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6/17/21 

AIM 

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9.  Flight Information Services (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. 

a. 

Data link Service Providers (DSPs). DSPs 

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. A DSP may provide a free of 
charge or a for

fee service that permits end users to 

uplink and downlink AI/MET and other information. 
The following are examples of DSPs: 

1. 

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. 

2. 

Non-FAA FIS Systems. Several commercial 

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. Advancements 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 informa-
tion to produce vendor

tailored or vendor

specific 

weather reports and forecasts. 

b. 

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. 

1. 

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. 

2. 

Contract/Demand Mode: A two-way interac-

tion in which AI and/or MET information is 
transmitted to an aircraft in response to a specific 
request. 

3. 

Contract/Update Mode: A two-way interac-

tion 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. 

c. 

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 
guidance. 

d. 

Operational Use of FIS. Regardless of the type 

of FIS system being used, several factors must be 
considered when using FIS: 

1. 

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 

Meteorology 

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