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Flying Over African Airspace  
User currently offlineRyu2 From Taiwan, joined Aug 2002, 490 posts, RR: 0
Posted (13 years 1 month 2 days 2 hours ago) and read 5816 times:

Could someone with experience share what it's like to fly over Africa? I read that most of the African continent has no radar coverage, is that true?

Are there special navigation/communication procedures? Is there a center you talk to on HF, like oceanic crossings, and give position reports? Or is it basically everyone radio their positions to each other, over a common VHF air-to-air freq?

Very curious  Smile

12 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineJwenting From Netherlands, joined Apr 2001, 10213 posts, RR: 18
Reply 1, posted (13 years 1 month 23 hours ago) and read 5761 times:

If what you say is true, it is most likely similar to long overwater flights, with the added bonus of SAMs and light aircraft  Smile/happy/getting dizzy


I wish I were flying
User currently offlineSA-JET From South Africa, joined May 2000, 297 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5744 times:

Ryu2
I'm no tech expert, so this might not be quite what you want. In sub-saharan Africa only the following countries conform to ICAO radar/communication procedures: South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Kenya. Flights between SA and Europe rely on each other (the aircraft) to provide position reports, and all SAA 747 aircraft are installed with collision avoidance systems due to the lack of control. If I remember correctly South Africa is thinking about establishing a continent wide tracking system. Bottom line: very little control, it's up to the pilots to relay position to other aircraft.


User currently offlineSQ325 From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 1451 posts, RR: 7
Reply 3, posted (13 years 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5727 times:

In some regions the Pilots are speaking to each other, and cordinating there approaches. No Joke!!

User currently offlineXXXX10 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2000, 777 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (13 years 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 5671 times:

I have heard that it is very difficult flying over large sections of Africa

Not only is there no radar coverage but it is sometimes impossible to contact atc.

There have been reports of pilots flying for thousands of mile without talking to a single controler,

I think that a special VHF frquency is used to maintain seperation


User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 5, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5605 times:

If you are flying over Africa and non radar covered parts if I am right you are given a time to be along a certain part of an airway. Who do you contact if no one can see you if you need to divert or want to change course due to weather? And if there are no radar facilites are there radio receivers to hear you?

I have restarted the topic because things might have changed in the last five years, and anyway the answers were not very conclusive to say the least - so any experts please  Smile

J

[Edited 2005-11-09 22:08:24]

User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 6, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 5599 times:

126.90 is used over Africa (except the Cairo and South African FIR's) for aircraft to aircraft separation/information but, oddly enough, there is good VHF coverage across central Africa, and the IFR separation is normally 10-15 minutes between aircraft at the same or converging levels.

It generally works OK.

All crews on these sectors know the procedures, and follow 'em to the letter, in my experience.


User currently offlineJulesmusician From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 5570 times:

Amazing that we are not yet able to broadcast GPS co-ordinates through satellite to a control centre for them to keep an eye on it - and what would you do if you needed to land quickly?!

User currently offlineShyFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (8 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 5538 times:

Quoting Julesmusician (Reply 9):
Amazing that we are not yet able to broadcast GPS co-ordinates through satellite to a control centre for them to keep an eye on it

We are! It is known as Automatic Dependent Surveillance - Broadcast (ADS-B). It was first tested in Alaska (Capstone Program) and is now in service there. The FAA is now deploying the necessary ground equipment along US East Coast, Arizona, and North Dakota.

I believe Austrailia is working on implementing the system for their airspace as well.

Though the current system relies upon ground stations to uplink traffic info to participating aircraft and ATC, I don't think using satcomm would be too much of a challenge, technology wise anyway.


User currently offlineB777200 From Zambia, joined Aug 2005, 30 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 5007 times:

I once had the chance of talking to a British Airways aircrew when flying to London Gatwick from Lusaka, Zambia, about 4 years ago. I was told that flights going North fly at even-numbered flight levels, e.g. FL 32, 34, 36, 38; while flights heading South fly at odd-numbered flight levels, e.g. FL 31, 33, 35, 37. (Ot it could be the opposite, but I hope you get the idea). This rule was developed by the pilots and airlines themselves.

While I was in the flight deck, a Swiss Air flight then flew 1000ft above us -- I could see the aircraft right out the window. (It was a night flight) I first saw the Swiss Air flight about 10 minutes before it passed. Initially I thought it was a star, but the aircraft lights were too close to the horizon. The British Airways pilot also pointed-out the Swiss Air flight on the radar.

Greetings To All.


User currently offlineStirling From Italy, joined Jun 2004, 3943 posts, RR: 21
Reply 10, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 4836 times:

I heard flying over some parts of Africa...especially North Africa...has the same characteristics as ETOPS flying.

So not even satellite communications with base can be made from these flights? No Sat-Phones?



Delete this User
User currently offlineSabenapilot From Belgium, joined Feb 2000, 2714 posts, RR: 46
Reply 11, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4816 times:

Indeed, when flying from Europe to central and South Africa, twins have to comply with all ETOPS rules as they are further than 60 min away from the nearest possible divertion airport...

User currently offlineWing From Turkey, joined Oct 2000, 1565 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (8 years 9 months 1 week 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 4815 times:

I spend some months flying around North and Central Africa when my previous company wet-leased our 737s to some carriers based in N.Africa.Yes there were no radar coverage we rely mostly on the position reports.Even at most areas VHF coverage is very weak and you have to use HF to comunicate.May not be the exact wording but the position reports as far as I remember was mostly like this;

"All stations,all stations,This is Air Algerie flight ... ,Southbound at FL ....,position .....,estimating ......point at .....(UTC),...... is next estimated at .....(UTC),This is AirAlgerie at FL....,southbound"



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