The system and method of the present invention provides a record of the performance of an aircraft engine. A plurality of sensors sense engine conditions and generate engine data. A ground data link unit is positioned within the aircraft and receives the engine data. A wideband spread spectrum transmitter that can be part of a transceiver downloads the engine data to a ground based spread spectrum receiver that can be part of a transceiver, and receives the wideband spread spectrum communication signal from the aircraft. It demodulates the wideband spread spectrum communication signal to obtain the engine data.