Category: News Item (page 1 of 20)

Swiss restrictions for the Davos World Economic Forum

The 2019 World Economic Forum will take place in Davos from Jan 21-26.

LSZH/Zurich along with most other airports in the area will be busy during this period. So if you’re planning on attending— or even if you’ll just be passing through—best get your slot/PPR request in as soon as possible.

LSZH/Zurich

  • Will be congested, so apply for slots early if you’re actually planning on stopping there. You might not get the slots you requested, particularly if you want to arrive/depart at peak times.
  • Earliest non-scheduled landing for a wide body aircraft without parking permission will be 1300z daily.
  • Maximum 3 hour ground time for general aviation without parking permission (so drop-and-go’s are fine, as long as they stay within that 3 hour window).
  • You will not be able to use LSZH as an alternate to flights going to LSZS/Samedan.
  • Airport operates from 0500-2100z daily, and overtime is not available – make sure you land before closing time or you’ll get diverted to another airport.
  • Repositioning from LSZH to LSMD will not be allowed; the aircraft would have to land and depart directly from LSMD.

LSMD/Dubendorf

  • Located in downtown Zurich. Normally a military airfield, but opens to civilian traffic each year for the Forum.
  • Open 0600-2000z weekdays, and 0800-1900z on Saturday, closed on Sundays, with no overtime available.
  • Should have lots of parking available.
  • Slots not required, but PPR is required.
  • Customs clearance is provided in the military terminal building.
  • For handling, email the airport handler direct on: aircraft.handling@topmotion.ch
  • The airport publishes a special ‘Air Crew Guide’ for any aircraft coming there during the Forum week each year. Bunch of info about the airport and approaches, etc.

EDNY/Friedrichshafen

  • Open 0500-2100z weekdays, and 0800-1900z on weekends, with overtime available on request.
  • No slot or PPR requirements.
  • Parking not usually a problem during the week of the Forum.
  • Be aware as this airport is in Germany, fuel will generally be more expensive as the taxes are higher here.

Permits

Landing permits are not required for private GA flights to Switzerland. You’ll only need a landing permit if you’re operating a charter flight on an aircraft not registered in the EU. For that, email the authorities direct at: trafficrights@bazl.admin.ch

Fuel

No supply issues expected at any of the airports, just expect the normal congestion-related delays with getting a fuel truck out to you on day of departure. For charter flights departing from Switzerland, you can uplift fuel tax free – but bear in mind that taxes will become due and payable if you do not then leave the country within 24 hours.

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.

team@ops.group

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.

How OpsGroup works – for questions

I love how the hive-mind works. We have 5000 members, and so it shouldn’t be surprising, but it’s still awesome to see it in action.

Yesterday, in slack, a member asked:

Now, I’ve never heard of Novolazarevskaya Station, but that’s not important. There are another 4,999 of us, and chances are that someone in the group has.

So, we blasted it out on the ATIS this morning:

The ATIS goes out to all group members in the OpsGroup Daily Brief.

And of course, someone got right to it, answering the question:

This is how OpsGroup works! Simple, and extremely effective. When one person knows, we all know.

Bonus: The first OpsGroup team member to see the question was @Jamie – Opsgroup Team, who has been on the ice on five separate missions for the US Antarctic program, and has spent a combined total of three years down there.

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

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!

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 flightservicebureau.org/NAT.

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:

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:

Older posts
International Ops Bulletin
Get our weekly Ops Bulletin on changes and dangers: Airport closures, Security issues, ATC restrictions, Airspace changes, and New Charts
Sent to you every Wednesday
Thanks, I'm already a reader.