B or a later revision for any of the following performance specifications:

  • RCP 400, RCP 240; or
  • RSP 400, RSP 180.