International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Category: Special Report (page 1 of 11)

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Further reading

  • About OpsGroup – the heart of International Flight Operations
  • Feb 20, 2018 – new members being accepted, read why.
  • Join OpsGroup – single and team, Flight Department memberships available.

 

NAT Circle of Entry 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.

Updated May 22, 2018: Added a centre circle for the PBCS Tracks, updated entry requirements for the NAT Tracks

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:

 

Ongoing Bali volcanic threat – update

In Short: Continued vigilance required for operations to Bali; The alert level for Mt Agung eruption remains at 3 (on a scale of 1-4). Last ash plume on 26 March rose to at least an altitude of 11,650 ft.

When Mount Agung erupted in November 2017, airlines faced travel chaos as flights were cancelled due to the lingering ash cloud. Since then, visitor arrivals have dropped by more than 70 percent. Facing $1bn in lost tourist revenue, the Indonesian government is trying to lure tourists back to the holiday island.

The 3,000metre high volcano sits roughly 70 kilometres away from the tropical paradise’s main airport and popular tourist areas.

In a Volcano Observatory Notice for Aviation (VONA), Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG) reported that at 1009 on 26 March an event at Agung generated an ash plume that rose at least to an altitude of 3.6 km (11,650 ft) a.s.l. and drifted NW. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a scale of 1-4) and the exclusion zone continued at a 4-km radius.

Best up-to-date information:

The current one to watch:

Mount Sinabung – located in Medan, Indonesia is also very active at the moment (last spewing ash on Friday April 6) and may disrupt air operations to Malaysia and Singapore.

Current Aviation Color Code: RED, Eruption with volcanic ash cloud at 09:07 UTC (16:07 local). Eruption and ash emission is continuing. Ash-cloud moving to west – south. Best estimate of ash-cloud top is around 23872 FT (7460 M) above sea level, may be higher than what can be observed clearly. Source of height data: ground observer.”

We will keep an eye on this one.

Mount Sinabung roared back to life in 2010 for the first time in 400 years. After another period of inactivity it erupted once more in 2013, and has remained highly active since.

If you have travelled through the region lately and can provide members with more of an update, please get in touch. 

L888 – The Silk Road Airway

We received this interesting question from one of our Opsgroup members this week:

FSB said: ZSZZ/China There are four airways over the Himalayas (L888, Y1, Y2, Y3) which the Chinese authorities will only let you use if you have ADS, CPDLC and satellite voice communication, and operators need to verify their equipment with them at least 60 days in advance! So they recommend that only regular scheduled flights apply to use these airways.”

Member said: We’ve not been allowed to fly these routes, costing time between Europe and Hong Kong. I’ve been unable to get a direct answer of why not from our local Universal Aviation reps except, “the authorities won’t allow it”. Per above, there appears to be a procedure to use these airways. What is the process to gain access to these airways? Our equipment is Gulfstream with everything including the kitchen sink.

We will start with the answer:

Answer: The process to apply for access to these airways is found in AIP CHINA Section ENR 3.3.2.4 “L888, Y1, Y2”.

Excerpt from AIP CHINA published by CAAC

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

12. Flight application

12.1 A formal application shall be submitted to Air Traffic Management Bureau of the Civil Aviation Administration of China before air carriers operate data-link route, the application shall include:

” City pairs;
” Schedules;
” Starting time;
” Type of aircraft used;
” Satellite telephone numbers for the fleet;
” Procedure of emergent escape. (Y1, Y2 exceptive)

12.2 Flight plan notification of data-link capability is required before data-link services can be provided.

12.3 Aircraft equipped with serviceable ATS data-link equipment shall fill in ICAO flight plan forms as follows:
a. Advice of data-link capability shall be included in Field 10 (Communication and Navigation) by using an abbreviation “J”. b. Advice of available data-link media shall be included in field 18 by use of the prefix DAT/followed by one or more letters, as follows:

” DAT/S for satellited data-link,
” DAT/H for HF data-link,
” DAT/V for VHF data-link,
” DAT/M for SSR mode data-link,
” DAT/SAT for satellite phone.

12.4 Serviceable ADS equipment carried will be annotated by adding the letter D to the SSR equipment carried.

12.5 Air Carriers are required to provide a list of satellite telephone numbers with each aircraft which flying along route L888, Y1, Y2.

The contact details to make such an application are:

Operations Management Center
Air Traffic Management Bureau
Civil Aviation Administration of China
Telephone: 86-10-64091213
Facsimile: 86-10-65135983

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Now, onto the interesting stuff. The process requires submission of a “Procedure of emergent escape”.

The available alternate airports for route L888 are (according to the AIP);

  • Kunming airport;
  • Chengdu airport;
  • Urumqi airport; and
  • Kashi airport.

This is where it can get a little complicated. The handful of “air carriers” authorized to operate over these airways have type specific ‘escape’ procedures such as this example which shows a B777-300ER ‘Depressurization Terrain Considerations’ on Y1.

There is also the consideration of additional crew and passenger oxygen. The GRID MORA is over 20,000ft for several hours.

If you’re flying routes over this airspace regularly with the same aircraft, meet the onboard aircraft requirements and are willing to invest in developing type specific escape procedures, then a submission to CAAC might be in order. Even then, it’s a complicated approval process and there is always the potential requirement to carry an approved onboard navigator for travel to certain domestic airports. Another tip we picked up was to make sure you don’t change callsigns between the submission of your application and the date you fly. Some flightplans have been getting rejected close to departure due to callsign confusion.

 

Our conclusion: Not a huge value add for most non-scheduled operators.

If you however do get to travel down L888 – pack a camera – because WOW!

Some extra information to show off next time you’re in the pilots’ lounge…

As you’ll probably already know, the Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West.

The concept behind the Silk Road initiative was not new. As long ago as 1997, the Australian airline QANTAS commissioned a study that crossed part of the Tibetan plateau which determined that there would be substantial benefits for their B747-400 aircraft, and that suitable depressurization escape routes were able to be determined. As recently as 2013 ICAO was working to expand routes over this airspace.

“ICAO presented information on a possible high density routing initiative for traffic from Southeast Asia or Southern China to Europe via north of the Himalayas, taking advantage of the latest Performance-based Navigation (PBN) navigation specifications. The Silk Road initiative was a proof- of-concept ATS route study, utilising RNP 2, RNAV 2 or RNAV 5 navigation specifications, and was first presented to the Asia/Pacific Regional ATM Contingency Plan Task Force (RACP/TF) as a possible future contingency system for traffic operating on Major Traffic Flow (MTF) AR-4, in case of airspace unavailability in South Asian FIRs.”

Further Reading:

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:

Some US GPS Jamming (it’s just a test)

If you’re flying the Great Falls area (KGTF) from now until March 6th, you’ll want to watch out for some GPS outages due to testing.

Right now, they’re testing daily from 1631z-20z, and the impact is all about how high you’re flying. You could lose WAAS, GBAS, and ADS-B.

See the ranges here:

If you do experience outages, you’re asked to only contact ATC if you’re in need of assistance, not to report any outages.

NOTAM INFO: NAV GPS (AFSMO GPS 18-04) (INCLUDING WAAS, GBAS, AND ADS-B) 
MAY NOT BE AVBL WI A 361NM RADIUS CENTERED AT 470259N1103758W (GTF115040) 
FL400-UNL, 
302NM RADIUS AT FL250 
222NM RADIUS AT 10000FT 
213NM RADIUS AT 4000FT AGL 
162NM RADIUS AT 50FT AGL.

The full FAA text is here: https://www.faasafety.gov/files/notices/2018/Feb/AFSMO_18-04_GPS_Flight_Advisory.pdf

 

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.

 

It’s nice to meet you.

Yep, there is. It’s called OPSGROUP. We’re a big mix: pilots, dispatchers, controllers, managers, tech specialists, aviation authorities – all with one thing in common: International Flight Operations.

Back in 2016,  we figured out that great things happen when we solve problems together. Change is the biggest challenge, so we tell each other when we hear of something new. We keep each other safe by sharing information on risks.

Now we’d like you to get involved as well.

Why join us? Good question. Well, because if you don’t, you’ll miss a change and look like a chump. We don’t want that. You might overfly Libya. You might divert to Cayenne. You’ll only find out about the new rules when your G650 is impounded. You’ll pick the wrong handler because you didn’t get to see that Airport Spy review on Santiago from another member. You won’t know about that exemption. You won’t have anyone to ask whether you should stop at Keflavik or Reykjavik.

Life managing International Ops is hard enough without trying to do it all on your own. And we want you, because the more smart people like you we have in the group, the stronger it becomes. Pick a plan for yourself, or your team, or your entire flight department. There’s 1650 people waiting to answer your questions. And to pick your brain.

Read the reviews from existing members, and see why everyone from Airbus to the British Antarctic Survey to United Airlines is in the group. (hint: we’re all doing the same thing, and it’s getting easier).

 

Join OpsGroup

 

 

Welcome Pack

On joining, we will send you, and each team member if you are on a team or department plan:
– a Welcome Email, explaining the group, together with your Welcome Pack:
– The full FSB Airports Database (value $375)
– The current full International Ops Bulletin
– Our Polar Ops Planning Guide
– Current NAT Plotting Chart (value $35)

Everything

You (and each team member, if you choose a team plan) will then also get:
– Immediate access to our OpsGroup Dashboard
– The weekly International Ops Bulletin every Wednesday
Slack access to talk to the group
Ask-Us-Anything – we answer your International Ops questions
– Airspace warnings and overflight risk summaries
– Access to Aireport – 2300+ Airport and ATC TripAdvisor style reviews
– Everything we publish – Guides, Lowdowns, Charts, Member Notes
– Tools and Maps
– All previous content since the group started
See examples of all the above

Joining Process

2 straightforward steps:
– Choose an Individual, Team, or Department plan
– We send you everything you need to get started by email

You can cancel anytime you like, before the next billing period.

New members – that’s you – are welcomed several times a year. The current status is notified on this page. To make sure that new members are fully supported, and the existing group retains its high quality, we limit joining to window periods during the year.
If we’re closed, you can join the waitlist to be notified of the next opening window.

 

Join OpsGroup

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.

 

My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow – NAT Ops Guide (Updated 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.

Of all the hundreds of questions we see in OPSGROUP, one region stands out as the most asked about – the NAT/North Atlantic. So, we made one of our legendary guides, to get everything into one PDF.  It’s called “My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow” – and now we’ve updated it for 2018!

Contents:

  • 1. What’s different about the NAT?
  • 2. Changes in 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015
  • 3. NAT Quick Map – Gander boundary, Shanwick boundary
  • 4. Routine Flight Example #1 – Brussels to JFK (up at 5.45am)

  • 5. Non Routine-Flights: No RVSM, No RNP4, No HF, 1 LRNS, No HLA, No ETOPS, No TCAS, No Datalink – what you can do and where you can go
  • 6. Diversion Airports guide: Narsarsuaq, Sondy, Kef, Glasgow, Dublin, Shannon, Lajes, Fro Bay, Goose Bay, Gander, St. Johns
  • 7. Airport data
  • 8. Overflight permits – routine and special

  • 9. Special NAT procedures: Mach number technique, SLOP, Comms, Oceanic Transition Areas, A successful exit, Screwing it up, Departing from Close Airports
  • 10. North Atlantic ATC contacts for Shanwick, Gander, Iceland, Bodo, Santa Maria, New York – ATC Phone, Radio Station Phone, AFTN, Satcom, CPDLC Logon codes; and adjoining Domestic ATC units – US, Canada, Europe.
  • 11. NAT FPL Codes
  • 12. NAT Flight Levels
  • 13. Flight Plan Filing Addresses by FIR
  • 14. Links, Questions, Guidance

Excerpt from the Routine Flight #1:

 

Buy a copy ($15)   Get it free – join OPSGROUP

To get your copy – there are three options:

  1. OPSGROUP Members, login to the Dashboard and find it under “Publications > Guides”. All FSB content like this is included in your membership, or
  2. Join OPSGROUP with an individual, team, or department/airline plan, and get it free on joining (along with a whole bunch of other stuff), or
  3. Purchase a copy in the Flight Service Store!
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