NORTH ATLANTIC OPERATIONS AND AIRSPACE MANUAL NAT Document #007, V.2020-2 Applicable from July 2020
Important Background Information
NAT Documents are produced with the approval and on behalf of the North Atlantic (NAT) Systems Planning Group (SPG). This Group is responsible for developing the required operational procedures; specifying the necessary services and facilities; and defining the aircraft and operator approval standards employed in the NAT region.
This Document is for guidance only. Regulatory material relating to North Atlantic aircraft operations is contained in relevant ICAO Annexes, PANS/ATM (Doc.4444), Regional Supplementary Procedures (Doc.7030), State AIPs, current NOTAMs and NAT Operational Bulletin’s which should be read in conjunction with the material contained here.
For the most part in the North Atlantic, Direct Controller Pilot Communications and ATS Surveillance are unavailable. The vast majority of North Atlantic flights are performed in the band of altitudes FL290 – FL410. A large portion of the airspace is designated as the NAT High Level Airspace (NAT HLA) between FL 285 and 420 inclusive. Within this airspace a formal approval process by the State of Registry of the aircraft or the State of the operator ensures that aircraft meet defined NAT HLA Standards and that appropriate flight crew procedures and training have been adopted. To USA operators this means LOA/OpsSpec B046, B036 and B039.
The lateral dimensions of the NAT HLA include the following Control Areas (CTAs): REYKJAVIK, SHANWICK (excluding SOTA & BOTA), GANDER, SANTA MARIA OCEANIC, BODO OCEANIC and NEW YORK OCEANIC EAST. Note that “NAT HLA” is a re-designation of the airspace formerly known as the “North Atlantic Minimum Navigational Performance Specifications Airspace (NAT MNPSA).
Although aircraft and flight crews may fly above the NAT HLA without the requisite of a NAT HLA approval, it important that flight crews of such aircraft have both an understanding of the operational procedures and systems employed in the NAT HLA and specific knowledge of any active organized route structures.
Aircraft without NAT HLA or RVSM approvals may, of course, also fly across the North Atlantic below FL285. However, due consideration should be given to the particular operating environment. Especially by pilots/operators of single and twin engine aircraft. Weather conditions can be harsh; there are limited VHF radio communications and ground-based navigation aids; and the terrain can be rugged and sparsely populated. Specific guidance for the pilots and operators of such flights was previously contained in the North Atlantic International General Aviation (NAT IGA) Operations Manual published by the FAA on behalf of the ICAO North Atlantic Systems Planning Group (NAT SPG). In 2013 the NAT IGA Ops Manual was rolled into NAT Doc#007 and can be found in Chapter #17.
What Changed From 2020’s Version #1
This portion of NAT Doc#007 speaks to different routes, route structures and transition areas found in NAT HLA. A good graphic of the “Special Use Routes” including the “Tango Routes” can be found on page #41 of this document. The change here was to add a specific note that state approval is required to operate on the “Tango Routes” found between Northern Europe and the Canary Islands. Please note that the references to “No HF Required on this Route” do not account for 14CFR 91.511or 135.165.
More discussion on the “Tango Routes” Specifically, the transponder procedures to use on T-9 and T-290. Most NAT operators are familiar with the change of transponder code to 2000 30mins after NAT entry. The same principle applies here to operating on T-9 or T-290 except 10mins is threshold. Switch to 2000 on your transponder code when 10mins south of LASNO or GELPO when southbound, 10mins north of BEGAS or ADVAT when northbound.
Coming Soon to an International Operating Manual Near You
ICAO has proposed significant changes in the worldwide application of Strategic Lateral Offset, SLOP, the General Oceanic Contingency, Oceanic Weather Deviation Contingency and Wake Turbulence Categories. These changes can be put into effect as early as NOV 2020. Stay tuned for official word and more detailed explanations
1. Deep Dive references are well detailed here
2. Changes on routes seldom flown by USA pilots 3. Bigger changes to NAT Ops are in the works