State ATM Corporation Holds International Volcanic Ash Exercise VOLKAM/17

On 20 – 21 April the FSUE “State ATM Corporation” held international volcanic ash exercise VOLKAM/17 in the Far Eastern Part of the EUR ICAO region.

On 20 – 21 April the FSUE “State ATM Corporation” held international volcanic ash exercise VOLKAM/17 in the Far Eastern Part of the EUR ICAO region.

According to the exercise scenario, the Kamchatka Volcanic Eruption Response Team (KVERT) of the Institute of Volcanology and Seismology Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences modeled an explosive eruption of volcano Koshelev in Kamchatka involving a plume of volcanic ash rising up to FL450 and a further shift of ash clouds to Trans-Eastern ATS routes within the area of responsibility of Magadan ACC, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky ACC and Khabarovsk ACC, as well as NOPAC and PACOTS tracks within the areas of responsibility of Fukuoka (Japan), Anchorage and Oakland (USA).

The exercise involved representatives of ICAO, IATA, FATA, FAA (USA), JCAB (Japan), the Main Centre of the Joint ATM System, the U.S. Air Traffic Control System Command Centre, Nav Canada National Operations Centre, volcanic observatories of Kamchatka and Alaska, the ACCs of Magadan, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Khabarovsk, Anchorage, Oakland, Fukuoka, Sapporo, Vancouver, Edmonton, meteorological watch offices, volcanic ash advisory Centres (Tokyo, Anchorage, Washington DC), as well as U.S., Japanese, and Chinese (Hong Kong) airlines. The command centre for the exercise was deployed at the State ATM Corporation Head Office in Moscow. Alexey Buevich, Head of ASM Strategic Planning, was appointed the exercise leader. The command centre included representatives of the FATA (E. Glukhovskaya), Aviamettelecom (Y. Naryshkina), IATA (D. Kosolapov), Centre of Aeronautical Information (V. Svirin), experts of the Main Centre of the Joint ATM System (V. Synnikov, O. Orlov, A. Rukavishnikov) and the ATM and ASM division (V. Tsymbal).

The exercise demonstrated successful coordination between the stakeholders via operational teleconferences and data exchange (VONA, SIGMET, VAA, VAG, NОТАМ via AFTN, e-mail and Internet portals), practiced tactical changes of routes affected by volcanic ash (more than 30 flight routes were altered), tested channels for the communication of information on volcanic ash, including SADIS systems, probed the procedure for transmitting AIREP on volcanic ash via HF/VHF communication and CPDLC, and showcased the handover procedure between three volcanic ash advisory centres.

A distinctive feature of the VOLKAM/17 exercise was that the ash dispersal area covered the areas of responsibility of three volcanic ash advisory centres at a time: Tokyo, Anchorage and Washington DC. Moreover, the exercise took place during an actual eruption of Kluchevskoy volcano, which involved a 5 km high ash plume.