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11. Flight Information Services (FIS)

a. FIS

. FIS is a method of disseminating

meteorological (MET) and aeronautical information

(AI) to displays in the cockpit in order to enhance

pilot situational awareness, provide decision support

tools, and improve safety. FIS augments traditional

pilot voice communication with Flight Service

Stations (FSSs), ATC facilities, or Airline Operations

Control Centers (AOCCs). FIS is not intended to

replace traditional pilot and controller/flight service

specialist/aircraft dispatcher preflight briefings or

inflight voice communications. FIS, however, can

provide textual and graphical information that can

help abbreviate and improve the usefulness of such

communications. FIS enhances pilot situational

awareness and improves safety.


Data link Service Providers (DLSP) - DLSP

deploy and maintain airborne, ground-based, and, in

some cases, space-based infrastructure that supports

the transmission of AI/MET information over one or

more physical links. DLSP may provide a free of

charge or for-fee service that permits end users to

uplink and downlink AI/MET and other information.

The following are examples of DLSP:


FAA FIS-B. A ground-based broadcast

service provided through the ADS-B Universal

Access Transceiver (UAT) network. The service

provides users with a 978 MHz data link capability

when operating within range and line-of-sight of a

transmitting ground station. FIS-B enables users of

properly equipped aircraft to receive and display a

suite of broadcast weather and aeronautical informa-

tion products.


Non-FAA FIS Systems. Several commer-

cial vendors provide customers with FIS data over

both the aeronautical spectrum and on other

frequencies using a variety of data link protocols.

Services available from these providers vary greatly

and may include tier based subscriptions. Advance-

ments in bandwidth technology permits preflight as

well as inflight access to the same MET and AI

information available on the ground. Pilots and

operators using non-FAA FIS for MET and AI

information should be knowledgeable regarding the

weather services being provided as some commercial

vendors may be repackaging NWS sourced weather,

while other commercial vendors may alter the

weather information to produce vendor−tailored or

vendor−specific weather reports and forecasts.


Three Data Link Modes. There are three data

link modes that may be used for transmitting AI and

MET information to aircraft. The intended use of the

AI and/or MET information will determine the most

appropriate data link service.


Broadcast Mode: A one-way interaction

in which AI and/or MET updates or changes

applicable to a designated geographic area are

continuously transmitted (or transmitted at repeated

periodic intervals) to all aircraft capable of receiving

the broadcast within the service volume defined by

the system network architecture.


Contract/Demand Mode: A two-way

interaction in which AI and/or MET information is

transmitted to an aircraft in response to a specific



Contract/Update Mode: A two-way inter-

action that is an extension of the Demand Mode.

Initial AI and/or MET report(s) are sent to an aircraft

and subsequent updates or changes to the AI and/or

MET information that meet the contract criteria are

automatically or manually sent to an aircraft.


To ensure airman compliance with Federal

Aviation Regulations, manufacturer’s operating

manuals should remind airmen to contact ATC

controllers, FSS specialists, operator dispatchers, or

airline operations control centers for general and

mission critical aviation weather information and/or

NAS status conditions (such as NOTAMs, Special

Use Airspace status, and other government flight

information). If FIS products are systemically

modified (for example, are displayed as abbreviated

plain text and/or graphical depictions), the modifica-

tion process and limitations of the resultant product

should be clearly described in the vendor’s user



Operational Use of FIS. Regardless of the

type of FIS system being used, several factors must

be considered when using FIS:


Before using FIS for inflight operations,

pilots and other flight crewmembers should become

familiar with the operation of the FIS system to be

used, the airborne equipment to be used, including its

system architecture, airborne system components,

coverage service volume and other limitations of the

particular system, modes of operation and indications

of various system failures. Users should also be

familiar with the specific content and format of the

services available from the FIS provider(s). Sources

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