Region IV: North Atlantic

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Regional Leads

Region IV (NAT) Lead: Mitch Launius, 30West IP

Revised Authorization Required for Performance-Based Comm, Surveillance Operations
Jan. 31, 2018
Starting March 29, operators flying in the North Atlantic Tracks and certain other international regions are encouraged to have a revised letter of authorization or revised operations specification for performance-based communication and surveillance (PBCS) because a new reduced-separation standard for aircraft may become available on that date. In November 2016, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) published a new PBCS reduced-separation standard. As a result of the revised ICAO standards, the FAA is requiring individual aircraft to demonstrate compliance with the new PBCS performance standards in order to use reduced separation tracks based on PBCS capabilities. Learn more.
New North Atlantic Turn-Back Procedure Is an Option
March 8, 2017
In the event of an in-flight contingency while flying in the new half-degree (25 nm) reduced lateral separation minima (RLatSM) tracks across the North Atlantic, a new procedure for diversion or 180-degree turn-back is an option, but not required. Mitch Launius, an instructor pilot and NBAA International Operators Committee Region IV (North Atlantic) lead, advised that pilots "not operate in the RLatSM tracks if they're new to the North Atlantic environment. They can fly above, below or outside the organized tracks." However, if operators are flying the tracks and need to turn back, the stated procedure is to first turn within your lane, then ascend above FL410 or descend below FL280 once you have reversed course. Learn more.
Operators Need to Understand New Reduced-Separation Minimums in North Atlantic Airspace
Feb. 4, 2016
Air traffic controllers officially implemented reduced lateral separation minimums (RLatSM) on the North Atlantic Tracks on Dec. 14, 2015, but not all operators flying from North America to Europe may be aware of the details of the new operating rules. RLatSM reduces the lateral spacing between aircraft in the tracks from one degree (60 nautical miles) of longitude to half a degree (25 nautical miles). “The authorities essentially took the two core tracks, and laid a third track between them, using the new 25-nautical-mile spacing,” said Chris Strand, an international captain for Amway and vice chairman of NBAA’s International Operators Committee. Read more about RLatSM.
NATS Half-Degree Lateral Separation Trial Starts Nov. 12
Sept. 4, 2015
Beginning Nov. 12, a trial program intended to increase capacity on optimal flight routings for North Atlantic Tracks (NATs) through portions of the Gander, Shanwick and Reykjavik Oceanic Control Areas goes into effect for properly equipped aircraft. The reduced lateral separation minimums (RLatSM) Phase 1 trial will reduce lateral separation to half a degree (25 nm) on core tracks of the NAT-organized track system for flight levels 350 to 390 inclusive. The current separation is one degree (60 nm). Learn more.
Data Link Requirements Take Effect Feb. 5 in North Atlantic; Similar Requirements Postponed in Europe
Feb. 2, 2015
This week marks the implementation of Phase 2 of the North Atlantic Data Link Mandate (NAT DLM). This initiative seeks to enhance communication, surveillance and air traffic control intervention capabilities in the NAT region in order to increase the overall flow of traffic, while ensuring safety and reducing collision risk, especially along the vertical plane. Meanwhile, Eurocontrol has postponed the VHF Data Link (VDL) Mode 2 Communications mandate in Europe until Feb. 5, 2020. Beginning in 2020, all civil aircraft operating IFR above FL285 in the Eurocontrol area must be retrofitted to support VDL Mode 2 data. Aircraft delivered before 2014 with FANS A/1 installed are exempt from this mandate. Learn more.
FAA Announces Phase 2 of the NAT Data Link Mandate
Nov. 25, 2013
The FAA on Dec. 12 will publish a notice to airmen detailing plans for the rollout of Phase 2 of the North Atlantic Systems Planning Group's (NAT SPG) North Atlantic Data Link Mandate (NAT DLM). The implementation begins with Phase 2a, on Feb. 5, 2015, when flights within the NAT Organized Track System between FL350 and FL390 (inclusive) will be required to be equipped with FANS 1/A (or equivalent) controller-pilot data link communications (CPDLC) and ADS-C systems. Phase 2b begins on Dec. 7, 2017 and expands the affected airspace to the ICAO NAT Region. When Phase 2c takes effect on Jan. 30, 2020, all flights at FL290 and above will need the required equipment throughout the ICAO NAT Region. For more information, contact NBAA's Operations Service Group at or review the FAA's announcement.
Technical Guidance Video Available for NAT Flight Operations
Nov. 18, 2013
U.K.-based Shanwick Oceanic Control has published a technical guidance video for North Atlantic Oceanic Airspace flight operations called “Trackwise.” The hour-long video provides an overview of the requirements and procedures for operation, not only within the organized track system, but more widely within the minimum navigation performance specification airspace. Watch the “Trackwise” video.
FAA Changing Separation Minima in New York Oceanic Airspace
Sept. 16, 2013
Beginning Dec. 10 at approximately 7 a.m. EDT, the New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) will begin applying 30 NM lateral and 30 NM longitudinal separation minima for appropriately authorized and equipped RNP4 certified aircraft throughout the New York Oceanic Control Area (CTA). Additionally, 50 NM longitudinal separation minimum will be applied for appropriately authorized and equipped RNP10 certified aircraft. New York ARTCC will continue to accommodate aircraft that are not eligible for 30 NM lateral / 30 NM longitudinal separation minima throughout the CTA. Lateral, longitudinal and vertical separation minima for these aircraft will not change. Learn more.
Agency Publishes Online Resource for North Atlantic Operations
September 17, 2012
The FAA recently published an online resource providing U.S. operators with consolidated guidance related to operations in the North Atlantic (NAT). The document includes an overview of the NAT airspace, information related to RNP 10 and RNP 4, datalink, RVSM operations, LOAs, ICAO flight plan changes, current and planned initiatives and many other helpful resources and contacts. View the FAA's NAT Resources for U.S. Operators.
Reduced Longitudinal Separation Minimum (RLongSM) Trial
September 17, 2012
The FAA has issued an InFO advising pilots and operators that a trial aimed at establishing lower aircraft separation minima has been implemented within the Gander and Shanwick Oceanic Control Areas in the North Atlantic (NAT) airspace. The Reduced Longitudinal Separation Minimum (RLongSM) Trail will help in obtaining optimum vertical profiles by reducing the longitudinal separation requirement from 10 minutes to 5 for eligible aircraft. No application is required – pilots simply have to request a change in altitude, be properly equipped and have MNPS approval. Aircraft will benefit by having a greater opportunity to climb to more fuel-efficient levels as well as change speed or altitude due to turbulence or bad weather. View the InFO.