International Ops 2017

Flight Service Bureau | OPSGROUP

Tag: HLA

My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow – NAT Ops Guide

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“.

Contents:

  • 1. What’s different about the NAT?
  • 2. Changes in 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:

 

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NAT Changes in the last 12 months

A constantly evolving airspace: It’s been busy on the NAT! And not just traffic wise – there have been a record number of procedural and regulatory changes in the last 12 months. Here they are, in order of significance:

nat-changes

 

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Oceanic Errors

Unfortunately, we don’t fly with three in the cockpit anymore – or even four. The navigators job falls squarely onto the front two seats. Over one weekend in April there was one Gross Navigation Error, and two close calls reported on the North Atlantic.

April 22nd (Friday)
Democratic Republic of the Congo Boeing 727 100 (9QCDC/DRC001) from Santa Maria Island, Azores (LPAZ) to St. John’s NL (CYYT)
At 1235Z, Observed on radar to be over position 4720N 4745W, which was approximately 60 miles north of the cleared route 45N 45W – 47N 50W. The crew reported correctly while in oceanic airspace. The flight was cleared direct to YYT and landed without incident at CYYT. There was no traffic, and no other impact to operations.

April 24th (Sunday)
Neos Airline Boeing 767-300 (INDDL/NOS730) from Ferno, Italy (LIMC) to Havana, Cuba (MUHA)
Cleared via 49N030W 48N040W 45N050W. At 30W, the flight reported 48N040W 44N050W. The aircraft recleared to 45N050W prior to proceeding off course.

Apr 25th (Monday)
Transportes Aereos Portugueses Airbus A330-202 (CSTOO/TAP203) from Lisbon, Portugal (LPPT) to Newark, NJ (KEWR)
Cleared 46N030W 46N040W 45N050W. The aircraft reported proceeding via 46N030W 46N040W 44N050W, as per the original flight plan. The aircraft was recleared via 45N050W prior to proceeding off course.

Did you notice how hard it was to find the error in the above two examples?

 

Gross Navigation Errors are a really interesting topic, and relevant not just on the North Atlantic but in any Oceanic or Remote airspace where ATC cannot monitor the aircraft tracking.

What defines a GNE? Normally, 25nm: That is, when on “own navigation” the aircraft departs the cleared route by more than 25nm. The NAT Central Monitoring Agency (CMA) now defines a Gross Navigation Error as 10nm instead of 25nm.

Annually, the biggest offenders in order of “market share” are: 1. Corporate/Private, 2. Military/State 3. Civil airlines.

How to Avoid a GNE?
(aka How to avoid a Nastygram from the Authorities):

In general, when operating outside of ATC Radar coverage in any airspace:

  • Crews: Don’t have more than one paper copy of the Flight Plan in the cockpit. Mark the active one “Master Document”. Hide any other copies where you won’t find them.
  • Ops: If you send a new Flight Plan to the crew, tell them what the changes are – especially if you’ve filed a different route in Oceanic or Remote Airspace.
  • Fly the Clearance, not the Filed Plan. This is the biggest gotcha. As soon as you reach the Oceanic Entry Point, or leave radar airspace – refer only to the most recent Clearance from ATC. The filed plan is a request only – sounds obvious, but most GNE’s occur because the crew fly the filed plan although there was a reroute.
  • Be aware of the ‘ARINC424 problem’: In the aircraft FMS, and map display, the current common waypoint format is 5230N for position 52N030W (as prescribed by ARINC 424). To show position 5230N030W – ARINC 424 offers a format N5230. The potential for confusion is clear. ICAO, in NAT Ops Bulletin 3/15, have recommended that operators use the format H5230, if a five-letter FMS format waypoint is required. In addition pilots are recommended to cross check any waypoints that don’t have a ‘name’.
  • Use a plotting chart – it’s mandatory. You don’t have to use ours, but use one.
  • Use an Oceanic/Remote Area Checklist (sample link below).

And specifically on the Atlantic:

  • Read the advice on the Daily Track Message – waypoint cross check, Fly the Clearance (and be sure it is the clearance!)
  • Know the weather deviation procedures: Even with the new “Half Tracks”, there are no changes to the in flight contingency procedures and weather deviation procedures as detailed in PANS ATM Doc444 Para15.2 & 15.2.3.

Here’s some links and resources that we think are really useful:

 

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New North Atlantic Plotting Chart published

With all the recent changes to the structure and requirements for North Atlantic airspace, we’ve published a new North Atlantic Plotting Charteffective 03MAR16 to coincide with AIRAC cycle 1604.

The most important changes are the move from MNPS to HLA in February, including a new RNP4/10 requirement for the entire airspace, and the introduction of RLAT Tracks in December.

The new Planning chart is now in High-Res, allowing it to be printed up to 3 x 2.1 meters, and shows all the new rules and requirements in graphical format – as well as updated Fuel Pricing at common NAT Diversion Airports, revised Bruce Spruce routes T16, T213, Iceland boundary fixes, and updated FPL codes for new HLA/High Level Airspace.

Download NAT Plotting Chart

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