Category: News Item (page 1 of 20)

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:

NTSB: Current NOTAM system is “just a bunch of garbage”

You were all very supportive when we wrote the initial article on the BS Notam problem last year, and have followed our journey in fixing the problem since then.

Big news!

The NTSB called the Notam System a bunch of garbage on Tuesday this week, and assigned probable cause of the AC759 incident in SFO to the Notams that were missed.

 

What this means to OpsGroup is massive fuel to our fire: we are working hard to fix this problem, and having a public facing government organisation like the NTSB come down like a ton of bricks on the Notam System drives us forward in leaps and bounds.

The group members have been decisive in helping us to identify the problem and taking action to fix this. So, we want to acknowledge all of you! Great work!

In solving two of the above five problems, we have been working with ICAO for several months now. You all got involved in Normand 17,000 Notams later, we happy to report that version 0.1 of Norm is now live on the ICAO website. Norm is a bot – an AI, that has learned what Notams look like, and thanks to OpsGroup rating these 17,000 Notams, is also learning which ones are critical and which ones are not.

He’s still young. He doesn’t get everything, but if you feed him a Notam you’ll see him assign it a criticality of 1-5.

This will in turn allow us to sort Notams, putting the most important stuff first.

 

Check your checklist! Lessons from fatal King Air accident in Melbourne

The pilot at the controls of a Beechcraft B200 Super King Air that crashed shortly after take off had the aircrafts rudder trim in the full left position for take off, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has found.

The ATSB final report said the aircraft’s track began diverging to the left of the runway centre line before rotation and the divergence increased as the flight progressed.

It then entered a shallow climb followed by a “substantial left sideslip with minimal roll” before beginning to descend. At this point the pilot issued a mayday call seven times in rapid succession.

Approximately 10 seconds after the aircraft became airborne, and two seconds after the transmission was completed, the aircraft collided with the roof of a building.

What Happened?

The investigation found that the pilot did not detect that the aircraft’s rudder trim was in the full nose-left position prior to takeoff.

“Prior to takeoff, there were several opportunities in the pre-flight inspection and before takeoff checklists for the pilot to set and confirm the position of the rudder trim,” the ATSB final report said.

A King Air flight simulator was used to recreate the event as part of the ATSB investigation.

The pilot who performed the flight simulator test commented that:

The yaw on take-off was manageable but at the limit of any normal control input. Should have rejected the take-off. After take-off the aircraft was manageable but challenging up to about 140 knots at which time because of aerodynamic flow around the rudder it became uncontrollable. Your leg will give out and then you will lose control. It would take an exceptional human to fly the aircraft for any length of time in this condition. The exercise was repeated 3 times with the same result each time. Bear in mind I had knowledge of the event before performing the take-offs.

The pilot also stated that it could be possible for a pilot to misinterpret the yaw as being caused by an engine power loss rather than from a mis-set rudder trim.

Safety message

Cockpit checklists are an essential tool for overcoming limitations with pilot memory, and ensuring that action items are completed in sequence and without omission. The improper or non-use of checklists has been cited as a factor in some aircraft accidents. Research has shown that this may occur for varying reasons and that experienced pilots are not immune to checklist errors.

This accident highlights the critical importance of appropriately actioning and completing checklists.

Checklist discipline

In previous correspondence between the accident pilot and the ATSB when discussing checklists, the pilot stated that:

“You don’t get complacent as a pilot but you get into a routine. The same as your pre-take-off checks, you get a routine and you don’t need to use a checklist because you are doing it every day, you are flying it every day… I take-off with one stage of flap because it gets me of the ground quicker. And I never change my routine…”

Wait what!??? It is stating the obvious but it’s a timely reminder that checklists are an essential defense against pilot errors. 

Sadly, it could have been a life-saver in this instance.

The ATSB video to supplement the report.

Milan Linate closed next summer

With planned runway and terminal constructions, LIML/Milan Linate will be closing from July 27, 2019 until October 27, 2019.  Work has already begun with Assoclearance (slot coordination) to work out summer schedules.

Today, September 20, a coordination meeting will take place to clarify the slot allocation process for S19. Following this, a September 25th meeting at Linate will be held to discuss the operational impact of the closure.

Milan Linate handled over nine million passengers in 2017, so a large portion of this traffic will now have to operate through LIMC/Milan Malpensa, which already stands as the second busiest airport in Italy, handling over 22 million passengers in 2017.

We’ll have more information after both the slot and operations meetings this coming week.

Do you know more? Feel free to comment or drop us a line!

Hurricane Florence: Latest Airport closures and Operational impact

Latest update: 1900z, Sept 17th.

Most airports have reopened, with the exception of KILM and KOAJ (see below).

The National Weather Service have warned – “Florence is forecast to bring a large area of rainfall of 20-40 inches to parts of NC/SC. We cannot overstate the threat of catastrophic flooding this storm will bring!”

Severe disruption is expected across the entire region spanning from KSAV/Savannah in the south up to KRIC/Richmond in the north, with multiple airport closures planned.

As of 1900z on Sep 17th, the situation is as follows:

  • ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KAVL) @flyavlnow
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA (KCHS) @iflyCHS
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLOTTESVILLE, VIRGINIA (KCHO) @CHOAirport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA (KILM) @ILMAirport
    The airport is open, but it’s not recommended to operate, no power, no ILS, no tower. One runway is open for rotor aircraft.
  • FAYETTEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KFAY) @flyFAYairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA (KMYR) @FlyMyrtleBeach
    Airport is open and operational, some equipment outages, keep an eye on Notams.
  • GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA (KGSO) @flyfromPTI
    Airport is open and operational.
  • HILTON HEAD, SOUTH CAROLINA (KHXD)  @hiltonheadSC
    Airport is open and operational.
  • NORFOLK, VIRGINIA (KORF) @NorfolkAirport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • RALEIGH-DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA (KRDU) @RDUairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • SAVANNAH, GEORGIA (KSAV) @fly_SAV
    Airport is open and operational.
  • WINSTON-SALEM, NORTH CAROLINA (KINT)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA (KLYH) @lynchburggov
    Airport is open and operational.
  • RICHMOND, VIRGINIA (KRIC) @flack4RIC
    Airport is open and operational.
  • CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (KCLT) @cltairport
    Airport is open and operational.
  • NEW BERN, SOUTH CAROLINA (KFLO)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • FLORENCE, NORTH CAROLINA (KEWN)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • PITT-GREENVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KPGV)
    Airport is open and operational.
  • JACKSONVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (KOAJ)
    The airport is closed – scheduled to reopen Sept 18, accepting military and rescue flights.
  • ROCKY MOUNT, NORTH CAROLINA (KRWI)
    Airport is open and operational.

Do you know more and can add to this list? Let us know!

 

Extra Reading:

  • Google Crisis Map
  • You can view the latest projections and forecast maps with the NOAA here.
  • You can view the latest information from the FAA here. The latest flight delay information is here

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 comments@ops.group.

References

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)

 

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