Well…I’m back again with another brief informational essay, but this time specifically about the Pacific Organised Track System (PACOTS), the NOPAC, and UPRs.
The NOPAC operational region covers the North Pacific area where there are fixed tracks NOPAC (North Pacific), flexible tracking PACOTS (Pacific Organised Track System) and UPRs (User Preferred Routes). These large geographical volumes of airspace are managed by Canada, Japan, Russia and the United States.
The PACOTS is similar to the NAT OTS in that it develops tracks daily to adjust for weather conditions, particularly volcanoes. The NOPAC and Russian Far East flight tracks pass over or near more than a hundred potentially active volcanoes. These routes, carry more than 50,000 passengers and millions of dollars of cargo each day to and from Asia, North America, and Europe. Ash from eruptions, have caused engines to fail and is usually blown to the east and northeast, directly across these routes. As if the possibility of volcanoes exploding wasn’t enough to worry about, regions in NOPAC have some of the most turbulent weather events in the world.
Oakland Air Route Traffic Control Centre decide the westbound tracks (C, D, E, F and G) and Tokyo Area Control Centres decide the eastbound tracks (1,2,3,4). Track Charlie is the most common westbound route between the Pacific Northwest and Japan. Track 1 is the most common eastbound track to the United States. These routes can transit Oakland, Anchorage and Tokyo CTAs.
|Hawaii - Japan||A|
|Hawaii - Japan||B (optional)|
|Japan - Hawaii||11|
|Japan - Hawaii||12 (optional)|
|North American West Coast - Japan||C|
|North American West Coast - Japan||D (optional)|
|North American West Coast - Japan||E / F|
|Japan - North American West Coast||1 / 2 / 3|
|Japan - North American West Coast||4 (optional)|
|Texas - Japan||M|
|Japan - Texas||8|
|North American West Coast - Asia||H / I (optional)|
|North American West Coast - Asia||J / K|
|Asia - North American West Coast||14|
|Asia - North American West Coast||15 (optional)|
Anchorage Arctic & Oceanic FIR cover the North Pacific Route System. These are designated East-West tracks between Alaska and Japan. WPTs along these routes begin with the letters N, O, P, A and C. As such, the PACOTS routes will often use a portion of the NOPAC airways. The NOPAC route system is comprised of five Air Traffic Service (ATS) routes that transit the North Pacific between Alaska and Japan.
Oakland Oceanic FIR cover both PACOTS and the Central East Pacific Route Systems
PACOTS: Are designated East-West tracks between the U.S. and eastern Asia.
Central East Pacific Route System: Are designated East-West tracks between the U.S. West Coast and Hawaii.
There are Seven ATS routes: R463, R464, R465, R585, R576, R577, R578, and associated transition waypoints are within the CEP.
Last but not least, there are the User Preferred Routes. UPRs are available within the Oakland airspace. UPRs permit the pilot to fly his or her desired profile and enable the aircraft to obtain maximum possible efficiencies. The UPR is similar to the random routing over the NAT MNPS (HLA).
Yes, I know that was a lot. But that was a lot for me to synopsise a lot of knowledge within one page 😂 And fret not, I’ve provided some charts below to help explain.
Fig 1) Easy to read OTSs
Fig 2) Examples of NOPAC tracks between Japan and U.S.
Fig 3) Fukuoka FIR
Fig 4) FAA PORC Plotting Chart
Fig 5) CEP Tracks
As always, I hope this brief synopsis assists aviation enthusiasts, student pilots, current pilots, and future ATCs.
“Better understanding through constant learning is the key to success.” -Annonymous