View Full Version : North Sea Airspace Changes

The Fat Controller
11th Mar 2003, 17:12
Hi everybody,
Hope you are all ready for the complete restructure of ALL the routes over the North Sea on March 20th, when Scottish Control take over a sector from LACC.
Scottish will now interface with Amsterdam/Maastricht and Copenhagen.
I hope all your company route planners are ready, especially for those aircraft that are eastbound over the Atlantic that night !
As I am only a coalface ATCO, please don't ask me where to find the info on the changes, I am sure that someone in your Ops department will have it ! (or not)


11th Mar 2003, 18:31
I hope that we are not having "Scottish" controlling English Airspace. :D

11th Mar 2003, 21:39
Have been for some time now mate! :p

You splitter
12th Mar 2003, 09:38

For anyone wishing to prepare themselves check the link above.
As stated at the top this should not be used for aircraft navigation but only for planning purposes. The AIP amendments for the states concerned will contain the final changes. :}


250 kts
12th Mar 2003, 15:58
I reckon the route LARGA-BOSUM will be used by ATCOs quite a lot:D :D

12th Mar 2003, 20:48
Also eastern airways crews may be interested to know you will have our full and undivided attention on pennine radar
as we are keeping it going solely for you

Think we should change it to eastflight radar
talk to you all soon;)

13th Mar 2003, 19:12
What a great use of manpower keeping it open for a handfull of crappy jetstreams in and out of that hub Humberside.

13th Mar 2003, 22:53
I can say that we controllers at a major(ish) scottish airport are not ready for the changes. We still don't have the correct phone lines, procedures and training to know whats going on. It looks like it will be a desperate SI and lots of phone calls through other sectors when it happens.
Do you think those passengers paying 300 quid each way on Eastflight are aware that they are messing with all the fast jets over the north sea only on a RIS?
A couple of times if the pax had looked hard enough I am sure they must have seen some hairy moments!

Loose rivets
15th Mar 2003, 20:55
I spent some time between NWI and ABX prior to 9/11, and the operation was far from satisfactory due to fast military traffic.

We have had military pilots that fly these details on our jump-seats from time to time, and there is no doubt that they think as we do…it is an unsafe merging of two disciplines.

I personally had several increase-rate TECAS warnings – two on one day – and yes, I’m sure that if the passengers knew the truth we would have lost most of them to alternative routes or even other forms of transport.

If the exercises could have been contained within the promulgated areas there would have been no problem. There were times when the, very helpful and concerned, “London and Scottish” controllers seemed overwhelmed… and this is certainly not a criticism, they should never have been put in this position.

This route has had a long history in aviation terms, and is and always has been important to the oil industry. To route via airways would not have been viable as the increase in time was huge… the pax simply would not have used Norwich.

As an aside, while on the subject of NWI, many large-ish aircraft were starting IT’s out of this field, and on a busy summers day the transit to the sanctuary of an airway was fraught with problem

20th Mar 2003, 10:08
Well, has it all worked?

skianyn vannin
20th Mar 2003, 17:13
You must remeber that Eastern aren't really bothered about any kind of radar service. The only thing that matters is direct routing to save costs, flight information service is OK for them.

I remember operating a J41 for them when it was still on my companies AOC. When radar gave us avoiding action outside controlled airspace to keep clear of military traffic there was nothing but a chorus of moans and groans from the LHS about the extra time being added to the flight.

20th Mar 2003, 20:30
It went OK from London's point of view . There were a handful of aircraft (particularly certain UK LCOs..) who needed vectors because they didn't have the new data, and the computer adaptation was a bit dodgy in places, but generally it was OK.

And we moved more aircraft per hour than we did under the old system!! So I suppose it will be judged a success:cool:

The Fat Controller
21st Mar 2003, 11:37
It seems to be OK from a Scottish point of view.
Considering the size of the project and all the changes, it all went much better than many of us expected.
As previously mentioned, a few computer adaptation problems (nothing new there) , but the few aircraft that came Eastbound last night seemed to know where to go, albeit that most got direct routeings.
The only comment to my colleagues on the South coast is, PLEASE do not direct-route process any traffic in NAS.
It happened a couple of times in the middle of the night and caused major headaches for our ATSAs as it produced garbage strips, and they had to sort out the flight in a relatively short space of time before it got to Copenhagen's airspace.

Lon More
21st Mar 2003, 12:36
No big problems at Maastricht yesterday except some operaters, DLH for one, had incorrectly filed for EGCC. We caught most of them in time.

Today LACC refusing dct. OTBED etc. as was agreed in the LOA but we can work with that.

Biggest plus for us, no more FLAS; against that the routing inbound EDDL, EDDK etc. needs to be looked at as the tfc. turns through the westbound route at an inconvenient position.

Lon More

More than just an ATCO

22nd Mar 2003, 23:12
Just like to set the record straight re Eastern Airways and "Flight Information Service" - we use Radar!
And thanks Pennine for all your help.

23rd Mar 2003, 00:13
Ended up with a 10hr restriction today cos company ops filed us on an airway not due to open until midnight! At least we were first in the queue for it, I suppose.;) :D

24th Mar 2003, 08:19
Lon More: The FLAS issue amuses me, as it seems a big issue for some people. I cannot remember a single time when I have refused (or seen refused) traffic which Maastricht offered at non-FLAS levels. All we did was vector it around as we used to. But the FLAS at least gave us a little protection and (as the US like to say) a 'heads up' on any conflict.

The problem now is that we have no such prompt, and the two overflights at FL340 etc which conflict at TOLSA may still be working another unit (you or Scottish) with less than 3 minutes to go to the conflict point... Fortunately these conflicts will only be with the 'bucket and spade' flights from Scandinavia and not the LTMA inbounds which are down at FL310. So I suppose the logic is that because there are relatively few westbound bucket and spades that the risk is acceptably low.. :eek:

24th Mar 2003, 17:54
Eyeinthesky - if you think that is bad you should see REDFA, we get two acft that converge at REDFA usually with about 45 secs notice b4 loss of Sep coming from ....oh hold it....it comes from one sector.

Different situation :cool:

25th Mar 2003, 09:15
Yawn... TT is back on the usual track of trying to wind us up.:bored:

While we're talking about FLAS:

We're now supposed to get all EBBR and certain French airfield arrivals and a large number of German airfields including Dusseldorf down to FL290 by LAMSO. Apparently this is because Maastricht are unable to get them down in time otherwise.

Let's look at that then:

LAMSO to EDDL approximately 160 nm. Maximum level: FL290.

REFSO to EGLL 119nm. Maximum level without checking: FL400.

How about we have a FLAS which restricts all LL inbounds to, say FL 300 by REFSO and see how TT gets on with that? Then perhaps he won't moan so much. Perhaps he might have to use radar headings instead of own nav REFSO one on top of the other! :p

Lon More
28th Mar 2003, 07:19
Eye in the sky wrote "Yawn... TT is back on the usual track of trying to wind us up."
Actually, he's pretty much correct, parallel headings does not always equate to parallel tracks
You are correct, the level request was almost never refused, then why did we have to waste our time making the request - especially as we were normally aware of the traffic ?
The reason for FL 290 is that it was requested from your side during the negotiations.
In any case, have you tried asking for FL330?
The proposed re-alligned UR12 will cross the Tacan Route about 20 miles E. of the bdy. but we are advised that LACC and London Radar will ensure separation of eastbounds - oops, sorry, a pig just flew past the window.
REFSO - EDDL +/- 160 nm agreed, however REDFA - PAM +/- 95nm and the traffic has to be 8 nm E of PAM at FL260 and with Amsterdam, clear of all the other traffic.

If you want EGLL inbounds lower, again ask for it, only don't forget during peak traffic we may have to co-ordinate with the lower sector.

BTW of course they come on top of one another, they are all routing via the same point REFSO, and are vertically separated.:cool:

edited for brevity and clarity

28th Mar 2003, 20:17
Perhaps you might want to check with your own ops people as to why the FL290 Restriction is there. I think YOU will find YOU are the people that requested the traffic be transferred at FL290 not us, as far as I am concerned FL330 was (and is still) fine - send em over matey.

I accept you humble apology - in advance.

F300 x REFSO - no probs - at least then the sequnece would be good for the director.

28th Mar 2003, 23:48
I'm quite happy to offer humble apology if one is warranted, and I will check the situation when I get back to the Dome. We moaned like crazy about the FL 290 restriction during the NSea training, and were told that it was required by Maastricht Ops!!! Chinese whispers, one suspects.

My point about all on top of each other is that many times we watch you vectoring traffic approaching COA or GORLO to get one through the other, and then you let them all converge again before giving them to us, only for us to have to split them up again!! :rolleyes:

As is usual, it's all about communiaction, and sometimes a lack of understanding of each other's problems. By the way, the 'you' above is a generic not specific term!

Ref the new Clacton sector, I look forward to hours of fun watching Lon Mil try to thread military traffic through the gap against NSea and CLN traffic!! The funny thing is that much of that traffic has come across the Pond on the civil airways, only to leave at DOLAS and then the military bother us for a crossing clearance. Why doesn't it just stay in the civil system??! :confused:

29th Mar 2003, 00:41
The funny thing is that much of that traffic has come across the Pond on the civil airways, only to leave at DOLAS and then the military bother us for a crossing clearance. Why doesn't it just stay in the civil system??!

Been asking myself the same question for years. Would make my life a lot easier & then I could concentrate on getting the bucket & spade lot in & out of the North East.

;) Hippy.

29th Mar 2003, 01:02
I just finished a flight to BRU from the US, and noticed radical airway/intersection changes in the hi-level Jepp chart for UK/North Sea. New airways, like UP59, and names of coast-in points, like "Balix" instead of 59N10W.

The revised chart had only come ut the day before my flight!

throw a dyce
31st Mar 2003, 04:54
The airspace south of Aberdeen is an accident waiting to happen.There are numerous agencies working in there, Aberdeen having to work the inbounds/outbounds ,Scatcc working some of the inbounds/outbounds on a RIS,Scatcc Mil working some others that have a special deal,and Leuchars working the ins and outs to them.Throw in Buchan and even Neatishead and their war games then you can see the muddle.The current system for FIR departures and arrivals to Aberdeen will end up with a dangerous airprox at the least and god forbid anything more serious.
The Airspace is Class G or open bundoo and the North Sea changes have just made it worse with the routes to Nexus and Madad.The notices given by Scot mil on inbounds is often next to nothing and as the aircraft have often started descent.Be prepared for some very high levels inbound to Aberdeen just to build in some form of safety.How about FL 240 at 30 miles for starters.
Part of the problem is Scatcc civil refusing to give RAS to traffic .This has forced some operators to go to Scot Mil for a RAS and the rest chance it on a RIS.Unfortunately the Atco 3 at Aberdeen working his butt off takes the brunt of our Atco2 cousins at Scatcc earning 11 grand more who refuse to provide a decent service to aircraft.We HAVE to give a RAS to get them on the ILS and sort out all the mess created by Scatcc civil/mil.
Our notification of airspace changes came the day before implementation .Our video maps don't show the new danger areas and the shop floor controllers had no notification that this would affect us.Simulation exercises?? What's the hell's that.

31st Mar 2003, 17:35
Eastern Airways! Here we go again, and as ever putting the record straight

jocko0102 We have other bases dear than HUY, and we happen to like our Jetstreams...at least our pilots can spell

skianyn vannin
What an odious toad you are...... as previously posted, FIS is not an option (look it up dear) We are extremely commercially minded (remember what business we are in sonny?) so time / fuel are very uppermost in our minds, but never at the expense of safety. Who won the award at EGCC as the most efficient airline? Yup, good old Eastern <hurrah!> Perhaps if your company thought a bit more about efficiency it wouldn't be in the position of being sold off as it is. Sitting around on your @r*+$ all day flying 300 hrs pa doesn't take much of a brain to work the sums out, does it? And negotiating a pay rise too? <chortle> Wake up. Perhaps if you worked a bit harder you would have less time to slag off colleagues of mine so irreverently. It's unprofessional, uncalled for and, frankly my dear, only exposes your own shortcomings. Eastern pilots have the highest credentials in training and / or experience and are very proud of it. You should have more respect. It's a small world. Perhaps you should be banished to fraggle rock. Serves you right.

ATC Sorry for returning to earlier comments so late but rather busy (unlike some!) Sorry that Pennine is less busy and therefore less challenging, but we all appreciate you guys heaps. It has been quite busy at times with the military. I remember one night there were 30 traffic alerts, all fighters.......... ATC were brilliant. Anyway the new routings are not too odious for us, but fine tuning needed I guess. :O

Take up the Hold
1st Apr 2003, 05:32
Throw a Dyce

ScACC controllers are not allowed to give a RAS. There were too many incidents outside CAS and ScACC management decided that the maximum service available to traffic outside CAS was a RIS.
With the extra traffic that has been generated for the Tay sector flying inside CAS, and they are our primary task, there may be times of the day when the service given to aircraft outside the safety of an airway will be a FLIGHT INFORMATION SERVICE.
Will EZE and other airlines accept that level of service?


The Fat Controller
1st Apr 2003, 16:38
Thanks to all for your replies.
It may be of interest to note that despite there being a reduced sector capacity for the first couple of weeks, the new sectors are not generating any delays.
We still have some operators filing some strange routes, but the recent NOTAM detailing which routes are preferred for the particular Oceanic entry points should soon sort that.
As for the problems at Aberdeen, where do I start ?
Firstly this project has been "on-the-go" for several years, and there is absolutely no excuse for your management not to have provided you with documentation well ahead of implimentation, the final draft of routes and procedures was available in January when our simulation started in Bournemouth.
The RIS/RAS situation has been explained regarding the constaints we are working under at ScACC, and now that we are working the Manchester TMA ins and outs at NEW, the Scottish TMA ins and outs at the same place, along with the traffic in P600 and on W3D, I would counter that the TAY sector is providing an excellent service to IFR aircraft in those areas, and those airlines that elect to fly in Class G airspace have to accept that we may not be able to provide ANY radar service at times.
Finally regarding the arrivals from Scottish Mil, nothing has changed regarding our notification of traffic to them, so it would appear that your gripe should be with their supervisor if you are continually receiving late estimates.

2nd Apr 2003, 15:55
Plane*Jane-Don't worry about Jocko 0102 the guy is a half wit and not really worthy of reply.

Back to the subject matter- does this mean the end of VORs like OTR I can't see much use for it on the upper airspace routes?What else is it used for?

2nd Apr 2003, 16:57
Thats correct i am a half wit!

2nd Apr 2003, 21:33
Back to the subject matter- does this mean the end of VORs like OTR I can't see much use for it on the upper airspace routes?What else is it used for?


You can't take OTR away! It's the only place I know on the East.

"There's only two points you ever need to know - OTR & BCN"

2nd Apr 2003, 22:54
Don't forget that BRNAV (and later PRNAV) requires the use of land based navaids to check accuracy, so we will continue to need VOR/DMEs for some time. So OTR is safe, if a little misplaced, at least until the CAA/JAA decide to go for 100pct GPS-based routes or approaches...

3rd Apr 2003, 05:19
otr remains

the reason being ul602 is realigned new otr to stop you getting involved with the airforce involved in high energy tasks within the new danger area over the north sea which comes very close to the east coast

fambo remains for jane and her pals so that pennine don't have to force them on the white knuckle ride through the vale of york