International Airspace Top 10 FAQ’s

Where can pilots find a list of special emphasis items for RLatSM operations in the NAT?

U.S. Operators: Special Emphasis Items For Operation In North Atlantic Reduced Lateral Separation Minimum (RLATSM) Trials,  Inside FAA’s NOTICES TO AIRMEN Domestic/International, Part 2, Section 3. Look for: “Guidance For U.S. Operators: Special Emphasis Items For Operation In North Atlantic Reduced Lateral Separation Minimum (RLATSM) Trials,  2 February 2017 Update,” Paragraph 5

I have heard that Gulf of Mexico operations are not really Oceanic/Remote in the eyes of the FAA. Is this true?

14CFR91.703 Speaks to the term “High Seas” this is defined as 12NM. Q100, Q101 and Q105 are defined as Class I by FAA Order 8900.1, Vol. 4, Chapter 1, Section 3, Paragraph 4-56“Area Navigation Systems” So the answer is that these routes are in international airspace and are Class l Navigation if properly equipped.

Once the oceanic crossing into the UK was complete, I was “Radar Identified” then ATC says... “Cleared to Shannon” Does this mean I can go direct?

NO, fly the planned route to EINN. Irish AIP, Enroute Section, Paragraph 3.1-3, “Rule #28”"Cleared direct" is non-ICAO phraseology, “Proceed present position direct to XXX” would be the correct terms to use. In any case of ambiguity, resolve it with ATC directly. ICAO Document#9432 and ICAO Document#4444, PANS-ATM, Paragraph


Where can I find information from the FAA on “International” NOTAMS?

FAA Notices to Airmen, Domestic/International, Part three. Here’s a link: https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/notices/

Is there a route from Florida along Cuba to Cancun that is Class I Navigation airspace?

This basically comes down to a question of what is the Standard Service Volume, SSV for the ground based Navaids involved. SSV is dependent on power output of the facility and the altitude of the aircraft. High VOR's are listed to have a SSV of 130NM between FL180 and FL450. HH NDB's have a SSV of 75NM. DME has a SSV of 199NM. Using these mileages, the critical part comes in when crossing the Yucatan Channel between Cuba and Mexico. The shortest route I could find is Gerona NDB (UNG) along UR519 to Cancun VOR (CUN), 227NM between navaids. I cannot find any reference to extended range capabilities of CUN or UNG.  227NM is the mileage listed on the chart along UR519. As an alternate route I would offer UCY, UR506, NUDAL. It is the next best distance at 252NM. Both routes are longer than 205NM (130+75), This would be legal as a Class One routing by 22NM and 47NM. 14 CFR 91.511

Where do I find the Definition of “Special Areas of Operation” Airspace? 

From the FAA aviation safety inspector’s (ASI) Handbook, (FAA Order 8900.1, Volume.4, Chapter 1, Section 2, Paragraph 4-24).
Examples of special areas of operation include the following:
Areas of Magnetic Unreliability (AMU) and Polar operations
North Atlantic Minimum Navigation Performance Specification (NAT/MNPS) airspace
Central East Pacific (CEPAC) airspace
North Pacific (NOPAC) airspace
Pacific Organized Track System (PACOTS)
West Atlantic Route System (WATRS) and the Caribbean Sea
Gulf of Mexico control areas (Gulf routes)
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)
Required Navigation Performance (RNP)-10,4 ect.

Examples of special Navigation Equipment include the following:
Area Navigation (RNAV)
Inertial navigation or reference systems INS, IRS or GPS

Many Jeppeson charts have TERPS or PANS-OPS notated in the lower left margin. If there is no criteria noted i.e. it’s blank do I assume it is a PANS-OPS procedure?

If not annotated on the chart look in the Air Traffic Control section of the Jeppesen Airway Manual and look up the country rules and procedures for the country you operating in.  Specifically, look in the Procedure Limitations and Options section of the countries rules and procedures to determine what criteria they use in the development of procedures. The source document of course is the country’s Aeronautical Information Publication.

What are the “Blue Spruce Routes” in the NAT ?

Special routes known as the ‘Blue Spruce’ Routes have been established for use by aircraft suffering partial loss of navigation capability. Below FL285, these routes may also be flown by aircraft approved for NAT HLA operations but equipped with only a single LRNS.     

NAT Document #007, Paragraph 12.2.1 and 18.10.1

Are the Wake Turbulence Category’s in FAA different from ICAO?

Yes, and getting more different. ICAO Document # 8643 defines “Super Heavy” (A-380) 1,200,000LBS MTOW or more, “Heavy” Above 300,000LBS MTOW “Medium” between 300,000 and 15,500MTOW, “Light” below 15,500MTOW.

The FAA’s “Pilot/Controller Glossary” defines only Heavy, above 300,000lbs MTOW, Large 41,000 to 300,000 MTOW and Small under 41,000MTOW. In actual operation, the FAA currently uses six (6) wake turbulence separation categories based primarily on weight: Super (A380), Heavy, B757, Large, Small+, and Small. In October 2012 a joint program was launched between FAA and Eurocontrol called “RECAT” revising wake turbulence categories to gain capacity. RECAT applies across the breadth of the current six wake-turbulence aircraft separation categories: super (A380), heavy (B757), large, small+ and small. RECAT will place aircraft into six categories labeled A through F for both departure and arrival separation. In addition to aircraft weight, the new categories will consider certified approach speeds and wing characteristics, along with special consideration given to aircraft with limited ability to counteract adverse rolls. The Airbus A380, for example, becomes a category “A” aircraft, while a Cessna Citation Mustang is listed as a category “F.” A Mustang following an A380 will be separated by 8 nm on approach under the new standards. FAA SAFO #12007, 10/18/12

Is there a listing of some basic FAR’s to consider when operating in the NAT?

Inside North Atlantic Resource Guide. Look For: “Part 91” on page 23 and “Part 135” on page 25