In the broadband era, a 1970s telegraphy system should be a walking dinosaur; yet aviation still has the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS). And the two main providers, Rockwell Collins and SITAOnAir, are busy hooking it up to modern, more capable networks. Both companies are endeavoring to keep ACARS in operation, counting on well-established practices at airlines and in air traffic control (ATC). ACARS stemmed from practical accounting needs—a way to ...

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