International Ops 2017

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Tag: Santa Maria

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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Santa Maria Strike: Four Routes

Update: 1730Z/Weds – we have received notification that Portuguese Industrial action may be being withdrawn. We will update and confirm when certain.

LPPO/Santa Maria Oceanic has published four special routes for use during the upcoming “July Friday Strike Series” ATC Industrial Action.

If you happen to be crossing the LPPO FIR on a Friday morning in July, then expect a hefty reroute if you didn’t file per the plan.

The Strike Time Period is : 0700-0900Z, during which time only these four routes will be accepted.

ROUTE A– 45N020W 40N030W 37N040W

ROUTE B– DETOX 39N020W 36N030W 34N040W

ROUTE C– LUTAK 36N020W 33N030W 29N040W

ROUTE D– ULTEM 27N040W

The cutoff time for these routes is when you enter the LPPO/Santa Maria FIR

Traffic entering prior to 0700Z: unrestricted

Traffic entering the FIR between 0700-0900Z: Must file and fly one of the four Routes above.

Traffic entering the FIR after 0900Z: unrestricted

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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The Three Sisters – Shanwick’s Tango Routes

When the French Controllers go on strike, which is often, the airspace surrounding France becomes of high interest to international operators, especially the North-South routes within Shanwick’s airspace.

There are three very useful routes if you happen to be flying North-South. With the changes in February this year from MNPS to HLA, the normal confusion over what is required to operate on T9, T16, and T213 (‘The Three Sisters’), has increased further. Let’s try to get all the specifics in a row.

Map of the Tango Routes:

Tango Route Map T9 T16 T213

 

 

Tango 9 LASNO-BEGAS
The most popular of the three – often chock full of holiday traffic between Northern Europe and the Canaries. Requirements:

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time.
  • At least one LRNS/Long Range Nav System
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Tango 213 TAMEL-BERUX

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time.
  • Two LRNS/Long Range Nav Systems
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Tango 16 OMOKO-NAVIX

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time, or Santa Maria if you’re going north.
  • Two LRNS/Long Range Nav Systems
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Key Points:

  • You probably won’t get the level that you want – either because the airway itself is busy, or because you’re crossing a bunch of East-West NAT Traffic. If the rest of your Flight Plan shows FL380, plan FL320 for most of the Tango portion – especially T9.
  • You need a HF radio to enter Shanwick FIR, period. There are no exceptions.
  • You need HLA Approval to use the routes at FL290 and above, same goes for RVSM.

Operating Tips:

  • You can make an Oceanic request by Data-link (ACARS), Clearance delivery – 127.65 VHF, 123.95 VHF or via HF (Frequencies vary on the day, but 5598 is normally a safe bet).
  • If you get a low Flight Level for the Oceanic Route, Shanwick are happy for you to check in again closer to the boundary and see if higher is now available.
  • Entering the Oceanic Airspace, make a full position report: Position and time /flight level / Next position and estimate for that point / Following position
  • Don’t make a full exit position report when you enter domestic airspace, just callsign and “Approaching LASNO, FL370”. Exception: Santa Maria likes one.
  • Shanwick and Santa Maria are outside the IFPS zone, so copy flight plans to EGGXZOZX and LPPOZOZX – failure to do so will delay getting an oceanic clearance.
  • No contact on HF? Relay on 123.45, or Sat Phone EGGX 423201 or EIAA 425002.

NAT HLA Approvals

  • If you have an existing MNPS approval, it’s good until 2020.
  • If you need a new HLA approval, then you’ll need RNP4/RNP10.
  • Individual Crew need training in international procedures and HLA, as part of the process.

From Shannon ATC

Thanks to Shannon ATC for adding this useful information for crews operating on the Tango Routes:

  • EICK Departures via T9/T213/T16 should get their  Oceanic clearance prior to departure – ask the Tower 45 minutes ahead of time.

  • All other EI/Irish departures can request clearance when airborne. For info, the earlier crews request their clearance the better, as it means they are more likely to get a better level and it allows ATC to plan for getting the aircraft to that level.

  • Important: Due to the risk of two aircraft using the same squawk leading to a mis-ident, Northbound traffic entering SOTA via T9, LASNO or T213, TAMEL should squawk 2000 at least 10 minutes prior to the Irish boundary.

 

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

Did you know MNPS is over? Meet HLA, the new North Atlantic Airspace.

From Feb 4th, 2016, MNPS (Minimum Navigation Performance Specifications) Airspace is being dumped as a term (no loss, really), and replaced by the much more user friendly NAT High Level Airspace or NAT HLA. MNPS first came into being in 1977, and this change is significant in that the requirements for approval to enter the new NAT HLA are updated – you must now have RNP4, or RNP10. Also, the rest of the Atlantic welcomes Bodø Oceanic to the fray – it joins Shanwick, Gander, Reykjavik, New York, and Santa Maria to make up the new NAT HLA, which keep the original vertical profile of FL285-FL420.

In short, that’s all you need to know. You should read our International Ops Notice 01/16 for the full story.

 

New NAT HLA High Level Airspace Map

New NAT HLA High Level Airspace Map

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