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First time flying oceanic - A few questions


Stefan Hoks
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Hi!

I'm planning to to a trip from KTEB to EGLC soon, with the C700. I already flew from Europe to the USA offline, but know I'm planning to fly on Vatsim. So I read a lot and watched some tutorials on oceanic procedures, but a few questions remained;

1. Do I have to ask for oceanic clearance, when I'm already in oceanic airspace and the controller comes online? Or does this go like in domestic airspaces: When your in the air, asking for flightplan clearance with the tower/departure/centre frequencie is not very common. Only when still on the ground.

2. What happens right before leaving oceanic airspace? Does this happen the usual way (controller says your leaving his airspace, and gives permission to contact the next (domestic) controller or switch to unicom)? Or do I have to follow another procedure?

3. How does CPDLC work on Vatsim? After receiving the CPDLC check tone, does it work like the beep you recieve when a domestic controllers sends a private message to contact him? And does the text-communication happen via the private chat function? What can I expect?

4. Can I be called via radio any time, and do I have to request to go AFK for XX minutes when over the ocean? Or can I just take off my headset and does all communication take place via CPDLC? 

 

And do you guys have any tips on my first online transatlantic flight? Thanks a lot! 🙂

 

Best regards, Stefan

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1. Not really. Maybe some controllers would do a shortened one to make sure you're doing what they expect, but it's like you say, once you're in you're in.

2. Some variations occur, but none difficult. If there is an enroute  controller at landfall you might get a squawk shortly before exit. You may also get handed off "manually" at or before the border, or be given an instruction similar to "at MALOV contact X on Y". Doesn't really matter, you won't have any issues.

3. CPDLC is sometimes offered (depending on whether the individual controller offers it or not) based on the Hoppie CPDLC system. If you don't have an addon aircraft which supports this natively, you can use the newly availabe EasyCPDLC beta from Joshua Seagrave: https://github.com/josh-seagrave/EasyCPDLC/releases. Also you can use the Hoppie Airborne client, but it is rather old and finicky. It works like with domestic enroute, but the system is not currently fully optimised for oceanic procedures, so some TELEX improvising might be required.

It sounds though, with your talks about check tones and beeps, like you are talking about SELCAL. SELCAL is a way to monitor the frequency without actively listening. After having tested it with the controller (must be done with each relevant sector on each flight), you can now stop listening to the controller and they will ping you when they want you. However, you MUST remain on the frequency, as the ping is sent via the frequency (just like on HF irl), and you must be able to hear the call tone, i.e. you must wear the headset or leave on the speakers where vPilot makes any other sound (like chat clicks, PM beeps, etc). Currently vPilot will not do more than make the sound, no flashing or text message will appear. I think this may be changed in the near future, based on something I read somewhere by Ross. If you don't use vPilot, see the manual of your client for further info.

4. Your options in the oceanic airspace are limited to "frequency watch" and "selcal watch". The first is like all other units, you listen for your callsign. The second is as described above, you listen for the tone. AFK stints must be requested from ATC like everywhere else. If you wanna be away for longer, just disconnect and reconnect when back (Courtesy PM at your discretion). CPDLC does not absolve you of frequency watch or selcal watch, it is a tool for enroute instructions and clearances which are not time sensitive, any urgent or non-standard call will happen via voice so you must be reachable when present. I have vPilot sounds through speakers and voice through a headset, so I can put away my headset. If you have the sound from the same source, I believe you can use Windows Volume Mixer to lower or mute vPilot's voice output while leaving up the notification sounds. If not, you will have to do it via vPilot's own settings which is a bit finicky but not impossible.

Edited by Magnus Meese
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