Updated 26 JAN 2023
Civil helicopters operating to and from off-shore installations in the North Sea where air traffic services are provided by Norway, will outside controlled airspace be operating at following altitudes, based on area/forecast QNH minimum.
Magnetic track 000 ̊- 179 ̊ 3000 FT
Magnetic track 180 ̊- 359 ̊2000 FT
If weather conditions or other circumstances necessitate operations below 2000 FT, ATS shall be informed as soon as possible.
Normally the following altitudes based on radar altimeter will be used.
Magnetic track 000 ̊- 179 ̊ 1000 FT
Magnetic track 180 ̊- 359 ̊500 FT
Transition altitude 7000 FT.
For flights at 1000 FT or below radar altimeter shall be used.
Information on helicopter operations on helicopter routes (HR) will be provided by the appropriate ATS unit.
HELICOPTER ROUTES - EN ROUTE TRAFFIC
Helicopter Routes (HR) are established in that part of the North Sea and Norwegian Sea where Norway is responsible for providing ATS (REF AIP Norway GEN 3.3).
A HR is an ATS-route frequently used by civil helicopters, along which flight control, flight information and alerting service may be provided.
Civil helicopters are normally operating within
4 NM either side of the HR from 1000 FT AMSL to FL 80.
HR are also be published within controlled airspace.
NOTE 1: From ENKB to offshore destinations EVEN altitudes/Levels. To ENKB from offshore departure ODD altitudes/Levels
1.1.1 Crusing level below a CTA
Flights planned at 1000 FT shall follow a HR. If the flight is planning to follow a bidirectional HR (e.g KY916), this procedure shall be used:
Magnetic track 360 ̊-179 ̊ ALTITUDE: 1000 FT
Magnetic track 180 ̊-359 ̊ ALTITUDE: 2000 FT or above*
*If the flight will be provided with surveillance service, and there is no conflicting opposite traffic on the HR, 1000FT might be requested. If there is conflicting traffic at 1000FT, the flight has to be conducted within the CTA, and a request for a clearance at 2000FT or above is required.
1.1.2 Altimeter setting
a) Within Polaris FIR south of 66.20 ̊N altimeter setting at 7000 FT or lower is based on area QNH. ATS will provide QNH for the QNH Areas. A change to a new QNH shall be carried out when instructed by ATS.
b) Within Polaris FIR north of 66.20 ̊N altimeter setting is based on Forecasted Minimum QNH within Altimeter Setting Regions (ASR) Tromsoflaket and Bjornoya. For flights at 1000 FT or lower radar altimeter shall be used (REF AIP NORWAY ENR 1.7–4).
1.1.3 Helicopter routes - enroute traffic
Helicopter Routes (HR) are established over the Norwegian continental shelf, south of 66.20 ̊N as international ATS-routes. When required to follow a HR civil helicopters normally operates within 4 NM either side of the HR centerline. (REF AIP NORWAY ENR 3.4-2).
1.1.4 ADS areas
A defined area, Class G airspace, either below a CTA (MSL – 1500 FT), or a specific area (MSL – FL 085) between the main land bases and the main oilfields where radar- and/or ADS-based ATS is provided to ADS equipped helicopters. Helicopters with operative ADS transponder can expect direct routing within an ADS area (REF AIP NORWAY ENR 2.2.4)
1.1.5 Control areas (CTA)
Defined Control Areas are established on the Norwegian continental shelf with Class-D Airspace, from 1500 FT- FL085. Heidrun CTA is established in the Norwegian Sea, with Air Traffic Control Service is provided by Polaris ACC Bodø within the CTA. Statfjord CTA, Balder CTA and Ekofisk CTA are established in the North Sea, with Air Traffic Control Service is provided by Polaris ACC Stavanger within the CTA. (REF AIP NORWAY ENR 2.1).
1.1.6 Helicopter traffic zone (HTZ)
A HTZ is established at all permanent offshore installations on the Norwegian continental shelf within a radius of 5 NM from the landing pad and comprises the airspace between MSL and 2000 FT, or to the lower limit of a CTA. Around groups of two or more installations, and with distance of less than 10 NM from each other, a common HTZ is established with the border tangential to a 5 NM radius from the landing pads (REF AIP NORWAY ENR 2.2–3).
1.2 Radio communication and procedures
a) Air Traffic Control Service for helicopter operations on the Norwegian continental shelf is provided by:
|Polaris ACC Bodø
|Polaris ACC Stavanger
b) Flight Information and Alerting Service for helicopter operations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is provided by:
|Polaris ACC Bodø
|Polaris ACC Stavanger
|Polaris ACC Bodø
|23 / 24 / 26 /27
|Polaris ACC Stavanger
1Tampen HFIS - within Tampen HTZ: 129.675 MHz
2Ekofisk HFIS - within Ekofisk HTZ: 130.550 MHz
c) Helicopter/rig-communication frequencies:
|Polaris ACC Bodø
|Sectors 18 to 27 and Bodø OFIR (North of 63N)
|Polaris ACC Stavanger
|Statfjord ADS Area to 63N:
|Balder ADS Area
|Balder North (North of 59N)
|Balder South (South of 59N)
|Ekofisk ADS Area
|Exception: Ula HTZ rigs (Ula, Tambar, Gyda): 130.770 MHz
d) All helicopter traffic operating in the Norwegian Sector are expected to adhere to procedures as described below.
e) The HR (KY tracks) shall be utilized outside surveillance coverage. Within surveillance-coverage flights may be routed on direct track by ATS.
f) All offshore helicopters operating within Balder, Ekofisk and Statfjord CTA are required have a certified ADS-B-transponder.
g) If the ADS transponder is inoperative a dispensation from the ADS-B transponder requirement has to be requested from the ATS for single flights. If NCAA gives dispensation for a series of flights, inform ATS on start-up, (REF BSL-D 2-10).
h) For departure from installations within a HTZ with HFIS the HFIS unit shall be notified of the ETD of the flight at start-up.
1.2.2 Entring Norwegian sector
Helicopters planning to enter the Norwegian continental shelf are required to file a flight plan (FPL) before departure. If a flight plan is not filed or a helicopter is diverting to a destination on the Norwegian Continental Shelf or airfields, radio contact with the appropriate ATS Unit (ACC) shall be made at least 10 minutes prior to entering and an air-filed flight plan (AFIL) shall be transmitted with the following details:
b) Type of Aircraft
c) ETO Entry Point
d) ETA Destination
1.2.3 Position report
a) Helicopter routes are identfied by the letter KY (called «Copter”, REF ICAO Annex 11, Appendix 1, point 4) and route number, e.g. KY915.
Reporting points are identified by:
a) a 5 letters identification, or
b) letters KY + route number + distance from an onshore DME.
NOTE: Phraseology to be used in b) is ”route ident + distance”, example: ”Copter Niner One Five – Niner zero”
A Position Report shall contain:
- Call Sign
- Position and Time
- ETO next Reporting Point
- Next Reporting Point if it is a special point
Example: “HKS 115, passing Copter 15 – 90 at 15, estimate 120 at 30, next SUGAR”
Position reports shall be transmitted at each reporting point. If more than 20 minutes will elapse between reporting points, an “Operation normal”- report must be transmitted after 15 minutes unless otherwise instructed. An operation normal report shall contain the same information as a position report.
b) A Position Report is not required when the pilot is informed that the helicopter is provided with Surveillance Service (“Identified”) Position reporting shall be resumed when the pilot is informed that Radar/ADS service is terminated.
c) If not receiving a required Position Report the appropriate ATS unit will initiate Alerting Service (REF 1.3)
d) In areas without VHF radio coverage, the pilot can use a satellite telephone for position reports on a given dedicated telephone number to the ATS unit concerned.
1.2.4 Radio communication and procedures for flight on oil fields
a) The appropriate ACC unit is responsible for Flight Information and Alerting Service within HTZ without a HFIS unit, and to and from the oil field installations.
b) HFIS’s areas of responsibility are described in AIP NORWAY GEN 3.3-4.2 and correspond to appropriate HTZ. HFIS HTZ extend upwards from MSL to the lower limit of the airspace above (1500 FT).
c) The HFIS unit is responsible for flight information and alerting service within the HFIS HTZs.
d) Logistics information and service is provided on the appropriate logistic frequency (LOG).
e) Logistics information for oil fields outside HFIS HTZ is obtained on the appropriate helicopter/rig communication frequency (REF 1.2.1.).
126.96.36.199 Use of helicopter/rig frequency for oil installations
The helicopter/rig-frequency shall be used for the following type of messages:
i) Distress Messages.
ii) Urgency Messages.
iii) Communication related to direction finding.
iv) Flight Safety Messages, which includes following:
a) Position Reports.
b) Traffic Information.
c) Meteorological Messages of immediate concern to aircraft in flight.
d) Deck Clearance.
e) On-deck Reports (including time).
f) Pre-lift-off Reports.
g) Airborne Reports.
h) Gas Warning.
i) Information on helideck conditions and fire-fighting equipment.
j) Radio Silence Messages.
1.2.5 Change of frequency
Frequency handover between the ACC unit and a HFIS unit will be done according to the Letter of Agreement between the ATS units.
1.2.6 Operational reports
The following standard reports shall be used after landing on an installation or before and after departure from an installation.
188.8.131.52 On deck report
After landing on an installation, it is the responsibility of the Pilot In Command (PIC) to deliver an on-deck report to the appropriate ATS unit (radio call) or via the radio operator on the installation by phone, and the report shall contain:
b) Name on the installation
c) Actual time of arrival (ATA)
d) Additional information if required (e.g. refuelling, shut down)
If no on-deck message is received at the appropriate ATS unit Alerting Service will be initiated (REF 1.3)
184.108.40.206 Pre-lift-off report
Prior to lift-off from any installation, a radio call shall be made on the appropriate information frequency, and shall contain:
c) Intended route
d) Intended altitude or level
The appropriate ATS unit shall provide traffic information before lift-off is initiated. If no contact with an ATS unit is possible, the pilot must initiate the rig/installation to obtain traffic information from the appropriate ATS unit (e.g. Polaris ACC Stavanger / Bodø or HFIS-Unit)
220.127.116.11 Airborne report
If not covered by other procedures, an Airborne Report, after take-off from an offshore installation, shall be submitted to the appropriate ATS unit as soon as practicable. The Airborne Report shall contain:
b) ATD installation
c) Actual/intended altitude or level
d) If routing via HMRs and no radar/ADS-service is provided (no direct route): ETO next reporting point and entry point TMA/TIZ.
18.104.22.168 Departure report
A Departure Report is not required when operating inside an established CTA or ADS area and Surveillance Service (Radar/ADS) is provided, or if the message is sent directly to the operator’s operational office. ATD shall always be given to the installation or HFIS unit after take- off.
If these criteria cannot be complied with, a Departure Message or Additional (FPL) Information shall be submitted to the departure installation or on the appropriate logistic frequency (LOG).
The FPL-information shall include:
a) ATD installation
b) ETA destination
1.2.7 Procedures for enroute flights and approach to an oil field
Outbound traffic from landbase to offshore destination, shall give an estimate for an entry point (HTZ) or destination rig on the initial call to the ACC. Communication to and within an oilfield may be directly with an ATS unit (HFIS/ACC) or relayed via the radio operator at the rig.
On initial contact for flights inbound to an oilfield the initial Position Report shall contain:
b) ATIS Information letter (if available)..
e) ETO point of entry
i) Visual approach direct to (destination)
ii) Cloud break, direct to (destination)
iii) If planning an Airborne Radar Approach
(ARA) state intentions as soon as possible:
1) ARA to (destination)
2) Final course inbound (destination)
3) Course in case of Missed Approach
4)Will call passing IP
g) ETA destination
Example of ARA: “Polaris Control, BHL 208,intentions to do an ARA to Ula inbound course 040˚ Missed Approach left turn on course 355˚. We will call passing IP.”
1.2.8 Procedures for operations within a HFIS HTZ
Standard call while operating within HFIS HTZ:
a) Pre-Lift-Off Report
b) Airborne Report
c) On Deck Report
There may be several helicopters operating simultaneously within an HFIS HPZ in marginal weather conditions. It is of utmost importance to communicate intentions of flight.
If the weather is:
i) Below 300 FT and/or visibility below 2 KM at day;
ii) Below 500 FT and/or visibility below 5 KM at night;
shall additional information to the standard call above be made:
d) Departure heading
e) Planned altitude
f) Intentions /ARA
h) Inbound Course
i) IP Call
j) Missed Approach course
1.2.9 Reporting for shuttle (inter-rig) flights
The following reports shall be used for shuttle flights:
a) Lift-off Report
b) Deck clearance
c) On-deck Report (omit time)
Liftoff Report: Due to the nature of shuttle flights, the Pre-lift-off Report and Airborne Report are combined into a simplified Liftoff Report that shall contain:
b) Departure installation
1.2.10 Crossing median line from Norwegian sector into neighbouring sectors
Helicopters planning to cross the Median Line from Norwegian continental shelf to a destination in a neighbouring sector (EGPD Offshore/EKCH) are required to file a flight plan (FPL) before departure. If a flight plan is not filed or a helicopter is diverting to a destination outside the Norwegian Sector, and no radio contact with the appropriate ATS unit within the Norwegian sector is established, radio contact with the appropriate ATS unit in the neighbouring sector shall be made at least 10 minutes prior to crossing the Median Line, and an air-filed flight plan (AFIL) shall be transmitted with following details:
b) Type of Aircraft
c) ETO Entry Point
d) ETA Destination
NOTE: The appropriate ATS unit in the neighbouring sector will allocate a SSR transponder code to be kept until first landing.
1.2.11 Operations to and from unmanned helidecks
These procedures are valid for operations to and from unmanned helidecks within range from an ATS unit or via a radio operator on a manned neighbour rig.
a) Weather minima for offshore approach, landing and
take-off are valid.
b) Lights for night operations are required according
to general offshore requirements.
c) Gas free indication shall be indicated before
d) Passengers in transit are not allowed on flights to
and from unmanned helidecks.
NOTE: Be aware that numerous birds may be resting on the helideck or flying in the vicinity
22.214.171.124 Radio communication
a) Radio communication shall be established with the the appropriate ATS unit or via a radio operator on a manned neighbour installation in due time prior to landing or take-off. During approach to, and after landing on an unmanned installation, the following radio call shall be made:
i) On final prior to Decision Point (DP) transmit:
“On final to unmanned (name of rig)”
ii) On deck transmit:
“On deck (name of rig)”
NOTE: Arrange the ”On deck”- call to be within 1 minute of the ”On final”-call to avoid the the appropriate ATS-Unit or radio-operator initiating emergency procedures (see 1.3).
b) Prior to take-off from an unmanned installation, and after reaching Vy/BROC, the following radio
calls shall be made:
i) Prior to take-off transmit:”Ready to lift from unmanned (name of rig)”
ii) After Vy/BROC transmit: ”Airborne from (name of rig)”
* Vy/BROC = Best Rate Of Climb
NOTE: Arrange the ”Airborne”-call to be within 1 minute of the ”Ready to lift”-call to avoid the ATS-Unit or radio operator from initiating emergency procedures (REF 1.3).
A heliguard shall always be aboard a helicopter bound for an unmanned helideck, and is responsible for:
a) To be seated in the helicopter as close to the main exit as possible.
b) To wear survival suit and helmet with visor, foot and hand protection, at least during the landing and takeoff from the unmanned helideck.
c) To carry a portable VHF/AM radio communication with the crew on the frequency in use.
d) Upon signal from the Pilot-in-Command (PIC), leave the helicopter as the first person and guide the other passengers across the helideck.
e) To board the helicopter as the last person after guiding the passengers to the cabin.
f) Signal the PIC when the passengers’ seat belts fastened and the cabin is ready for take-off.
The PIC shall assure that the passengers and heliguard are familiar with relevant procedures. If required, the PIC shall explain to the passengers the procedures to be used.
1.3 Alerting service
For helicopters operating between a helicopter base onshore and an offshore destination Special procedures for Alerting Service to helicopter flights not provided with Radar/ADS-Service are described below.
Helicopter enroute between a helicopter base onshore (or an installation offshore) and an offshore destination shall be established on a HR in areas where HRs are established, or on a filed FPL- route when operating in areas without HRs, and provide the appropriate ATS unit with position reports every 30 NM (approx. 15 minutes flying time with heavy helicopters), REF 1.2.3.
126.96.36.199 Uncertainty phase
The phase from a position report should have been received by the appropriate ATS unit until the Alert Phase is activated (3 minutes, REF 188.8.131.52).
184.108.40.206 Alert phase
When a position report or operation normal message is not received by the appropriate ATS unit as expected, the Alert Phase shall be activated within 3 minutes of the time the Position Report was expected, unless there are good indications that the helicopter or the people aboard are not in any danger.
220.127.116.11 Distress phase
If several attempts to establish radio contact are unsuccessful, and no news are received of the safety of the helicopter, the Distress Phase shall be activated within 10 minutes of the time the position report was expected.
1.3.2 Landing on helideck
After landing on an installation, it is the responsibility of the Pilot In Command (PIC) to deliver an on-deck report to the appropriate ATS unit (radio call) or via the radio operator on the installation (phone).
18.104.22.168 Uncertainty phase
The phase from an On-deck Report should have been received by the appropriate ATS unit until the Alert Phase is activated (5 minutes, REF 22.214.171.124).
126.96.36.199 Alert phase
When an On-deck Report is not received by the appropriate ATS unit as expected, the Alert Phase shall be activated within 5 minutes of the Estimated Time of Arrival (ETA) given by the PIC, unless there are good indications that the helicopter or the people aboard are not in any danger.
188.8.131.52 Distress phase
If no news are received of the safety of the helicopter, the Distress Phase shall be activated within 10 minutes of the ETA given by the PIC.
1.3.3 Landing on unmanned helideck
Radio communication shall be established with and monitored by the appropriate ATS unit in due time prior to landing or take-off.
184.108.40.206 Alert phase
Landing: The Alert Phase shall be activated if an On-deck Report is not received by the appropriate ATS-Unit within 1 minute of the Final Approach Message given by the PIC.
Departure: The Alert Phase shall be activated If an Departure Message is not received by the appropriate ATS-Unit within 1 minute of Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) given by the PIC.
220.127.116.11 Distress phase
If no news are received of the safety of the helicopter, the Distress Phase shall be activated within 3 minutes of the ETA/ETD given by the PIC.
1.4 Procedures for coordination of UK military OAT (Operational Air Traffic) operations in ATS delegated areas offshore
1.4.1 Definitions related to this procedures
MoD - Ministry of Defence (UK)
OAT - Operational Air Traffic
ACI - Area of Common Interest
SUA - Special use Airspace
OCU - Operational Control Unit
ECU - Exercise Coordination Unit
ARA - Airborne Radar Approach
USAFE - United States Air Force in Europe
Due to the nature of surveillance measures, including the mandate for the carriage and operation of ADS-B transponders, associated with the offshore airspace in which Air Traffic Services are delegated by the UK to Norway in conjunction with the introduction of the Ekofisk and Balder CTAs within the UK FIR, the following procedures outline the agreed access arrangements.
1.4.3 Rights of access
The UK MoD reserves the right of access to such airspace for State aircraft regardless of their equipment or ability to comply with the requirements set out by the delegated ATS provider; for:
• Aircraft in an Emergency.
• Aircraft involved in National Security tasks, where possible under the positive control of: either Land, Maritime or Airborne Units.
• Aircraft engaged in Maritime operations, where possible under positive control.
Under such circumstances, UK State aircraft will operate within the subject airspace under ‘due regard’ procedures in accordance with Article 3d to the Convention of International Civil Aviation.
1.4.4 Operational Training
Specific procedures to enable UK MOD1 aircraft to conduct normal operational training sorties are detailed below.
1NOTE: Includes UK based USAFE aircraft
1.4.5 Coordination of planned OAT exercises
Planned military OAT exercises within the Area of Common Interest parts of the Ekofisk and Balder CTAs should be coordinated with Polaris ACC at least 24 hours prior to the start of the exercise, with a request for Special Use Airspace (SUA)2 for the planned exercise. In a normal offshore helicopter traffic situation, (priorities may need to be defined) Polaris ACC will give an approval for the SUA request.
2NOTE: Avoids the use of TSA in view of High Seas constraints.
The SUA request shall contain:
a) The lateral and vertical limits of the Exercise Area;
b) The time for start and finish of the Exercise, including means of activation and deactivation of the Exercise Area;
c) Contact information for the Exercise Coordination Unit;
d) Other operational information related to the Exercise, such as number of aircraft involved, if applicable.
1.4.6 Special procedures for coordination of OAT operation
When MoD Operational Air Traffic required to operate within the Area of Common Interest (ACI) parts of the Ekofisk and Balder CTAs, the OAT will normally require to be controlled by a MoD Operational Control Unit during the operation. A requirement for such OAT operations within the ACI, is to stay outside of the lateral limits of HTZ within the ACI, REF 18.104.22.168.
The following procedure is to define co-ordination procedures to be applied between Ministry of Defence and Avinor/Polaris ACC in respect of Operational Air Traffic carrying out operations within Area of Common Interest when prior co-ordination of the OAT operations is not applicable. The procedures will establish safe operations for both civil offshore helicopters and OAT operating simultaneously within the Area of Common Interest.
22.214.171.124 Procedures for OAT coordination
When OAT operations within the ACI is required, the appropriate MoD Operational Control Unit (OCU) or the OAT planning to enter the ACI, shall contact the appropriate sector at Polaris ACC SG West, on the appropriate frequency or telephone line, prior to entering the ACI.
The following information shall be provided:
a) MoD OCU or OAT call sign;
b) The estimated position and time for the OAT entering the ACI;
c) Expected direction and estimated periode of time for the OAT operations within ACI, if applicable;
d) Maximum altitude for the OAT operations within ACI, if applicable;
e) Radar transponder status, including SSR code, if applicable;
f) Other information, such as contact information to the MoD Operational Control Unit, if applicable.
When OAT operations within the ACI is finished, the appropriate MoD Operational Control Unit or the OAT shall contact the appropriate sector at Polaris ACC SG West, on the appropriate frequency or telephone line, to deactivate the OAT operations within the ACI and release the Airspace for civil helicopter operations.
126.96.36.199 Procedures for civil offshore helicopter operations
188.8.131.52.1 Activation of the ACI airspace
When Polaris ACC Sector Offshore is informed that OAT operations within the ACI is required, the procedures will be activated to establish safe operations for both civil offshore helicopters and OAT operating simultaneously within the Area of Common Interest. OAT operations will always stay clear of the HTZ lateral limits, with no altitude limit, REF 184.108.40.206
220.127.116.11.2 Outbound helicopters
Helicopters outbound from onshore bases to offshore destinations within, or close to, the HTZ below Ekofisk CTA (Ula and Ekofisk HTZ) and Balder CTA (Draupner, Sleipner, Varg, Gudrun,Balder, Heimdal HTZ) will be cleared to the lowest safe Flight Level/Altitude (or higher) separated from the maximum Flight Level/Altitude for the OAT operations within ACI, coordinated by the MoD Operational Control Unit or the OAT. The helicopters will be routed to the appropriate HTZ, and execute descend out of Controlled Airspace within the lateral limits of this HTZ.
18.104.22.168.3 Arrival outside a HTZ
All helicopters with destinations outside the lateral limits of a HTZ shall proceed at 1500 FT or lower to the destination, after descend out of Controlled Airspace is executed within the lateral limits of the HTZ.
22.214.171.124.4 Inbound helicopters
Helicopters departing from offshore installations within, or close to, the HTZ below Ekofisk CTA (Ula and Ekofisk HTZ) and Balder CTA (Draupner, Sleipner, Varg, Gudrun,Balder, Heimdal HTZ) to onshore bases has to be cleared climb to enter Controlled Airspace within the lateral limits of the appropriate HTZ, to proceed at the lowest Flight Level/Altidude (or higher) separated from the maximum altitude for the OAT operations within ACI, coordinated by the MoD Operational Control Unit or the OAT.
126.96.36.199.5 Departure outside a HTZ
All helicopters departing from installations outside the lateral limits of a HTZ have to proceed at 1500 FT or less, to enter the appropriate HTZ before climbing to the cleared Flight Level/Altitude into Controlled Airspace. The climb has to be executed within the lateral limits of the HTZ.
188.8.131.52.6 Airborne Radar Approaches (ARA)
These procedures require that planned Airborne Radar Approaches (ARA) have to be done within the lateral limits of the appropriate HTZ within the ACI. If this is not applicable, a descend out of the CTA to the initially approach altitude of 1500 FT has to be executes before the ACI is entered.
184.108.40.206.7 De-activation of the ACI -airspace
When OAT operations within the ACI is finished, and the OAT operations are deactivated within the ACI, the Airspace will be released for normal civil helicopter operations, REF 220.127.116.11.