Approximately 460,000 flights cross the North Atlantic each year. The NAT Central Monitoring Agency is located adjacent to the Shanwick Oceanic Area Control Centre, in Prestwick, Scotland. Operational performance monitoring is one of the principle tasks of the NAT CMA. The primary source of operational safety reports are the air traffic control units responsible for the Oceanic Control Areas in the region, augmented by operator reports as available. The reports are reviewed by the CMA and a de-identified summary is available at year’s end.
The numbers are in for 2016. Where indicated below, I have compared 2015 to 2016. Here are some of the "Threat Vectors" I pulled from the latest report.
WHAT IS REPORTABLE?
- Gross Navigation Errors (>25NM from cleared route)
- Lateral Deviations of Less than 25NM
- ATC Interventions to Prevent Lateral Deviations
- Large Height Deviations (+/-300ft from assigned Flight Level)
- Erosion of Lateral or Longitudinal Separation
- Time Errors (>2 mins or more between ETA and actual time)
- Speed Errors – any change Mach/speed that results in a Time Error
- Air Traffic Control inter-agency coordination errors
- Communications failures
- Non–approved (MNPS and/or RVSM) aircraft flying at RVSM levels
- Diversions & Turnbacks
- Adoption of a published contingency procedure
WHAT WAS REPORTED ?
Total number off their clearance 375 445
Large Height Deviations 119 105
ATC Interventions 97 132
Lateral Deviations <25nm 86 55
Lateral Deviations >25nm 12 22
Climb/Descend w/o clearance, Loss of RLatSM and OCA to OCA coordination errors figure prominently
WHERE WERE THESE REPORTS LOCATED ?
OTS 73 136
Random Routing 284 307
Shanwick OCA, 205 265
Gander OCA 77 71
Reykjavik OCA 50 47
New York OCA 21 23
Santa Maria OCA 17 28
Bodo OCA 0 1
RESNO,SIVIR,PIKIL,GOMUP and DOGAL are intersections frequently mentioned in deviation reports
WHO WERE POSITIVELY RESPONSIBLE ?
Aircrew 89 38
ATC 29 230
Unknown/Undetermined 47 174
Loss of RLatSM is tied to FANS failures and the high rate of Unknowns
WHAT WERE THE CAUSES?
Followed flightplan instead of clearance 70 62
No comply w/ Conditional Clearance 30 56
Weather Deviations 15 12
ATC blunder errors 15 27
ATC coordination errors 14 25
Medical diversion 1 2
Loss of FANS/LOGON Failed ? 60
Weather, Turbulence, Icing and low-fuel temp were majority of divert reasons in 2016
WHEN DID THE ERRORS/DEVIATIONS OCCUR?
25-35 Per month until summer
50-60 Per month in June and July, 2X "Average"
25-35 Per month until end of the year
Same relative frequency for 2016
1. If you are operating in the NAT...
2. In the Southeast corner of Shanwick OCA...
3. Flying an airliner or BizJet...
4. On a Random route...
5. Heading East or West...
5. Received your oceanic clearance via AFIS/ACARS
6. In the months of June or July...
7. And your SOP compliance is weak...
8. You just know you are on the assigned FL
9. And you just know you are a above average pilot
10. Expect to have some explaining to do when you get home...or worse.