Paired Oceanic Transition Waypoints

A while ago I wrote about issues we were having with inserting an arrival and approach into LAX prior to exiting Oceanic Airspace across the Pacific. Essentially during the 500 mile run into our exit point (such as ELKEY) our FANS system would send a CPDLC report every 12 minutes or so announcing to the world that the pilots on board the aircraft had been playing with the waypoints in the FMC after the exit point. Automated alarms and queries from ATC – and we’d have to remove our carefully built arrival until we were out of Oceanic Airspace and approaching descent into LA.

After a discussion with Oakland Oceanic while on the ground in LA, I worked out that the solution was to flight plan out by the two paired oceanic points, thus denying ATC the option of sneaking a peak at our flight plan after the last Oceanic waypoint.

Well, today we tried it and it wasn’t a problem. Our exit point was ELKEY and so Nav Services planned us via EDTOO->ELKEY->KLAX. I had the arrival and approach inserted and briefed shortly after I came back from rest with nary a peep from San Francisco.

One complication is that since we use effectively a random routing of lat/lon waypoints across the Pacific, and often don’t follow any of the established airways into the Oceanic exit waypoints, the additional waypoint may add a few track miles to our route. Nav Services has reviewed our most commonly used routes and decided on a standard set of paired waypoints for the exit. We should start seeing these paired waypoints on our flight plans, solving the problem of delayed FMC preparation for the arrival into LAX.

Crew need to understand the need behind these two paired waypoints, particularly in the event of a bit of a kink over the leader waypoint prior to the exit – and not ask for a direct to the Oceanic exit.