I am trying to figure out the radar coverage and procedures of a typical trans-Atlantic flight, so I thought I would posit the question here.
I am roughly familiar with how it works. There are North Atlantic tracks that change on a daily basis, and these "airplane highways" are generally how a flight crosses the ocean. Planes are within VHF coverage for roughly 200 miles from the coast and then are on their own, but report in about once an hour on HF.
So I was hoping that somebody can tell me the exact order of a typical flight, such as JFK-LHR. After takeoff, the plane is covered by New York Departure, and then does it go to New York Center or straight to Boston Center? How many more Centers are there before they are out of radar coverage?
Once the airplane is out of radar coverage, which centers are they talking to once an hour on HF? Is it possible to talk to nearby airplanes in the vicinity on VHF while over the ocean? How difficult is it for a pilot who wants to change course or altitude while over the ocean to get clearance to do so? What role does ACARS have in all of this?
Sorry for all these questions, but I'm hoping to get a clear picture of exactly how an ocean crossing occurs.
Last question: How will NextGen affect a typical crossing? Will airplanes simply have a more accurate picture of what is nearby them?