International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Declan Selleck (page 1 of 20)

Zimbabwe Coup – Airport update

FVZZ/Zimbabwe (Don’t fly here) There’s a coup happening, watch live on CNN.

FVZA/Harare is operating, but the usual coup-style stuff is going on – lots of soldiers at the airport, checkpoints on the way in, and journalists being denied entry on arriving flights.

The city has tanks on the streets. President under house arrest.

FVZA was renamed last week from Harare International Airport to Robert Mugabe International, this might be swiftly reversed.

Both UK and US embassies are advising people to shelter in place until the situation becomes clear.

CYYR/Goose Bay closed – sticky runways

CYYR/Goose Bay was closed by the Canadian Department of National Defence on Nov 8, following the discovery of a problem with their runways. During snow removal operations over the past few days, crack sealant was found on vehicles after they were used on the runways. Specialists are en-route to Goose Bay to assess the situation.

Runway 08/26 has been completely closed, and Runway 16/34 has closed to all except Medevac flights, with a shortened Landing Distance Available of 7600 feet.

The Airport has said that emergency flights will be considered on a “case by case basis”. However, for now, carrying CYYR as an ETOPS alternate does not make sense.

Current Notams show the airport closure has been extended until 2359Z today, Nov 9, though that may still be extended further.

 

A5669/17 - RWY 08/26 CLSD. 08 NOV 23:16 2017 UNTIL 09 NOV 23:59 2017. CREATED: 08 NOV 23:17 2017
A5670/17 - RWY 16/34 AVBL MEDEVAC ONLY WITH:  
FIRST 1980 FT RWY 34 CLSD. THR 34 IS RELOCATED 1980 FT.
DECLARED DIST:
RWY 34 TORA 7600 TODA 8600 ASDA 7600 LDA 7600
RWY 16 TORA 7600 TODA 7600 ASDA 7600 LDA 7600. 08 NOV 23:16 2017 UNTIL 09 NOV
23:59 2017. CREATED: 08 NOV 23:20 2017

Making a Ramp Check painless (with checklist)

Hello, we’re from the government and we’re here to help“.

The SAFA Program (Safety Assessment  of Foreign Aircraft) is not exclusive to the EU. Your aircraft can be inspected under the program in 47 different countries.

Here are the key points:

  • Ramp checks are possible in every country in the world – but follow a more regulated and common structure in SAFA Countries – totalling 47 – see the map and list below.
  • There is a standard checklist that is used by Inspectors in all SAFA countries, which you should be familiar with – see further down.
  • Three categories of findings have been defined. A “Category 1” finding is called a minor finding; “Category 2” is a significant finding and “Category 3” a major finding. The terms “minor”, “significant” and “major” relate to the level of influence on safety.
  • If there is a “corrective actions before flight authorised” finding – then the inspector is concerned and a repair must be made before the aircraft is released to fly.
SAFA

Unless your aircraft looks like this, you have little to worry about.

Here’s how a ramp check normally goes down:

  • The flight selected will either be your last of 6 legs for the day, or after a gruelling 12 hour jetlag-inducer, or at 3am when you were thinking about a quick nap during the turnaround. This much is guaranteed.
  • As you pull on to the stand, you will notice more yellow vests than normal hanging around.
  • Two of these will be your friendly ramp inspection team (to be fair, they almost always are)
  • A short time later, those yellow vests will be in the cockpit, and the first request will be for a look at your license, medical, aircraft documents (like Insurance, Airworthiness), and flight paperwork. Make sure you’ve done your fuel checks and there are a few marks on the flight plan.
  • If you get a good cop, bad cop scenario, one will disappear down the back (this will be the nice guy) and check the cabin, while the first will stay and ask you tough questions about the TCAS system.
  • Some time later, you’ll get a list of findings. The average check is probably about 30 minutes.
  • You can be guaranteed they will always have at least one finding – which will probably be obscure.
  • Sign off the checklist, and you’re on your way.

 

Some interesting points:

  • The Inspectors can ask you for manuals, documents, or guidance – but they are not supposed to test your knowledge of procedures, regulations, or technical matters. This doesn’t always happen in practice – so if you get a tough question – just say “I don’t know” – and let them note it if they want to. This isn’t a classroom test.
  • This guidance is given to Inspectors: Delaying an operator for a non-safety related issue is not only frustrating to the operator, it also could result in unwanted human factor issues with possible negative effects on the flight preparation. They can (should) only delay your flight for a safety related issue.
  • Some recent favourites: TCAS 7.1 – show me it and how it works (they just want to see that you have the current version), extra pair of eye glasses if noted on medical certificate, show me working personal flashlights, show me the aircraft manuals, and how you know they are up to date, show me your duty time rules.
  • Remember, it’s not you that’s being inspected. It’s your aircraft. If you’re uncomfortable with the questions, get them noted and allow your operator to discuss later.
  • Every inspector is a little different. Work with them and you’ll find that 90% of your ramp checks will be over in 20 minutes with little issue.
  • That guy that says he’s flown for 30 years and never had a ramp check probably isn’t lying. There aren’t that many of them, and you might go a long time without them.
  • Private Operators – especially in GA (even more so under the 5700kg mark) – are far less likely to get ramp checked. EASA guidelines do apply to General Aviation, but they are far more interested in Commercial Operators.

 


The Countries

SAFA

47 Participating States – those not in the EU are in bold below, and green/orange above.

Albania, Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Republic of Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Macedonia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.

 

The Checklist

 

Download by clicking above, or here: FSB SAFA RampChecklist

 

The Stats

These are interesting as background to the Program – although they are from 2012, which is the date of the most recent report from EASA on the SAFA program (thanks International Flight Resources for the summary)

 

– 2012 had just over 11,000 inspections performed, over twice as many as 2005.
– Most frequent private operator’s country of registration inspected was USA, Isle of Man, Germany
– Frequency of inspections is almost evenly split between EU and Non-EU countries. Largest number of SAFA locations were France (71), Italy (34), UK (31) and Germany (30)
– On average, 40 of the 54 possible items were inspected each time with 46% of the findings labeled “Significant”
– “Significant” findings are reported to the operator and the registered CAA. These will also require “Corrective action” prior to flight
– Latin American/Carib operators had the most number of findings
– USA and African operators were tied for second place
– Largest percentage of operators inspected: Germany (7.0%), Russian Federation and UK (6.8%), Turkey (4.9%) and USA (4.5%). France was 2.2%.

 

Resources:

 

How did your recent ramp check go down? Comment below …

Missile attack on OERK/Riyadh was “warning shot”, other airports now targets

A Yemeni Army spokesman has said that last Saturdays missile attack on OERK was a “warning shot”.

The missile was launched from rebel territory in Yemen, specifically targeting OERK/Riyadh King Khalid airport. Although most mainstream media carried the “missile was intercepted” story, we’re not sure that this is the case – even if it was, parts of it did fall on airport property and there was a visible explosion.

The spokesman said “the missile that targeted King Khalid airport was a warning shot and we warn all companies to prevent landing of their planes in the UAE and Saudi Arabia airports”.

Given that the Yemeni rebels have demonstrated their capability of reaching their target, there is some credibility to the threat.

Operators should consider this in operations to OE** and OM** airports.

At present, there is no indication of increased threat to overflight of Saudi or UAE airspace.

On Monday, the Saudi Arabia coalition closed all air, sea and land borders with Yemen after the missile strike on Riyadh on Nov 4, effectively closing all airports in Yemen. Yemenia airlines said that the coalition, which controls Yemen’s airspace, had declined it permission to fly out of Aden and Seiyun, the only two remaining functioning airports. OYSN/Sanaa has been closed since August 2016.

Also, all UN humanitarian flights to Yemen, one of the few international operators, have been cancelled after flights were no longer given clearance from the Saudi-led coalition to land in the country.

SCATANA remains active in the southwestern portion of the Jeddah FIR, no new Notams have been issued in relation to the last few days.

For further:

  • Monitor Saudi Arabia page on SafeAirspace
  • Monitor OPSGROUP member updates
  • Talk to us at team@fsbureau.org

 

Iraq ATC strike – update

At 0800 local this morning, Iraqi controllers returned to work. For the last few days, Iraqi ATC had been on strike for better pay, effectively closing the Baghdad FIR and intermittently Baghdad and Basra airports. An 80nm in trail requirement has been removed. Military controllers, pictured above, who had been running ORBI/Baghdad Airport have completed their duties.

Local ATC controllers tell us that the strike is over – they are running what they call ‘ops normal’ for two weeks, before they will/may strike again as negotiations continue. Inside word is that a number of local controllers have been fired, and Serco were providing most of the staff to cover the centre. Baghdad FIR Control Centre and Iraqi Airports are running normally – for now.

We are still expecting the FAA to remove the restriction for US operators using the Baghdad FIR, this is a separate issue. No further news on that just yet.

New, single CPDLC logon for US airspace

In case you missed the several hundred Notams this week, KUSA is the new identifier for all datalink logons in the US, including CPDLC-DCL, and enroute, which came into use on October 22nd. Now, the only logon you need is KUSA.

For all you could possibly want to know about Datalink operations in the US, take a peek at the new AC90-117, ” an overview of data link communication operations for U.S. domestic
operations and in oceanic and remote continental airspace”, which we’ve uploaded here.

More readable is the FAA’s CPDLC-DCL guide, uploaded here.

There are some comments that it doesn’t work properly if you don’t have an active FPL in the box, let us know your experiences on that in the comment section below.

 

Storm: Central America landfall of Selma on Saturday

Tropical Storm Selma is heading for Central America, landfall El Salvador coast on Saturday, current winds 35G45 kts.

Monitor:

  • http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/
  • https://www.cyclocane.com/

Inbound Japan this weekend: Tropical Storm Saola

Tropical Storm Saola is south of Japan, gusts to 80kts, will affect southerly Japan airports ROAH, RJFF, RJFK on Sunday and on current track Tokyo likely affected by Monday.

Monitor:

  • http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/
  • https://www.cyclocane.com/

EGGW/London Luton to close for 27 nights

EGGW/Luton will be closed for 27 nights from 0000L to 0530L daily, starting Monday, November 6th and ending the morning of Sunday, December 3rd, 2017 for runway resurfacing.

So, late night and early morning arrivals and departures won’t be possible.

Standard operations will be practiced outside of these hours, with little to no disruption expected during daytime.

Baghdad FIR still reopening – but wait a little

So, last week we told you that Iraqi Airspace was about to re-open to international overflights. It still is, though the bit where it was going to happen this week is no longer true.

The FAA were about to hit ‘publish’ on a Notam this past Monday,  which would have enabled US airlines to start overflying Iraq again. The text of this Notam included:

  • An amendment to the existing Iraq restriction
  • An authorisation for US airlines and operators to overfly Iraq at or above FL260

But then, a military operation by Iraqi forces to take control of Kirkuk from the Kurds the same day, created concern as to overflight safety. Kirkuk sits pretty much underneath the UM860 airway on the map below.

So for now, do nothing and wait. It seems the situation is de-escalating, and we expect now that the Notam may be issued as early as next week.

Once that happens, we’d expect other countries to follow suit and allow overflights in the same way, meaning that these two airways will become busy again.

Keep an eye out, we’ll let you know.

See also:

 

 

Older posts
International Ops Bulletin
You are welcome to receive our weekly bulletin on upcoming Airport closures, Security issues, ATC restrictions, Airspace changes, and New Charts
Sent to you every Wednesday
Thanks, I'm already a reader.