International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: FSB

OpsGroup NYC Notam Summit – April 4th, 2017

JOIN US IN NYC

Tuesday, 4th April 2017- Manhattan, New York

 Ops Group Meetup and Notam Summit

We’ve never done this before, but we’re going to run our first OpsGroup meetup.  Emails and slacks are all fine, but human contact is where it’s at.  Come along and meet us and other awesome members of the OpsGroup!

Location: Secret downtown location in Manhattan, we’ll meet at 9am-ish on Tuesday morning, 4th April.  By 10am we’ll have kicked off into International Ops  2017 with Mark, NAT chats with Dave, Antarctica fireside stories with Jamie-Rose, and then move on to looking at stupid Notams and how to fix them.  You should come!

Here is the deal:

0900 You arrive. So will others. We will mostly be pilots, dispatchers, ATC’s and flight dept managers but whatever your specialty is, come along.

930-ish We’ll start with the International Ops Chats- NAT ops, Antarctica, 2017 changes, and your questions.

1100 We’re probably still going with the International Ops Chats

1130 We’re onto talking NOTAMS by now

1300 Powerpoint has overheated, we’re done. Off to Lunch

1330 We’ll be having a late lunch. Join us for chats and beers, war stories, jokes, or head home instead- whatever you like.

1500 That’s All Folks. We can recommend: A visit to Concorde, go see a show on Broadway like School of Rock, go see the Nicks v Bulls, visit the Comedy Cellar, or get your Uber back to the Teterboro Holiday Inn.

Afterwards, tell us what you thought: team@ops.group

Antarctica Fireside Chat

Jamie Rose McMillen from the FSB Int’l Desk is going to tell us some good stories from her six years living on the Ice.  Find out how International Ops works in Antarctica and McMurdo Station. Join us in NYC!

International Ops 2017

There have been a city-full of changes to the International Ops world so far in 2017.  A380 wake, no devices, BOE changes, ATC strike, Conflict Zones, 767 shooting, the end of Soviet QFE approaches. Mark will answer questions. Join us in NYC!

North Atlantic Changes

Dave Mumford will run through the new rules on the NAT, and answer questions from the My First Atlantic Flight guide. Just don’t ask him about the new contingency procedure. Join us in NYC!

NOTAMS

Judging is finally complete in the Notam Goat Show.  After we present the winners, we will have a good old fashioned competition, with prizes, and then get into the main event: How do we fix the Notam problem?

Join us in NYC!

COME TO NEW YORK!

RSVP

We’re from the FSB, and we’re here to help you (with some First Aid)

We’re from the FSB, and we’re here to help you.

Comforting, right? We hope so! Our middle name is Service (did you spot that?), and what motivates us most is helping you. So let us. We have a team of super-smart International Flight Operations Specialists (except for Dave, who likes to hold Alligators).

We’ll give you the smartest person from FSB, and they’re all yours.

These are the same folks that manage delivery flights for American Airlines, move helicopters through Antarctica, and figure out routings for every new DHC-6 delivery. They also publish the weekly International Ops Bulletin (Take a look at one here). They monitor the worlds airspace for dangers (See safeairspace.net). They answer thousands of Ops questions a year from Pilots, Dispatchers, and Controllers in the amazing OpsGroup.

It’s an extra pair of hands in your ops department whenever you need it.

What might we help you with?

That’s entirely up to you. Here are some things we’re good at:

  • Figuring out the best routes for ad-hoc flights
  • Taking a look at your trip plans and telling you what you missed
  • Advising on airspace entry requirements
  • Telling you what places to avoid because they are dangerous or a rip-off
  • Running test flight plans for new aircraft
  • Answering questions about International Ops in depth
  • Talking to ATC, CAA’s, ICAO, or Government Agencies on your behalf
  • Organise weird permits
  • Clear up confusion over regulations
  • Tell you why to use slack instead of email.
  • Get stuff done where it’s difficult because of procedure or language. 
  • We can speak Spanish in Nicaragua or Dutch in Suriname. Russian in Russia. German. French. Whatever it takes.
  • Help you plan routes around unsafe airspace.
  • Finally get that Flight Plan accepted by the Eurocontrol computer.
  • Cross check your ambitious Pacific crossing plans
  • Dig into the extensive network of FSB contacts
  • Resolve those unpaid Nav Fees for you
  • Get info on that out-of-the-way airport you’re thinking about going to
  • Help with Aircraft Importation

But, ultimately, you decide what you want us to do. We’ll do research for you. Cast a second set of eyes on your plans. Do the filing. Pick up your laundry. Whatever.

If you like, ask us first before you buy our time. But we can do almost anything you ask. Except for an Australian TSP. You’re on your own with that. We love not doing TSP’s.

Now for a radical idea:

Here’s the normal way:

  1. Find a consultant. Turns out to be the wrong one.
  2. Find another consultant. Tell them what you want done.
  3. Rephrase what you want done, so that they understand.
  4. Get your wishes converted into complex-speak. (Keywords: Deliverables, Project Outline, Value Proposition, Customer Focus, Scope, Deadline)
  5. Navigate through the jargon overload.
  6. Get a big contract to send off to legal. Remind legal. Remind legal again.
  7. Widen eyes at the asking price. Negotiate. Settle for reducing the fee from ridiculous to extortionate.
  8. Some months and Hows it all going?’s later, get started. Maybe.
  9. More likely – return to Step 1 and continue from there.

If you want to take that route, get started with Google Search: Aviation Consultants. See you in a few months.

 

Here’s our way:

  1. The price is $200 per hour

  2. You tell us what to do

  3. We do it.

Radical!

How, when, what if

Pick your plan. 5 hours or 10 hours. Place the order above. We’ll email you to say hi. You tell us what needs to be done. We’ll pick the best person and we’ll get started. When? Probably today. Maybe tomorrow. After the time is up, you can buy some more, if you need more work done.

And, if you’re not happy with our work, or we can’t help, we’ll send you a full refund, right away.

Welcome to Flight Service Bureau! Questions? firstaid@flightservice.org

Pan Am, 727’s, and 1977 …

This afternoon I took a boat across the river to the Jersey side  and looked back at New York City; amongst the skyscrapers in Midtown one stood out – the MetLife building. It seemed familiar – and I wondered why. I realised it was once the PanAm building: in a different era, this was the headquarters of Pan American World Airways.

pan-am-3

Most interestingly, there was once a helicopter service, operated by PanAm in 1977, that connected downtown Manhattan with JFK, if you had a First or ‘Clipper Class’ ticket on a PanAm flight. The helicopter transfer, from the helipad on the roof of the PanAm building, took about 7 minutes – compare this to the 1 hour and 7 minutes it takes to get out to JFK these days – if you’re lucky.

1984-ad-pan-am-one-free

Today, a couple of blocks west of the former PanAm building sits a lonely Concorde beside the Hudson, another nod to a time when aviation seems to have offered more convenience and speed than it does today.

intrepidtws11

So, the question is whether this is nothing more than nostalgia, or whether things were indeed, in some way, better back then. Everyone will have their own answer to that – we’ve lost  Tristars with elevators, DC-8’s with their chrome and diesel and smoke and crackle, 727’s and Bac 1-11’s with their rear airstairs – and what have we gained? The newest arrivals – the C Series, the A350, the 787 – are sleek, fuel efficient, and open up new routes that weren’t possible before – but are pretty unspectacular.

No doubt though, the generation that got to fly and operate these aircraft looked back on the days of Flying Boats and DC-3 with equal fondness. I wonder whether the aircraft coming off the production lines today will evoke the same thoughts.

In International Flight Operations, though, it must be said that things are much improved. Compared to the era that spans the 70’s to the 90s, we’ve now got vastly improved flight planning systems, more direct routes, much better navigation systems, and we’ve largely moved from SITA, phone calls and fax machines to email when it comes to organising those flights. For the Dispatcher and Planner, there is no doubt that life is far easier. Even ten years ago, trying to arrange handling anywhere outside the US and Europe would take days to set up – now, the same trip can be arranged in 30 minutes.

We do have some new challenges. Airspace safety – and the risk to our aircraft overflying unstable regions, is of more concern now than at any time in history. Since MH17 two years ago,  there have been many new areas to avoid. But how to know where, and why? Through The Airline Cooperative and OPSGROUP, we’ve worked as groups of Dispatchers, Controllers, and Pilots to share information so that when one person becomes aware of new information, everyone gets to hear about it. Our shared map shows the current status at safeairspace.net.

safeairspace-net

As a group, we’ve also been creating some new tools that help us – Aireport is our shared review site, where we can let each other know about good and bad experiences with Handlers, Airports, and ATC – whether it’s service, procedures, changes, or avoiding a fuel stop that’s going to cost you a fortune.

aireport-co

Maybe the biggest problem with all this new access to information is the overload one – the internet is the equivalent of a Shannon to Singapore NOTAM briefing. 80 pages of crap with a couple of important things stuck in the middle. Sometimes those important things are good to know, sometimes it’s critical information.

So how do you find those couple of critical things on the internet? You won’t have any trouble finding Aviation sites, but if you are managing an International Flight Operation of any sort – whether you’re the pilot, the dispatcher, the controller, the regulator, the ramp agent – whoever: how do you find out what’s new that will affect your flight.

That’s the question that bothers us at FSB every day of the week. We literally work on this every single day – and every day it becomes a little easier. Every Wednesday, we squeeze and condense the things that we’ve discovered this week into our weekly International Ops Bulletin – removing as much as possible until you’re left with only the critical stuff. The biggest source, and greatest help – is our amazing group of people in OPSGROUP.

Anyhow, I digress. Back to PanAm …

What is OPS GROUP, exactly?

Yes, it’s the most common question we get. What is OPS GROUP ? Well, we’re not exactly sure yet. The question mark may well be part of the name, because to us it represents both a lack of constraints and limitless possibility. A beginners mind.

The energy within the group has astounded us. The OPS GROUP team has answered over 200 questions from members, but that engagement is not what surprised us. When we put questions back to the group ( in the form of curated Members Questions), the willingness to help, share and assist others is what did.

So, what we’re seeing is that amazing things happen when you connect similar, but different, people. In the Industry, we have great groups for Airlines (IATA, and our own Airline Cooperative), Business Aviation (NBAA), ATC (CANSO), Private Aviation ( AOPA). But they all combine like with like.

Like the best relationships,  matching with a little bit different is far more interesting.

OPS GROUP – sticking with the big letters – brings everyone together in INTL FLT OPS. We all share the same airspace and go to the same airports. We all struggle to stay up to date, find most Notams confusing, hate having to organise permits, and wonder what will be next to change on the North Atlantic. Ask us to go somewhere new, and watch the stress levels rise.

What happens when

And so we have a weird and wonderful group. The all-alone Corporate dispatcher, the overworked B777 F/O, the midnight supervisor at Eurocontrol, the grumpy Airline Dispatcher (yes Eric, that’s you), the permanently-airborne G4 driver, the Airbus ops team, and of course the Boeing guys and girls, the Irish ATC supervisor, the German Airline COO, the Russian CAA guy, the Australian meteorologist, and many hundreds more. Fast approaching 1000 members, in fact – and therefore becoming more useful for everyone. Literally hundreds of experts within the group.

When we started, we thought that OPS GROUP would just be a collection of people that wanted updates on International Ops from our Flight Service Bureau. We still run our now famous bulletin every Wednesday, and our Lowdowns, Ops Notices, Alerts, and Special Briefings – but the group is becoming huge amounts more than just receivers of information.

Personally, I think the key value of the group is it allows each one of us to feel more connected to International Flight Ops. Realising that there are hundreds of others in the same position that appreciate both your question and the group answer.

So, if I could try to best summarise OPS GROUP right now – it’s a secure environment where you’ll be ahead of the relentless changes in International Flight Ops, you’ll directly receive all FSB summaries of the big changes, can get answers from the team or the entire group for that troublesome ops question. You also get to feel really good when you share new information with the others, and answer the question that you’re an expert on.

But really, we’re still not quite sure what OPS GROUP is. Maybe when we pass 2000 members it will become clearer. Let’s see.

More about OPS GROUP:

 

Our Story: Flight Service Bureau – what we’re about

Chances are that you found us by reading the International Ops Bulletin that we produce once a week, on a Wednesday. We’ve got 25,000 readers, and we regularly get the question: I find the bulletin useful, so what else do you guys do at Flight Service Bureau?

Well, quite a lot actually. Our tagline reads “We work with Airlines and aircraft operators worldwide to provide critical flight information, and a 24-hour mission support service through our network of Flight Service Stations”. So what does that mean?

In short, we help international aircraft operators (mostly Airlines, Manufacturers, Private operators, and Leasing Companies) with Ad-hoc flights, Ferries, and Deliveries; we run flight plans, build routes, check security issues, recommend handlers; we create maps, bulletins, ops notices; monitor air traffic; liaise with ATC and CAA’s, arrange special permits, help with diversion recovery, build tools and maps, and a whole bunch of other stuff.

Take a look at Our Story; and if you’d like to speak to a real person, just email service@fsbureau.org.

Our-Story-Icon-small

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