International Ops 2018

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: CPDLC (page 1 of 2)

New CPDLC procedure on the NAT

There’ll soon be a new CPDLC procedure on the NAT, designed to prevent pilots from acting on any old CPDLC messages that might have been delayed in the network.

ICAO have published a new Bulletin for all the NAT Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSP’s) to use as a basis for implementing this new procedure. They recommend that all aircraft should receive a message immediately after they enter each control area telling them to “SET MAX UPLINK DELAY VALUE” to a certain number of seconds. The idea is that this will prompt the pilot to enter the specified latency value into the aircraft avionics, so that it will ignore/reject any old CPDLC messages.

So far, only Iceland’s BIRD/Reykjavik FIR have implemented this procedure, effective May 24. All other sectors of NAT airspace (Gander, Shanwick, Bodo, Santa Maria, New York Oceanic) are busy writing their own AIC’s and will implement later in the year. 

So when entering the BIRD/Reykjavik FIR, expect to receive a CPDLC message from ATC instructing you to “SET MAX UPLINK DELAY VALUE TO 300 SECONDS”. A copy of their AIC with more guidance can be found here.

The latency monitor function varies from one aircraft type to another: some just automatically reject old CPDLC messages, some will display a warning to the pilot that the message has been delayed, some have deficient equipment, and some do not have the message latency monitor function implemented at all.

Because of this, ICAO note that “it is impossible for ATC to tailor the uplink of the message… to different aircraft types. It has therefore been decided among the NAT Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs) to uplink this message to all CPDLC connected aircraft immediately after they enter each control area. An aircraft may therefore receive this message multiple times during a flight.”

So here’s the lowdown on what you need to do:

1. Work out in advance what kind of message latency monitor function your aircraft has, and what it is designed to do when it receives the CPDLC message “SET MAX UPLINK TIMER VALUE TO XXX SECONDS”.

2. When you receive this message, respond with the voice message “ACCEPT” or “ROGER”. If your aircraft has a functioning message latency monitor, punch in the specified number of seconds. If you don’t have functioning equipment, respond with the free text message “TIMER NOT AVAILABLE”.

3. If anything goes wrong, revert to voice comms.

Back in November 2017, 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.

Although the bans were dropped after Iridium fixed the problem at ground level (by ensuring the system no longer queued CPDLC uplinks for more than five minutes), this new CPDLC procedure on the NAT should ensure this kind of situation doesn’t happen again. It’s officially being brought in as one of the safety requirements for the roll-out of reduced lateral and longitudinal separation minima across the NAT, which is predicated on Performance Based Communication and Surveillance (PBCS) specifications – that means having CPDLC capable of RCP240 (4 minute comms loop), and ADS-C capable of RSP180 (3 minute position reporting).

Further reading:
ICAO NAT Bulletin 2018_002: CPDLC Uplink Message Latency Monitor
Iceland’s AIC on the new CPDLC procedure for the BIRD/Reykjavik FIR
– The latest PBCS rumours and facts
The latest NAT changes, including EGGX/Shanwick, CZQX/Gander, BIRD/Iceland, ENOB/Bodo, LPPO/Santa Maria, and KZWY/New York Oceanic East.
IRIDIUM satcom fault fixed

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!

More NAT half-tracks are coming

Update Jan 23: The current phase of the trial for RLatSM Tracks will come to an end on March 29, when PBCS standards will be introduced for the NAT tracks. More info on that here.

Since Dec 2015, there have been three daily NAT tracks spaced by one-half degree between FL350-390. These are officially called ‘RLatSM Tracks’ (Reduced lateral separation minima), but we all just prefer to call them ‘Half-Tracks’.

Separating flights by one-half degree of latitude rather than the standard one degree means that aircraft can be separated laterally by 25nm, which helps improve the efficiency of North Atlantic operations.

In Jan 2018 the Half-Tracks will be expanded from the three that now run each day, first by one additional track and then (maybe) to all NAT Tracks between FL350-390 inclusive. Jan 4 is the earliest day that this might happen, but because they will be decided tactically, it will most likely be the first busy day after Jan 4.

If you want to operate on the RLatSM tracks, you’re going to need CPDLC, ADS-C, and RNP4; along with the other standard pre-requisites for operating in the NAT HLA between FL350-390: an HLA approval, TCAS 7.1, RVSM approval, two LRNS, and a working HF radio. To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our quick and dirty guide here.

One thing to be cautious of when using the half-degree tracks – most aircraft FMC’s truncate lat/long waypoints to a maximum of 7 characters, so it will often show up as the same waypoint whether you’re operating along whole or half degree waypoints. So when operating on the half-tracks, just remember to double-check the full 13-character representations of the lat/long waypoints when you enter them into the FMC.

For more details about the new RLatSM procedures, have a read of the UK AIC 087/2017 here.


					
		

NAT Expanded data link mandate

It’s time for everyone’s favourite topic – DATA LINK MANDATE! New things are happening on December 7th. Don’t worry, we’ll help.

Right Now, if you’re using the NAT tracks, between FL350-390, you’re mandated to use data link services. Simply put, you must be equipped with CPDLC and ADS-C (FANS 1/A ready and able).

On December 7th 2017, the data link mandate will expand to the entire ICAO NAT Region between FL350-390, with a few exceptions. We’ve got the image below showing you the area. White routes are exempt, as well as the grey border areas (we like the Big Fish).

Exemptions:
-Everything north of 80°North
-New York Oceanic East FIR (was previously all of NY Oceanic)
-Routes T9, T213, T13, T16, T25. (see: The Tango Routes)
-The Blue Spruce Routes (white lines)
-Areas that currently have radar, multilateration (is this a word?) and/or ADS-B. (the grey areas)
Note: If any of the NAT Tracks go into the grey areas, you won’t be exempt while on the tracks.

Be ready, January 30th, 2020, all of the NAT ICAO Region will have the Data Link Mandate, above FL290, including the Tango Routes as well as those little grey areas.

To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our quick and dirty guide here.

For more details about the datalink mandate, you can read the UK AIC in full here.

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Iridium Fault Fixed

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.

Here were the areas which had previously published Notams restricting the use of Iridium: Brazil Atlantico (SBAO), Auckland (NZZO), Chile (SCIZ), Japan (RJJJ), Anchorage (PAZA), Oakland (KZAK), New York (KZNY and KZWY).

However, all FIR’s have now removed their notams which banned the use of Iridium for CPDLC and ADS-C. This has happened after tests were performed last week using Iridium SATCOM which confirmed that Iridium no longer queues CPDLC uplinks for more than five minutes.

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.

 

CPDLC Departure Clearance for US Airspace – 22Oct

Earlier this month we reported about the transition of the United States ATC system to a National Single Data Authority (NSDA). http://flightservicebureau.org/cpdlc-for-us-airspace-the-implementation-process/

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:

NAS Data Communications Guide

Oceanic ATC’s tell us their position on Iridium Satcom

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)
Anchorage (PAZA)
Oakland (KZAK)
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.

 

Iridium fault prompts ban by Oceanic ATC

Aircraft Operators using the Iridium Satellite service for ATC comms should be aware of an equipment issue that has prompted a ban by a number of Oceanic ATC agencies in the last few days

Right now, Chile (SCIZ), Japan (RJJJ), Anchorage (PAZA), Oakland (KZAK), New York (KZNY and KZWY) have all told operators 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 so far only applied the ban to CPDLC alone. Nothing has been published yet by Gander (CZQX), Shanwick (EGGX), Reykjavik (BIRD) or Santa Maria (LPPO) – although we’re keeping a close eye on them for any update.

Here’s what happened:

On Sep 12th, an Alaskan Airlines flight had a failure of their CMU (Comms Management Unit) that caused the Iridium connection to stop working. An ATC message was sent to the aircraft but not delivered. On the next flight, the CMU power was reset and corrected the issue, and the pending message was delivered. The CMU did not recognise the message as being old, and so it was presented to the Flight Crew as a control instruction. FSB understands that this aircraft took the climb instruction and executed the level change, climbing 1000 feet .

Another flight, operated by Hawaiian out of Oakland, had a similar problem. This aircraft had both Iridium and Inmarsat on board, and during the flight switched over to Inmarsat as the provider. An ATC message was routed via Iridium, but didn’t reach the aircraft before the switch. Some 23 hours later, on the next flight, Iridium was activated again and again the ATC message presented as a “live” instruction. On this occasion, the crew queried the instruction and did not climb.

The problem in simple terms is that if ATC sends a CPDLC message like “Climb FL370“, which is obviously only valid for “right now”, but another crew gets the message hours later, then you have a very high risk of the new crew accepting that and climbing.

For now, Iridium has a plan to fix the ground side to not allow older SBD messages to be delivered, and they say they are testing it at the moment and expect to release it soon.

OpsGroup members will be updated directly on further news.

Notam copies below:

ANCHORAGE PAZA A0626/17 - USE OF CPDLC AND ADS-C VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM IS PROHIBITED WITHIN THE ANCHORAGE OCEANIC, DOMESTIC AND ARCTIC FLIGHT INFORMATION REGIONS (FIRS). SFC - UNL, 13 OCT 19:40 2017 UNTIL 13 NOV 00:00 2017 ESTIMATED. 
CREATED: 13 OCT 19:35 2017
NEW ZEALAND AUCKLAND NZZO B4985/17 - USE OF CPDLC (DATALINK) VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM 
IS PROHIBITED WI NZZO FIR. COMMUNICATION WI NZZO FIR IS TO BE VIA HF 
RDO ON THE APPROPRIATE SP6 FREQ. OPERATORS USING IRIDIUM SATCOM MAY 
CONTINUE TO USE ADS-C FOR POSITION REPORTING WI NZZO FIR. HF VOICE 
POSITION REPORTS ARE NOT REQUIRED UNLESS SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED. 
08 OCT 21:56 2017 UNTIL 08 JAN 21:00 2018 ESTIMATED. 
CREATED: 08 OCT 21:56 2017
OAKLAND KZAK A4306/17 - FOR ACFT EQUIPPED WITH IRIDIUM SATCOM, USE OF CPDLC AND ADS-C VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM IS PROHIBITED WITHIN OAKLAND CENTER OCEANIC AIRSPACE. COMMUNINCATION WITH KZAK MUST BE VIA HF FOR IRIDIUM USERS. 
13 OCT 19:49 2017 UNTIL 31 DEC 23:59 2017. CREATED: 13 OCT 19:54 2017
NEW YORK KZNY A0334/17 - USE OF CPDLC AND ADS-C VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM IS PROHIBITED WITHIN NEW YORK CENTER OCEANIC AIRSPACE. 13 OCT 19:27 2017 UNTIL 30 DEC 08:00 2017. CREATED: 13 OCT 19:38 2017
NEW YORK KZWY A0502/17 - USE OF CPDLC AND ADS-C VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM IS PROHIBITED WITHIN NEW YORK CENTER OCEANIC AIRSPACE. 13 OCT 19:27 2017 UNTIL 30 DEC 08:00 2017. CREATED:13 OCT 19:36 2017
BRAZIL ATLANTICO SBAO N0095/17 - FOR ACFT EQUIPPED WITH IRIDIUM SATCOM, 
USE OF CPDLC IS PROHIBITED WITHIN ATLANTICO CENTER OCEANIC AIRSPACE. 
FLIGHT CREWS CAN LOG ON SBAO TO ALLOW THE USE OF ADS-C FOR POSITION 
REPORTING. COMMUNICATION WITH SBAO MUST BE VIA HF. IF USING ADS-C 
POSITION REPORTING, HF VOICE POSITION REPORTS ARE NOT REQUIRED 
UNLESS SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED. 15 OCT 12:00 2017 UNTIL
13 JAN 12:00 2018.  CREATED: 15 OCT 01:22 2017
JAPAN FUKUOKA RJJJ J7236/17 - FOR ACFT EQUIPPED WITH IRIDIUM SATCOM, USE OF CPDLC AND ADS-C VIA IRIDIUM SATCOM IS PROHIBITED WITHIN FUKUOKA OCEANIC AIRSPACE. COMMUNINCATION WITH RJJJ MUST BE VIA HF FOR IRIDIUM USERS. 16 OCT 10:08 2017 UNTIL UFN. CREATED: 16 OCT 10:09 2017

CPDLC for US Airspace: The Implementation Process.

Update 03Oct: The FAA has released AC_90-117, which is their updated overview of Data Link Communications.

  • The United States ATC system transition to a National Single Data Authority (NSDA) is here.
  • The changeover will take place on 22Oct at 0330Z
  • A single CPDLC logon ID (KUSA) will be provided for domestic US airspace.
  • The initial phase is set up to issue departure clearances only
  • En-route CPDLC communications within US airspace will be implemented at a later time.
  • More details about the transition process are found here NSDA – Data Comm Program
  • We’ll post further information as it becomes available
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