Volume 32 | Thursday, June 24th, 2021
NextGen Flight Planning and Equipment Codes
Welcome back to Jump Seat. This week, we would like to take an in-depth look into how our NextGen flight planning system integrates ICAO equipment codes and why now is a great time to review how your aircraft is set up on the ARINCDirect website. From data link mandates to RNAV airway requirements, NextGen flight planning is here to make sure your filed plans are meeting airspace requirements.
Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM)

The NextGen flight planning engine takes into account equipment code "W" (RVSM) in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan. Without this code, your flight plan will be held below FL290 in order to meet this regulatory requirement. Please note that you will also not be able to generate a plan above RVSM airspace (altitudes higher than FL410) even if the aircraft’s performance is capable of reaching those flight levels. 

European Data Link Mandate

Now that increased travel to and within European airspace is on the horizon, it is a great time to revisit this regulation. The European Data Link Mandate went into effect in February 2020 when much of the world was starting to grapple with the impact of COVID-19. The mandate requires that airspace users operating above FL285 be equipped for ATN/Link2000 CPDLC communications (“J1” in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan), unless exempt. Most General Aviation aircraft are exempt from the mandate by way of the following from the European Commission: "Aircraft with a maximum seating capacity of 19 or less and a Maximum Take-Off Mass (MTOM) of 100,000lbs or less with an airworthiness certificate dating before 05 February 2020."

Additional permanent exemptions for airframes, regardless of the airworthiness issue date, can be found here within the Annex C document under the Commission adoption header. Aircraft that are exempt will need to include "Z" in field 10a of the ICAO flight plan in addition to CPDLCX in the DAT/ section. Without the J1 or CPDLCX codes, the flight planning engine will cap the flight level of your plan to FL285 and below. 
Performance-Based Navigation (PBN)

With the continued evolution of performance-based navigation efforts around the globe, it is now more important than ever to ensure you are filing your flight plans with the correct equipment codes. In fact, ARINCDirect’s NextGen Flight Planning engine takes your PBN codes into account when determining route suitability. Many airways around the globe require some level of RNAV certification. Not indicating the correct codes could limit your route options and increase your time and burn to destination. 

Equipment codes can be updated by account administrators by navigating to the My Company tab and then Tails. Select the aircraft you would like to update and then open the ATC Filing Information to access the RNAV/RNP Capability section (right). 
Domestic Airways

Some countries have published airways that are limited to domestic traffic only. Our NextGen flight planning engine will take into account the registration for an aircraft to determine if an airway is usable. For example, whiskey, or "W routes" in India and Russia are normally available only if the aircraft registration begins with “VT-” for India and “RA-” for the Russian Federation. If you are a foreign registered aircraft and have permission to use those airways you can select the “Ignore Route Restrictions” box in order to compute the flight plan. 

North Atlantic Data Link Mandate

Over the past several years, a phased approach has introduced CPDLC and ADS-C requirements to the NAT HLA region. An exemption was in place for much of the previous year but has since expired as of February 25, 2021. In order to fly between FL290 and FL410, aircraft will need to indicate codes "J5" or "J7" in field 10a and "D1" in field 10b of the ICAO flight plan. Without these codes, flight levels will be limited to below 29,000 feet or above 41,000 feet. Non-compliant aircraft may cross on ADS-B supported routings between Newfoundland, Greenland, and Iceland. For more information, see page 4 of the ICAO Nat OPS Bulletin.

To ensure that our NextGen flight planning engine accurately utilizes the stored equipment codes to determine route suitability, we recommend that account administrators review aircraft configurations on the Tails subsection of the My Company page. ARINCDirect Flight Coordinators and our Training Team are standing by to help guide you through the myriad of regulatory requirements that impact your mission planning. 
Did you know?
  • The RNAV acronym was derived from “Random Navigation”, but has since evolved to its current distinction of “Area Navigation”.
  • A new alert will soon be added to the Route Preview section of the CreateFPL page that will advise whenever an aircraft is missing the equipment codes needed to meet the European Data Link Mandate:
  • On the Permit Layer within the mapping tool, country-specific mandate information can be found within the linked Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) that is accessible via “More Information.”
Useful Links:
Thank you for reading!
We want to invite you to take another tour of our upcoming webinar training events to expand your knowledge of new and existing features. Register for these sessions listed on the ARINCDirect Help and Training page.