New film promotes oceanic safety

08 January 2013

A film to promote safe operations in Shanwick Oceanic Airspace has been produced by NATS, the UK’s leading provider of air traffic services.

The film, entitled Trackwise, has been produced to help educate airlines, flight crew and operators on the potential issues, risks and solutions when flying within oceanic airspace. Copies have now been delivered to operators, agencies and regulatory bodies for use at educational safety and training days.

The airspace over the North East Atlantic is known as the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area. It covers approximately 633,600 square miles and on its busiest days handles more than 1,400 flights over a 24-hour period.

Controlling oceanic traffic is a unique skill given that aircraft cannot be directly guided by radar. Instead NATS Shanwick Oceanic air traffic controllers rely on pilots following cleared routes, flight levels and speeds to maintain separation distances while reporting their position via High Frequency radio voice reports or automatically via Automated Data Surveillance (ADS) position reports through the aircraft’s Flight Management System.

Gavin Dixon, the film’s producer and Oceanic Local Area Supervisor based at NATS’ Prestwick Centre, said: “Safety is always our top priority so we wanted to improve the understanding and awareness of oceanic operations within the aviation community and to contribute towards further improving aircraft safety. We are delighted that the film has been so well received.”

Copies of Trackwise have been requested by a range of operator and regulatory groups, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States.

Trackwise is also available on NATS’ YouTube channel where to date it has been viewed over 6,000 times.


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