Tag: NAT Tracks

My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow – NAT Ops Guide (Updated 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.

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” – and now we’ve updated it for 2018!

Contents:

  • 1. What’s different about the NAT?
  • 2. Changes in 2018, 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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PBCS: New rule on the NAT from March 29, 2018 – RCP240 and RSP180

Update March 16th, 2018: PBCS is turning into a PITA. After OPSGROUP input, we have an update on the latest status including rumours of delays, A056 LOA’s, and Aircraft that have failed to comply with PBCS.

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.

ICAO is introducing another acronym in the North Atlantic Region. This time, it’s PBCS (Performance Based Communication and Surveillance), and from March 29th 2018 you will need to be compliant if you want to fly on the half-tracks between FL350-390.

Initially, there will only be a maximum of three daily tracks where you will need to be PBCS-compliant between FL350-390. These will likely be the same tracks as we currently see being assigned as ‘half-tracks’ each day.

This requirement will eventually be extended to all the NAT tracks between FL350-390, but we understand that will only happen when the filing of PBCS designators on flight plans reaches the 90% mark, or 28th March 2019 – whichever comes first. Either way, the ‘transition period’ for this PBCS implementation is set to last six months, so the roll-out of the requirement to all the tracks won’t happen until Oct 2018 at the earliest!

But from March 29th 2018, Shanwick and Gander will basically just continue the concept used in the RLatSM trial – whereby daily tracks spaced at less than 60nm from an adjacent track will be specified as a ‘PBCS Track’ and will be notified in the Track Message Remark-3.

So what is PBCS?

PBCS is the thing that will replace two trials in the NAT which are both coming to an end on March 29th:

  • RLATReduced Lateral Separation Minimum: where a reduced lateral separation of 25 nm has been implemented on the tracks between FL350-390 (so now there are extra “half tracks” each day, spaced by one-half degree of latitude)
  • RLong – Reduced Longitudinal Separation Minimum: in the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area (OCA), longitudinal separation has been reduced to 5 minutes between aircraft following the same track.

When these trials end, PBCS standards will be introduced to continue to allow the application of both reduced lateral and longitudinal separation for aircraft that meet the Required Communication Performance (RCP) and Required Surveillance Performance (RSP) specifications.

How do I comply with PBCS standards?

To operate on the PBCS tracks between FL350-390, you will need to be RNP4 compliant, with CPDLC capable of RCP240, and ADS-C capable of RSP180.

But watch out! Some aircraft do have ADS-C and CPDLC but have never demonstrated RCP or RSP, and have no statement of compliance (e.g. most Honeywell Primus aircraft and several early Boeing aircraft). These aircraft may struggle to get approval to operate in PBCS airspace. Which brings us neatly on to…

Do I need PBCS approval from my state of registry?

PBCS approval will differ depending on which country operators are from.

For UK operators, check the requirements here.

US operators will need to update their LOA for Data Link Communications (A056). The FAA have published a new guide, which tells operators exactly what they need to do to get this authorisation, namely:

  1. Submit an AFM Statement of Compliance for PBCS, showing exactly what data link communication systems you aircraft has, along with the selected performance
  2. Since July 2016, various oceanic FIRs have been collecting data on whether certain aircraft meet RSP and RCP criteria. You need to make sure your aircraft isn’t already listed as having failed to meet these criteria, by checking here: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/separation_standards/pbcs_monitoring/

What new codes do I need to put down on my flight plan?

  • FANS 1/A CPDLC equipped aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the appropriate designator (J2, J3, J4, J5 and/or J7) in Item 10a of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A CPDLC RCP 240 compliant aircraft intending to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the designator P2 in Item 10a of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A ADS-C compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert the designator D1 in Item 10b of the flight plan.
  • FANS 1/A ADS-C RSP 180 compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert SUR/RSP180 in Item 18 of the flight plan.
  • RNP 4 compliant aircraft planning to operate in the NAT HLA shall insert PBN/L1 in Item 18 of the flight plan.

If I’m not eligible for PBCS, where can I go? 

ATC may allow you to do either of the following, depending on how stressed/busy they are (i.e. decided on a ‘tactical basis’):

  • You can infringe on the daily PBCS tracks between FL350 – FL390 at only one point (including Oceanic Entry/Exit Point) i.e. cross but not join an NAT PBCS track
  • You can climb or descend through levels FL350 – FL390 on a PBCS track provided the climb or descent is continuous.

In their NAT OPS Bulletin 2018_001, ICAO have published a handy little picture to demonstrate this:

 

Further information:

  • For a great FAQ on all things PBCS, check out the latest FAA document here.
  • For more info on the PBCS implementation, check out the full UK AIC here.
  • To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our quick reference guide here.
  • Special thanks go to Mitch Launius at 30westip.com for help with this post. For assistance with international procedures training for business aviation crews worldwide, and to watch an excellent webinar about all things PBCS-related, check out the 30westip.

 

More NAT half-tracks are coming

Update Jan 23: The current phase of the trial for RLatSM Tracks will come to an end on March 29, when PBCS standards will be introduced for the NAT tracks. More info on that here.

Since Dec 2015, there have been three daily NAT tracks spaced by one-half degree between FL350-390. These are officially called ‘RLatSM Tracks’ (Reduced lateral separation minima), but we all just prefer to call them ‘Half-Tracks’.

Separating flights by one-half degree of latitude rather than the standard one degree means that aircraft can be separated laterally by 25nm, which helps improve the efficiency of North Atlantic operations.

In Jan 2018 the Half-Tracks will be expanded from the three that now run each day, first by one additional track and then (maybe) to all NAT Tracks between FL350-390 inclusive. Jan 4 is the earliest day that this might happen, but because they will be decided tactically, it will most likely be the first busy day after Jan 4.

If you want to operate on the RLatSM tracks, you’re going to need CPDLC, ADS-C, and RNP4; along with the other standard pre-requisites for operating in the NAT HLA between FL350-390: an HLA approval, TCAS 7.1, RVSM approval, two LRNS, and a working HF radio. To figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have, check out our quick and dirty guide here.

One thing to be cautious of when using the half-degree tracks – most aircraft FMC’s truncate lat/long waypoints to a maximum of 7 characters, so it will often show up as the same waypoint whether you’re operating along whole or half degree waypoints. So when operating on the half-tracks, just remember to double-check the full 13-character representations of the lat/long waypoints when you enter them into the FMC.

For more details about the new RLatSM procedures, have a read of the UK AIC 087/2017 here.


					
		

NAT Airspace Closures

Update 18th Oct: No more events are planned at this time. However, we will keep this page updated with the latest news as we get it.

 

Sections of NAT airspace are set to close on various different dates in October. This is all due to U.S. and NATO joint military exercise that’s going on, called Formidable Shield, which will mean huge chucks of airspace will be closed to civil ops for many hours.

The basics for each event are the same:

  • Airspace closed, SFC-UNL.
  • Aircraft capable of flying in MNPS airspace will have to keep at least 30nm away from the area, other aircraft will need to keep 60nm away.

 

Event 1 Happened on 25th Sep. 

 

Event 2 Happened on 7th Oct.

 

Event 4Happened on 15th Oct. (Yes, Event 4 happened before Event 3 – just to confuse us!)

 

Event 3 Happened on 17th Oct.

NAT Tracks example with RLAT – 2017

With the new (ish) RLAT Tracks, the standard NAT Track picture looks different these days. We thought we’d draw one out so you can see the RLAT Tracks. This example is the Westbound Tracks today, February 24th 2017. The RLAT Tracks are C, D, and E.

The neat plotting chart that this is drawn on is from Flight Service Bureau and available here.

Picture first (click for big version), Track message follows:

Westbound NAT Tracks 24th February, 2017.

 

 

 

232034 EGGXZOZX
(NAT-1/2 TRACKS FLS 310/390 INCLUSIVE
FEB 24/1130Z TO FEB 24/1900Z
PART ONE OF TWO PARTS-
A RESNO 56/20 57/30 57/40 56/50 JANJO
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
B DOGAL 55/20 56/30 56/40 55/50 LOMSI
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
C MALOT 54/20 55/30 55/40 54/50 NEEKO
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
D TOBOR 5330/20 5430/30 5430/40 5330/50 PELTU
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
E LIMRI 53/20 54/30 54/40 53/50 RIKAL
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
END OF PART ONE OF TWO PARTS)


232035 EGGXZOZX
(NAT-2/2 TRACKS FLS 310/390 INCLUSIVE
FEB 24/1130Z TO FEB 24/1900Z
PART TWO OF TWO PARTS-
F DINIM 52/20 53/30 53/40 52/50 TUDEP
EAST LVLS NIL
WEST LVLS 310 320 330 340 350 360 370 380 390
EUR RTS WEST NIL
NAR NIL-
REMARKS.
1.TMI IS 055 AND OPERATORS ARE REMINDED TO INCLUDE THE
TMI NUMBER AS PART OF THE OCEANIC CLEARANCE READ BACK.
2.ADS-C AND CPDLC MANDATED OTS ARE AS FOLLOWS
TRACK A 350 360 370 380 390
TRACK B 350 360 370 380 390
TRACK C 350 360 370 380 390
TRACK D 350 360 370 380 390
TRACK E 350 360 370 380 390
TRACK F 350 360 370 380 390
END OF ADS-C AND CPDLC MANDATED OTS
3.RLATSM OTS LEVELS 350-390. RLATSM TRACKS AS FOLLOWS
TRACK C
TRACK D
TRACK E
END OF RLATSM OTS
4.FOR STRATEGIC LATERAL OFFSET AND CONTINGENCY PROCEDURES FOR OPS IN
NAT FLOW REFER TO NAT PROGRAMME COORDINATION WEBSITE WWW.PARIS.ICAO.INT.
SLOP SHOULD BE STANDARD PROCEDURE, NOT JUST FOR AVOIDING WX/TURB.
5.80 PERCENT OF GROSS NAVIGATION ERRORS RESULT FROM POOR COCKPIT
PROCEDURES. CONDUCT EFFECTIVE WAYPOINT CHECKS.
6.OPERATORS ARE REMINDED THAT CLEARANCES MAY DIFFER FROM THE FLIGHT PLAN, 
FLY THE CLEARANCE.
7.UK AIP. ENR 2.2.4.2 PARA 5.2 STATES THAT NAT OPERATORS SHALL FILE
PRM'S.
8.FLIGHTS REQUESTING WESTBOUND OCEANIC CLEARANCE VIA ORCA DATALINK
SHALL INCLUDE IN RMK/ FIELD THE HIGHEST ACCEPTABLE FLIGHT LEVEL WHICH CAN
BE MAINTAINED AT OAC ENTRY POINT.
9.ALL ADSC CPDLC EQUIPPED FLIGHTS NOT LOGGED ON TO A DOMESTIC ATSU
PRIOR TO ENTERING THE SHANWICK OCA MUST INITIATE A LOGON TO EGGX BETWEEN 10
AND 25 MINUTES PRIOR TO OCA ENTRY.-
END OF PART TWO OF TWO PARTS)

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

Monday Briefing: North Atlantic Changes, Caspian Sea Missiles

19OCT2015 Flight operations in the NAT region will see significant changes in around three weeks time, including new ‘half-degree’ NAT tracks, new Entry Points in Gander and Shanwick OCA’s, and several procedural changes. A Special Bulletin with plotting chart, summarising the changes, will be issued by Flight Service Bureau next week.

19OCT2015 Last week 26 cruise missiles were launched across International air routes in Azerbaijan, Iraq, and Iran, with reports suggesting 4 did not travel as intended. The risk to aircraft operators is summarised in our International Ops Notice 10/15, see below for details.


RPHI/Manilla FIR, Philippines Typhoon Koppu has maintained its strength as it continues to move northward with slightly increasing forward speed along the shores of Ilocos Sur, Luzon. Current location (1200Z Monday) is to the west of RPLI/Laoag Airport. It is forecast to weaken to a Tropical Storm within 24 hours. No reports of airports affected so far.

OMDW/Dubai World hosts Dubai Airshow 08-12NOV. Landing Permit required for all flights, 3 days processing, standard documents and requirements. Slot required for OMDW, window +/- 5mins. Show details at www.dubaiairshow.aero

OPRN/Islamabad, Pakistan closed 1300-1800 daily due runway works 18-28OCT.

SEXX/Ecuador A new DGAC resolution now effective permits non-scheduled aircraft to land without a Landing Permit as long as the aircraft is operating under private ops, will not stay longer than 72 hours in Ecuador, and visits only one location in Ecuador. The official document is here (in Spanish).

VHHH/Hong Kong with effect 25OCT (IATA Winter 2015) will amend slot issuing procedures to give priority to operators with higher capacity aircraft, and where same types conflict for the same slot time, lower noise levels.

LIXX/Italy ATC Strike confirmed for 24OCT (Saturday) 0800-1600, service will be provided to Overflights and Intercontinental flights only.

LTXX/Turkey Traffic operating through the south eastern part of Turkish airspace to/from Tehran and Baghdad FIRs should check Notams for restrictions. Several restrictions up to FL310 due to military operations.

EGXX/Shanwick Large scale Military Exercise ‘At Sea Demonstration’ ASD15 affecting OEP’s ERAKA and GOMUP starts on 19OCT.

LFxx/France Datalink implemented from 22OCT LFRR/Brest and LFBB/Bordeaux ACC from 0900L. Initial phase, no ACL (Clearance via CPDLC), and aircraft must be on Eurocontrol whitelist. Ref France AIC A22/15.

VNXX/Nepal continues to experience shortages of fuel due to a halt in shipments coming from India. Available fuel for domestic airlines is rapidly decreasing, and authorities worry that domestic flights will soon be unavailable. The Nepalese government has requested that international airlines carry return fuel or refuel at airports en route, as Tribhuvan International Airport (VNKT/KTM) has no available fuel.

View the full International Ops Bulletin for 19OCT2015.

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