This business aviation blog post continues from our previous article entitled: FAQs on Flight Plan Format Changes for ICAO 2012.
New format ICAO 2012 flight plans are just around the corner and involve several important data and format changes that must be understood and adhered to. While many resources are available to business aircraft operators, to help adapt to the new flight plan format, best practice is to begin preparation for ICAO 2012 requirements without delay.
1. Here’s what the ICAO portion of a flight plan looks like under current standards:
-N0445F450 DCT AEX J50 MCB J22 PSK DCT GVE JAIKE3
-REG/NXXXX SEL/TEST DOF/120921 DAT/V OPR/UNIVERAL PER/C
E/0412 P/TBN R/UVE D/2 10 YELLOW A/RED WHITE BLUE/W RED STRP)
2. With ICAO 2012 changes implemented, the flight plan could look like this:
-N0445F450 DCT AEX J50 MCB J22 PSK DCT GVE JAIKE3
-REG/NXXXX SEL/TEST DOF/120921 OPR/UNIVERSAL PER/C
RMK/ADSB PBN/B1C1D1L1O1S2 NAV/RNVD1E2A1 CODE/AA65E1 RVR/500 DAT/CPDLCX SUR/260B
E/0412 P/006 R/UVE D/2 10 YELLOW A/RED WHITE BLUE)
3. Here are some of the differences between the two formats, item by item
In Item 10a, the following are new descriptors: E3, J2 and M3. An (F) shows up in NEW Item 10a as ADF is no longer considered part of the standard equipment. So if the aircraft is ADF-equipped, it needs to be displayed with its own descriptor. The (P) was removed and is not currently a part of the NEW format and is reserved for future use.
In Item 10b, the (H) is a new transponder descriptor and (B1) is one of the new ADS-B/C descriptors used in this section.
In Item 18, PBN/ is a new sub field and carries with it its own set of new descriptors. DAT/ will no longer be used to display the datalink communication capability, but rather becomes a free text field to display anything that can’t be noted in Item 10a. SUR/ is not a new sub field, but some air navigation service providers (ANSPs) require operators to indicate the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) certification level of their ADS-B equipment, which is something new.
4. These are important changes
In Item 10a, the addition of the new descriptors, A, B, E1-E3, J1-J7, M1-M3 describe capabilities that were not previously indicated in a flight plan. Displaying this information incorrectly, or not displaying it at all, could cause planning and in-flight headaches, especially in the form of delays and unfavorable routes and flight levels.
In Item 10b, there are three new transponder descriptors (E, H and L) and all the new ADS-B/C descriptors (B1, B2, U1, U2, V1, V2, D1 and G1).
In Item 18, the biggest addition is the Performance Based Navigation (PBN) sub field. This has ties to Item 10a, where if the (R) descriptor is indicated in Item 10a, then Item 18-PBN/ is a required field. Then, because some descriptors for PBN are equipment-specific, you then have dependencies in your PBN descriptors that have to match up with your equipment listed in Item 10a.
5. ANSPs will require operators to indicate RTCA certification level
Some ANSPs are looking to see what RTCA standards the operators ADS-B/C equipment has met. See the RTCA website for more information.
6. Here’s how specific changes affect aircraft operations
In general, each of these changes is going to be used by each ANSP as they see fit. Some will use different parts of the information in the coordination of air traffic, and some will use it to define which airspace, airways, arrivals, departures, and approaches an operator may be approved to fly within/on. Incorrectly identifying your equipment and capabilities could cause unnecessary delays, unfavorable routes and flight levels, or may even present a safety-of-flight issue.
7. ICAO 2012 changes go into effect very soon
ICAO 2012 format will be implemented worldwide at 0001Z on November 15th, 2012.
8. All countries begin accepting the new ICAO 2012 format on the same timeframe
At this time we are unaware of any ANSPs that will not accept the NEW format. Here is a link with ICAO to stay abreast of various ANSPs and where they currently stand with the NEW format.
9. Operators can test the new format today to become familiar with it
Go to CFMU’s public Network Operations Portal and use the IFPUV (Free Text Editor) tool to submit a trial flight plan. This is the link to the portal, not the tool, but you’ll need to access the portal first. This tool will either return a “NO ERRORS” message or various error messages if anything is incorrect in the flight plan.
10. Be prepared for other changes within the next year
Another ICAO flight planning change will go into effect February 7th, 2013. Flights operating on specific tracks and flight levels within the NAT organized track system (OTS) will require CPDLC operational authorization from their state of registry.
11. This additional change may restrict operational flexibility in some cases
Operators who in the past have operated within the OTS on prime tracks may now be restricted to operating on less-favorable tracks or flight levels.
12. Know where to go for additional information
Your best resources for determining how and what to file in the new ICAO 2012 format are your aircraft manufacturer, equipment manufacturers, and the state authority that issues your authorizations.
13. Take your time in gearing up for these changes
Best practice is to jump on this now so that you have the time to research and fully understand ICAO 2012 changes and what each new descriptor actually means. There are plenty of resources out there, including FAA, CFMU, and ICAO, to help in these areas.
While some upfront research and planning will be involved in adapting to new ICAO 2012 format and requirements, the flight planning process going forward should not be any more time-consuming or onerous than current flight planning procedures.
Special thanks to Wayne Farley for letting us use his awesome picture of the ICAO flag.
Have questions, something to add, or just want to tell us you liked this article? Let us know in the comments area below.
Category : Best Practice
About Jason Davidson
A lifelong aviation enthusiast with nearly 15 years in the field, pilot and flight instructor Jason Davidson is an expert in all areas of flight planning. Jason, who joined Universal Weather and Aviation, Inc. in 2005, has spent time on the Universal portfolio teams facilitating trips and providing quality assurance and project management duties to further improve systems within Universal. He currently serves as Flight Planning Technical Specialist, and plays a critical role in preparing the Flight Planning Team and clients for all aspects and changes regarding flight planning such as ICAO 2012. Jason has a Bachelor of Science degree in aviation from the University of North Dakota.
He can be reached at email@example.com.
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