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How does Oceanic work?


Maher Abaza
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I've had this curious matter of Oceanic flights in my head for a long time. I have not flown any trans-Atlantic flights in any flight simulator because I have no idea what to expect. I have watched some videos in the past, but I still don't get the way it works.

How does it look from pilots' perspective? What do they need to learn more than regular pilots who don't fly Oceanic?

For ATC, what are the procedures like and what makes Oceanic ATC different?

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On 10/25/2019 at 6:44 PM, Maher said:

I've had this curious matter of Oceanic flights in my head for a long time. I have not flown any trans-Atlantic flights in any flight simulator because I have no idea what to expect. I have watched some videos in the past, but I still don't get the way it works.

How does it look from pilots' perspective? What do they need to learn more than regular pilots who don't fly Oceanic?

For ATC, what are the procedures like and what makes Oceanic ATC different?

I'll bite. This is a big question honestly lol.

Since you are non-radar, the relay folks need to transmit you data and plot it. I'm keeping this on a basic level. Yes, Most mainstream airlines/modern planes use ADS-C, CPDLC, and are FANS-A1. Using HF and Satellite comms to communicate position across water. I'm not really up to speed on real world NAT Track stuff sorry, but the rest of the World hasn't really changed. Different parts of the world do reports and coms different as far as lingo.

Blast off, make a coast out fix at altitude. The controllers are going to want to know Flight Level and Speed in Mach. Be at that fix at ALT and SPD. You need a frequency. FSX/P3D can't do HF, so it'll be one frequency. (Otherwise you'll get a Primary and Secondary HF freq IRL.) The Initial call is important bc it has the most stuff. You'll get a hand off sometime before the fix. If you didn't get a freq, ask before you go.

Make Initial Contact. "Gander Radio, Gander Radio, XXXXX, On XXXX (Freq), Position."            Add "SELCAL XX-XX, CPDLC" if you want. 

They will come back asking for an Estimate for initial fix, FL, and Mach typically. Easy!!!

So as you cross that initial fix...below follows.

The you need to remember this. PTAPTP!!!. Position Time Altitude, Position Time, Position. "Delta 55 Crossed XXXXX at 1255Z FL, estimating XXXXX, XXXXX next." Atlantic adds the Mach after the FL, but they should know the Mach already since you requested it. EVERY FIX YOU CROSS REPORT! Make yourself a form and just right the info down. In some agreements with controlling agencies if your FMC time to a fix is great that 2 or 3 mins (pending where), call the controller and adjust it. Just do it. 

 

This is sometimes a learn as you go thing. Important to know though...know where you are, report where you are, stay on course/on time. This is the basic stuff. Don't adjust ALT either unless requested.

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12 hours ago, Maher A. said:

I did know about position reports and that there are no radars for controllers, that's why I wanted to know more about their procedures in depth.
Your answer gives me a clearer vision on how things are going, so thank you @Veselko C.!
I still want more details though 😛

If you are interested in procedures exactly for some ocenaic control center, I suggest you to read their AIPs.

NATs are one of the most famouse tracks. They are used in North part of Atlantic ocean. There are also tracks like these on Pacific ocean. They are called PACOTS. These airways are chainging because of winds(jet streams at high altitude). When you fly even higher(like Concorde), then this doesn't affect you, wind there are not chaingig that often. That's why Concorde used defned trackes SM, SN, SO, SP. But you don't need to use these tracks, because you can fly on random route(your own route).

In North Atlantic airplanes are separated by 10 min per waypoint, 10 minutes nobody is allowed to pass the same waypoint that any airplane did before. Separations there are really big. Also, compared to continental procedural control, they have more traffic, so they can't just use flight strips. There are special computer programs used to detect possible collisions. Also, usually it's not possible to change FL or speed a lot in oceanic airspace because of this.

Then when you come to other side of ocean, domestic ACC will radar identify you and you can descend to your destination.

Maybe @Andrew H. as pilot might know a bit more.

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There are few diffreneces, that are realted to technology that is currently in use.

First ATCs don't have radars(you can't put radar in ocean), so pilots need to be able to provide position reports. But there is new system ADS-B that automaticly will send location of plane to ATCs directly.

Also, ATCs ca only provide procedural control(no radars).

Related to communication, you use HF radio, not VHF(different frequency, more static).

Also you should like long haul flights, one of the shortest transatlantic flights is EINN-CYQX, still like 4 hours, maybe less, or use Concorde(complex procedures, no supersonic overland).

Related to flight plane, you can use NAT tracks(valid only for specific time) or randome route(your own route).

As far as I know, today CPDLC is main way of communication for pilots, mostly they don't use HF. Also, you have SELCAL, if you need HF(so you don't have to listne to static constantly).

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6 hours ago, Maher A. said:

Thanks @Veselko C.! I found an old video by NATS on YouTube. Seems very detailed. I wonder how much has changed since this video was made.

For anyone reading: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJTjwW5ZYas&

They use HF a bit less because of CPDLC. Also, in Gander OCC they started using ADS-B. I don't think there're a lot more differences.

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56 minutes ago, Don M. (1014691) said:

Is ADS-B, automatic position reporting,  installed on any aircraft in flight sim.  Freeware or Payware

ADS-B can be simulated on the controller's end regardless of the pilot's plane.  Unlike planes flying in the real world, the POSCON servers know the exact position of all planes flying on the network at any given time.  So a simulated ADS-B report wouldn't actually have to come from the user's plane. 

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15 hours ago, Sean (1020678) said:

I'll bite. This is a big question honestly lol.

Since you are non-radar, the relay folks need to transmit you data and plot it. I'm keeping this on a basic level. Yes, Most mainstream airlines/modern planes use ADS-C, CPDLC, and are FANS-A1. Using HF and Satellite comms to communicate position across water. I'm not really up to speed on real world NAT Track stuff sorry, but the rest of the World hasn't really changed. Different parts of the world do reports and coms different as far as lingo.

Blast off, make a coast out fix at altitude. The controllers are going to want to know Flight Level and Speed in Mach. Be at that fix at ALT and SPD. You need a frequency. FSX/P3D can't do HF, so it'll be one frequency. (Otherwise you'll get a Primary and Secondary HF freq IRL.) The Initial call is important bc it has the most stuff. You'll get a hand off sometime before the fix. If you didn't get a freq, ask before you go.

Make Initial Contact. "Gander Radio, Gander Radio, XXXXX, On XXXX (Freq), Position."            Add "SELCAL XX-XX, CPDLC" if you want. 

They will come back asking for an Estimate for initial fix, FL, and Mach typically. Easy!!!

So as you cross that initial fix...below follows.

The you need to remember this. PTAPTP!!!. Position Time Altitude, Position Time, Position. "Delta 55 Crossed XXXXX at 1255Z FL, estimating XXXXX, XXXXX next." Atlantic adds the Mach after the FL, but they should know the Mach already since you requested it. EVERY FIX YOU CROSS REPORT! Make yourself a form and just right the info down. In some agreements with controlling agencies if your FMC time to a fix is great that 2 or 3 mins (pending where), call the controller and adjust it. Just do it. 

 

This is sometimes a learn as you go thing. Important to know though...know where you are, report where you are, stay on course/on time. This is the basic stuff. Don't adjust ALT either unless requested.

You've pretty much covered it all, that's great! Thanks a lot man!

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On 10/26/2019 at 1:44 AM, Maher Abaza said:

I've had this curious matter of Oceanic flights in my head for a long time. I have not flown any trans-Atlantic flights in any flight simulator because I have no idea what to expect. I have watched some videos in the past, but I still don't get the way it works.

How does it look from pilots' perspective? What do they need to learn more than regular pilots who don't fly Oceanic?

For ATC, what are the procedures like and what makes Oceanic ATC different?

There is several types of oceanic procedures. NAT tracks are the most common ones. NAT track means North Atlantic Tracks. They are over the north atlantic ocean. 2 types of it - westbound [ Europe - USA and Canada ] and eastbound [ USA and Canada - Europe]. If you fly over an ocean before entering the NAT track you'll need to advice ATC about the routing you're going to follow if there is oceanic clearance ATC there. The way you need to speek the clearance is splinted. I'll give you example:

1.Let's say you are doing flight from KJFK to EDDF. You're going to follow NAT track that is containing this waypoints: NICSO  4850N  4940N  5030N  5120N  DINIM ELSOX   . Here's how you have to read it: Via NICSO 48 North 50 West, 49 North 40 West,  50 North 30 West,  51 North 20 West,  Direct DINIM, Direct ELSOX. 

NAT Tracks are changing every day. Usually I use the Skyvector.com website. I know that in 19:00 or 20:00 Zulu is goign to change the route. Route is based on wind data, it gives you the best oceanic route to pass faster the ocean. You will have to do a position report on the NAT track if there is ATC to control from the shore. The prev. guy already spone about it. 

There is also a PACOTS tracks. They are for the Pacific Ocean Traffic system. There is similiar procedures, but the tracks are a bit confusing mostly. 

The most confusing from the all tracks are the Domestic and the Middle East Indian Ocean Tracks. They are created for routes from the middle East to Australia east and west coast. Also for connection routes in Australia from the west to east coast and to Mallaasisa under the Asia tracks. Those groups are different, there handling system includes the airports and approaches to specific towns, like Sydney, Melbourne etc. Tbh I still do not understand them. I hope my comment helped you. 

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With your initial call on HF approaching Oceanic entry point with e.g. Gander, after getting your clearance, dont forget to mention the next FIR
e.g. Gander Radio, KLM123. FL310, CPDLC, Shanwick next. 
Then they will come automatically with your SELCAL and backup HF freq, and where to contact Shanwick ( mostly 30W), on what freqs. 

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Guest Pavlin
On 10/23/2020 at 2:32 AM, Olaf Blom (1016062) said:

@Pavlin 1022770If you are flying a NAT, you just say: 'requesting clearence to Kennedy via track A', if you are flying ramdom routing you'll say: '  requesting clearence to Kennedy via DOGAL, 55 North 020 West, 56 North 030 West,' and so on. This is just a part of the clearence request.

And how he can understand in which direction you are going if there is two tracks with the same letter? I mean eastbound and westbound one???? 

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6 hours ago, Guest Pavlin said:
On 10/23/2020 at 2:32 AM, Olaf Blom (1016062) said:

@Pavlin 1022770If you are flying a NAT, you just say: 'requesting clearence to Kennedy via track A', if you are flying ramdom routing you'll say: '  requesting clearence to Kennedy via DOGAL, 55 North 020 West, 56 North 030 West,' and so on. This is just a part of the clearence request.

And how he can understand in which direction you are going if there is two tracks with the same letter? I mean eastbound and westbound one???? 

From what I understood, the NAT tracks names are not duplicated. They have unique letter identifiers. There won't be 2 tracks with name A at any point.

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