Figure: Indian Ocean En Route Chart, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Middle East / South Asia En Route Chart, 14 Nov 13.

Eddie Sez:

The IATA calls them "In-Flight Broadcast Procedures" or IFBP. The ICAO calls them Traffic Information Broadcasts by Aircraft" or TIBA. As pilots we've known them as "Broadcast in the Blind."

Whatever you call them, they used to be the staple of remote flight operations in places like Africa, South America, India, and parts of Australia. There aren't many TIBA regions left but you still find them. So if you find a note on the chart calling for TIBA or IFBP, you should know this.

So what's it all about?

  • You are broadcasting your position in space to everyone on a agreed upon frequency in hopes they are paying attention.

  • You are listening to everyone else, hoping to decipher their English into figuring out if somebody else will be on the same airway and altitude about your time, or perhaps an intersection.

  • If there is a conflict, you negotiate avoidance actions.

Of course all that is theory and you hope those deconflicting flight plans have done a good job. All this was really terrifying about twenty years ago. (In some parts of the world they didn't even make the pretense of speaking English.) Now your biggest fear is that they don't have TCAS or for some reason have it turned off.

What follows comes from the references shown below. Where I think it helpful, I've added my own comments in blue.


Introduction and applicability of broadcasts

[ICAO Annex 11 Attachment B, para;1]

1.1 Traffic information broadcasts by aircraft are intended to permit reports and relevant supplementary information of an advisory nature to be transmitted by pilots on a designated VHF radiotelephone (RTF) frequency for the information of pilots of other aircraft in the vicinity.

1.2 TIBAs should be introduced only when necessary and as a temporary measure.

1.3 The broadcast procedures should be applied in designated airspace where:

  1. there is a need to supplement collision hazard information provided by air traffic services outside controlled airspace; or

  2. there is a temporary disruption of normal air traffic services.

1.4 Such airspaces should be identified by the States responsible for provision of air traffic services within these airspaces, if necessary with the assistance of the appropriate ICAO Regional Office(s), and duly promulgated in aeronautical information publications or NOTAM, together with the VHF RTF frequency, the message formats and the procedures to be used. Where, in the case of 1.3 a), more than one State is involved, the airspace should be designated on the basis of regional air navigation agreements and promulgated in Doc 7030.

1.5 When establishing a designated airspace, dates for the review of its applicability at intervals not exceeding 12 months should be agreed by the appropriate ATS authority(ies).


Details of broadcasts

[ICAO Annex 11 Attachment B, para;2]

2.1 VHF RTF frequency to be used

2.1.1 The VHF RTF frequency to be used should be determined and promulgated on a regional basis. However, in the case of temporary disruption occurring in controlled airspace, the States responsible may promulgate, as the VHF RTF frequency to be used within the limits of that airspace, a frequency used normally for the provision of air traffic control service within that airspace.

2.1.2 Where VHF is used for air-ground communications with ATS and an aircraft has only two serviceable VHF sets, one should be tuned to the appropriate ATS frequency and the other to the TIBA frequency.

2.2 Listening watch

A listening watch should be maintained on the TIBA frequency 10 minutes before entering the designated airspace until leaving this airspace. For an aircraft taking off from an aerodrome located within the lateral limits of the designated airspace listening watch should start as soon as appropriate after take-off and be maintained until leaving the airspace.

2.3 Time of broadcasts

A broadcast should be made:

  1. 10 minutes before entering the designated airspace or, for a pilot taking off from an aerodrome located within the lateral limits of the designated airspace, as soon as appropriate after take-off;

  2. 10 minutes prior to crossing a reporting point;

  3. 10 minutes prior to crossing or joining an ATS route;

  4. at 20-minute intervals between distant reporting points;

  5. 2 to 5 minutes, where possible, before a change in flight level;

  6. at the time of a change in flight level; and

  7. at any other time considered necessary by the pilot.

2.4 Forms of broadcast

2.4.1 The broadcasts other than those indicating changes in flight level, i.e. the broadcasts referred to in 2.3 a), b), c), d) and g), should be in the following form:

Fictitious example:

2.4.2 Before a change in flight level, the broadcast (referred to in 2.3 e)) should be in the following form:

2.4.4 Broadcasts reporting a temporary flight level change to avoid an imminent collision risk should be in the following form:

2.5 Acknowledgement of the broadcasts

The broadcasts should not be acknowledged unless a potential collision risk is perceived.


Related operating procedures

[ICAO Annex 11 Attachment B, para;3]

3.1 Changes of cruising level

3.1.1 Cruising level changes should not be made within the designated airspace, unless considered necessary by pilots to avoid traffic conflicts, for weather avoidance or for other valid operational reasons.

3.1.2 When cruising level changes are unavoidable, all available aircraft lighting which would improve the visual detection of the aircraft should be displayed while changing levels.

3.2 Collision avoidance

If, on receipt of a traffic information broadcast from another aircraft, a pilot decides that immediate action is necessary to avoid an imminent collision risk, and this cannot be achieved in accordance with the right-of-way provisions of Annex 2, the pilot should:

  1. unless an alternative manoeuvre appears more appropriate, immediately descend 150 m (500 ft), or 300 m (1 000 ft) if above FL 290 in an area where a vertical separation minimum of 600 m (2 000 ft) is applied;

  2. display all available aircraft lighting which would improve the visual detection of the aircraft;

  3. as soon as possible, reply to the broadcast advising action being taken;

  4. notify the action taken on the appropriate ATS frequency; and

  5. as soon as practicable, resume normal flight level, notifying the action on the appropriate ATS frequency.

3.3 Normal position reporting procedures

Normal position reporting procedures should be continued at all times, regardless of any action taken to initiate or acknowledge a traffic information broadcast.


Book Notes

Portions of this page can be found in the book International Flight Operations, Part VIII, Chapter 36.


References

ICAO Annex 11 - Air Traffic Services, International Standards, Annex 11 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, July 2001

Jeppesen Airway Manual