North Atlantic Tracks & PACOTS

Just wonder if any one interested in this topic.

These are the daily transatlantic tracks or trans-pacific tracks that jet airliners use to cross the opened waters. These tracks are published jointly real time by FAA and other aviation authorities. These are dynamic routes that can be changed from day to day.

Data from these tracks are part of commercial flights’ flight plans.

As these tracks are the busiest air corridors in the world, it would be interesting if we can have professional airline pilots who fly these oceanic routes to share their experiences with the rest of us.

Watch it everyday!


NAV Canada

Nope. I daresay that any professional pilot will tell you that the over ocean portions of their trips are the most boring bits.

Why, it can even lull you into a stupor!

Boring is about right. The scenery generally sucks, except over Greenland on the two days a year you can see the ground, then it’s spectacular. I’m not sure about the NAT being the busiest air corridors in the world, I would buy them being the busiest overwater routes though. The tracks are not used just by commercial airlines either, we all use them.
The GO pilots fiasco is a different ball game. They were on, what, a one hour inter-island hop that happened to have a lot of water in the vicinity. I don’t think it counts the same way as a BOS-LHR or LAX-HNL flight.


Go pilots added for comedic content only John.

Describing flying over the north atlantic is akin to when people say to me “You’ve sailed to Bermuda! That must have been exciting”.

Uh, no. No it wasn’t and that’s the way I planned it.

Or how I described the scenery to J years ago when flying/driving in the western plains, miles and mile of miles and miles.

Flying over the Atlantic, as passengers in the cabin, is boring. However, it is a whole different ball game in the cockpit when comparing to flying over land. I feel there are many things that we can discuss under this topic.

Comedic relief, ok, sorry been a long day.
About the only thing exciting that happens (hopefully) on an Atlantic crossing is making a position report every 45-50 minutes.
I’m not saying crossing the ocean, whether in the cockpit of an airplane or a sailboat isn’t interesting. On a good day it’s boring though. Sure, there are things to learn and do that are a bit different than a normal over land trip, but once you’ve done it a couple of times it gets real routine.
If you want to ask questions, go right ahead. If you can get a copy of the Jeppesen Atlantic planning chart it is full of information, great place to start.
I don’t happen to have one at the house though, so go easy on the questions!


It can get more exiting than you bargain for.

Remember the Canadian Airbus that developed a fuel leak and flamed out over blue water at night.

They ran out of fuel, altitude, and speed in that order and made a safe dead stick landing in the Azores.

That ladies and gentleman will get your undivided attention!

See, just proves my point. They had no problems while they were over the water, it was only when they approached the crinkly, hard edges of the map that their pucker factor increased!

( trying to get the cushion out of that pilot’s butt!STILL)

True, but most of the guys flying the transatlantic and transpacific routes get payed good money. In the end, most of them will take money over getting nice scenary. And plus you usually are flying between two big cities. I mean, who enjoys the daily trip to Chattanooga? I would rather go to London or Paris.

I am here to tell you. When everything goes as planned an ocean crossing is dull as dishwater. With the advent of ACARS and CPDLC you might not even have to talk on the radio. Why are they dull? Because a ton of planning went into the pre flight preparations. All the what ifs were thought of and contingencies were hashed out long before we ever closed the door. The actual crossing should be a no brainer if the planning was done right.

I notice that too. The HF SSB voice communication channels are less busy compared with the volume of the voice traffic years ago.

Aircraft position reports are not required in the Shanwick sector.

Please refer to my article “North Atlantic Tracks” in “Aviation In Focus” website for more details.

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