The initial phase of this process is scheduled to start this weekend on 22Oct at 0330Z with a single CPDLC logon ID for domestic US airspace (KUSA) and ATC issuing departure clearances using CPDLC.
You can read more details about Controller-Pilot Data Link Communication–Departure Clearance (CPDLC-DCL), general procedures for logging on/notifying, loading the flight plan, receiving the CPDLC-DCL, responding to the CPDLC-DCL message, and disconnecting/logging off here:
Last week we reported on an equipment issue with Iridium satcom that prompted a ban by a number of Oceanic ATC agencies. Some aircraft were receiving massively delayed clearances sent by ATC via CPDLC – and one took the instruction and climbed 1000 feet, even though the message was meant for the flight the aircraft operated previously.
Today, we checked-in again with all the oceanic ATC centres, to see what their current policy is on the issue.
EGGX/Shanwick told FSB that they are aware of the issue, reviewed it, but have decided not to ban the use of Iridium for either CPDLC or ADS-C just yet. LPPO/Santa Maria have the same position. So, in this airspace, you can use Iridium, for now.
CZQX/Gander said they did a safety analysis of it, and decided not to ban it. They have all kinds of conformance alerts in place to prevent any problems from happening – so if aircraft deviate they get notified immediately.
BIRD/Reykjavik aren’t that concerned about the issue – they use HF most of the time anyway.
Chile (SCIZ) Japan (RJJJ)
New York (KZNY and KZWY) All these centres have published Notams instructing crews not to use Iridium for CPDLC or ADS-C. Until the fault is fixed, in those regions you’ll have to either use HF for ATC comms, or use another SAT provider.
Auckland (NZZO) and Brazil (Atlantico SBAO) have applied the ban to CPDLC alone. Use ADS-C if you like.
From Iridium themselves, they told FSB: “We’ve updated their queue management system. Every minute, there is a queue check. If there is any message that is older than 4 minutes, it marks as timed out, and will not be delivered. This update was done at ground level, so it does not require any software updates by the user. We’re still waiting on feedback from FAA workgroup on the fix and if it’s sufficient to allow use of Iridium for CPDLC and ADS-C.”
That’s it for now! We’ll keep you posted, or, even better – tell us below in the comment section if you hear news.
This year, they’re asking all aircraft flying in Australian airspace to be ADS-B equipped after February 2nd, 2017. ADS-B means that controllers can use your uplinked GPS position, instead of mammoth SSR Radar Units all over the country.
There are two exemptions:
Small Australian-registered GA aircraft
Foreign-registered aircraft with the restriction that you must fly below FL290 in continental airspace, and stick “RMK/NIL ADSB AUTH” into Field 18 of the Flight Plan.
You don’t need to apply for special authorisation, just show up.
Tempting to joke that this sound like Miami, or Nice – but these are reviews of FZAA/Kinshasa, in the DRC – rated at 2.5, one of the lowest Airports on Aireport.
One report reads: “Don’t go here unless you like to be robbed by the CAA. I was told I was in big trouble for not having an MEL on a private airplane. 500 USD would [apparently] solve everything”
Continuing: “ATC is terrible, they wanted us to hold right over the airport in the middle of the T’storm we wanted to wait for to pass. I ended up telling him we would hold 15 miles out on the 090 radial. He wasn’t very happy about being over-ruled, but it worked”
And: “People mill around the airplane looking for fuel drips to collect in their cans. Some guy told me he was a fueling assistant and wanted cash for his kind assistance. The handler is pretty much worthless, he just wants to collect the cash = $2700 USD for a fuel stop in a Falcon 900.”
NZAA/Auckland, New Zealand stands out as getting consistently good reviews: “Very knowledgeable and helpful staff”, “Air Centre One is superb”, “Flawless from Gordy” … the crew at Air Centre One is clearly keeping their customers very happy. Nice work guys.
We’ve been notified of an ATC strike planned for France on 14 and 15 September – that is, Wednesday and Thursday this coming week. This follows the normal pattern, where ATC and Area Control Centres and Airports will see union members striking, thereby preventing most flights from arriving and overflying in France during this period.
This is shorter notice than usual for a French ATC Strike, and no confirmation is likely until Monday, but we’d put the likelihood of this going ahead at around 50% at present.
The latest in our series of Lowdowns is: The South Atlantic – EUR/SAM Corridor. We’re seeing increased traffic on this route due to the Olympics, and the requirements for HF, ADS-C, CPDLC, and RNP are summed up here.
We publish these Lowdowns on a regular basis to help out International Operators, and they are sent directly (free) to members of OPSGROUP.
If you’d really like this one, just email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or – join the group at opsgroup.co and you’ll get them all as they are published.
Greece has just announced a strike of ATC staff on 07APR (Overflights unaffected), starting 2100Z on 06APR and ending 24 hrs later. Italy has also announced strike action by its controllers for 09APR. The best place to keep informed on these two strikes is the Eurocontrol NOP.
Austria might have the worlds most perfect little piece of airspace. Wien (Vienna) FIR matches the countries’ political boundaries perfectly. There is no ocean, no disputed boundaries, and no delegation of ATC.
For most others, it’s not as straightforward. For some, it’s beyond complex.
So how do countries determine what their airspace looks like? Airspace overhead the actual landmass belongs without question to the country, so that’s easy.
Then, from the shoreline out to 12nm are the Territorial Waters, as agreed by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 – giving us “Territorial Waters Airspace”.
The next chunk is the 12nm-200nm area – the Exclusive Economic Zone. In aviation, this sometimes has an effect on whether prior permission in the form of an Overflight Permit is required – Peru and Ecuador have in the past claimed this requirement. Beyond this, International Waters exist.
In aviation, the term of reference has become High Seas Airspace, and is taken to refer to anything outside the 12nm buffer where no country has sovereign jurisdiction over airspace. By international agreement, chunks of airspace are assigned to individual countries to provide an ATC service, because we prefer to have ATC watching us and providing separation, in comparison to trying to do it ourselves using 126.9 and TCAS.
As has been recently the case over the Black Sea, that agreement isn’t always unanimous, and ICAO sometimes has to tread a difficult political line in assigning their preferred responsibility – last month Ukraine opened up routes in “High Seas Airspace” that Russia also wanted to have a crack at managing.
The Baltic Sea has long been a generator of news stories of close encounters with the Bear (Tu-95), this is because of the multitude of small chunks of High Seas Airspace that allow flights out of Russia towards the UK and Europe. ICAO is concerned at the rising incidences of conflict between civil traffic (that’s us) and military flights over the Baltic.
These military flights operate under Due Regard – but often don’t file flight plans and ATC know nothing about them until they are pretty close to you. You’re unlikely to see them on TCAS either. So, that regard is not so high.
We’ll continue the next time with a look at “No FIR Airspace” – those chunks of High Seas airspace where nobody is in control, mysteriously marked “XXX” on our charts.