Rovaniemi - EFRO

About the airport
ICAO EFRO
IATA RVN
Location On the Arctic Circle, 8 km north of the city of Rovaniemi
Elevation 642 ft MSL
Runway 03/21 (3002m x 60m), magnetic bearings 027°/207° (var 9.9°E 2010)

Rovaniemi airport started operations in 1940. Having been destroyed during the war, reconstruction started and operations resumed in 1948. By the early 1980's, the airport had become home to Lapland Air Command's Fighter Squadron 11 and the runway extended to its current length. A new terminal building was completed in the year 2000.

The airport's scheduled traffic consists mostly of domestic flights, but in addition there are a number of charter flights (especially during the winter season), general aviation activity, Border Guard helicopters and naturally lots of military aircraft.

For all the necessary charts, see AIP Finland.

Sceneries
FSX/P3D

There is a great Freeware version of the airport created by Tatu Kantomaa. Definitely worth downloading.
Please read the readme file carefully.
Free scenery for Rovaniemi (EFRO) by Tatu Kantomaa. Note: If the download doesn't start, click in the URL field and hit the enter key on your keyboard. Refreshing the page will not work.

FS2004/FS9

For FS9 users there's a photorealistic scenery available. It is developed by FISD and in order for it to work you first need to download the following files:

Finnish Landclass
Finnish terrain
FISD Library

If you already have an FISD scenery installed you can go straight to downloading the Rovaniemi scenery here: Rovaniemi scenery.

X-Plane
There is a great free scenery made by Fly X. Check it out over at x-plane.org forums
Fly X also has a brand new payware scenery, Rovaniemi Rebooted, which is available here: https://flyxsim.com/rovaniemi.

Also for X-Plane users there is a payware scenery made by DAI media.

IFR Arrivals
Planning

Please check the routing for your flight to Rovaniemi on Routes page of this website. This is to ensure the best service and flow for all pilots as the ATC. Waypoints NEMGU and NEPIX are the main entry points to the TMA. Be aware that some of the flights that are routed via NEMGU, may be rerouted by ATC to enter the TMA via NEPIX. This is to make the arrival stream even on both waypoints and should make the event smoother for everyone.

Also remember to take some extra fuel with you. In virtual word fuel costs nothing and most likely have to hold at one point. Better be safe than sorry when it comes to fueling your aircraft for this event.

Additional arrival airports

For this year’s event we are expecting more traffic than ever, and most likely movements will continue into early Sunday morning. With the single runway available at Rovaniemi, holding times are measured in hours instead of minutes. Despite the increase in traffic, we want to strive for an enjoyable and fun Santa event for everyone. Therefore, to relieve pressure on Rovaniemi, and to make sure everyone has the chance to land safely and as expediteously as possible in Finland while ATC is still online, the following procedure may be taken into effect during the final hours of the event:

  1. Aircraft inbound to Rovaniemi may, as early as possible, be offered by ATC to arrive at Kittilä (EFKT) or Oulu (EFOU) (depending on which airport will be staffed) in Northern Finland
    • This enables you to avoid further enroute holding and expedite your landing significantly
    • Should you not wish to change your arrival, you will continue in the holds as per normal
  2. Approximately an hour or more before actual ATC closing time (after the end of the official event time), you will be given an option to arrive at the additional arrival airport, or alternatively, to continue holding for landing at EFRO without guaranteed air traffic control online for the duration of the arrival
    • However, ATC will be online after the official end time of the event for quite some time
  3. If at any time you wish to arrive at the additional arrival airport instead of EFRO, please inform ATC and you will be given a clearance for this
  4. At some time of night, which will be announced during the event, ATC will close down at Rovaniemi and Finland. After this there is no guaranteed ATC for your arrival into EFRO. ATC will be online for a significant amount of time after the official end time of the event as usual, however.
Enroute holdings

In the quite likely event of high traffic, holdings will most likely be used to stream the traffic. There are only few enroute holds published, and none of them are very useful for traffic to Rovaniemi.

If you are instructed for an enroute holding, please pay very close attention to the holding details given to you, and if in doubt ask!

In the case you do not have time to hold (or do not have the fuel to do so) please inform ATC so we can send you to another airport where is less traffic.

If instructed to descend in a hold, be very careful with your cleared level as there will most likely be traffic both 1000 feet above and below.

Holding at NEPIX or NEMGU

The holding over NEPIX and NEMGU is your last step before getting in touch with approach controller who will guide you for your approach into Rovaniemi. As these holds will be the busiest holds during the event, but are not published on any charts, it’s good to take a closer look on these so everyone flies the same procedure.

Remember that you have to hold only when you are told to do so by ATC OR you don’t have your STAR yet inbound Rovaniemi TMA. If you have an inbound clearance (STAR) and ATC doesn’t tell you to hold anywhere but directs you to contact Rovaniemi radar, you can continue through these holds.

As the frequencies are similar, be sure that you will switch to the correct feeder sector frequency in order to avoid confusion.

Inbound clearance

Expect clearance into Rovaniemi via STAR for the active runway. If coming from Sweden via NEMGU you can expect a STAR from NEMGU to Rovaniemi. If coming from the South you can expect a STAR from NEPIX to Rovaniemi. The STARs into Rovaniemi require RNAV equipment, if you are not able to fly an RNAV STAR please inform ATC.

Approach

Initial approach will be done with STAR but ATC may start vectoring you off the STAR at any time in order to merge the arrival streams most effectively.

Please pay attention to vectoring instructions and speed control as the spacing will be as tight as possible. If instructed to "leave" a point on a certain heading make sure you do not start turning at present position since there might be other streams of traffic in the way.

When ordered to contact Rovaniemi radar (EFRO APP) on 129.900, state your altitude, aircraft type and ATIS information letter.

When contacting Rovaniemi Arrival state callsign only. “Rovaniemi arrival, XXX123”

Arrival will clear all RNAV capable aircraft to ILS Z approach and all non-RNAV aircraft to ILS Y approach. The only difference between these two approach types is the go around procedure. More information on Go around section. If runway 03 is in use, then RNAV capable aircraft can expect RNAV approach runway 03 and non-RNAV aircraft VOR/DME approach runway 03.

If landing on runway 21 please pay attention to any vacating instructions, if there is departing aircraft you need to vacate via B or A as vacating earlier will block the departing aircraft’s taxi route. The most efficient usage of runway 21 is when aircraft vacate via B, so all pilots are encouraged to plan your deceleration so you can exit via B.

ILS Frequency

The ILS frequency for runway 21 has changed! Default sceneries for both FSX and FS9 still use the old ILS frequency of 109.10.

The new frequency is 111.70. Most of the addon sceneries should have this frequency in use. It is also published in the current approach charts.

Go around

ILS Z 21: Fly hdg 206° to ROPOV climb 2500ft. Hold at ROPOV as published unless otherwise instructed.
ILS Y 21: Fly radial R203 ROI to GOSOV (7 DME from ROI), climb to 2500ft and hold as published unless otherwise instructed.
RNAV 03: Fly hdg 026° to RO364 and then to VEKIP, climb 2500ft. Hold at VEKIP as published unless otherwise instructed.
VOR 03: Fly radial R010 ROI to ABLAD (6DME from ROI), climb to 2500ft and hold as published unless otherwise instructed.

Parking

The west side of the airport is military. The civilian apron is on the east side of the runway. There are 13 stands available. There might be minor scenery displacements but stands 2-9 should be in almost the same location for all sceneries. If required parking can also take place on taxiway S.

Once you park your aircraft, please disconnect from the network to give room for the other aircrafts. If you want to stay there watching the traffic you can connect back as an observer (option on vpilot and fsinn).

IFR Departures

Departures are advised that routings via NEMGU and NEPIX are not allowed since those points are used for arriving traffic. If you are departing, please plan your route via an alternate waypoint.

Departure clearance will contain a standard clearance depending on runway and direction of flight.

You can expect clearance via radar heading and initial climb of 4000 feet, but as always pay attention since ATC may need to modify this to suit the traffic situation. Some of the OLNOP departures may also receive RNAV SID for their departure.

Please be careful when pushing back and taxiing, there will most likely be inbound traffic on the taxiways.

ATC will do their best to make gaps for departures as well but as there is just one runway and many arrivals on several holds inbound Rovaniemi there might be a slight delay on your departure. Some extra taxi fuel might be required due to this.

When receiving take-off clearance please be as quick as possible as inbound spacing is tight, and if you miss your gap a new one has to be made for you which will take a long time.

Once airborne switch immediately approach on 129.9 (frequency given in clearance), tower will not make a handoff once you are airborne.

Also remember the initial climb is 4000 feet! Rovaniemi approach and arrival may clear aircrafts to 5000ft which will then go straight above the departure flight path, so it’s very important that you maintain 4000ft until Rovaniemi radar clears you higher.

VFR / Slow traffic

Unfortunately we are not able to handle VFR traffic during the event and therefore we ask you not to file any VFR plans to/from Rovaniemi during the event. If you want to fly VFR in Finland on the event day we recommend using for example Oulu airport (EFOU) which we will try to staff. Oulu is located about 160 km south of Rovaniemi.

During the event the runway will be used at maximum operations rate. It is therefore recommended and - in practice - required you select an aircraft which is able to maintain at least ~240 knots below FL100 and 150-160 knots until 4 miles from touchdown. Otherwise we will not be able to fit you into the profiles of faster arrivals, and it is not possible to create additional spacing for a slower arrival.

Afterwords

Thank you for spending your time on reading this briefing for Fly and See Santa. We hope you have a great event again and remember to have fun as that’s what this event is all about!

See you in Rovaniemi!

Finnish ATC team
FIR Director of Finland – Joonatan Porkkala
finland@vatsim-scandinavia.org