Organised Track System (OTS)

October, 16, 2020 by ,

Ever wonder why there are currently only two North Atlantic Tracks available on Infinite Flight? Well, there are actually multiple track options in real world aviation. My aim for this brief synopsis is to try and assist aviation enthusiasts, student pilots, current pilots, future ATCs or anyone who wants to know why there are Organised Track Systems around the world.

In real world aviation, there are multiple North Atlantic Tracks available to pilots from which to choose. Much of the North Atlantic Track (NAT) air traffic have two major alternating flows: a westbound flow departing Europe in the morning, and an eastbound flow departing North America in the evening. This system of organised tracks are used to facilitate as many flights as possible within the major flows on or close to their minimum time tracks and altitude profiles. Because of the sometimes very chaotic weather conditions of the North Atlantic, consecutive eastbound and westbound tracks are seldom identical. In real world aviation, there are separate organised track structures published each day for eastbound and westbound flows. These track structures are referred to as the Organised Track System or OTS.

The use of an OTS is obviously not mandatory, but rather, a more fuel efficient and often faster means of getting from point A to point B. Pilots may choose to fly on random routes which remain clear of the OTS or may fly on any route that joins or leaves an outer track of the OTS. There are no rules preventing a pilot from planning a route which crosses an OTS. Re-routes or significant changes in flight level from those planned are highly discouraged under most conditions.

Figs 1-3) Provide examples of Day, Night, and what a combined NAT OTS look like.

Fig 1) Example of Day-Time Westbound NAT Organised Track System:

Fig 2) Example of Night-Time Westbound NAT Organised Track System

Fig 3) Combination of both Day & Night, East/West NAT Organised Track System:

Lastly, to help promote and hone your NAT navigational plotting skills, I’ve included two printable charts that you can use to create your own NAT OTS. First chart, second chart

Brandon is a writer for the IFATC Education Group. He is also a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and holds a PPL.