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Tips and help for Oceanic flights?


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Decided I'd do a flight from my hometown (Pittsburgh) to Keflavik (BIKF). Having never done an Oceanic flight, I knew they were different, but it's a huge culture shock from the simple ATC you get from my usual flights between Boston and east coast USA... So any tips or suggestions so I don't feel like a deer in headlights next time I do this

 

I know about the position report now (last fix/time, flight level, estimated next fix and time), but it seems like a lot to me haha.. I mean what's the best way to estimate time? Just do some match based on your mach and how far out you are?

 

I should also note this first time I was a complete idiot and never wrote down times of the fixes I crossed... 'doh!!!

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Hi Jonathan,

 

first of all make sure that your computer and also your Fligh Simulator are set to the correct time - otherwise all those position reports are worth nothing, as you can imagine.

 

There is some reading material for you here https://vatsim.uk/oceanic-procedures/ and here http://czqo.vatcan.ca/ (Pilots dropdown menu, Reporting and Clearance tools). There is also tons of information on the internet, for example "SKYbrary":

- https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/North_Atlantic_Operations_-_Airspace

- https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/North_Atlantic_Operations_-_Flight_Planning

- https://www.skybrary.aero/index.php/North_Atlantic_Operations_-_Organised_Track_System

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I find that just looking at the time estimated by my GPS (default in FSX) suffices Of course always convert the time to GMT/UTC.

 

Also, note that once you hit Icelandic airspace, we are actually 'radar-[Mod - Happy Thoughts]isted oceanic' so there is no position reporting required (unless you're up in our north sector). Icelandic airspace includes the whole of Greenland above FL195 and up to the North Pole. You do, however, require an oceanic clearance to enter. The clearance for an arrival flight will be like this:

 

"[Callsign], cleared to [destination] via [all remaining waypoints in your flight plan, perhaps with a direct]. From [the entry waypoint], maintain [flight level], [mach], [squawk]."

 

You must read the whole thing back, including the waypoints. This clearance is only issued if Shanwick/Gander are not online; otherwise, they will do the clearance for Iceland when you first left the US/Canadian coastline.

 

If you are planning the return trip, you will get an oceanic clearance as part of your IFR clearance from BIKF_DEL (or whoever is covering the airport). For example:

 

"[Callsign], cleared to [destination], [runway], direct [all waypoints in oceanic airspace]. Initial climb FL290, [mach], [squawk]."

 

For further info on Iceland, see our pilot page: http://vatsim-scandinavia.org/pilots/airports/iceland

Wygene Chong

C1 Controller | Iceland | Greenland | Faroe Islands

VATSIM Scandinavia

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Hey Wygene,

 

the majority has already upgraded from GPS' to proper FMCs And there you just select the page PROG (progress) which normally holds a subpage with the right format for POS REPs. If your FS-time is wrong, the time there will be wrong, too. Well, you know this!

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Jonathan, VATSTAR has an Oceanic tutorial program you can take -- but to enroll, you have to achieve the P4 Pilot Rating first, to cover information you'll need to already have cold such as IFR route planning, chart reading, ATC phraseology, FMC use, etcetera.

 

If you're not looking to invest that kind of time (yet), Boston Virtual ARTCC has an Oceanic Tutorial (that was actually a live-chat presentation they did and recorded) on their YouTube channel which is very informative; it (and other tutorials like it, both in video and web-page form) formed the basis for a decent portion of the material in VATSTAR's lessons. A Google search ought to turn that up if you try. If memory serves, it runs about an hour. It focuses somewhat on the North Atlantic Track system (routes between North America and Europe) but much of what they cover is applicable to any Oceanic flight.

 

Hope that helps!

Cheers,

-R.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

BEFORE LOGIN CHECKLIST

  1. Ensure your navigation data (charts, FMS procedures, etc.) and all your 3rd-party addons are up to date.
  2. Use a flight planner to determine your route of flight and your fuel load. SimBrief and PFPX are two popular tools for flight planning, and I believe they both support the North Atlantic Track (NAT) releases.
  3. Make sure your PC is up for the task. If necessary, reboot Windows before loading up the sim.
  4. Prepare or partially prepare a midflight caffeine booster, such as an espresso or tea.

2uo1990.png

 

You don't need Red Bull to get your wings.

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Hey Wygene,

 

the majority has already upgraded from GPS' to proper FMCs And there you just select the page PROG (progress) which normally holds a subpage with the right format for POS REPs. If your FS-time is wrong, the time there will be wrong, too. Well, you know this!

 

It's called arithmetics, and while I agree it's not for everyone, it's not too daunting a challenge either

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