Volume 19 | Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Recent ICAO Procedural Changes
Welcome back to Jump Seat. This week, we’d like to review some recent procedural changes pertaining to ICAO Doc 4444, Amendment 9, a document located within the Procedures for Navigation Services - Air Traffic Management, or PANS-ATM, manual. As of 5 November 2020, all member states should have updated AIPs that reflect updates to Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures, Oceanic Contingency and Weather Deviation Procedures, Wake Turbulence Separation Categories, and more. 
Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures

Changes to Strategic Lateral Offset Procedures, or SLOP, are included within this update. In particular, the following scenarios now apply:
Aeronautical Information Publications (AIPs) remain the best resource to determine which scenario is relevant for a particular airway or airspace. 

Oceanic Contingency and Weather Deviation Procedures

As a result of numerous safety-related studies, deviation procedures over oceanic airspaces now include both lateral and vertical offsets. After successful incorporation over the entire North Atlantic, the procedures are now adopted by other oceanic airspaces belonging to Australia, Japan, and the United States. When considering a deviation over oceanic airspace, crew members should review the track system, preferred routing, the nature of the contingency, and weather factors. 

For deviations that are not weather related, the following procedures apply:

  1. Leave the track or ATS (Air Traffic Services) route by initially turning at least 30° to the left or right. 
  2. Maintain the assigned flight level or minimize the rate of climb or descent until established on a 5 nautical mile parallel or lateral offset route.
  3. Descend below 29,000 feet, then establish a 500 foot vertical offset. This is particularly useful when your cleared route is within a track structure or heavy-traffic area. 
  4. If a descent below 29,000 feet is not possible, still proceed to a 500 foot vertical offset, or a 1000 foot vertical offset if above 41,000 feet, and await your new clearance. 

When traffic picks up and numerous east and westbound North Atlantic track structures are issued per day, the adherence to these procedures will become even more important. If able, the best flight plan is one that mirrors the northern or southern-most track. This allows for more wiggle room should you need to deviate from your planned route. A flight coordinator can easily make suggestions on this matter.

Wake Turbulence Separation Categories

While few aircraft will be able to apply this nomenclature, a new category for wake turbulence has been added for aircraft that exceed the “Heavy” qualifications. This new category, called “Super”, includes aircraft types that are heavier than 300,000 lbs (136,000 kg) and have a wingspan between 245 and 263 feet (74 and 80 meters). It can be applied to the Antonov 225 and the Airbus A380, however, the latter of which will no longer be produced after 2021. The updated wake turbulence separation categories include the following:
This puts the ICAO categories more in line with the RECAT, or Recategorization, efforts that were adopted by the FAA in 2013 and Eurocontrol in 2015. That initiative utilized advances in the knowledge of wake physics to place aircraft types in “Group A” through “Group F” based on weight, approach speeds, wing characteristics, and aircraft capabilities. As a result, the wake separation standard was updated for leader and follower pairs. In many cases, the Minimum Radar Separation, or MRS, of 2.5 or 3 nautical miles was applied. 
Did you know?
  • The Permit Layer that is embedded within the mapping tool on the Create FPL page has direct links to the AIPs where these changes are reflected.
  • In order to align with the ICAO standard, the FAA adopted a new definition for what constitutes as a Gross Navigational Error, or GNE. Effective 5 November, any error that is 10 nautical miles or greater must be reported.
Useful Links:
Thank you!
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