Tag: Santa Maria

New NAT Contingency Procedures for 2019

Starting 28th March 2019, there will be some changes to the contingency and weather deviation procedures on the NAT. ICAO has published a new NAT Ops Bulletin with all the details.

Before, there was a lot of confusion around the wording of these two procedures – but ICAO has now made this much clearer, and they have even included a little graphic to help us understand how it will work.

Thing is, it’s still a little clunky. So we decided to make our own version!

Click on the image to open larger version.

What’s new?

The simple answer is this: contingency offsets that previously were 15 NM with actions at 10 NM are basically now all 5 NM offsets with a turn of at least 30 degrees (not 45 degrees).

Rarely do we see ICAO oceanic contingency procedures undergo a formal revision. The last time a major revision occurred was in 2006 when ICAO standardized a 15 NM offset executed with a turn of at least 45 degrees. Prior to that, the North Atlantic and the Pacific had used different offset distances and a 90 degree turn.

Where and when?

A trial implementation is scheduled to begin in the North Atlantic High Level Airspace (NAT HLA) and New York Oceanic West (WATRS) starting 28th March 2019. ICAO is expected to formally publish the Standard in an update to PANS-ATM (ICAO Doc 4444) on 5 November 2020.

Why?

To support reduced separation being implemented in conjunction with Advanced Surveillance Enhanced Separation (ASEPS), Space Based ADS-B surveillance. The details for the ASEP trial can be found in NAT OPS Bulletin 2018-006 Trial Implementation of ASEPS using ADS-B.

Old version vs New version – full wording

Here’s the old version, as per the latest version of the NAT Doc 007, paragraph 13.3. (Note – this will be valid UNTIL 27 March 2019):

The aircraft should leave its assigned route or track by initially turning at least 45° to the right or left whenever this is feasible.

An aircraft that is able to maintain its assigned flight level, after deviating 10 NM from its original cleared track centreline and therefore laterally clear of any potentially conflicting traffic above or below following the same track, should: 
a) climb or descend 1000 ft if above FL410 
b) climb or descend 500 ft when below FL410 
c) climb 1000 ft or descend 500 ft if at FL410

An aircraft that is unable to maintain its assigned flight level (e.g due to power loss, pressurization problems, freezing fuel, etc.) should, whenever possible, initially minimise its rate of descent when leaving its original track centreline and then when expected to be clear of any possible traffic following the same track at lower levels and while subsequently maintaining a same direction 15 NM offset track, descend to an operationally feasible flight level, which differs from those normally used by 500 ft if below (or by 1000 ft if above FL410).

Before commencing any diversion across the flow of adjacent traffic or before initiating any turn-back (180°), aircraft should, while subsequently maintaining a same direction 15 NM offset track, expedite climb above or descent below the vast majority of NAT traffic (i.e. to a level above FL410 or below FL290), and then maintain a flight level which differs from those normally used: by 1000 ft if above FL410, or by 500 ft if below FL410. However, if the flight crew is unable or unwilling to carry out a major climb or descent, then any diversion or turn-back manoeuvre should be carried out at a level 500 ft different from those in use within the NAT HLA, until a new ATC clearance is obtained.

And here’s the new version, as per the NAT OPS Bulletin 2018-005 Special Procedures for In-flight Contingencies in Oceanic Airspace (Note – this will be valid FROM 28 March 2019):

If prior clearance cannot be obtained, the following contingency procedures should be employed until a revised clearance is received:

Leave the cleared route or track by initially turning at least 30 degrees to the right or to the left, in order to intercept and maintain a parallel, direction track or route offset 9.3 km (5.0 NM).

Once established on a parallel, same direction track or route offset by 9.3 km (5.0 NM), either: 
a) descend below FL 290, and establish a 150 m (500 ft) vertical offset from those flight levels normally used, and proceed as required by the operational situation or if an ATC clearance has been obtained, proceed in accordance with the clearance; or 
b) establish a 150 m (500 ft) vertical offset (or 300 m (1000 ft) vertical offset if above FL 410) from those flight levels normally used, and proceed as required by the operational situation, or if an ATC clearance has been obtained, proceed in accordance with the clearance.

Note. — Descent below FL 290 is considered particularly applicable to operations where there is a predominant traffic flow (e.g. east-west) or parallel track system where the aircraft’s diversion path will likely cross adjacent tracks or routes. A descent below FL 290 can decrease the likelihood of: conflict with other aircraft, ACAS RA events and delays in obtaining a revised ATC clearance.

So to reiterate, the important change is that contingency offsets that previously were 15 NM with actions at 10 NM are basically now all 5 NM offsets with a turn of at least 30 degrees (not 45 degrees).

Weather deviations

If you have to deviate from your assigned track due to anything weather-related, there’s a whole different procedure to follow. Again, the NAT Ops Bulletin has all the details for this, but the bottom line seems to be:

For deviations of less than 5 NM, remain at the flight level assigned by ATC.

For deviations of 5 NM or more, when you are at the 5 NM point initiate a change as follows:

If flying EAST, descend left by 300ft, or climb right by 300ft.

If flying WEST, climb left by 300ft, or descend right by 300ft.

In other words – SAND! (South of track = Ascend, North of track = Descend; Up/Down by 300ft)

But remember, going right is probably better – it gets you out of the way of all the SLOP offset traffic that might be coming at you from the opposite direction!

Turnback procedure

In both the NAT Ops Bulletin and the new NAT Doc 007 which will take effect from 28 Mar 2019, ICAO has left out any specific reference to how to divert across the flow of traffic or turn-back procedure, and instead simplified it to just “proceed as required by the operational situation”. Turning back would assume you either employ the 5NM offset as per the new contingency procedure, or else get a new revised clearance.

Bottom line

If you operate in the NAT HLA, we recommend you read and review the NAT Ops Bulletin in its entirety. It’s relatively short but, beginning 28 March 2019, the procedures are expected to be implemented. You might want to prepare changes for your Ops Manuals and checklists too.

Make sure you stay tuned to OPSGROUP for changes that may occur as we approach 28 March 2019!

Mitch Launius is an International Procedures Instructor Pilot with 30 West IP and can be contacted through his website, www.30westip.com

Further reading:

  • On Nov 1st we had a call with 140 OPSGROUP members about upcoming changes on the NAT in 2019, and how we can effect change. OPSGROUP members can find the PDF notes of this in your Dashboard.
  • A big thing driving the ASEPS trial is the rollout of Space-based ADS-B, which is scheduled to complete its deployment by 30 Dec 2018, giving us worldwide, pole-to-pole surveillance of aircraft. For more on that, and how it will affect operations on the NAT specifically, read the article by Mitch Launius here.
  • Use our quick guide to figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have.

First look at NAT changes for 2019

Starting 28th March 2019, a new trial will be implemented on the NAT called ASEPS (Advanced Surveillance Enhanced Procedural Separation) using ADS-B in the Shanwick, Gander and Santa Maria FIRs.

Compliant aircraft will see a reduction in longitudinal separation to as close as 14 NM. This is not restricted to particular tracks or altitudes, just between properly equipped aircraft – you’ll need RVSM/HLA approval, ADS-B, and to be fully PBCS compliant (that means meeting the specifications of RNP4, RCP240 and RSP180). Read this ICAO Bulletin for all the details.

When the ASEPS trial starts, there will also be some changes to the contingency and weather deviation procedures. Before, there was a lot of confusion around the wording of these two procedures – this has now been made much clearer, and they have even included a nice little graphic to help us understand what to do. Read this ICAO Bulletin for all the details.

ICAO have published all these changes in their updated NAT 007 Doc valid for 28th March 2019.

Further reading:

  • On Nov 1st we had a call with 140 Opsgroup members about upcoming changes on the NAT in 2019, and how we can effect change. Opsgroup members can find the PDF notes of this in your Dashboard.
  • A big thing driving the ASEPS trial is the rollout of Space-based ADS-B, which is scheduled to complete its deployment by 30 Dec 2018, giving us worldwide, pole-to-pole surveillance of aircraft. For more on that, and how it will affect operations on the NAT specifically, read the article by Mitch Launius here.
  • Use our quick guide to figure out where you are welcome on the NAT, depending on what equipment and training you have.
  • All the big changes on the NAT in 2018 are covered on our page here.

2018 (New) North Atlantic Plotting Chart published

We have published a brand new, completely updated, even more awesome  North Atlantic Plotting & Planning Chart. You’re welcome!

New on this chart – effective May 29, 2018:

:: NEW! Circle of Entry – easily check what you need for Nav, Comms and ATC Surveillance across different parts of the NAT
:: NEW! Contingency procedures for lost comms, turn-back, weather deviation.
:: NEW! HLA Airspace now highlighted on chart in yellow
:: NEW! Requirements for NAT tracks, PBCS tracks, datalink mandate.
:: Updated airspace entry requirements
:: New waypoints and corrections from previous edition
:: Updated airport data, costs, and fuel pricing for 2018.

The new chart shows all the new rules and requirements in graphical format – as well as updated airport data, costs, and fuel pricing, and new waypoints and corrections from previous edition. We’ve also included our very own Circle of Entry – easily check what you need for Nav, Comms and ATC Surveillance depending on which bit of the NAT you will be flying through.

Also updated are the FSB North Atlantic companion guides that go with the chart:

  • The NAT Ops Guide – “My First Atlantic Flight is Tomorrow”
  • Mandates Quick Reference – “NAT: Choose Your Own Adventure”
  • Circle of Entry – NAT Airspace Entry requirements

To get the new chart, you have choices!

Option 1:  Buy the chart in the Flight Service Store ($35)

Option 2:  Get the chart as part of the NAT Pack ($50), which contains all the North Atlantic guides and brochures

Option 3:  Join OPSGROUP, and get 1. and 2. for free.

OPSGROUP members get this and other publications by Flight Service Bureau, free of charge, and emailed directly on publication. To join with an individual, team, or airline/dept membership, check out OpsGroup2018.com.

Alternatively, to purchase a copy of the NAT chart from the online shop, click on the image below to download the more detailed PDF.

 

If you really need to know all there is to know about the North Atlantic right now, then the NAT Pack is your guy.

It includes:
– The current FSB North Atlantic Plotting Chart
– The FSB NAT Ops Guide “My first North Atlantic Flight is tomorrow”
– The “Circle of Entry” showing Com, Nav, and ATC requirements for the different parts of the NAT HLA
– The FSB Quick reference guide to the NAT “Choose your own adventure”.

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:

 

Buy a copy ($20)   Get it free – join OPSGROUP

To get your copy – there are three options:

  1. OPSGROUP Members, login to the Dashboard and find it under “Publications > Guides”. All FSB content like this is included in your membership, or
  2. Join OPSGROUP with an individual, team, or department/airline plan, and get it free on joining (along with a whole bunch of other stuff), or
  3. Purchase a copy in the Flight Service Store!

Santa Maria Strike: Four Routes

Update: 1730Z/Weds – we have received notification that Portuguese Industrial action may be being withdrawn. We will update and confirm when certain.

LPPO/Santa Maria Oceanic has published four special routes for use during the upcoming “July Friday Strike Series” ATC Industrial Action.

If you happen to be crossing the LPPO FIR on a Friday morning in July, then expect a hefty reroute if you didn’t file per the plan.

The Strike Time Period is : 0700-0900Z, during which time only these four routes will be accepted.

ROUTE A– 45N020W 40N030W 37N040W

ROUTE B– DETOX 39N020W 36N030W 34N040W

ROUTE C– LUTAK 36N020W 33N030W 29N040W

ROUTE D– ULTEM 27N040W

The cutoff time for these routes is when you enter the LPPO/Santa Maria FIR

Traffic entering prior to 0700Z: unrestricted

Traffic entering the FIR between 0700-0900Z: Must file and fly one of the four Routes above.

Traffic entering the FIR after 0900Z: unrestricted

Oceanic Errors

Unfortunately, we don’t fly with three in the cockpit anymore – or even four. The navigators job falls squarely onto the front two seats. Over one weekend in April there was one Gross Navigation Error, and two close calls reported on the North Atlantic.

April 22nd (Friday)
Democratic Republic of the Congo Boeing 727 100 (9QCDC/DRC001) from Santa Maria Island, Azores (LPAZ) to St. John’s NL (CYYT)
At 1235Z, Observed on radar to be over position 4720N 4745W, which was approximately 60 miles north of the cleared route 45N 45W – 47N 50W. The crew reported correctly while in oceanic airspace. The flight was cleared direct to YYT and landed without incident at CYYT. There was no traffic, and no other impact to operations.

April 24th (Sunday)
Neos Airline Boeing 767-300 (INDDL/NOS730) from Ferno, Italy (LIMC) to Havana, Cuba (MUHA)
Cleared via 49N030W 48N040W 45N050W. At 30W, the flight reported 48N040W 44N050W. The aircraft recleared to 45N050W prior to proceeding off course.

Apr 25th (Monday)
Transportes Aereos Portugueses Airbus A330-202 (CSTOO/TAP203) from Lisbon, Portugal (LPPT) to Newark, NJ (KEWR)
Cleared 46N030W 46N040W 45N050W. The aircraft reported proceeding via 46N030W 46N040W 44N050W, as per the original flight plan. The aircraft was recleared via 45N050W prior to proceeding off course.

Did you notice how hard it was to find the error in the above two examples?

 

Gross Navigation Errors are a really interesting topic, and relevant not just on the North Atlantic but in any Oceanic or Remote airspace where ATC cannot monitor the aircraft tracking.

What defines a GNE? Normally, 25nm: That is, when on “own navigation” the aircraft departs the cleared route by more than 25nm. The NAT Central Monitoring Agency (CMA) now defines a Gross Navigation Error as 10nm instead of 25nm.

Annually, the biggest offenders in order of “market share” are: 1. Corporate/Private, 2. Military/State 3. Civil airlines.

How to Avoid a GNE?
(aka How to avoid a Nastygram from the Authorities):

In general, when operating outside of ATC Radar coverage in any airspace:

  • Crews: Don’t have more than one paper copy of the Flight Plan in the cockpit. Mark the active one “Master Document”. Hide any other copies where you won’t find them.
  • Ops: If you send a new Flight Plan to the crew, tell them what the changes are – especially if you’ve filed a different route in Oceanic or Remote Airspace.
  • Fly the Clearance, not the Filed Plan. This is the biggest gotcha. As soon as you reach the Oceanic Entry Point, or leave radar airspace – refer only to the most recent Clearance from ATC. The filed plan is a request only – sounds obvious, but most GNE’s occur because the crew fly the filed plan although there was a reroute.
  • Be aware of the ‘ARINC424 problem’: In the aircraft FMS, and map display, the current common waypoint format is 5230N for position 52N030W (as prescribed by ARINC 424). To show position 5230N030W – ARINC 424 offers a format N5230. The potential for confusion is clear. ICAO, in NAT Ops Bulletin 3/15, have recommended that operators use the format H5230, if a five-letter FMS format waypoint is required. In addition pilots are recommended to cross check any waypoints that don’t have a ‘name’.
  • Use a plotting chart – it’s mandatory. You don’t have to use ours, but use one.
  • Use an Oceanic/Remote Area Checklist (sample link below).

And specifically on the Atlantic:

  • Read the advice on the Daily Track Message – waypoint cross check, Fly the Clearance (and be sure it is the clearance!)
  • Know the weather deviation procedures: Even with the new “Half Tracks”, there are no changes to the in flight contingency procedures and weather deviation procedures as detailed in PANS ATM Doc444 Para15.2 & 15.2.3.

Here’s some links and resources that we think are really useful:

 

For regular notices and content like the above, consider joining OPSGROUP.

 

The Three Sisters – Shanwick’s Tango Routes

When the French Controllers go on strike, which is often, the airspace surrounding France becomes of high interest to international operators, especially the North-South routes within Shanwick’s airspace.

There are three very useful routes if you happen to be flying North-South. With the changes in February this year from MNPS to HLA, the normal confusion over what is required to operate on T9, T16, and T213 (‘The Three Sisters’), has increased further. Let’s try to get all the specifics in a row.

Map of the Tango Routes:

Tango Route Map T9 T16 T213

 

 

Tango 9 LASNO-BEGAS
The most popular of the three – often chock full of holiday traffic between Northern Europe and the Canaries. Requirements:

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time.
  • At least one LRNS/Long Range Nav System
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Tango 213 TAMEL-BERUX

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time.
  • Two LRNS/Long Range Nav Systems
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Tango 16 OMOKO-NAVIX

  • HF Radio. One is sufficient.
  • An Oceanic Clearance. Get it from Shanwick at least 30 minutes before you arrive at the boundary, 60 minutes is the best target time, or Santa Maria if you’re going north.
  • Two LRNS/Long Range Nav Systems
  • HLA Approval if you want to fly above FL285.

Key Points:

  • You probably won’t get the level that you want – either because the airway itself is busy, or because you’re crossing a bunch of East-West NAT Traffic. If the rest of your Flight Plan shows FL380, plan FL320 for most of the Tango portion – especially T9.
  • You need a HF radio to enter Shanwick FIR, period. There are no exceptions.
  • You need HLA Approval to use the routes at FL290 and above, same goes for RVSM.

Operating Tips:

  • You can make an Oceanic request by Data-link (ACARS), Clearance delivery – 127.65 VHF, 123.95 VHF or via HF (Frequencies vary on the day, but 5598 is normally a safe bet).
  • If you get a low Flight Level for the Oceanic Route, Shanwick are happy for you to check in again closer to the boundary and see if higher is now available.
  • Entering the Oceanic Airspace, make a full position report: Position and time /flight level / Next position and estimate for that point / Following position
  • Don’t make a full exit position report when you enter domestic airspace, just callsign and “Approaching LASNO, FL370”. Exception: Santa Maria likes one.
  • Shanwick and Santa Maria are outside the IFPS zone, so copy flight plans to EGGXZOZX and LPPOZOZX – failure to do so will delay getting an oceanic clearance.
  • No contact on HF? Relay on 123.45, or Sat Phone EGGX 423201 or EIAA 425002.

NAT HLA Approvals

  • If you have an existing MNPS approval, it’s good until 2020.
  • If you need a new HLA approval, then you’ll need RNP4/RNP10.
  • Individual Crew need training in international procedures and HLA, as part of the process.

From Shannon ATC

Thanks to Shannon ATC for adding this useful information for crews operating on the Tango Routes:

  • EICK Departures via T9/T213/T16 should get their  Oceanic clearance prior to departure – ask the Tower 45 minutes ahead of time.

  • All other EI/Irish departures can request clearance when airborne. For info, the earlier crews request their clearance the better, as it means they are more likely to get a better level and it allows ATC to plan for getting the aircraft to that level.

  • Important: Due to the risk of two aircraft using the same squawk leading to a mis-ident, Northbound traffic entering SOTA via T9, LASNO or T213, TAMEL should squawk 2000 at least 10 minutes prior to the Irish boundary.

 

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

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