Oceanic » Flight planning

General

The NAT HLA effectively constitutes free route airspace. However, NAT SUPPs (Doc.7030) details some routing constraints which must be adhered to unless otherwise prescribed by the appropriate ATS Authority. These constraints are detailed in NAT Doc.7030 at paragraphs 2.1.9.2 and 2.1.9.3 and may be paraphrased as follows:

All flights which generally route in an eastbound or westbound direction should normally be flight planned so that specified ten degrees of longitude (20°W, 30°W, 40°W etc.) are crossed at whole degrees of latitude; and all generally northbound or southbound flights should normally be flight planned so that specified parallels of latitude spaced at five degree intervals (65°N, 60°N, 55°N etc.) are crossed at whole degrees of longitude. Exceptions apply in the case of flights routing north of 70°N, these are noted below. However, where appropriate ALL oceanic ten-degree meridians should be included as waypoints in the flight plan submitted to ATC, even where “named” significant points are close to these "prime" meridians of longitude.
It is not appropriate to then omit the ten-degree crossings from the ATC Flight Plan.


Coordinates

There is a total of two ways to file your coordinates in your flight plan. One is degrees only (7 characters) and the other is degrees and minutes (11 characters). Please see below how to use them.

  • Degrees only (7 characters)
    Two figures describing latitude in degrees followed by "N" (North) or "S" (South), followed by three figures describing longitude in degrees followed by "E" (East) or "W" (West). Where necessary make up the correct number of figures by insertion of zeros (e.g. 46N050W).
  • Degrees and minutes (11 characters)
    Four figures describing latitude in degrees and tens and units of minutes followed by "N" (North) or "S" (South), followed by five figures describing longitude in degrees and tens and units of minutes followed by "E" (East) or "W" (West). Where necessary make up the correct number of figures by insertion of zeros (e.g. 4620N05005W).

Common errors:

It is often observed that a mixture of the above is used e.g- 46N05450W, 5455N030W, and also only 5 characters e.g 4540N. These are not acceptable formats.


Routings

During the hours of validity of the OTS, operators are encouraged to flight plan as follows:

  1. in accordance with the OTS; or
  2. along a route to join or leave an outer track of the OTS; or
  3. on a random route to remain clear of the OTS, either laterally or vertically.

Nothing in the paragraph above prevents operators from flight planning through/across the OTS. However they should be aware that whilst ATC will make every effort to clear random traffic across the OTS at published levels, re-routes or significant changes in flight level are likely to be necessary during most of the OTS traffic periods.


Outside of the OTS periods operators may flight plan any random routing, except that during a period of one hour prior to each OTS period the following restrictions apply:

  • Eastbound flights that cross 30°W less than one hour prior to the incoming/pending Westbound OTS (i.e. after 1029 UTC), or
  • Westbound flights that cross 30°W less than one hour prior to the incoming/pending Eastbound OTS (i.e. after 2359 UTC),

should plan to remain clear of the incoming/pending OTS structure.


Flight levels

Operators may include step climbs in the flight plan, although each change of level during flight must be requested from ATC by the pilot. The chance of approval of such requests will, of course, be entirely dependent upon potential traffic conflicts. Outside the OTS there is a good likelihood of achieving the requested profiles. However, within the prime OTS levels at peak times, ATC may not always be able to accommodate requested flight level changes and prudent pre-flight fuel planning should take this into consideration.


Flights which are planned to remain entirely clear of the OTS or which join or leave an OTS Track (i.e. follow an OTS track for only part of its published length), are all referred to as Random Flights. Pilots intending to fly on a random route or outside the OTS time periods, may plan any flight level(s) irrespective of direction (i.e. there is no need in the NAT HLA to plan in accordance with the ICAO Annex 2 Table of Cruising Levels)


NAT tracks / TMI number

NAT tracks and its equivalent TMI number change every single day. It is important to have the latest data available, otherwise oceanic operators cannot clear you to cross the NAT HLA.

Tracks are only valid between 11:30 UTC and 19:00 UTC (westbound tracks), and 01:00 UTC and 08:00 UTC (eastbound tracks). If you use the tracks outside of these hours, it will be referered to as a "random routing".


ATC Flight Plans

For turbojet aircraft the Speeds/Mach Number planned to be used for each portion of the flight in the NAT Region should be specified in Item 15 (route) of the flight plan.


The proposed speeds should be reflected in the following sequence:

  1. cruising True Airspeed (TAS) prior to oceanic entry;
  2. oceanic entry point and cruising Mach Number;
  3. TAS subsequent to oceanic exit.

ATC Flight Plan Examples

These flight plans have been collected from real Norwegian flights on 25/04/2017.


Using a NAT track

EGKK-KMCO

  • N0480F240 SAM1X SAM L620 GIBSO/N0498F340 UN514 DIDEL/N0493F380 UL149 MERLY UL22 MOPAT DCT LIMRI/M085F380 NATF RIKAL/N0484F380 DCT TUSKY DCT EMJAY J174 ZIZZI DCT SBY J79 KATZN DCT TYI J79 CHS DCT OMN BITHO7
    • LIMRI/M085F350: Oceanic entry point LIMRI at Flight Level 350, Mach .85
    • NATF: NAT track F (LIMRI DCT 53N020W 54N030W 54N040W 53N050W DCT RIKAL)
    • RIKAL/N0484F380: Oceanic exit point RIKAL at Flight Level 380, True Airspeed 484
(Please note that this is an example only and this track is not valid)

Using a random routing

EGKK-KLAX

  • N0498F320 SAM1X SAM L620 GIBSO UM17 SWANY/N0493F360 UM17 STU UN546 BAKUR DCT BILTO/M085F360 DCT 58N020W 60N030W/M085F380 62N040W 63N050W DCT EMBOK DCT KAGLY/N0496F380 DCT 6330N07000W 6230N08000W 60N090W/N0489F400 55N100W DCT VLN DCT BIL DCT KU84Q DCT FFU DCT WINEN Q73 HAKMN ANJLL1
    • BILTO/M085F360: Oceanic entry point BILTO at Flight Level 360, Mach .85
    • BILTO/M085F360 DCT 58N020W 60N030W/M085F380 62N040W 63N050W DCT EMBOK DCT KAGLY/N0496F380:
      Full oceanic routing, including a planned* step climb at 30 west
    • KAGLY/N0496F380: Oceanic exit point KAGLY at Flight Level 380, True Airspeed 496

* Operators may plan step climbs/descends on their flights, but you MUST receive ATC clearance in order to perform it.