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Important to Notify FAA of Planned Communication Service Changes

FAA Equipment installed under the FAA’s Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) program to enhance aviation safety in the Gulf of Mexico consists of the following major systems: Remote Air/Ground Communications (RCAG), ADS-B, and Automated Weather Observation Stations (AWOS). On April 25, 2014, at an offshore platform with an FAA RCAG, the new communication service provider performed an equipment/service cut-over without the knowledge of the FAA. The result was a complete loss of VHF communication between FAA’s Houston Center and helicopters operating in the vicinity of the platform. This lasted for more than a week. The situation was exacerbated by the outage of an adjacent RCAG facility and poor weather. As a result, Gulf helicopters were forced to contact Houston Center on a frequency designated for high altitude traffic. The frequency congestion saturated Houston to the point that all Gulf traffic incurred significant ground delays. In addition, many flights were canceled. The disruption to both high altitude and helicopter traffic resulted in substantial economic impact.

Therefore, the FAA requests:

  • A representative of the platform notify the FAA’s 24-hour Mid States Operations Center (MOCC) at 800-322-8879 any time a communication service provider change is forthcoming or there is an impending change to the communication service on the platform. Please provide platform location and FAA 3-letter identifier (listed below). Also, please call Exelis’s Network Operations Center (NOC) at 888-461-7277 for AWOS and ADS-B equipment.
  • Platforms owners/helicopter operators provide as much lead time as possible of impending communication changes in which FAA equipment is connected.
  • Widest dissemination to all platform operators and personnel with FAA Equipment.

 

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