Air Traffic Operation


Oceanic Environment

How to cross the Atlantic

Oceanic Clearance

When pilots departed and recieved IFR clearance from the departure airport, this clearance does not allow you to enter Oceanic Airspace.
A seperate oceanic clearance must be obtained from the Santa Maria OCA. You must have this clearance no later than 30 minutes before your planned ETA at the entry fix. This can be obtained on voice,

Another way to obtain Oceanic Clearance is when flights are being coordinated between controllers, where is not necessary that the pilot request oceanic clearance, to overflight the oceanic region.(only if requested by the controller to contact for clearance) The handoff is made normally with a position report and selcal checking


Voice clearance

It is of the responsibility of the pilot to get the Oceanic Clearence, having such to make its request at least 40 minutes BEFORE entering in the oceanic region. In case that it does not obtain the Oceanic Cleanrence, it must immediately get a domestic re-clearence to remain itself out of the area of oceanic control.
The frequency is HF 12790.0,  (127.90 VHF) or 13207.0 (132.07 VHF) - Callsign is Santa Maria Oceanic (LPPO_FSS). If this station is not online the clearance can be requested to Santa Maria Radar (LPPO_T_CTR) in case you are in the ground (i.e. the radar controller you are already talking to).
ATC will not initiate the communication. It is up to the PILOT to call ATC, not the other way around.

Below is the transcript of a typical ground Oceanic clearance:

- PILOT: "Santa Maria Oceanic, Air Azores 221 request clearance to KBOS"
- ATC: "Air Azores 221, Santa Maria Good evening go ahead "
- PILOT: "Santa Maria, Air Azores 221 Request KBOS via VFL DCT FRS DCT KOKER DCT 40N040W 41N050W 42N060W DCT ENGLE N22A WHALE DCT BOS , FL380 and mach 0.82 ,estimating VFL at 11:45z, AIR AZORES 221".
- ATC: "Air Azores 221, Cleared as filed to KBOS at FL380 Mach 0.82, cross VFL not before 11:35z, clearance expires VFL 11:45z"
- PILOT: "AIR AZORES 221, cleared to KBOS via VFL DCT FRS DCT KOKER DCT 40N040W 41N050W 42N060W DCT ENGLE N22A WHALE DCT BOS , FL380 and mach 0.82 ,crossing VFL after 11:35z, AIR AZORES 221".
- ATC: “AIR AZORES 221, readback correct.

Transcript of a typical air Oceanic clearance (Lisboa to Ponta delgada):

- PILOT: "Santa Maria, Portugal 121 request oceanic clearance.”
- ATC: " Portugal 121, Santa Maria, Go ahead"
- PILOT: "Portugal 121, Request clearance to Ponta Delgada via Komut (or complete random routing) at FL360 and mach 0.82 estimate Komut 2340z"
- ATC: "Portugal 121 cleared to Ponta Delgada via Komut (or complete random routing), Expect FL370, Mach .82, cross Komut at time 2347z. "
- PILOT: "Portugal 121 cleared Ponta Delgada via Komut, FL370, Mach .82, cross Komut at time 2347z
- ATC: "Readback correct, contact Lisboa control"

Entering the oceanic control area

- ATC:"Portugal 121, contact Santa Maria Radio now on HF 12790.0 , bye bye".

Note how the controller gave you a frequency in kiloHertz. As Vatsim / FS doesn't support proper HF frequencies 12790.0 is entered as 127.900 in the aircraft's radio.

- PILOT: "Santa Maria on HF 12790.0, so long".

The aircraft has now just been handed off to the Santa Maria Oceanic controller by Lisboa controller, this therefore means you must just be coming up to Komut. When entering a FIX (or contacting the Oceanic controller for the first time) there is a special procedure, you give a standard position report, flight level, mach speed and next position in path Hour on the next position and following position.
SELCAL equipped aircraft may request a SELCAL check, where the oceanic radio operator will send our a SELCAL tone. If this check is successful the pilot may turn down the radio as all calls from oceanic will be preceeded by a SELCAL signal.
One thing to remember: set your transponder to squawk mode C / code 2000

- PILOT: "Santa Maria, Portugal 121 passing  Komut time 2347z, Flight Level 370, Mach .82” estimating 38 North 020 West at 0025z Bekun next, SELCAL ABCD
- ATC: "Portugal 121 passing Komut at 2347z, Flight Level 370, Mach .82 estimating 38 North 020 West at 0025z Bekun next, SELCAL ABCD. Coming up for check"
- PILOT: "Santa Maria, Portugal 121 readback and selcal OK

Level changes in Oceanic airspace

Do not expect to be able to change level easily in oceanic airspace, the separations involved are just too enormous. It is strongly recommended that you ask for your clearance at the highest level you can possibly achieve on entering Oceanic airspace, as you burn off fuel the aircraft will be at optimum flight level about half way across.
By all means ask for a different level if it will make an operational difference, but it may well not be possible.
You should not expect to get initial descent for your destination while within oceanic airspace. Domestic (radar equipped) airspace starts far enough away from all destinations that this is not necessary. Descents in oceanic airspace will only be given in the event of an in flight emergency such as engine failure or decompression.

Position reports.

Due to the limited amount of radar in the Atlantic the only way for the controller to know where you are is to ask for a position report. These are done:
At every waypoint (lat/long) you fly over;
Whenever you wish to change speed or altitude.
Time passed since last and new report.
These give the controller an idea of where you are, where your going next, how high you are, how fast you are, etc. These are invaluable to the controller to keep you clear of conflict, however they are a whole new skill to many pilots.
Portugal 121 is just reaching the first of its position report waypoint now, a typical transcript is below:

- PILOT: "Santa Maria, Portugal 121 with a position report".
- ATC: "Portugal 121, Santa Maria go ahead".
- PILOT: "Portugal 121 reporting 38 North 20 West at 0027z, Flight Level 370, Mach .82. Estimating Bekun at 0055z, Navpo Next "
- ATC: "Portugal 121,passing now 38 North 20 West at 0027z, Flight Level 370, Mach .82. Estimating Bekun at 0055z,  Navpo Next"
- PILOT: "Readback Correct, Portugal 121"

Note: correct the controller if he reads something back wrong.

- ATC: "Portugal 121, contact Santa Maria Radar on VHF 132.150, good day”
- PILOT: ”Contact Santa Maria Radar on VHF 132.150."

Note: Oceanic controller can instruct you to report 20 West on 132.150 This means you switch frequency at 20 West, not right away. If you do change frequency you'll just be sent back.
At the moment you switch to 132.150 you are no longer controlled by Santa Maria Oceanic. You are now be assisted by radar controller and will receive a transponder code.
Position reports no longer required only if requested by the radar controller.

- PILOT: ”Santa Maria Radar, Portugal 121, passing 38 North 20 West ( or passing 20 West) Flight Level  370"
- ATC: "Portugal 121, Squawk 0705, and ident”
- PILOT: ”Squawk 0705, Portugal 121"
- ATC: "Portugal 121, Identifyed, continue as filed”

 

Air Traffic Operation Santa Maria OCA
Santa Maria Radar
Lajes Air Base
Oceanic Environment
Oceanic Procedures
Oceanic Checklist
CPDLC
Air Traffic Services Airspace
Nat Track
RVSM Altitudes