Unique text message technology helping UPS pilots at Louisville - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Unique text message technology helping UPS pilots at Louisville airport

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Captain Gregg Kastman has used the text message system on more than 800 UPS flights. Captain Gregg Kastman has used the text message system on more than 800 UPS flights.
Before an airplane can take off, a flight plan must be uploaded to its navigation system. Instead of pilots doing this manually, these new text messages will do it for them. Before an airplane can take off, a flight plan must be uploaded to its navigation system. Instead of pilots doing this manually, these new text messages will do it for them.
"I don't have to write it down, I don't have to type it in -- potential human errors -- the more that can be done automated the less likely for a navigation error," said Captain Gregg Kastman, a UPS pilot. "I don't have to write it down, I don't have to type it in -- potential human errors -- the more that can be done automated the less likely for a navigation error," said Captain Gregg Kastman, a UPS pilot.
Planes with this technology can get their text message information and be on their way. Planes with this technology can get their text message information and be on their way.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- UPS officials say Louisville is one of the eight airports in the country rolling out a new tech system allowing pilots and traffic control towers to send text messages back and forth. 

Before an airplane can take off, a flight plan must be uploaded to its navigation system. Instead of pilots doing this manually, these new text messages will do it for them.

"I don't have to write it down, I don't have to type it in -- potential human errors -- the more that can be done automated the less likely for a navigation error," said Captain Gregg Kastman, a UPS pilot.

Captain Gregg Kastman has used the text message system on more than 800 UPS flights.

"Just two weeks ago, on one of my flights to Orlando, Florida they had a reroute for us and changed about the first 1/3 of my flight. So, I was able to receive that clearance right here and able to upload it and quickly process the message and be on our way," said Kastman.

It also speeds up the process for planes waiting to take off.

"It's especially valuable if there are any changes after we start to taxi to the runway, if we have to do all of this via voice and there is five, ten or 15 aircraft all waiting to get their new route clearances on one voice frequency it can take a long time," said Kastman.

Not all planes have this technology though. The ones that do can get their text message information and be on their way.

"With only one radio frequency to utilize for all of the airplanes if half of the airplanes are receiving their new clearance via text message the other half of the airplanes don't have to wait as long in line for their message," said Kastman.

The new system will free up the runway and keep things moving.

"So, it's more efficient, it's a quicker way to get information out to the airplanes, and if there is several airplanes waiting to take off and weather has affected routing that we all have to fly, the tower can send multiple airplanes new reroutes very quickly. It's safer because we can look at this routing on the screen and automatically update our flight management computers with that," said Kastman.

The automation reduces human error and increases accuracy and efficiency.

"So, it has a lot of benefits over traditional voice communication," said Kastman.

Officials say they expect all airlines to adopt this technology within the next few years.

By the end of the year 56 airports in the U.S. will have the new system installed.

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