A position report will normally be required in oceanic airspace unless instructed to “omit position reports” by the ATS. You can make a CPDLC Position Report or press on here to make a voice report.
There is a certain etiquette to be followed, to be sure. You can survive without it, but the radio operator on the other end and the pilots sharing HF time will appreciate your efforts if your transmissions are brief, clear, and follow the correct format. The radio operator is typing away at a console and is ready to enter the data in a specific order and format. If you deviate from the format, the radio operator has to do a mental translation from poor to proper. If you deviate from the order, the radio operator will have to make liberal use of the TAB and DELETE keys. All of this introduces the possibility of errors.
What follows comes from the sources listed below as well as my comments and techniques shown in blue.
Photo: ARINC Radio Operator, courtesy of Chris Parker.
The radio operator is typing a pilot's position report in the top screen. The bottom screen contains SELCAL, frequency, and other radio adjustments.
Figure: Shanwick Radio/SATCOM frequencies, from Jeppesen Airway Manual, Atlantic Orientation Chart, 11 Feb 2011.
Note: if the phone number on the chart is six digits long it is for an INMARSAT satellite phone. Your aircraft might be using INMARSAT satellites (most do) but it may not be an INMARSAT phone (many aren't). If you don't have an INMARSAT phone you might not be able to use that six digit number. The G450, for example, does have INMARSAT phones and can use the six digit number. Many of the phone numbers are standard telephone numbers that can be used on any aircraft satellite phones.
[ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1]
The person on the other end of the radio is sitting in front of a computer terminal with a form laid out in the following format. If you give your position report in this order, the radio operator will have an easier time relaying an accurate position the first time. If you skip around, it will slow things down and introduce the chance of error. So use this format.
Figure: Model AIREP, Section 1, from ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1.
[ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1, ¶1.1] Section 1 is obligatory, although Items 5 and 6 thereof may be omitted when prescribed in Regional Supplementary Procedures.
[ICAO Doc 4444, ¶188.8.131.52] When assigned a speed to maintain, the flight crew shall include this speed in their position reports. The assigned speed shall also be advised on first contact with an ATC unit after a frequency change, whether or not a full position report is required.
The Atlantic documents don't make reference to this and HF radio operators don't expect you to report Mach Number and may even tell you it isn't necessary. The Pacific books don't mention it either but will ask for it if you omit it.
Figure: Model AIREP, Section 2, from ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1.
[ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1, ¶1.1] Section 2 shall be added, in whole or in part, only when so requested by the operator or its designated representative, or when deemed necessary by the pilot-in- command.
This will not apply to the vast majority of corporate aviation.
Figure: Model AIREP, Section 3, from ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1.
[ICAO Doc 4444, Appendix A, §1, ¶1.1] Section 3 shall be added in accordance with Annex 3 and the Regional Supplementary Procedures, Part 3 — Meteorology.
The requirement for a position report varies with region and is normally specified in the applicable en route chart or state pages. In the North Atlantic, not too long ago, the report was mandatory for aircraft not on the organized track system or upon request. These days, with so many aircraft giving real time CPDLC weather reports, the only time you will need to do this is if, for some reason, they ask you to.
If required, the Met Report is given immediately following the position report. If a mid-point report is also given, the position is given first in terms of a four digit latitude and three digit longitude, such as 4124N 030W.
|Aircraft identification||NOVEMBER SEVEN SEVEN ZERO ZERO|
|Position||CHECKS FIVE SEVEN NORTH ZERO THREE ZERO WEST|
|Time (ATA)||AT TWO ONE TWO ZERO ZULU|
|Altitude||FLIGT LEVEL FOUR THREE ZERO|
|Next reporting point||ESTIMATES FIVE SIX NORTH ZERO FOUR ZERO WEST|
|Time (ETA)||AT TWO TWO ZERO FOUR|
|Next significant point||FIVE THREE ZERO NORTH ZERO FIVE ZERO WEST NEXT|
|Temperature (at this point)||MINUS FOUR FIVE|
|Wind (at this point)||TWO FOUR ZERO DIAGONAL TWO ONE|
|Midpoint position||FIVE SEVEN ZERO FIVE NORTH ZERO TWO FIVE WEST|
|Temperature (midpoint)||MINUS FOUR EIGHT|
|Wind (midpoint)||TWO FIVE ZERO DIAGONAL TWO FIVE|
About the met report: back in the old days you could tell a pro by the seamless transition between each item, right after the word "Next" would come "minus . . .", it was a thing of beauty. These days, however, nobody is giving weather reports and the radio operator is likely to be just as out of practice receiving met reports as you are giving them.
Portions of this page can be found in the book International Flight Operations, Part IV, Chapter 3.
ICAO Doc 4444 - Air Traffic Management, Fourteenth Edition, Procedures for Air Navigation Services, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2001 *
ICAO Doc 4444 - Air Traffic Management, Fifteenth Edition, Procedures for Air Navigation Services, International Civil Aviation Organization, 2007 *
* Not all of Doc 4444 seems to have been reproduced in the 15th edition, so you might need to look at the 15th edition and then then 14th edition for some sections.
ICAO Doc 4444 - Amendment No. 1, Procedures for Air Navigation Services, International Civil Aviation Organization, Amendment No. 1, 2007
ICAO Doc 4444 - Amendment No. 2, Procedures for Air Navigation Services, International Civil Aviation Organization, Amendment No. 2, 19/11/09
Jeppesen Airway Manual