2020 Oceanic Errors Safety Bulletin

The basic reference document for how to operate inside the NAT HLA is NAT Document #007. The most current issue for this document is Amendment #3 and is dated “July 2019”.  Here is a link to the current edition: 

This document is periodically re-issued with updated information. 2019 is unsual in that this was revised 3 different times. In-between issues of NAT Document #007, ICAO will publish new and changing information for NAT HLA operations in ICAO Document #7030 and thru the use of a “NAT Ops Bulletin”. A complete listing of the current NAT Ops Bulletins was published 7JAN20. Here is a link to the list: 

Buried inside this list is an update of Bulletin #2017-002, Revision #1. This is the titled, “Oceanic Errors Safety Bulletin, OESB” and contains lots of great information on how to stay out of trouble in the NAT HLA. Basically, it is a 9-page summary of what kind of foul-ups pilots just like us have made and what kind of significance these errors have on the level of safety in NAT HLA. 

Revision #2 is now the most current edition and is the only change on the list. Little of the information in Revision #2 was changed from the previous edition. Revision #2 highlights the procedural changes announced on 28MAR19 and implemented in NOV of 2019. Below here is a review of those changes:

  • General Contingency, 5NM offset vice the previous 15NM
  • Weather Deviation, 5NM offset for altitude change vice the previous 15NM
  • Operations Without an Assigned Fixed Speed, ATC can offer this, pilots don’t request
  • SLOP procedures, .1NM increments (only to the RIGHT of course) to a maximum of 2.0NM

On page #8, Paragraph #2 near the top of the page something interesting was slipped into this document. “All ICAO regions will implement the revised weather deviation procedures effective with the November 2020 revision to Doc 4444.” So here it is,  the first official publication of a worldwide change to the ICAO Weather Deviation Procedure by the end of this year.


1.) If you have not reviewed this bulletin in the last 3 years, it’s a good time to take a look at this information. The “Safety Snapshot” on page 2 is a great place to start.

2.) We as a collective group are making the same mistakes as we did 3-Years ago as reported in Bulletin 2017-002, Revision #1.

3.) Be aware of the common mistakes with “Conditional Clearances” and just what ATC expects from you.

4.) If you have a “J2, J3, J4, J5 or J6” on your flightplan, you are telling ATC you have CPDLC and are able to receive “Conditional Clearances” on a regular basis.

5.) Lage Height Deviations (≥300 from assigned FL) have the greatest impact on the safety statistics. Next is a Gross Navigation Error, GNE (≥10nm).

6.) The “General” is a great summary of how complacent pilots fail to comply with the common oceanic SOP published by the FAA and ICAO. Here is a link to the to the most current copy of this SOP/Checklist: