ATC-Pilot Communication on the North Atlantic. What's state of the art now?

Hey there,

after years of flying under radar control in Europe, I took the challenge to fly from Spain to Canada the other day and had two ATC covering Gander and Shanwick.
First controller informed me that I don’t need to make position reports anymore due to being equipped with ADS-C.

1.) I still have to request an oceanic clearance at least 30 min before entry right?

I talked to the controller in private chat and he said that I should call in when reaching the entry point of my random routing.

2.) Do I have to make it just like a normal position report under radar control like “TUI1722, FL380 at SIVIR”?
Or should I make a full oceanic position report with Mach Number etc at the entry point?

3.) If position reports on the North Atlantic are done automatically by the aircraft, do I still need to listen out on the HF frequency? If yes, why?

The second controller who came online after the first one finished his shift, he said I can do position reports under his control but I don’t have to. This confused me even more tbh…

4.) Do I need to make position reports or not? :sweat_smile:

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  1. Yes
  2. Full Oceanic position report. This is also the reason to not just call the controller and start passing your position report, but to establish communication first, so the ATCO is ready to copy your information
  3. With your call at the entry point of the NAT HLA you are supposed to perform a SECAL check. If it worked you can put down your headset and stop monitoring the HF frequency. If the ATCO wants something from you he will send you a SELCAL to alert you.
  4. It depends on the controller. You need to read the “controller information” of each controller. They will stipulate whether they simulate ADS-C or “classic HF comms”.
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Thank you very much for your reply Andreas!

Just checked the NAT_FSS controller information of the ATC being online right now:

“Shanwick Radio” or “Gander Radio” 131.900 | CPDLC - NATX
Covering Shanwick (EGGX) and Gander Oceanic (CZQX) OCAs.
Oceanic Clearance on

The controller information does not say if he’s simulating ADS-C or classic HF comms.
In this case, I just call the controller with a position report on my first waypoint and he tells me if he don’t need any more reports from me further down the road I guess?

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Yes, sounds like a good plan!

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Interesting, Andreas, because when I requested the clearance online and got it, the controller seemed happy with me just giving a regular check-in at the entry point (SAS926 at FL380). I do hope that the NAT controller will give us the ability to request clearance via CPDLC.

Hi Michael,

I guess that many controllers have built a huge amount of tolerance as to what they find acceptable as position report/initial call. In this case the controller was happy with your call and that was the end of the story :slight_smile:

Yes, you should request oceanic clearance at least 30 min before and you can do it via NatTrak, voice, text, CPDLC. The last (CPDLC clearance) it’s not provide by all ATCs. You can check Getting your clearance - Gander Oceanic Knowledge Base

In first contact (on oceanic entry point) you should report callsign, oceanic entry point, speed, FL. After established voice communication ATC should perform SELCAL check. If SELCAL test is OK, you can turn down your HF radio. ATC will send you "ping’ message via SELCAL if he wants to talk to you. You can also established CPDLC connection if you want.

For ADS-B equipped aircraft position reports it’s not required (but you can do it if you want), and for other aircraft position reports is still mandatory. For some events all pilots should not make pos-report due to frequency congestion. You can check Position Report Generator - Gander Oceanic OCA

Currently, simulating (or not simulating) ADS-B should not be controller dependent. We have this in our SOP.

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