In the "Download" section on the division's website you can find VFR charts of Sofia, Plovdiv, Burgas, Varna and Gorna airports.

We wish you nice visual flights in Bulgarian airspace.

Bulgaria (LB) Division Flight Procedures

Version 3, Revised March 11th, 2011

 


TOC:

  1. General
  2. Controlled airspace and ATC
  3. General flight procedures
  4. Visual flight rules VFR
  5. Instrument flight rules IFR
  6. Special requirements and regulations (not fitting under chapter 4/5)
  7. Differences from ICAO SARPS
  8. Emergencies

Tables:

  1. Units of measurement
  2. Transition Altitude and Transition Level
  3. Cruising levels

1. General

General level of compliance with ICAO SARPS

In general, Bulgaria is in compliance with ICAO Standards and Procedures.

Units of measurement

Table 1. Units of measurement

MEASUREMENT OF UNIT
Distance used in navigation, position reporting, etc. Kilometers, Nautical Miles and tenths
Relatively short distances such as those related to aerodromes (e.g. runway lengths) Meters
Altitude, elevations and heights Meters, Feet
Horizontal speed Kilometers Per Hour, Knots
Vertical speed Feet Per Minute, Meters Per Second
Wind speed Knots, Meters Per Second
Wind direction for landing and taking off Degrees Magnetic
Wind direction except for landing and taking off Degrees True
Visibility including RVR Kilometers, Meters
Altimeter setting, atmospheric pressure Hectopascals
Temperature Degrees Celsius
Weight Kilograms, Tons
Time Hours and minutes, the day of 24 hours beginning at midnight UTC.

Airports of Entry

Sofia (LBSF), Varna (LBWN), Burgas (LBBG), Plovdiv (LBPD)

 2. Controlled airspace and ATC

ICAO ATS Airspace Classifications

The airspace within the Sofia FIR is divided into 2 classifications: C and G, according the ICAO ATS airspace classification (Annex 11). Lower airspace - up to FL245. Higher airspace - from FL245 up to FL660.

Class G - from ground/sea level to FL095, excluding the control zones and terminal control areas.

Class C - from FL095 to FL660, including the control zones and terminal control areas.

 RVSM airspace

The airspace within the Sofia FIR between FL290 and FL410 inclusive is RVSM airspace.

Within RVSM airspace the vertical separation minimum shall be:

  1. a) 1000ft between:
    • RVSM approved aircraft.
  2. 2000ft between:
    • non-RVSM approved aircraft and any other aircraft.
    • - an aircraft experiencing a communication failure.

For RVSM cruising flight levels see Table 3. Cruising levels.

 Flight level restrictions

VFR Flights are not allowed above FL195.

The airspace above FL660 is an unclassified, uncontrolled airspace.

Speed restrictions

VFR flights shall not be operated at transonic or supersonic speeds.

Speed limit below FL100 (or 10000ft by QNH) - 250 knots IAS.

Additional information

FIC Sofia (Sofia Information) is not available. Sofia Control (LBSR_CTR) controls all VFR traffic within the Class G airspace.

Table 2. Transition Altitude and Transition Level

Airport TA TL
LBSF 12000 ft FL130
LBBG 12000 ft FL130
LBWN 12000 ft FL130
LBPD 11000 ft FL130
LBGO 5000 ft FL070

 

3. General flight procedures

All differences from ICAO DOC 8168

Holding procedures comply with Jeppesen ATC Chapter “Flight Procedures (DOC 8168) - Holding Procedures”, Table IV-1-1, Holding Speeds. Instrument approach procedures comply with the new PANS-OPS, Document 8168.

 4. Visual flight rules VFR

Restrictions

En-route VFR flights shall not be operated:

  1. above FL195.
  2. at transonic or supersonic speeds.

An aircraft operating VFR shall not land or take off at an aerodrome within a control zone or enter the aerodrome traffic pattern when:

  1. the ceiling is less than 1500ft (450m), or
  2. the ground visibility is less than 5km (exception shall be permitted for aircraft operating a Special VFR flight).

VFR flights are allowed only when the flight visibility is greater than 5 km below 10000ft by QNH (or FL100) or 8km above 10000ft by QNH (or FL100).

VFR flights are allowed only when the distance from cloud is 1500m horizontally and 1000ft vertically.

Cruising Altitudes and Flight Levels

VFR flight shall not be flown at a height less than 500ft above the ground or water.

VFR flight shall be conducted at VFR flight levels..

For cruising VFR flight levels see Table 3. Cruising levels.

Change from VFR to IFR

In flight

In case of no VMC and when the Special VFR is not possible the pilot must inform ATC and request a clearance to continue his flight according IFR.

The change of flight rules is planned before the flight:

When item 8 (Flight Rules) is Z (VFR changing to IFR), then in item 15 (Route) you must specify from what point the flight will become IFR, as well as the speed and the planned level.

Example: DELIN/N0230F140 IFR N605 GOL

This means the flight will depart under VFR and remain VFR till DELIN, after DELIN the flight will continue at a speed 230 knots at FL140, IFR.

VFR squawk codes

All VFR traffic will be assigned a squawk code by ATC on initial contact..

(In case of no active ATC, all pilots should use standard VFR code - 7000)

Special VFR

Special VFR flights shall be operated only within control zones when::

  1. the ground visibility is at least 1500m;
  2. an ATC clearance for a Special VFR flight as per item a) above, shall be issued at a request from the pilot of the aircraft.

Separation shall be provided between Special VFR flights and IFR flights, and all Special VFR flights.

* Additional information

All VFR traffic should report position, flight conditions and altitude by QNH on initial contact.

 

5. Instrument flight rules IFR

Selection of flight level and cruising altitudes

An IFR flight shall be flown at a level which is not below the minimum established flight altitude or where no such minimum flight altitude has been established:

  1. over high terrain or in mountainous areas, at a level which is at least 2000ft above the highest obstacle located within 8km of the estimated position of the aircraft.
  2. elsewhere, at a level which is at least 1000ft above the highest obstacle located within 8km of the estimated position of the aircraft.

An IFR flight operating in level cruising flight outside of controlled airspace shall be at a cruising level appropriate to its track as specified in the table below:

Table 3. Cruising levels

 

Magnetic Track
From 000o to 179o From 180o to 359o
IFR Flights VFR Flights IFR Flights VFR Flights
FL Altitude* FL Altitude* FL Altitude* FL Altitude*
010 1000 ft - - 020 2000 ft - -
030 3000 ft 035 3500 ft 040 4000 ft 045 4500 ft
050 5000 ft 055 5500 ft 060 6000 ft 065 6500 ft
070 7000 ft 075 7500 ft 080 8000 ft 085 8500 ft
090 9000 ft 095 9500 ft 100 10000 ft 105 10500 ft
110 11000 ft 115 11500 ft 120 12000 ft 125 12500 ft
130 13000 ft 135 13500 ft 140 14000 ft 145 14500 ft
150 15000 ft 155 15500 ft 160 16000 ft 165 16500 ft
170 17000 ft 175 17500 ft 180 18000 ft 185 18500 ft
190 19000 ft 195 19500 ft 200 20000 ft - -
210 21000 ft Not applicable 220 22000 ft Not applicable 
230 23000 ft 240 24000 ft
250 25000 ft 260 26000 ft
270 27000 ft 280 28000 ft
290 29000 ft 300 30000 ft
310 31000 ft 320 32000 ft
330 33000 ft 340 34000 ft
350 35000 ft 360 36000 ft
370 37000 ft 380 38000 ft
390 39000 ft 400 40000 ft
410 41000 ft 430 43000 ft
450 45000 ft 470 37000 ft
490 49000 ft 510 51000 ft
Etc. Etc. Etc. Etc.
The highlighted cells include the flight levels and altitudes in the RVSM airspace.       
*When the altimeter is set to QNH, it reads the altitude.       
*When altimeter is set to 1013 hPa (STD), it reads the flight level.       

 Radar vectoring

IFR flights being radar vectored shall comply with the following procedures as required:

  1. Within IAA (Intermediate Approach Areas) aircraft will normally be vectored so as to intercept the final approach track at an angle up to 40?.
  2. Radar vectoring is considered to be terminated when::
    • the aircraft has reported being established on the final approach track, or
    • if radio communication failure occurs.

Separation

The minimum horizontal radar separation applied within the Sofia FIR is 5NM..

The minimum horizontal traffic separation (if no active ATC) is 15NM.

Use of GPS

There aren’t certified and published GPS//GNSS procedures within Sofia FIR.

GPS navigation during IFR flights is not recommended, but not prohibited. In case of non-RNAV equipped aircraft, VOR and/or NDB navigation is required.

Cruise climb techniques

When there are no specific instructions by ATC regarding the rate of climb, the pilot shall comply with the performance of the aircraft.

Check altitudes and climb gradients on SIDs

Except as otherwise instructed in air traffic control clearances, the pilot shall comply with the minimum climb gradients and altitudes, specified in the SID. When cleared to a level/altitude higher than specified in SID, follow the profile unless restrictions are cancelled by ATC.

Additional information

All IFR traffic should report position, altitude and next waypoint (or exit point from Sofia FIR when overflying) on initial contact.

Change from IFR flight to VFR flight

In flight

An aircraft electing to change the conduct of its flight from compliance with the instrument flight rules to

compliance with the visual flight rules shall, if a flight plan was submitted, notify the appropriate air traffic services unit specifically that the IFR flight is cancelled and communicate thereto the changes to be made to its current flight plan.

The change of flight rules is planned before the flight:

When item 8 (Flight Rules) is Y, then in item 15 (Route) you have to fill in after what point the flight becomes VFR.

Example: TOTKA N605 GRN VFR.

This means the flight will depart IFR and remain IFR till GRN, after GRN the flight will continue under VFR.

 

6. Special requirements and regulations (not fitting under chapter 4/5)

All VFR and IFR traffic should check for an active ATC position in the Bulgarian airspace before starting the engines. Taxi without any clearance is allowed only when there is no active ATC position for the relevant airport (like Tower or Approach) and when Sofia Control is not active.

Text using pilots first execute and than readback the instructions.

The primary language for communication between pilot and ATC is English and the secondary is Bulgarian.

 

7. Differences from ICAO SARPS

Differences from Annex 2:

Annex 2, Chapter 4. Visual flight rules, 4.44

En-route VFR flights shall not be operated:

  1. above FL195
  2. at transonic or supersonic speeds

Annex 2, Chapter 4. Visual flight rules, 4.66

VFR flight shall not be flown at a height less than 500ft above the ground or water.

No other differences published.

 

8. Emergencies

No differences published..

 

This document could be downloaded from HERE.

Velin Andreev  BG-FOC