Author: Declan Selleck (page 1 of 23)

Adios! That was our last International Bulletin (for non-members)

Dear Reader!

First, thanks for being part of this amazing group for the last year. We loved sharing our alerts, risks, dangers, and deviousness with you. It’s been a blast.

As we’ve mentioned, we’re now focusing our attention solely on Opsgroup members, so the International Ops Bulletin that you got yesterday was the last one for the year, and tomorrows Daily Brief will also be el final (sp? we’re good at Ops, not Spanish).

OK, so. Here’s the deal. We would like you, our favorite reader ever, to be part of this amazing group – 5000 airlines, pilots, dispatchers, airports, atcos, agencies, amazing-experts, analysts … the people that run international flight ops. Whatever the group is now, it’s going to be even more amazing – as we are adding in new contacts, better information, easier searching, and making it easier for members to connect with each other. We’ll continue the good fight against crappy circulars, mind-numbing mandates, awful AIC’s, nasty notams, and continue to remind the state bureaucrats that the people reading this stuff are Humans, not computers. We’ll continue to sniff out the security risks, and share them with those that need to know. And we’ll continue to basically make cool stuff – maps, charts, apps, guides, and winter ear-warmers – for the Opsgroup community.

We’ll also continue to manage the Clipperton FIR (ADS-B almost in place), keep adding things to Airport Spy, continue working with ICAO on Norm (he’ll be done for Christmas, we’re sure!), get SafeAirspace V2 online (coming December), and of course continue the hourly alerts, daily briefs, and weekly bulletins for members.

Bottom line, our request is that you join us! We need people like you to help this group. Put another way, we don’t want to continue without you.

Whatever your choice is, have a lovely day and rest of year, and let us be the first to wish you a happy Thanksgiving, and if we don’t see you until next year, Happy Christmas!

The Opsgroup Team – Ben, Cynthia, Igor, Dave, Dean, Slobodan, Amelia, Jamie, and Mark.

PS –

If you prefer, you can also waitlist for 2019. Once we reopen membership, we may have a slightly different approval process, but you can add your name to be notified here.

NAT – Choose your own Adventure

For the latest changes and updates on the North Atlantic, including our most recent Guides and Charts, use our NAT reference page at

The NAT used to be simple. Fill your flask, fire up the HF, align the INS and away you went.

Now, it’s a little more complicated. Basic Instruments are not enough. Use this quick and dirty guide from FSB to figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have. Valid for October 15, 2018.

NAT Circle of Entry 2018

For the latest changes and updates on the North Atlantic, including our most recent Guides and Charts, use our NAT reference page at

Updated Oct 15, 2018: Updated RNP requirements for the PBCS Tracks, updated entry requirements for the NAT Tracks.

Confused and overwhelmed with the changes on the North Atlantic of late? Especially with PBCS, RCP240, RSP180, RLAT, RLong, and all that? Yep, us too.

So, we drew a circle. Tell us if this helps. Click on the circle to download the more detailed PDF.

Download the NAT Circle of Change 2018 PDF.

To help ease your NAT Headache further, these goodies will probably also be useful:

North Atlantic 2018 Operational Changes – Shanwick, Gander, Iceland, Santa Maria, New York – and the NAT HLA

We’ll use this page for NAT changes, including EGGX/Shanwick, CZQX/Gander, BIRD/Iceland, ENOB/Bodo, LPPO/Santa Maria, and KZWY/New York Oceanic East.


Here are the latest important changes for the NAT. These are also published in the latest edition of NAT Doc 007, August 2018.

  • PBCS From March 29th 2018, PBCS is a requirement for the daily mandated PBCS NAT Tracks (right now, that the 3 core tracks each day) between FL350-390.  PBCS for the NAT means having both RCP240 (4 minute comms loop) and RSP180 (3 minute position reporting). If you’re missing approval for either, then you can fly anywhere other than along the core NAT tracks FL350-390. Read more about PBCS in our article, and check out the NAT Circle of Change for an easier graphical representation.
  • RLAT  From January 4th 2018, Shanwick and Gander increase the number of RLAT tracks – most tracks between FL350-390 will now be RLAT – 25nm separation between them.

And there will be more! Keep an eye on this page, we’ll keep it updated.

The NAT used to be simple. Fill your flask, fire up the HF, align the INS and away you went.

Now, it’s a little more complicated. Basic Instruments are not enough. Use this quick and dirty guide from FSB to figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have. Valid January 31, 2018.

Free for OpsGroup, or you can purchase a copy here.



Lots of important changes in 2017

  • SLOP – Offsetting is now mandatory. Choose 0, 1, or 2nm right of track. We think 1 or 2 is best. Consider the recent A380 story.
  • TCAS 7.1: From January 1st, 2017, TCAS 7.1 is required throughout the entire NAT region.
  • Cruising Level: Effective 2017, you no longer need to file an ICAO standard cruising level in NAT airspace.
  • Gross Nav Error:  is now defined as greater than 10nm (used to be 25nm)
  • Contingency Procedure: Published January 2017, a new turn-back (180) procedure is introduced – turn back to parallel previous track by 15nm.
  • Datalink Mandate Exemptions: Phase 2B of the Datalink mandate started on December 7, 2017 (FL350-390). Exempt: Radar airspace, Tango Routes, airspace north of 80N, and New York OCA.


  • Confirm Assigned Route Introduced August 2016, you will see this message when you enter NAT airspace with datalink, and you should reply with the planned route in NAT airspace. Designed to catch errors.
  • NAT HLA The airspace formerly known as MNPS. Changed February 2016. NAT HLA = NAT High Level Airspace. Now includes Bodo Oceanic, and aircraft must be RNP 4 or RNP10. Previous MNPS approvals good through 2020.


  • RLAT Started December 2015, spacing on the NAT Tracks reduced to “Half Track” (30nm) for 3 core tracks. RLAT=Reduced Lateral Separation Minima. Next phase (ie. all NAT Tracks 350-390) now planned for December 2017.
  • SLOP Offsetting right of track by 1nm or 2nm became Mandatory.


Feb 1st, 2018: FSB updated the full NAT Crossing Guide “My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow“.

– What’s different about the NAT, changes in 2018,2017, 2016, 2015, NAT Quick Map
– Routine Flight Example #1 – Brussels to JFK (up at 5.45am)
– 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
Take a look.


US issues new guidance on Iran overflight risk

The FAA has published new guidance today on overflight risk for Iran, and the Tehran FIR (OIIX). The relationship between the US and Iran has soured in the past twelve months, since the last KICZ Notam and guidance was published. In May, when President Trump announced the withdrawal from the Nuclear deal, the Iranian parliament burned the US flag and shouted “Death to America”.

Without seeming alarmist, this relationship must be taken into account when planning flights through the Tehran FIR. Although the reopening of Iraqi airspace in November last year has provided additional routing options, our recent article London – Dubai, which way is best? shows that there is no perfect route in the region, and operators must consider their preference for Iraq vs Iran.

A new Notam for Iran, KICZ 16/2018 was published today, and contains new wording, rather than being an extension of the previous. The key message of the Notam is : “Exercise caution when flying into the Tehran FIR“.

In addition, new background guidance has been published in conjunction with the Notam, and these are the key new items:

  • There is concern for heightened Iranian air defense sensitivity and exercises as a result of regional instability and/or political tensions. Heightened Iranian air defense sensitivity may create an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operating in the Tehran FIR (OIIX)
  • A U.S. civil operator experienced a fighter intercept in the Tehran FIR (OIIX) in December 2017
  • There is the potential for Iranian surface-to-surface missile fire from western Iran, targeting Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) positions located in the region (such as occurred in June 2017)
  • There is an inadvertent risk to U.S. civil aviation operations in the Tehran FIR (OIIX) from Iranian-fielded GPS jammers

We would add that if planning an overflight of the Tehran FIR, consider the risk from an unplanned landing – decompression, medical, engine fire – which may force you into Tehran or another airport – it’s a big chunk of airspace. The US State Dept currently advises: Do not travel to Iran due to the risk of arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.

As always, we’d like to hear your thoughts and comments on this new information, overflying Iran, and Middle East risk in general. Comment below, or mail our team at


FAA Notam KICZ 16/2018 published Sep 9, 2018
FAA Background Notice on Tehran FIR published Sep 9, 2018
FAA Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices (not yet updated)


New things in OpsGroup – gocrow, new alerts, Daily Brief, George 2, Foxes


Summer – for those of us in northern parts, at least – is progressing, and so are we. I’m excited to tell you about a whole bunch of new things we’ve built for OpsGroup, to make your life easier (which is why you’re in the group in the first place, yes?)

Here’s the game changer: We’re starting to reach a point where you and your fellow members are reporting things to the Team every day, at a level that means we’re really covering most of the important operational news out there. Now, we are working on better ways for you to find it … read on.

Not a member yet? We LOVE welcoming new members to the group

Choose a plan – JOIN OPSGROUP


As the crow flies – pop in your departure and destination, and get all the information that we have for your route – Planning data – distances, times, fuel, Ops News and Alerts, Permit requirements, Airport Spy reports.

What’s new?

  • Sort News by last 7 days, 30 days, 3 months, year
  • Permit information for each country you overfly or pass near
  • Drag and change route – just click the yellow line, all info is recalculated
  • OPSGROUP Airport Spy reports along your route
  • Change underlays
  • now works on iPad
New underlay options, show different maps under your route (more coming).
Airport Spy reports are automatically pulled for your route.
Customized news report for your route.
Get country by country permit information.

New Dashboard

What’s new?

  • Re-designed and improved look
  • A notifications tab for Ops Alerts and new Airport Spy reports.
  • A live map of alerts, toggle 7 days/ 1 month / All, searchable news feed
  • Daily Brief archives in publications
  • FSB Blog posts now appear here also
  • Report it tool

New Alerts Window

All ops-alerts issued by FSB for the group now have their own home at You can also find them in slack in the #ops-alerts channel, which will push notifications to your phone.

Each alert now has a category, validity dates, active marker, and link to more information:


You know George from before, but we sent him for remedial training in North Korea and now he’s back, smarter, sharper, and better. George is a bot. We can’t call him AI, because he’s not that intelligent, but he understands a whole load of new commands: permitsweather, ICAO codes, airport names, countries, keyword searches. Go to the #george channel in slack to test him out.


OpsGroup has set up a trusted network of spies: Pilots, Air Traffic Controllers, Dispatchers, and Ops Specialists – that can report directly into our system, adding categorized reports, based on what they see and know at their home base, or visited airport. We call this network OpsFox.

You can view the live map, or search for a specific country, or location:

Daily Brief

We love that you all love the Daily Brief! It’s been the most popular feature of the year – and we are happy to bring you daily updates every morning.

See those little fox badges? When we get a report from a Fox, we’ll mark it like that on the Daily Brief. If you’re a ground handler, and want to have your name listed as a reporter, then tell us and we’ll credit you for any reports you file – so that our members can contact you directly for more.

Also, as a fox, you earn points. Here’s the current Top 5!

We really hope you enjoy the new features! We listen to what the members want, and we build it – so keep your ideas coming to us. And of course, when you hear about something new:

Please! whether you’ve just checked in to the Holiday Inn at Teterboro, or are enroute with some fancy satcom wi-fi, let the other members know when you hear something important:

We hope you have a wonderful week! As always, keep us posted on anything the group should know about.

Oh – and if you REALLY liked something we added, hit reply and let us know! We’d love to hear.

Kind regards,
The Team.

Quick links – OPSGROUP members:


Choose a plan – JOIN OPSGROUP


FSB Daily Brief – subscribe to free trial

Every morning, FSB provides the latest International Flight Operations updates across 18 categories – including Airports, ATC, Runways, Fuel, Airspace, Procedures, Delays, Risk, Hazard, Severe Wx, Costs, Strikes, and Events – direct by email.

The brief is provided to OpsGroup members. If you’re not a member, you can try out it out for a while by signing up below, for free. You’ll get it in your inbox every morning!

* indicates required

Dash 8 set on fire in Papua New Guinea, airport closed indefinitely

AYMN/Mendi has been closed indefinitely after protesters set fire to and destroyed an Air Niugini Dash 8 aircraft, which had just arrived from Port Moresby. The protest was in response to a court ruling confirming the election of the Southern Highlands governor William Powi.

Radio New Zealand reported:

“(Initially) the local police station commander Gideon Kauke had said police were guarding the aircraft to ensure there was no further damage, after its tyres had been flattened.

But he said his team of about ten police couldn’t contain a mob of uncountable numbers, particularly after missiles were thrown, forcing them to retreat; “we were guarding the plane but compared to them we were outnumbered and they came in all directions, all corners. Missiles were thrown, bush knives were thrown.”

Mr Kauke said some of the protestors, who continue to behave menacingly in Mendi as their numbers build up, were carrying guns. He said the protest was in response to a court ruling in Waigani confirming the election of the Southern Highlands governor William Powi.”

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs is cautioning all to “reconsider your need to travel” to the regions affected by the unrest and to also “exercise a general degree of caution” for the whole of PNG.

The local NOTAM says it all.

A0773/18 – AD CLSD TO ALL ACFT OPS DUE CIVIL UNREST. 14 JUN 05:35 2018 UNTIL 13 JUL 06:00 2018 ESTIMATED. CREATED: 14 JUN 05:52 2018

Additional reporting indicates that the aircraft was shot at on landing, deflating the tyres.

Are you currently in PNG and can fill us in on more? Please comment below, or email us.

Daily Brief – subscribe here

We’d like you to help test our New Daily Operations Brief

Every morning, FSB provides the latest updates across 18 categories – including Airport, Runway, Fuel, Airspace, Procedures, Delays, Risk, Hazard, Severe Wx, Costs, Strikes, and Events – direct by email.

How? Subscribe below, and once you’ve seen a few, give us feedback on it.  

OPSGROUP Members are already subscribed, no need to join again.

Subscribe to the Daily Brief


FSB continues to provide the weekly International Ops Bulletin every Wednesday to 50,000 readers.


Further reading

  • About OpsGroup – the heart of International Flight Operations
  • Feb 20, 2018 – new members being accepted, read why.
  • Join OpsGroup – single and team, Flight Department memberships available.


Escape from Teterboro .. FL400 or above

Skip the line up at Teterboro! The FAA has launched an initiative to allow some high-performance business aviation aircraft an escape route during SWAP events to mitigate delays at KTEB and KHPN. The goal is to offer flights that are filed to cruise at FL400 and above an exclusive route that would get them above the airline traffic. This route may add a few extra miles but will minimize ground delays.

As the FAA is required to test the route for ATC automation and familiarity, they are seeking pilots willing to participate in this test as early as this weekend, preferably in the morning, before traffic demand peaks. Aircraft participating in the test would be routed over GREKI and then on to westerly or southwesterly destinations.

If you’re willing to participate in the test this weekend, please at your earliest opportunity contact FAA Deputy Director System Operations, East-North Warren Strickland:

If you’re unable to participate in this weekend’s test, please advise Warren of other dates that may work for you.



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