Author: Dean Constantinidis (page 1 of 6)

Canadian Ops Update

Just a short update on a few things happening in Canada that you might have missed…

Nationwide
  • There has been a change in the Maximum Indicated Airspeeds for holding patterns to bring them more in line with the rest of the world. This came into effect on 11OCT18 and will be reflected in the 08NOV18 AIP update. Refer AIC 25/18.

  • It’s been over a year and a half since NavCanada suspended it’s Climb/Descend via SID phraseology, adding a complication for pilots that regularly cross the border from USA to Canada and v.v. It initially trialed then quickly suspended them “out of concern over altitude deviations we were seeing in the system and the unforeseen large increase in workload as a result. We are continuing to communicate with airlines, aircraft operators and our employees as we revert to the phraseology rules that were in place prior to this change.​” We understand this phraseology has now been officially put in the trash and wont be returning.
CYYZ/Toronto Pearson Airport
  • There are new nighttime RNAV approaches starting in CYYZ/Toronto Pearson from 08NOV18. These RNAV (GNSS) X instrument approach procedures are for night-time ops between 0030L-0630L on runways 5/6L/6R/23/24L/24R. The procedures are designed to minimize the noise footprint. The ATIS will advertise these as the primary approach type when they are active. Pilots can expect to be cleared directly to the initial approach waypoint, then subsequently cleared for the approach including the appropriate transition. Refer AIC 28/18.

  • Slots are currently required for all flights between 0030-0630 local time. The airport authority was planning to make slots mandatory for all GA/BA flights H24 from Nov 17 onwards, but this will now be delayed to some time in early 2019. For more info, contact the Airport Reservation Office at aro@gtaa.com

Do you know more? Drop us a line!

AYPY/Port Moresby restrictions during APEC 2018

The 2018 APEC meeting will be held in AYPY/Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea on 15 and 16 November, 2018. If you’re trying to get there, here’s what you need to know…

What’s happening at the airport?

  • Parking – There may not even be enough space for all the official delegations’ aircraft, let alone anyone else, so expect parking congestion also at YBCS/Cairns and YBTL/Townsville airports. YBTL will also be used as a base by Australian military aircraft tasked with assisting the airspace security during the event; if you are heading there, make sure you read and carry the AIP SUP H99/18.
  • Night closures – Closures of the main runway (14L/32R) mean that the airport is effectively closed each night from 2100-0430 local time until 13 November.
  • Customs – if you’re actually going to AYPY during this period, you can view the APEC Customs handbook here.
  • Flight Plans – If you indicate the wrong ADS-B FLT ID (in Section 7 of your FPL) and are inbound or outbound to AYPY/Port Moresby or AYNZ/Lae Nadzab you can expect a 20 minute delay or holding (A1069/18 refers).

What’s happening in the airspace?

AIP SUPP 5/2018 outlines the airspace restrictions for APEC2018. Here are the important bits, all effective from Nov 2-20:

  • Watch out for overflights of AYPY, as there’s a 90 NM ADIZ in place around the airport from SFC-FL600.
  • There is a temporary restricted area (TRA931) 30 NM around AYPY, SFC-FL330. Anyone flying to/from AYPY with a valid flight plan and talking to ATC can enter this area.
  • There is another more restrictive area (TRA930) over the CBD and event venue. Only APEC aircraft can enter this area.
  • Actual activation times will be notified by NOTAM.
  • Expect Royal Australia Air Force FA18 fast jets to be patrolling and operating with ‘due regard‘ overhead during various times

A real life report…

Here’s a report from an Opsgroup member trying to operate to AYPY/Port Moresby for the APEC summit:

- The closest parking spot we could get for a G650 is YPDN/Darwin. We were denied parking in YBCS/Cairns; we were told parking is reserved for head of states only. YBTL/Townsville denied us parking too, on the basis of no space available.

- The handler at AYPY/Port Moresby is not very responsive at the best of times, and has been unreliable also in the past, even when no special event was going on. In the past we once even got handling confirmed for an arrival during a scheduled runway closure!

- Until Nov 30, crew/pax visas cannot be arranged upon arrival, to enhance security during the APEC event. Instead, visa requests must be made through embassies during this time. This is normally not a problem outside of special events. The PNG Embassy in London have been very quick in getting visas approved for our crew, with a maximum turn of 5 working days, and as short as 3 working days.

Some other Supplementary information if you are operating to AYPY/Port Moresby:

  • High terrain in close proximity.
  • Navaids not monitored by ATC. Standby power reported to be available. Jackson and Parer locaters no longer in operational use. Disregard any procedures that use these aids.
  • Navaids may not be accurate or serviceable. Review all available information prior to use and perform appropriate crosschecks to verify navaid integrity.
  • ATC may give inappropriate radar vectors and ALT instructions. During radar outage, ATC will provide procedural control. Maintain situation awareness to ensure safety not
    compromised. Refer to Radar Terrain Clearance Chart to cross-check altitudes.
  • RWY 14L has upslope for 3/4 of its length, then slopes downward to the RWY 32R threshold, giving the illusion that the runway is shorter than actual.
  • In gusty winds, expect windshear on approach RWY 14L.
  • T-VASIS may be unserviceable without prior warning.
  • Engine start clearance not required unless notified on ATIS.
  • POB should be given with pushback request.
  • Airway B220 is a designated two-way airway. Beware potential late-notice opposite direction traffic given close proximity to FIR boundary.
  • Short-notice deterioration of ATC services may occur. If ATC not available, revert to CTAF on tower frequency.

Did we miss something? Let us know!

Bermuda ATC Radar Out Of Service all week

It’s going to be mostly sunny and warm (78F, 26C) this week in Bermuda if you’re heading that way – but you should also know they are going to be full non-radar – so plan ahead.

We put together what you need to know.

Firstly, the Bermuda Secondary Surveillance Radar will be out of service for 7 days starting this coming Monday, 29 October, at 1100z (0800L). The NOTAM says it will be back to normal the following Monday, 5 November, at 1700z (1400L).

The following non-radar procedures are in effect (NOTAM – A0404/18 and A0154/18)

  • If you are landing at TXKF/Bermuda you should flight plan and expect FL310 or below at the NY Oceanic CTA/FIR boundary. 
  • Expect possible flow restrictions due to traffic volume and/or during adverse weather.
  • Carry fuel to cover “minimum” of 15 minute arrival/departure delay.
  • All aircraft must file via MOMON 1 or POPOP 1 RNAV STAR however there are restrictions on which transitions can be used:
    • MOMON 1 – Only DASER, ANVER and RNGRS transitions allowed
    • POPOP 1 – Only BALTN and JIMAC transitions allowed
  • Departing aircraft must file via either the BORNN 1 or SOMRR 1 RNAV SIDs.
  • If you are NON-RNAV then you must flight plan to DASER, ANVER, RNGRS, BALTN, or JIMAC (180 nm ARC BDA VOR) then the respective airway to BDA VOR.

In likely far more shocking news, an island in the middle of the ocean is expecting lots of birds, namely lots of Killdeers.
A0152/18 – AERODROME INTERMITTENT PERIODS  OF HIGH BIRD ACT OF KILL DEERS AND PLOVERS DUE TO SEASONAL MIGRATORY
PATTERNS: THE MIGRATORY SEASON BEGINS IN EARLY OCT AND RUNS THRU  EARLY APRIL WITH BIRD ACT AT ITS HIGHEST APRX BTN HR OF 1000 – 2130.  EXERCISE CTN WHEN FLY DRG THESE TIMES.
How these cute little things could kill deers shocks me 🙄 – you have been warned however!
#deathtonotams

Pay up or else! Crew held hostage by Customs agents in Ivory Coast

“Beware all pilots traveling to Abidjan, Customs is waiting for you!”

That is the message we received in a disconcerting report this week from one of our long-time members which certainly troubled us here at OpsGroup. We thought it was important to share.

The pilot told us that he and his business jet were recently “held hostage” by airport custom officials in the port city of DIAP/Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa.

The crew had all the appropriate landing and overflight permits as required. GenDec’s, passports and associated documents were also in order. Therefore, all the evidence points to a good old fashioned shakedown and a convoluted scheme setup between local Customs agents and certain ground handlers to extort bribes from foreign crew.

The report we received explains how the crew were ramp checked by Customs officials after landing. The aircraft documents were confiscated and the Captain was “interrogated until 1am” the following morning.

The officials claimed that the pilot both failed to declare their arrival, as well as the “aircraft contents, passengers and baggage.”

The fine was CFA 6,900,000,000 (yes billion!) francs, which equates to USD $12,066,720 (yes, million!)

Ay Caramba!

The offence was purported to be importing a high value item (aircraft) without customs approval. The high fine figure was “based on the insurance value of the aircraft.”

The crew were held hostage in the country for 10 days until senior Customs officials could finally agree on the appropriate “accusation” and that the associated fine was actually “legal”.

After the 10 days, the crew were able to negotiate a deal and depart safely – although not without having to involve the aircraft’s insurance underwriter, who paid a ‘substantial amount’ for the aircraft to be allowed to depart.

On reflection, the crew noted that if Customs does meet your aircraft without you arranging it in advance, “you can be sure you are about to be trapped.” They do not tell you why they are looking for documents, more specifically, your aircraft documents, and will not tell you anything as they walk away to call their seniors, carrying your documents with them.

So in short: do not let go of your documents!

The advice from our member:

  • Contact the handling agent first hand and double check that they are an approved, recognized handler and have approval from the various authorities (immigration, customs, police, anti-drug) to operate airside. Also check that they can arrange for you to get to the Customs and Immigration officers landside. Do not assume because the handler takes all your documents and gives you an invoice and receipts that the authorities have been advised of your arrival and situation.
  • The Abidjan Customs authority does not recognize a GenDec as an approved form of advice about passengers, health and cargo. They will also not sign off on the submitted GenDec. They will not come to your aircraft unless you specifically arrange for them to do so.

It’s important to stress that we are not talking about a small African airstrip in the back lots. This is a large international gateway with many major international airlines serving the city. Over 4 million people live here and it’s the economic capital of the Ivory Coast.  But corruption is endemic, it spills over every sector of the public administration; clearly even into Customs!

As Brookings put it, “for the inspector, the temptation is large because his salary is relatively small compared to the potential bribe.” It still doesn’t make it right and this experience serves a timely warning for all crew operating through the airport.

Have you been subjected to similar behavior when passing through DIAP/Abidjan? Let us know.

Extra Reading

Non-refundable Bangladesh permits

The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh recently published circular 02/2018 which outlines a $195 USD overflight permit fee for non-scheduled foreign aircraft transiting the VGFR/Dhaka FIR . The fee is certainly on the high side but the disappointing part is :

“The payment is non-refundable, irrespective of the approval or rejection to the permit request.”

Say what?

There was a similar type of no-refund situation within the TNCF/Curaco FIR but we now understand after some noise, operators are getting refunds as per normal industry practice.

We say it’s time for the CAA in Bangladesh to stop this non-refundable nonsense.

Have you had a permit denied and not received your money back? Reach out and Let us know!

Istanbul Mega-Airport opening soon – but not for everyone

In Short: The switch from LTBA/Istanbul Ataturk to LTFM/Istanbul New Airport has effectively been postponed until the end of the year. LTFM will “officially” open on Oct 29, but it will only be available to Turkish carriers – everyone else will have to wait until Dec 30 before they can start using it.

Istanbul’s new mega-airport which has been plagued by construction issues and delays is set to officially launch operations on October 29, 2018, to coincide with Turkish National Day celebrations. The problem is, the airport is not quite ready yet.

There have been huge protests from workers at the new airport, which has led to over 400 people being detained. The protests were centered around improved safety measures, more shuttle buses, and better working conditions. 27 workers have died since construction on the airport started in 2015. Work subsequently resumed, with a heavy police presence, according to labor unions.

Authorities initially said that all scheduled airline and charter flights would have to switch over from using LTBA/Istanbul Ataturk to LTFM/Istanbul New Airport on October 29. But last week they published AIC 07/18 which pushes that date back to December 30.

So although the official launch date for LTFM/Istanbul New Airport is still October 29, the only scheduled airline flights which will be allowed to operate there from that date will be Turkish carriers. It’s been reported that Turkish Airlines will fly from the new airport to Ankara, Izmir and Antalya on domestic routes, with the only international route being to Baku, in Azerbaijan.

Then on December 31 at 2100Z, all the other airlines and charter operators can start using LTFM/Istanbul New Airport. At this time, LTBA/Istanbul Atatürk will be closed to all scheduled airline and charter flights, but will remain open for general aviation and business flights.

So that’s good news for GA/BA! There’s nothing to say that you can’t use the new airport, but it’s quite a way out of town (39km/24 miles) when compared to the old one.

Into the future there is talk about the old airport becoming a park, but there are still no firm plans for that yet, according to the FBO reps we spoke to on the ground.

Do you know more? Let us know!

Indy Center kicks off CPDLC trials – the system is live!

The United States is rolling out En Route FANS CPDLC during 2018-19, for all equipped, trained and permitted operators. The FAA’s Advisory Circular AC 90-117 outlines the requirements for U.S. operators.

Trials have begun with KZID/Indianapolis going live with 24/7 ops starting last week.

We also understand that KZME/Memphis and KZKC/Kansas City are still in the testing phase with CPDLC and voice read back happening 1-2 nights per week during the midnight shift.

The current deployment schedule as it stands can be found in this graphic. [if you know what DFV means, let us know!]

How to participate:

  • The FANS logon is “KUSA” for the entire country and you may logon at any time. The CPDLC connection will become active after departure, and the crew is notified via a welcome message uplink. If En Route FANS CPDLC enabled airspace is active, you will stay logged on. If the aircraft transitions from En Route FANS CPDLC enabled airspace into non-Data Link airspace with an active CPDLC connection then the connection will terminate approximately seven minutes after exiting.
  • To participate, file “DAT/FANSE” in Field 18 of the ICAO Flight Plan.
  • Equipment required is VDL Mode 2, indicated as “J4” in Field 10a of the ICAO Flight Plan.
  • If an operator wants to use domestic En Route FANS CPDLC and is already using FANS DCL then the the majority of operations will fall into one of these scenarios:
    • (1) The operator uses FANS DCL via the “DAT/1FANS2PDC” preference in Field 18 of the ICAO Flight Plan. In that case, update the preference to “DAT/1FANSE2PDC“.
    • (2) The operator uses FANS DCL via the FAA’s Subscriber Database. In that case, the operator will want to add the entry “DAT/FANSE” in Field 18 of the Flight Plan.

Some things to keep in mind:

  • Domestic En Route FANS CPDLC enabled airspace will be seamlessly integrated with foreign (Canadian) and Oceanic FANS CPDLC enabled airspace.
  • The Oceanic Clearance will not be delivered via FANS CPDLC. You will still need to request the clearance via AFIS/ACARS or obtain it via voice.

Have you had the chance to try it out recently? Let us know!

Extra Reading:

Extra overnight slots for Hong Kong extended until 2019

We reported a few months back that the Airport Authority (AAHK) and the Hong Kong Schedule Coordination Office (HKSCO) have decided to trial an increase in slot availability from 4 to 6 total slots each night. It looks like the trial is being extended until March 2019.

The published details:

Notice on night slot availability (trial from 8 August 2018 until 31 March 2019)

  1. The number of slots available for GA/BA operations between 0000 to 0500 local time (16-21 UTC) will increase from 4 slots daily to 6 slots daily.
  2. The application procedure for these 6 slots will be the same as that for the 4 daily slots currently available.
  3. The above are provided on a trial and temporary basis and are subject to continuous review jointly by AAHK and HKSCO.
  4. Also important to note, as pointed out to us by our friends at the Asian Business Aviation Association (AsBAA) – these 6 slots will be made available to all aircraft types, not just the ones currently exempted from the noise abatement regulations. This means that BBJ’s/ACJ’s/Lineage 1000/Globals/G650ER etc can now operate in and out of Hong Kong at night-time, subject to slot availability.

PBCS – What, Where and How

In Short: The performance-based communication and surveillance (PBCS) framework allows for higher safety standards and more efficient airspace use. If your aircraft already has the equipment and you cross the Atlantic or Pacific Oceans often, it’s worth looking into getting your regulatory approval.

PB… what? It’s a good question. We have so many acronyms in aviation, it’s easy to forget what this one stands for and what it really means. So, let’s try and get to the bottom of it.

What is PBCS?

Official answer:

The ICAO performance-based communication and surveillance (PBCS) framework ensures that emerging technologies for communication and surveillance fully support ATM operations and are implemented and operated safely.

In plain speak:

With the technology already available on many aircraft and in the Air Traffic Control facility, aircraft can now fly closer than ever before, especially over non-radar oceanic airspace.

There are two key buzz words, so let’s define them. They are interlinked with RNP – Required Navigation Performance.

  • RSP – Required Surveillance Officially known as “surveillance data delivery”, often stipulated in the Airplane Flight Manual. Basically, how often does the aircraft send its position to ATC/ground station. There are two specifications, RSP180 and RSP400. The numbers indicate the maximum number of seconds (180 or 400) for the transaction to occur.
  • RCP – Required Communication ICAO has two specifications, RCP240 and RCP400. Again, the numbers indicate the maximum number of seconds (240 or 400), or “transaction time” taken for the controller to issue an instruction to the crew and for them to receive a response. This could be via CPDLC, HFDL, VDL or SATCOM.

So, we have a loop here, C-N-S. Communication, Navigation and Surveillance. An aircraft sends surveillance information to ATC about where it is; the aircraft stays within confines of RNP navigation requirements and ATC communicates with the aircraft within the required transaction times.  Pretty easy!

But why do we need PBCS?

The take away? If all given aircraft in a certain airspace have a lower RSP value and a lower RCP value, we can start putting these aircraft closer together.

Essentially – performance-based separation minima. This allows aircraft to be separated safely according to technological capability rather than “one-size-fits-all” prescriptive distances.

What are the differences from PBN?

They are similar but there are notable differences. In a simple sense, the PBN (RNP/RNAV) only requires that the operator obtains approval because it focuses on how the equipment works. PBCS (RSP/RCP) however requires the involvement and approval of the air traffic service provider because it’s a two-way communication and surveillance effort. There are dependencies and complexity with the equipment standards on both ends.

In this graphic you can see a high-level summary of who is responsible for what:

Where is it in place?

Currently PBCS is in effect in one form or another in the following FIR’s

  • NZZC/Auckland Oceanic
  • NFFF/Nadi
  • KZAK/Oakland Oceanic
  • PAZN/Anchorage Oceanic
  • WSJC/Singapore
  • VCCF/Sri Lanka
  • NTTT/Tahiti
  • RJJJ/ Fukuoka
  • KZNY/New York Oceanic
  • CZQX/Gander
  • EGGX/Shanwick
  • BIRD/ Reykjavik
  • LPPO/Santa Maria Oceanic

The Air Traffic Service providers of China, Brazil and Indonesia have also shown interest to introduce PBCS in the future.

Specifically, PBCS is being used between FL350 and 390 on certain “half” NAT tracks as we have written about before.

What do I need to do?

Requirements vary from state-to-state on the exact procedure for obtaining approval. It’s important to note that not all aircraft are automatically PBCS ready (refer to your aircraft manufacturer and your airplane flight manual).

The FAA has outlined its approval process here and has a handy powerpoint document here.

An important element is to prove that you have signed the “PBCS Global Charter” which can be found at the FANS Central Reporting Agency (CRA) website.

When a PBCS authorization is obtained an operator is required to file both P2 (indicating RCP240) in item 10 and SUR/RSP180 in item 18 of the flight plan, in addition to the J codes for CPDLC and D1 or G1 for ADS-C in item 10.

The correct filing of these two codes will indicate to any ATM ground systems applying performance-based separation minima that the aircraft is eligible for these minima and that the crew have received the relevant training in order to safely operate using the reduced separations.

Will you notice that PBCS standards are being applied to your flight?

Ok this is the funny part of this story. The short answer, probably not.

While it may be easier for RCP240/RSP180 approved aircraft to obtain optimal flight profiles, especially during high traffic periods, and particularly for NAT flights using the OTS, the application of these standards is generally tactical in nature for ATC. An aircraft may not have performance-based separation applied at all on an individual flight, or possibly may never have had it applied to any of its flights. Even if a you have RCP240/RSP180 approvals, if the aircraft nearby does not also have the approvals, the separation standards cannot be applied!

What if I don’t have RCP240 and RSP180 approval?

If you do not have RCP240/RSP180 approvals you will always have the larger separations, e.g. 10-min, applied, and not be eligible for the lower standards in cases where it may be beneficial.

The only airspace that has implemented tracks that will require PBCS to file is in the NAT OTS. There are still non-PBCS tracks in the OTS for which PBCS approvals are not required.

All other airspace in which performance-based separation minima are currently applied will allow aircraft with and without RCP240 and RSP180 approvals to enter and use the airspace in a mixed-mode operation.

Will I be penalized if I don’t have it?

Probably not in the short term. In the future as more and more airspace corridors become PBCS only, then it is possible you may be subject to reroutes, delays or the requirement to fly outside of certain flight levels.

So, our conclusion?

PBCS is a great step forward in maximizing efficiency in a busier airspace environment thanks to the advent of better technology. If you fly the NATs often and have an aircraft capable of PBCS certification standards, then yes – do it! The approval process is not overly burdensome, and many modern transatlantic jets already meet most of the technical requirements.

Ultimately, reduced separation standards mean more great air-to-air views. So, pack your camera!

You were in a 4G inverted dive with a Mig 28? -Yes, ma’am. -At what range? -Um, about two meters. -Eh, lieutenant, what were you doing there? -Communicating. Keeping up foreign relations.

Did we miss something, or does something need more explaining? Let us know!

Extra Reading:

Santiago, Chile – Temporary Runway Changes

New NOTAMS (pretty poorly written ones – but hey that’s another topic) have been issued for SCEL/Santiago in Chile, outlining some runway configuration changes between 31 October and 20 December, 2018.

Operational Changes

  • RWY 17L/35R will be closed for heavy maintenance between 1200z-2259z (0900L-2000L) daily except during low visibility operations.  (NOTAM A3273/18)
  • New RWY 18/36 established on current Taxiway Alpha and will be used in place of 17L/35R for aircraft up to A321 size. It’s dimensions are 2280M x 36M. See updated ground chart here. (NOTAM A3262/18)
  • New RWY 18 GNSS approach established. See this chart. (NOTAM A3263/18)
  • The STARs currently used for 17L will be applicable for RWY 18. (NOTAM A3265/18)

Opsgroup members have also advised us that;

  • Due to standard late night noise restrictions, departures will be required to use 17L (not 17R).
  • Pay careful attention to the substantially different missed approach procedure for GNSS RWY 18 procedure. This has been designed differently to allow a “tighter” traffic sequence and permit simultaneous operations on 17R. This is not normally possible due to the conflicting departure and missed approach paths.

If you do get to head to Chile, grab the window seat and grab a camera! I took these last year!

It really is such a great approach!

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