A system and method for providing a retrievable record of the flight performance of an aircraft is disclosed and includes a ground data link unit that obtains flight performance data representative of aircraft flight performance during flight of the aircraft. An archival data store is operative to accumulate and store flight performance data during flight of the aircraft. A spread spectrum transceiver is coupled to the archival data store and includes a transmitter that is operative after the aircraft completes its flight and lands at an airport to download the flight performance data that has been accumulated and stored over one of a plurality of sub-band frequency channels of a spread spectrum communication signal. The frequency is chosen based upon the position of the aircraft determined by an onboard global positioning system. An airport based spread spectrum receiver receives the spread spectrum communication signal from the aircraft and demodulates the signal to obtain the flight performance data.