International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Author: Declan Selleck (page 1 of 22)

Russia is not closing its airspace to American flights

On April 17, the Russian Ministry of Transport extended overflight approvals for US airlines through to October 28, 2018 – just hours before the old agreement on overflights was due to expire.

This should bring an end to the rumour that had been circulating all week that Russia has closed its airspace to US aircraft, and were denying overflights. There are a couple of unrelated events which caused this confusion:

1. US strikes on Syria on April 14, with rhetoric of Russia retaliation – which in the end didn’t happen.

2. Spooked about how Russia might respond directly after the strikes, American Airlines temporarily decided not to overfly Russia on some of their flights from the US to Hong Kong… but then they quickly went back to doing so again on April 15.

3. With the deadline looming for extending the agreement, Russian civil aviation officials had reportedly cancelled a meeting in Washington earlier this week to discuss renewing the agreement.

4. Some areas of the Baltic Sea are closed on April 19 for Russian missile firing, which is a routine event.

 

References – all the relevant stories are here:

 

FSB and OPSGROUP win bid to control 1.8 million km area of Pacific Airspace

Clipperton Oceanic starts operations today, and is the worlds newest piece of airspace.

This one is different though – the users are in charge.

Flight Service Bureau, together with OpsGroup, takes official control today of the Clipperton Flight Information Region (FIR) in the South Pacific, a 1.8 million square kilometre chunk of airspace west of the Galapagos Islands and north of Tahiti. The FIR has been unused since 1958, when the Clipperton Oceanic centre and radio service closed.

Announcing the news in an official Press ReleaseFrancois Renard, PM of the Clipperton Government said: “We are a little island but we are proud of our history in Pacific aviation. The years from 1937-1958, when Clipperton Oceanic was a name known to all passing aircraft, are looked back on fondly here. Now, we look forward – to a resumption of traffic on these once busy routes, and we are confident that FSB and OpsGroup are the key to making this happen”.

For the first time, regulations are set by the users. There is no requirement for PBCS, RNP, ADS-B, ADS-C, GNS, GNSS, HLA, MNPS, RLAT, RLON, SLOP, or any of the other exponentially increasing acronyms that operators struggle to keep up with. No LOA’s, no slots, no delays. And no ramp checks. There are no Notams. Although it is large, it’s a simple piece of airspace, and that allows for a simple approach.

Juergen Meyer, a Lufthansa A350 Captain, and a long standing OpsGroup member said: “We’ve seen enough. Ercan (the Cyprus based Turkish ATC centre) doesn’t officially exist, yet you have to call them every time. French Guyana seems to have abandoned their ATC centre. Several African countries have outsourced their entire Permit Department, meaning you have to pay extortionate amounts just to secure a routine overflight. Greece and Turkey continue to hijack the Notam system for a diplomatic war. CASA Australia, like many others, continues to publish absolutely unreadable Notams, endangering safety. Nobody dares to enter the Simferopol FIR. The French ATC service is on strike more often than they are not. Libya lies about the security risks at their airports. Egypt and Kenya refuse to publish safety information because it would harm their tourism.”

Jack Peterson, an Auckland based operator of 2 G550’s, said: “If all these agencies can exist with a poor service, then why not try something different? Clipperton puts the users in charge, and we get to decide whether any of these rules or procedures actually serve us. Now that we have our own airspace, we can make it safe and user-friendly rather than user-hostile. And the South Pacific is the perfect place to start.”

FSB have also banned Ramp Checks within the region, a practice where pilots are taken hostage by the local Civil Aviation Authority during routine flights, and held accountable for the mistakes of their company, not being released from the ordeal until they submit with a signature.

The Clipperton FIR has a chequered history. The island is named after a Pirate (John Clipperton). First activated in 1937, Clipperton Oceanic Radio provided a Flight Information and Weather service to trans-Pacific flights for 21 years, until it lost funding from a French-British-American government coalition in 1958.

In 1967, the Soviet Union attempted to takeover the airspace, offering to build several Surveillance Radars on the island. That was seen by the United Nations as a cover story, with their interest being more likely centred on having additional monitoring territory proximate to the US.

Since then, the Flight Information Region has remained dormant, appearing in most Flight Planning systems as “XX04”. Until the agreement with FSB, no service of any kind was provided.

The Clipperton FIR, still marked on the Skyvector chart as “XX04” (Click to expand)

The move has been seen by some observers as similar to the delegation of control of Kosovo airspace to Hungary in 2013, under a 5-year agreement that will likely be extended. Reinhard Kettu, newly appointed Oceanic Director, FSB, commented: “It’s not really the same thing. The Kosovo thing was just a delegation of Air Traffic Control, and at that, just for civil aircraft. Here, in Clipperton, FSB is taking full control of the aviation system. That will allow us to introduce an across-the-board user-first system.

On the Notam issue, FSB founder Mark Zee commented: “We’ve made things really simple here. Critical Notams, for the most part, tell us of a binary Yes/No for availability. Runway closed, ILS unavailable, Frequency u/s. It’s basically an On/Off switch, and the existing system handles that pretty well. When it comes to everything else, they fail, badly. So much rubbish about unlit towers, cranes, birds, and the rest. That makes up the noise. So, we’ve banned them in this new airspace, while we work on a better system. We will notify operators through the DCA of any withdrawn essential service or facility, for example if our HF is broken. Nothing else.”

Operationally, there are two new airways, UN351 and UN477, with 8 associated waypoints. HF is provided on the South Pacific MWARA Network, on the same frequencies as Auckland, Brisbane, Nadi, and Tahiti – 5643 and 8867 will be the primary ones.

Flight plans should be addressed to NPCXZQZX and NPCXZOZX. Although only HF is required to enter the airspace, CPDLC is provided and the AFN logon is NPCX. To begin, only a Flight Information Service is provided; no alerting, SAR, or Air Traffic Control service is part of the agreement. The rest is detailed in Clipperton AIC 03/18.

FSB and the Clipperton Government have also partnered with Thales and the KPA Military Construction Unit in a US$27 million agreement to build an entirely new Oceanic Control Centre on the Island, to be completed by 2021. “Until then, we will rely on HF and position reporting, but from 2021 we will be able to use space-based ADS-B”, said Mr. Kettu.

Clipperton Oceanic welcomes all. If you’re passing, say hello on HF. And if you’re planning to enter the airspace, make sure to read AIC03/18.

Media contacts:

Further Reading:

New Unsafe Airspace Summary and Map

March 20, 2018: One of our biggest missions in OPSGROUP is to share risk information and keep operators aware of the current threat picture. The latest Unsafe Airspace Summary is now published, and available to members here as a PDF download (Unsafe Airspace Summary 20MAR2018, edition LIMA).

The main changes since the last summary are below. For a current risk map, refer to the Airspace Risk map in your member Dashboard.

The situation in Afghanistan remains similar. On March 13, Germany added wording to maintain FL330 or higher,  still recommending against landings at Afghan airports.

Germany also issued updated NOTAMs for Mali, Iraq, and South Sudan. All warnings remain as previous, unchanged from the prior NOTAMs.

PBCS PITA – here’s the latest Rumours and Facts

Well, we’ve been up all night on this one. PBCS is a bit of a minefield right now. But, very cool to get so much OPSGROUP input on this – about 100 replies. We have straightened out the Rumours vs Facts below, and this is our best shot at the present picture of PBCS.

Don’t take any of it as total fact, but we have redacted the best picture from the various experts in the group (and there are some great people – we should say a big THANK YOU!).

Got corrections? Comments below …

Oh for the days of HF and a dodgy INS accurate to about 6 miles. Anyhow ….

Results after OPSGROUP input – updated March 16th, 2018

RumourFact
PBCS is being delayed for a year.ICAO set the roll-out of PBCS as March 29th. It’s up to each individual country to implement. Each country is setting the requirements for their operators differently. The FAA requires a new A056. EASA operators mostly don’t need any new paperwork. There is no delay for the introduction of PBCS (but read on for the FAA extension).
FAA - A056 update requirement is being delayedTrue. What is being extended is the A056 LOA authorization renewal deadline, to June 30, 2018 for private (Part 91) operators only. Notice N 8900.445 has now been updated, and is available here: http://fsims.faa.gov/wdocs/notices/n8900_455.pdf
If you don’t have PBCS, you can’t fly the NAT TracksTrue and false. Here’s the deal: After March 29th, you need PBCS to operate between FL350-390 on PBCS tracks. If you don’t have PBCS, you can operate only on those tracks FL350-390 that are not PBCS tracks. You can also cross, climb/descend, or route via an entry/exit point that is part of a PBCS track, but that’s it.

There will only be three PBCS tracks until 28th March 2019 (or the filing of PBCS designators reaches the 90% mark, but that’s not likely to happen before then). The NAT OTS Message each day will tell you what the PBCS tracks are. Got it? Cool.
I need a new LOA A056 even if I don’t have or need PBCS [N-reg aircraft]True. All US operators with datalink need a new A056. Let’s write this bit carefully: After March 29th, if you don’t have a new A056 - you definitely cannot use PBCS tracks (since you haven’t yet listed PBCS on your A056).

However, with the new extension to June 30, 2018 for private operators (Part 91), you can use datalink until then - meaning you are not going to be excluded from the NAT DLM airspace other than PBCS tracks. We think we have this bit right - lots of discussion on this one.
There is a backlog of A056 applicationsYes, there is a backlog, best guess is around 1000 applications sitting at the FAA across the country. And this is why the deadline for A056 is being extended to June 30th, 2018 (see above).
Honeywell FMS has a problemTrue. There’s a list of aircraft that won’t be able to get PBCS approval (corrected list below). The Falcon 8X and G650 are OK. Honeywell is working on a fix. Rumoured to take 4 months. Until Honeywell fixes this issue, the FAA will not grant PBCS approval for aircraft carrying the mentioned FMS.
Boeing aircraft have a problemTrue. There are issues with the FMS’s of B747 (Legacy FMC), and B777 AIMS 1. Additionally, some B737 NG’s and MD11’s cannot be PBCS approved at present due to FMS issues.
There needs to be an AFM Statement of Compliance (Aircraft Flight Manual).True. For Bombardier aircraft, they are working on validating the current FANS 1/A+ system with the latest FAA guidance and will update the AFM to state the aircraft PBCS capabilities. The expected date of approval is May 2018 and is conditional on the aviation authorities. For other manufacturers, no info as yet.

These aircraft have Honeywell FMS’s that have the Latency Problem:

  1. All NZ-2010 Equipped Aircraft – NZ-2010 (NZ6.1)
  2. Bombardier Global Express/XRS/Global 5000 – IC-810 (NZ6.1)
  3. Dassault F900C/EX (Primus 2000) – IC-810 (NZ6.1)
  4. Dassault F900DX/EX/LX (EASy II) – EPIC (NZ7.1.2)
  5. Dassault F2000DX/EX/LX/S (EASy II) – EPIC (NZ7.1.2)
  6. Dassault F7X (EASy II) – EPIC (NZ7.1.2)
  7. Dornier 328-100 Turboprop – NZ (NZ6.2)
  8. Gulfstream GV – IC-810 (NZ6.1)
  9. Gulfstream G450 – EPIC (NZ7.1.2)
  10. Gulfstream G550 – EPIC (NZ7.1.2)


Latest Links:

United States – for N-reg aircraft


Canada 

Europe

NAT Region
Happy PBCS’ing!

The NOTAM Goat Show 2018

We’re on the hunt for prize Notams. 

In every definition of a Notam that exists, including the ICAO one, it includes these words: “the timely knowledge of which is essential“. Unfortunately, many Notam-creators’ sense of the essential shows a clear failure to understand the term . This is CNN’s version of fake news at it’s worst.

Now, we recently found one that listed peak goat-grazing times near the airport, so we thought we’d run a NOTAM Goat Show. And there will be prizes. We’re looking for the worst: the most irrelevant, the most useless, the most boring, the most unreadable. All those crappy Notams that are part of the 100 page print out you get in your flight briefing.

Send us your worst! goatams@fsbureau.org

There will be prizes, and as fun as all this is, you actually are helping to solve the problem of Bullshit Notams. We’re working on it.

 

ATC, CAA, Airports, Rulemakers – join our OPSGROUP Slack community

OPSGROUP is an international community of Pilots, Dispatchers, Controllers and Aircraft Operators. We have 4000 members across 90 countries, responsible for managing and operating Airline, Corporate, Private and Military flights. Members share information and work together to make International Flight Operations easier.

Every day in different channels in slack – an app that allows live discussion –  there are discussions on the latest rule changes, airspace rules, airport , big weather, incidents, events – anything that might make your day more interesting, especially if you don’t know about it.

We have multiple channels discussion International Operations across the world.

So, to make our discussions better – and get more input from the official side – we are inviting controllers – Tower, Approach, Enroute, CAA’s, FAA’s, Airport operators – to join and be there to see what operators want to know from you.

We are inviting YOU to join the discussion. If you’d like to connect directly with the pilots and operators using your airspace, airport, or trying their best to follow your new rules, then you will find being part of the Slack discussion useful. And in turn, our members will be most happy to have you on board to ask questions now and again.

How it works

You’ll get a login that matches what you do, so it’s easy for group members to see who you are. If you’re a controller at Shanwick, then we might use @shanwick_atc, or if you’re the Ops manager for Sydney airport, then you’ll become @SYDAirport. If you’re the second person there, then we’ll call you @SYDAirport-Tim, or whatever. If you’re at Eurocontrol, then maybe @eurocontrol_ops. If you’re at the Slovenian CAA, then @SloveniaCAA. And so on.

You can view slack in your browser, download the App for your phone, or one for your Mac or PC. Either way, you’ll get immediate access to our group of 4000+ members, and can interact with them.

Win Win

You get to talk to your airspace users, customers, and rule-followers, and see what’s going on. And they get to talk to you. It’s an informal environment, so we don’t expect any official responses or need to use bureau-speak. Just help folks along their way. There’s no charge to join in this way – we are happy to have your input and knowledge!

OPSGROUP

There is no obligation to join the group as full member, but you are most welcome to – you’ll get a full weekly International Ops Briefing, daily updates, access to Airport Spy, Guides, Lowdowns, Charts – for the full rundown on that click here.

Invitation

Joining our slack discussion group is by invitation from the FSB Team. If you haven’t received an invite, pop your details in here and we’ll let you know.

Apply for Slack Access - ATC, Airports, CAA's, Rulemakers


 

 

This map shows the world of Overflight and Landing Permits – and the requirements

This map shows every country in the world and their requirements for Overflight Permits and Landing Permits. For overflying aircraft, the yellow countries will want  you to have a permit, and the black ones don’t. That’s for routine flights at least, if you’re on a Special Airworthiness or missing an engine, then pretty much everyone will want one.

Click on a region and you’ll get that …

And then click on the individual country to figure out what kind of overfly clearance you need.

 

HLLL Tripoli FIR 2018 Operational Changes – Libya

We’ll use this page for Libya updates, including HLLL/Tripoli FIR, HLLT/Tripoli Airport and HLLM/Mitiga Airport.

Both airports in Tripoli are focal points for fighting. Given their strategic value, they periodically serve as headquarters for various local militias.

HLLT/Tripoli Airport has been more or less completely closed since mid-2014, when at least 90% of the airport’s facilities were destroyed in fighting between local militias. Since then, international flights to and from Tripoli have been using HLLM/Mitiga instead. Technically, HLLT/Tripoli is now only available for VIP, emergency and ambulance flights; but in reality, it should be avoided at all costs.

HLLM/Mitiga Airport is the old military airfield, which is now being used for civilian traffic, since the closure of HLLT/Tripoli. However, the airport has been plagued by violence over the past few years, and has been forced to close a number of times.

In Jan 2018, heavy clashes across the city left at least twenty people dead and forced Mitiga airport to close for five days, from Jan 15-20. Gunfire at the airport damaged multiple aircraft, including a few A319s and at least one A330:

There was a similar incident back in Oct 2017, when a Libyan Airlines A330 at Mitiga airport was hit by gunfire during an exchange of fire between local militia in the district directly south of the airport:

 

HLLL/Tripoli FIR A number of countries already have blanket warnings in place against operating to Libya, and they all say pretty much the same thing: avoid the entire country – don’t land at any airport, don’t even overfly.

So we suggest you ignore whatever gets pumped out on the HLLL FIR Notams about the country’s main international airports being “AVAILABLE H24 FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS AND EN-ROUTE DIVERSIONS”. If you absolutely have to overfly the airspace, Libya has updated their requirements for transit of their FIR, and have published a mandatory routing scheme. You can read that in full by clicking here.

What is more interesting, is the state guidance they issued back in Feb 2017, which shows those areas that they believe to be active Conflict Zones. While we list the entire country as Level 1 – Avoid” at safeairspace.net, it is nonetheless noteworthy as this type of notification from a ‘Conflict Zone state’ is rare.

The 3 areas with coordinates, are:

Area 1:- 3116N01610E 3108N01707E 3030N01700E 3042N01605E
Area 2:- 3251N02240E 3243N02246E 3239N02218E 3247N02216E
Area 3:- 3212N02002E 3209N02007E 3157N01953E 3154N02005E (this has been removed as of Feb 2018, but we’ll leave it here)

These correspond to sites at Sirte, Benghazi, and Derna, left to  right below, with Sirte being the largest.

 

Operators are required to use IFBP while in the Libya FIR. If unable to maintain communication , they’d like you to call the controllers direct at +218215632331. The secondary number is +218213619614.

More:

OPSGROUP 2018 is open – new members welcome – 20 reasons to join

Opsgroup2018 is open to new members.

Read OPSGROUP: The Power of the Group – and then see below for more reasons to join us.

01  You will be smarter and saferOPSGROUP makes International Flight Ops easier.
02  Safe Airspace. Learning lessons from MH17, we share risk information, with a big map.
03  Change. It’s not just a constant, it’s accelerating. OPSGROUP tells you the critical stuff.
04  Members. There are 4,000 of us – each a pilot, dispatcher, controller, or ops person.
05  Full Bulletin. Once a week, all the International Ops changes in one simple bulletin.
06  Ask Anything. Every intl ops question you have, answered – by the group, or the team.
07  Bulletstream. Daily news briefing in bullet point format – just the critical ones.
08  Guides. All the FSB regional guides, like our NAT Ops guide, free.
09  Charts. The FSB NAT Plotting Chart, free – and others as we make them.
10  Slack. Talk live with us and other members on #todaysops.
11  George. We built a bot. He’s George, and he answers your Ops questions.
12  Lowdowns. Country guides for the most popular tech stop and ad-hoc airports.
13  Infographics. Making new stuff easier to understand, like the Circle of Change.
14  Dashboard. All the OPSGROUP tools live here – you get your own login.
15  Airport Spy. We sneakily share our reports on ATC, Handling, and Airports worldwide.
16  It’s not all AIC’s and Notams. We do fun stuff too. We promise to keep it interesting.
17  Plain English. We translate the Fedspeak into words we all know.
18  Email Alerts when big things are going down – ATC strikes, severe weather, incidents.
19  Discount in the Flight Service Store – 15% off for members.
20  The Future. We’re just getting started – OPSGROUP is 20 months old. Help us grow!

 

Choose a plan and join OPSGROUP

 

NAT Circle of Change 2018

For the latest changes and updates on the North Atlantic, including our most recent Guides and Charts, use our NAT reference page at flightservicebureau.org/NAT.

Update Feb 7, 2018: We screwed up the circle. NAT Tracks don’t all need CPDLC and ADS-C, just the ones from FL350-390. Circle admonished and corrected.

Confused and overwhelmed with the changes on the North Atlantic of late? Especially with PBCS, RCP240, RSP180, RLAT, RLong, and all that? Yep, us too.

So, we drew a circle. Tell us if this helps. Click on the circle to download the more detailed PDF.

 

Download the NAT Circle of Change 2018 PDF.

To help ease your NAT Headache further, these goodies will probably also be useful:

 

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