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Concorde ICAO Equipment Codes


Jonathan Fong

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Jonathan Fong

Recently, I've been working on updating quite a few of the old Concorde flight plans to be compatible with modern-day AIRACs - you can see the results of said work in the Concorde Routes in Current AIRACs pinned thread (I'm collaborating with @petakas on the routes). Since I was already looking at the routes, I thought - why not update Concorde's flight plan remarks too? As you may know, there have been quite a few revisions to the ICAO equipment code definitions since Concorde last flew, so I thought I'd try my hand at matching Concorde's equipment to the modern-day equipment code definitions to file to VATSIM/IVAO.

Here are the revised remarks, organized in proper order and format as per the ICAO flight plan format (by item number).

Quote

H-SDFIRWX/C

PBN/A1B5 SUR/TCAS DOF/YYMMDD REG/GBOAC EET/XXX SEL/BDFH OPR/BAW RMK/LAHSO NOT AUTHORIZED RVR/075

Allow me to explain what all that means.

The first row is for items 10a/10b of the ICAO flight plan format, denoting navigational equipment and surveillance equipment capability respectively. H denotes the 'heavy' wake turbulence category, of which Concorde was classified under. S indicates VHF RTF, VOR, and ILS capaiblity, D indicates DME capability, F ADF capability, I inertial navigation, R that the plane is PBN approved (see PBN section), W that the plane is RVSM capable, and X that it is MNPS compliant. The surveillance code - C - indicates that Concorde's transponder was MODE A/MODE C capable.

NOTE: The original Concorde flight plans also contained the equipment code Y, which back then was simply defined as "when ATS (Air Traffic Services) requires it" from my sources, which is quite vague, but nowadays denotes VHF radio 8.33kHz spacing capability. According to my sources, BA's Concordes were not 8.33kHz equipped; however, I have not been able to find any definitive information regarding AF's Concordes' radios though it would be presumed they had them near the end of their service life as France adopted mandatory 8.33kHz spacing above FL245 in 1999. If you wish to file your flight plan as 8.33kHz equipped, just type in Y after X in the Item 10a section above when filing the flight plan, like this -

Quote

H-SDFIRWXY/C

The next row is for Item 18 of the ICAO flight plan - the additional information section. PBN/A1B5 denotes Concorde's RNAV10 and RNAV 5 (INS) capability, while SUR/TCAS indicates Concorde has TCAS surveillance capability. DOF/ indicates the date of flight in YYMMDD format, while REG/ indicates the registration - change this on a per-aircraft basis (NOTE: Do NOT include the dash when changing the registration. Write it in this format - GBOAF or FBTSD). EET/ is the estimated time to waypoint - this field can be omitted if you don't have access to such figures, although you can usually find old EET figures which should be mostly accurate from old Concorde flight plans here. SEL/ is the SELCAL of the aircraft - again, change this accordingly depending on which specific aircraft you are flying (and as with the registration, do NOT include the dash e.g. SEL/BDFH or SEL/AGEJ). RMK/LAHSO NOT AUTHORIZED simply indicates that Concorde is not authorized for LAHSO by its operator (AF and/or BA), while RVR/075 indicates the aircraft is capable of performing a CATIII autoland.

If you are filing on VATSIM, file your aircraft as H/CONC/I - H denotes heavy wake turbulence as mentioned above, while the code I (not the same code as above - this is using the FAA system) denotes INS-based RNAV navigation. File the above remarks (including ICAO flight plan code) in the remarks section as one line, like this -

Quote

H-SDFIRWX/C PBN/A1B5 SUR/TCAS DOF/YYMMDD REG/GBOAC EET/XXX SEL/BDFH OPR/BAW RMK/LAHSO NOT AUTHORIZED RVR/075

If you are filing on IVAO, simply enter the appropriate codes into each section of the flight plan window given in IvAp. As mentioned previously, Items 10a/10b go into the Item 10 section while the Item 18 line goes into Item 18.

If you find any inconsistencies, please let me know so I can modify the remarks accordingly.

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Fraser Gale

Regards the RVSM compliance I think (my memory might be playing tricks here) they were all RVSM compliant because the main requirement that had to be satisfied in the late 90's for this was accurate altitude reporting and display. When th old electro-mechanical air data computers were tested it was found they were well within limits and surprisingly accurate. At first they thought they would have to replace the ADCs with modern digital ones but in the event it was not required to satisfy the criteria.

Also, the flying manual states the equipment required to comply with RVSM so I think it was normal practice.

I think you are thinking of RNAV (full area navigation) requirements, and yes, only 'AC and I think 'AG were compliant with the early version of this although the others in the fleet could do it just not legally.

Frazz

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Jonathan Fong
24 minutes ago, Fraser Gale said:

Regards the RVSM compliance I think (my memory might be playing tricks here) they were all RVSM compliant because the main requirement that had to be satisfied in the late 90's for this was accurate altitude reporting and display. When th old electro-mechanical air data computers were tested it was found they were well within limits and surprisingly accurate. At first they thought they would have to replace the ADCs with modern digital ones but in the event it was not required to satisfy the criteria.

Also, the flying manual states the equipment required to comply with RVSM so I think it was normal practice.

I think you are thinking of RNAV (full area navigation) requirements, and yes, only 'AC and I think 'AG were compliant with the early version of this although the others in the fleet could do it just not legally.

Frazz

Ah, I see. Post edited to include W then...

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Flight_Engineer

Thank you, Jonathan! I have updated my PFPX profile accordingly. While it is not practical to calculate Concorde flightplan performance using PFPX, it is indeed useful to get the EET numbers and remarks section which I export to IVAO. The PFPX profile can be found on the Aerosoft forums: http://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/files/file/3535-concorde-pfpx/

Maybe that helps some of the controllers who are quite surprised by an aircraft cruising at FL550 but still being unable to follow an RNAV transition on approach ^_^

regards

Jan

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Jonathan Fong
2 hours ago, Flight_Engineer said:

Thank you, Jonathan! I have updated my PFPX profile accordingly. While it is not practical to calculate Concorde flightplan performance using PFPX, it is indeed useful to get the EET numbers and remarks section which I export to IVAO. The PFPX profile can be found on the Aerosoft forums: http://forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?/files/file/3535-concorde-pfpx/

Maybe that helps some of the controllers who are quite surprised by an aircraft cruising at FL550 but still being unable to follow an RNAV transition on approach ^_^

Interesting... I've never seen a Concorde PFPX profile - I think I'll still be using CPS for most flights, of course, but I'll certainly consider using this to get proper EETs in future (or for subsonic flights). I'm glad this post was of use to you!

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Kyprianos Biris
6 hours ago, Jonathan Fong said:

R that the plane is PBN approved (see PBN section), W that the plane is RVSM capable, and X that it is MNPS compliant. The surveillance code - C - indicates that Concorde's transponder was MODE A/MODE C capable.

You also put Y.

I believe Y is for 8.33 VHF channel spacing which I assume they were not until it stopped flying.

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Jonathan Fong
1 hour ago, petakas said:

You also put Y.

I believe Y is for 8.33 VHF channel spacing which I assume they were not until it stopped flying.

Hmm... The ICAO definitions only specify a change from "When prescribed by ATS" to "VHF 8.33kHz spacing" in definition. Granted, all the Concorde videos I've seen have shown 25kHz-capable frequencies, but then again 8.33 was introduced in 1994 in Europe and only above, if I recall, FL240... I'll remove it for now and confirm later.

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Jonathan Fong

@petakas According to this bulletin for implementation of 8.33kHz channel spacing above FL245 in the ICAO EUR region (effective 07/10/1999), France was one of the initial states where 8.33kHz operations were implemented above FL245. Considering the same bulletin also says that all aircraft operating in said regions must be equipped with 2 sets of 8.33kHz-capable radios and that no exceptions were permitted for aircraft operating in 8.33kHz sectors, I would presume at least the AF Concordes were retrofitted with 8.33kHz radios. Now, the UK only issued a bulletin for the introduction of 8.33kHz channel spacing (at least, that I can find) in 2013, so I'm not sure if the BA Concordes had 8.33kHz-capable radios. If someone with manuals could confirm whether or not the BA Concordes had them, that would be excellent... @Fraser Gale? :)

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Fraser Gale

On page 05-01-01 of the BA flying manual dated 23 Jul 01 it states:

"Two separate identical VHF radio installations are fitted to provide communication in the 118 - 135.975 MHz frequency range with 25 kHz channel spacing"

so it doesn't look like they were updated. I think this was one of several modifications that a team were looking at in BA before and after the Paris incident to keep her flying up until around 2016 (in engineering terms, I don't think she would have lasted this long due to noise regulations and financial pressures). Obviously as soon as BA knew she was stopping they put a halt to all development work. 

You might find that when the bulletins say "operating within those regions" they mean region of origin/registration, or maybe BA just didn't fly Concorde through France after it...

Frazz

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Jonathan Fong
4 hours ago, Fraser Gale said:

On page 05-01-01 of the BA flying manual dated 23 Jul 01 it states:

"Two separate identical VHF radio installations are fitted to provide communication in the 118 - 135.975 MHz frequency range with 25 kHz channel spacing"

so it doesn't look like they were updated. I think this was one of several modifications that a team were looking at in BA before and after the Paris incident to keep her flying up until around 2016 (in engineering terms, I don't think she would have lasted this long due to noise regulations and financial pressures). Obviously as soon as BA knew she was stopping they put a halt to all development work. 

You might find that when the bulletins say "operating within those regions" they mean region of origin/registration, or maybe BA just didn't fly Concorde through France after it...

Frazz

Ah, I see. I wonder what the original Y was for, then... Post edited with this information, thanks!

I would assume that the bulletins mean "flying in any way within those regions" when saying "operating within those regions", mainly because it would likely be quite difficult to cater to 25kHz radios in 8.33kHz airspace what with there being slight differences between the 25kHz 'WYSIWYG' frequencies and the 8.33kHz frequencies which, to my knowledge, sometimes deviated slightly in terms of the actual transmitted frequency/channel from what was displayed on the radios/assigned by ATC.

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AdrianSmith
On 4/7/2017 at 7:56 AM, Jonathan Fong said:

PBN/B5 denotes Concorde's RNAV5 INS capability, while NAV/RNAVX denotes RNAV unable (exempted).

You can't have both, if it is RNAV5 compliant then  it will not need, or have RNAV exemption.

Equally, the radios as fitted to ConcordeX are not 8.33 compliant, they only tune in 25KHz steps.
Whether the radios are sufficiently narrow band spectrum width to avoid interfering with adjacent 8.33 frequencies is a separate, and irrelevant, discussion.

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Jonathan Fong
8 minutes ago, AdrianSmith said:

You can't have both, if it is RNAV5 compliant then  it will not need, or have RNAV exemption.

Equally, the radios as fitted to ConcordeX are not 8.33 compliant, they only tune in 25KHz steps.
Whether the radios are sufficiently narrow band spectrum width to avoid interfering with adjacent 8.33 frequencies is a separate, and irrelevant, discussion.

Thanks for pointing that out - the NAV/ section has been removed from the remarks. The radio discussion has already run its course - read the above posts... I understand that Concorde X only has 25kHz radios, but I'm talking about the real thing - when filing to VATSIM/IVAO, the frequencies used are all 25kHz anyway so the code is pretty much for show, not an actual denotation of a virtual aircraft's radio capability. It's just a realism thing to file the right codes for each aircraft, if you get what I mean...

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Fraser Gale

By the way, I have double checked and RVSM was implemented on Concorde in the late 1990s. 

She was wired for full area navigation and G-BOAC flew with auto tuning nav radio selectors during route proving but it was decided not to bother implementing it during service so conventional radios were re-fitted.

Frazz

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Jonathan Fong
2 minutes ago, Fraser Gale said:

She was wired for full area navigation and G-BOAC flew with auto tuning nav radio selectors during route proving but it was decided not to bother implementing it during service so conventional radios were re-fitted.

Very interesting - I've never heard that one before... Do you happen to know how the auto-tune system worked? I presume they read the VOR data off the ADC cards...

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Fraser Gale

I'm not sure how they would have worked, only the people involved in her development could answer that one. I think this system might have been a little ahead of time and it was thought that it was an extra that wasn't worth the cost or hassle. 

Interestingly, the proof that area navigation was thought of in the early 70s is that when performing an INS DME update, the yellow light that comes on to show the update is happening (on the pilot instrument panel) is still labled RNAV!

If she had flown on past 2003 it is certain she would have been RNAV equipped (at least on our side of the channel) as a team were looking at how to do it before she stopped flying.

Frazz

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Jonathan Fong
34 minutes ago, Fraser Gale said:

I'm not sure how they would have worked, only the people involved in her development could answer that one. I think this system might have been a little ahead of time and it was thought that it was an extra that wasn't worth the cost or hassle. 

Interestingly, the proof that area navigation was thought of in the early 70s is that when performing an INS DME update, the yellow light that comes on to show the update is happening (on the pilot instrument panel) is still labled RNAV!

If she had flown on past 2003 it is certain she would have been RNAV equipped (at least on our side of the channel) as a team were looking at how to do it before she stopped flying.

Intriguing, thanks! Indeed, the possibility is quite tempting - imagine Concorde with an FMS, say, something along the lines of those fitted to planes like the MD-11 or Boeing 717... Sure would've been a lot easier to fly ConcX during events like CTP :P

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