New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement

Matt Bromback

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New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement
« on: February 01, 2019, 07:14:10 am »
Apologize if this is not the forum area to post this, if you feel it needs to be moved please do so.

This is a FYI for anyone that flies/controls around the Nassau / ZMO Oceanic areas.


There's been some big changes that have come to the Nassau FIR and Miami Oceanic airspace. We've detailed these new changes on a post on the VATCAR website. Before your next flight around the Bahamas, check this post out to find out about these changes!

https://vatcar.org/website/changes-to-nassau-fir-miami-oceanic-airspace/
Matt Bromback

Ira Robinson

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Re: New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2019, 10:35:49 am »
Hi Matt.  Interesting stuff.  Can I ask a few questions?  Miami Oceanic is listed as a Special Center in the Global Ratings Policy, thereby requiring separate certification prior to being able to control there. The Letter of Agreement doesn't say that Miami will be providing that training, so how will Nassau controllers work that airspace?  Did you and Fady work that out yet?

Also, doesn't the Miami SOP require CTR certification prior to being eligible to staff ZMO?  If so are Nassau controllers going to be required to go through the ZMA training program in its entirety?

On the administrative side of this change, doesn't a Letter of Agreement between Divisions need to be signed off on by the Regional Director?  So I am guessing that Mark and Leemar have sent it to Nic for his approval?  The copy you posted doesn't have any signatures on it so I couldn't tell.  I know that he knows that the Global Ratings Policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Executive Committee's Letters of Agreement involving Special Airspace so he will have to send the Letter of Agreement to the Executive Committee for their approval. Or has all of this been done already? 

Lastly, has this been coordinated with NY ARTCC at all? Judging from the map it appears as if we will have to change approach procedures into what was domestic ZMA airspace but now belongs to Nassau. I'm guessing there will be new frequencies  and hand off points as well since you have taken over a good chunk of the airspace east of KMIA. This looks like it will also affect flight planning for the next Cross the Pond, should KMIA be selected, but we can deal with that when the time comes I guess.

Anyway, I guess a "good luck" is in order.  I hope the answer to my questions help bring a little clarity to what is happening.
Ira Robinson
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Matt Bromback

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Re: New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2019, 11:08:17 am »
Hi Matt.  Interesting stuff.  Can I ask a few questions?  Miami Oceanic is listed as a Special Center in the Global Ratings Policy, thereby requiring separate certification prior to being able to control there. The Letter of Agreement doesn't say that Miami will be providing that training, so how will Nassau controllers work that airspace?  Did you and Fady work that out yet?

Also, doesn't the Miami SOP require CTR certification prior to being eligible to staff ZMO?  If so are Nassau controllers going to be required to go through the ZMA training program in its entirety?

On the administrative side of this change, doesn't a Letter of Agreement between Divisions need to be signed off on by the Regional Director?  So I am guessing that Mark and Leemar have sent it to Nic for his approval?  The copy you posted doesn't have any signatures on it so I couldn't tell.  I know that he knows that the Global Ratings Policy falls under the jurisdiction of the Executive Committee's Letters of Agreement involving Special Airspace so he will have to send the Letter of Agreement to the Executive Committee for their approval. Or has all of this been done already? 

Lastly, has this been coordinated with NY ARTCC at all? Judging from the map it appears as if we will have to change approach procedures into what was domestic ZMA airspace but now belongs to Nassau. I'm guessing there will be new frequencies  and hand off points as well since you have taken over a good chunk of the airspace east of KMIA. This looks like it will also affect flight planning for the next Cross the Pond, should KMIA be selected, but we can deal with that when the time comes I guess.

Anyway, I guess a "good luck" is in order.  I hope the answer to my questions help bring a little clarity to what is happening.


Ira,

Great questions!
First let me link you to the exact LOA signed off by both divisions here
https://nassau.vatcar.org/website/sopsandloas/VATUSA_VATCAR_LOA.pdf

Correct per GRP the ZMO Oceanic Sector is listed as a "special center" which is the equivalent of a Major Endorsement. It is my understanding this was done for the reason of ZMO_CTR working a large area and being able to provide ENROUTE services only (FL180-FL600, no top down service for Nassau or islands). To be honest I am not sure why it is even considered a Special Center since it is just enroute operations, perhaps ZMA can answer why it is a special center. After discussing this issue with Mark and VATCAR leadership we concluded that to work enroute airspace holding C1 rating per the GRP as standard that should suffice. Since Nassau Controllers would actually receive more training then ZMA controllers would, thus satisfying any doubt about the special center. Nassau Controllers are trained to work top down service, while ZMA controller's do not.

As per training the ZMO airspace is literally just a really big radar enroute environment, not a traditional "oceanic airspace" even though its called that. ZMA still owns, delegates, and controls that airspace. Just as the LOA states Nassau controllers only work it when ZMO is OFFLINE, thus providing in theory more ATC services for pilots when ZMO is offline, when they come online we automatically give airspace back to ZMO.

I am awaiting some talks with ZMA for a more detailed LOA to be made to address concerns of routing, altitude assignments, bordering FIR/ARTCC agreements, etc...But simply for now Nassau controllers are required to reference ZMA Enroute SOP's for their sector 58 and 62 which are the Oceanic sectors.

Hope this answers some of your questions for now.
Matt Bromback

Ira Robinson

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Re: New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2019, 02:50:30 pm »

Ira,

Great questions!
First let me link you to the exact LOA signed off by both divisions here
https://nassau.vatcar.org/website/sopsandloas/VATUSA_VATCAR_LOA.pdf

Correct per GRP the ZMO Oceanic Sector is listed as a "special center" which is the equivalent of a Major Endorsement. It is my understanding this was done for the reason of ZMO_CTR working a large area and being able to provide ENROUTE services only (FL180-FL600, no top down service for Nassau or islands). To be honest I am not sure why it is even considered a Special Center since it is just enroute operations, perhaps ZMA can answer why it is a special center. After discussing this issue with Mark and VATCAR leadership we concluded that to work enroute airspace holding C1 rating per the GRP as standard that should suffice. Since Nassau Controllers would actually receive more training then ZMA controllers would, thus satisfying any doubt about the special center. Nassau Controllers are trained to work top down service, while ZMA controller's do not.
.

Thank you Matt.  You did touch on a couple of them, although it sounds to me that you guys are playing it by ear for the moment - sort of making it up as you go along.  I will tell you that I disagree with your assessment of the Special Center arrangement; the fact that the three of you decided it wasn't warranted so there is no reason to have to follow those procedures just doesn't seem right.  But it is what it is and if someone with a higher pay grade than mine doesn't make an issue of it who am I too?

I will add something that I left off my other message because i didn't realize it until the FNO Friday night, but you seem to have picked up some of the Miami domestic airspace as well.  Is that correct?  I know I was handed off from ZMO to Nassau and back to ZMA for my decent and I don't remember that ever happening before. Is that true?
Ira Robinson
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Matt Bromback

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Re: New Nassau/ZMA Airspace Agreement
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2019, 08:45:54 am »


Thank you Matt.  You did touch on a couple of them, although it sounds to me that you guys are playing it by ear for the moment - sort of making it up as you go along.  I will tell you that I disagree with your assessment of the Special Center arrangement; the fact that the three of you decided it wasn't warranted so there is no reason to have to follow those procedures just doesn't seem right.  But it is what it is and if someone with a higher pay grade than mine doesn't make an issue of it who am I too?

I will add something that I left off my other message because i didn't realize it until the FNO Friday night, but you seem to have picked up some of the Miami domestic airspace as well.  Is that correct?  I know I was handed off from ZMO to Nassau and back to ZMA for my decent and I don't remember that ever happening before. Is that true?

Yea like I said I am not sure about the special use airspace or exactly where it came from. All I know it is there and in my opinion not sure if its actually needed.

The FNO this week created some insights to the new airspace arrangement and some errors were found. I am in talks with ZMA in order to make the necessary changes so that the end result is the best for everyone, controllers and pilots.
Matt Bromback