ENR 7.8 North Atlantic (NAT) Safety Information

  1. Report Leaving, Report Reaching
    1. The early discovery of altitude deviations is extremely important to the overall safety of NAT operations. Deferring the required reports of leaving and reaching flight levels until the next routine communication may lead to instances where aircraft fly at the incorrect flight level for long durations. This is not acceptable from a system safety standpoint. While the actual number of vertical errors in the NAT Region is relatively small, some of these errors continue undetected (and therefore uncorrected) for long durations.
    2. In practical terms:
      1. Report leaving a flight level as soon as the aircraft begins climb or descent;
      2. Report reaching a flight level as soon as the aircraft is level; and
      3. In RVSM airspace, provide the reports even if air traffic control has not specifically requested them.
  2. Adherence to Oceanic Clearance
    1. As a key part of ensuring the overall safety in the NAT Region, pilots are reminded of the importance of strict adherence to the oceanic clearance. The NAT oceanic clearance provides separation from all known aircraft from the oceanic entry point to the oceanic exit point. This separation can only be assured if all aircraft enter oceanic airspace in accordance with their oceanic clearance.
    2. Although it may be desirable to defer climb or descent to the cleared oceanic flight level, delaying the request to domestic air traffic control for a clearance may result in entering oceanic airspace at a less optimum flight level.
    3. In practical terms:
      1. Flights must enter oceanic airspace level at the cleared oceanic flight level;
      2. Flights must enter oceanic airspace at the cleared oceanic entry point;
      3. Flights must maintain the assigned true Mach number;
      4. If a pilot cannot comply with any part of the oceanic clearance, air traffic control must be informed immediately;
      5. Pilots must ensure that their aircraft performance enables them to maintain the cleared oceanic flight level for the entire oceanic crossing; and
      6. If a pilot discovers that the aircraft is not able to reach or remain at a cleared flight level, air traffic control must be informed immediately.
  3. Turbulence Impact Assessment
    1. To help in assessing whether moderate or severe turbulence might have an impact on operations in the NAT Region, including the WATRS, when reduced vertical separation minimum of 1,000 feet is applied between FL290 and FL410 inclusive, the frequency and magnitude of altitude deviations from assigned FL caused by moderate to severe turbulence needs to be quantified.
    2. To this end, air crews operating in the NAT Region, including all of the WATRS areas, are required to include the magnitude of the deviation, in feet, from assigned FL in all required reports of moderate to severe turbulence.
  4. Common Procedures for Radio Communications Failure in the North Atlantic (NAT)

    NOTE-

    The following procedures are intended to provide general guidance for NAT aircraft experiencing a communications failure. These procedures are intended to complement and not supersede state procedures/regulations. It is not possible to provide guidance for all situations associated with a communications failure.

    1. General.
      1. If so equipped, the pilot of an aircraft experiencing a two-way-radio communications failure must operate the secondary radar transponder on identity Mode A (Code 7600) and Mode C.
      2. The pilot must also attempt to contact any ATC facility or another aircraft and inform them of the difficulty and request they relay information to the ATC facility with which communications are intended.
    2. Communications failure prior to entering NAT oceanic airspace.
      1. If operating with a received and acknowledged oceanic clearance, the pilot must enter oceanic airspace at the cleared oceanic entry point, level and speed and proceed in accordance with the received and acknowledged oceanic clearance. Any level or speed changes required to comply with the oceanic clearance must be completed within the vicinity of the oceanic entry point.
      2. If operating without a received and acknowledged oceanic clearance, the pilot must enter oceanic airspace at the first oceanic entry point, level, and speed, as contained in the filed flight plan and proceed via the filed flight plan route to landfall. That first oceanic level and speed must be maintained to landfall.
    3. Communications failure prior to exiting NAT oceanic airspace.
      1. If cleared on flight plan route the pilot must proceed in accordance with the last received and acknowledged oceanic clearance to the last specified oceanic route point, normally landfall, then continue on the flight plan route. Maintain the last assigned oceanic level and speed to landfall. After passing the last specified oceanic route point, conform to the relevant State procedures/regulations.
      2. If cleared on other than flight plan route the pilot must proceed in accordance with the last received and acknowledged oceanic clearance to the last specified oceanic route point, normally landfall. After passing this point, rejoin the filed flight plan route by proceeding directly to the next significant point ahead of the track of the aircraft as contained in the filed flight plan. Where possible use published ATS route structures, then continue on the flight plan route. Maintain the last assigned oceanic level and speed to the last specified oceanic route point. After passing this point conform to the relevant State procedures/regulations.
  5. When Able Higher (WAH) Reports
    1. To ensure maximum use of available altitudes, aircraft entering RVSM airspace in the New York FIR should be prepared to advise ATC of the time or position the aircraft can accept the next higher altitude. WAH reports are also used to plan the altitude for aircraft as they transition from RVSM to CVSM altitudes; therefore, it is important that the altitude capability of the aircraft is known by controllers.
      1. If the aircraft is capable of a higher altitude that is not preferred by the pilot, give the altitude in the WAH report and advise that you prefer not to be assigned that altitude.
    2. ATC acknowledgment of a WAH report is NOT a clearance to change altitude.
    3. The procedures will differ for eastbound and westbound aircraft since many of the eastbound aircraft will enter New York RVSM airspace from ATC sectors that have direct controller-pilot communications.
      1. Eastbound aircraft entering RVSM airspace in the New York FIR:
        1. Pilots may be requested by ATC to provide an estimate for when the flight can accept the next higher altitude(s). If requested, pilots should provide this information as soon as possible.
      2. Westbound aircraft entering RVSM airspace in the New York FIR:
        1. Pilots should include in the initial position report the time or location that the next higher altitude can be accepted.

          EXAMPLE-

          “Global Air 543, 40 north 40 west at 1010, flight level 350, estimating 40 north 50 west at 1110, 40 north 60 west. Next able flight level 360 at 1035."

          NOTE-

          Pilots may include more than one altitude if that information is available.

          EXAMPLE-

          (After stating initial report) “Able flight level 360 at 1035, able flight level 370 at 1145, able flight level 390 at 1300."