1. Mission Statement (IMPORTANT, MUST READ!)

Similar to Special Operations being an integral part of real world aviation, it is also an integral part of IVAO and its aviation simulation. In order for Special Operations to have its place in the virtual skies of IVAO and due to its nature, the Special Operations Department (SOD) has been established to regulate the use of Special Operations on the IVAO network environment.

The Special Operations Department consists of senior staff, tasked with regulating Special Operations IVAO-wide under the responsibility of IVAO’s Executive Council and it consists of divisional staff tasked with regulating Special Operations inside their own division and within the boundaries as defined by the Special Operations Department’s senior staff. The Special Operations Department is led by the Special Operations Director and Special Operations Assistant Director. The senior staff team is complemented with a number of Special Operations Advisors who are tasked to assist the Special Operations Director and Assistant Director carrying out their daily duties. Divisional Special Operations are led by the Special Operations Coordinator (SOC) and Special Operations Assistant Coordinator (SOAC), sometimes complemented by a divisional Special Operations Advisor.

Special Operations are defined as all aviation flights and operations that do not fall under the definition of General Air Traffic (GAT) and are thus qualified as Operational Air Traffic (OAT). Special Operations include, but are not limited to: Coast Guard operations, firefighting, search and rescue operations, lifeliners, police operations, all military flights not flying according to GAT procedures, paramilitary activities etc. In layman terms, Special Operation flights are defined as all activities that do not include flying from one destination to another and which are not being performed in accordance with official aviation procedures and rules as defined by ICAO. All traffic which does not comply with ICAO rules and procedures is termed Operational Air Traffic and thus falls under the responsibility of IVAO’s Special Operations Department.

As stated, Special Operations is as much an integral part of IVAO’s aviation simulation as it is an integral part of real world aviation, with one huge exception. This exception is the golden rule of Special Operations on the IVAO network and must be considered at all times: When simulating real world aviation in the IVAO environment, we shall avoid, under any circumstances, to simulate or to become involved in real world ethnical, political and religious conflicts and problems. It is also forbidden to simulate any act of aggression or (an act of) war. An act of aggression is defined as any aggressive, abusive or hostile behavior towards other people in the IVAO environment that is intentional and/or unwanted and without prior consent of the people directly involved. Simulation of real world Special Operations procedures, such as air-to-air and air-to-ground combat operations, does not necessarily constitute an act of aggression as long as the conditions as defined in the Special Operations Regulations (below) are met. However, targeting of any air-to-air or air-to-ground aircraft or objects is strictly prohibited when not participating in approved category B activities. This rule also applies to people observing Special Operations in the IVAO environment whom are not directly involved in performing Special Operations. These people shall also avoid, at all times, to interpret the Special Operations procedures in light of, or from a perspective of, any real world ethnical, political and religious conflicts and problems. When observing Special Operations in the IVAO environment, observers shall only reference to the Special Operations Regulations to interpret the actions of each individual performing Special Operations both during Special Operations events or during day to day Special Operations. Any real-world perspectives must not influence an observer’s interpretation of Special Operations activities.

It is the Special Operations Department’s main goal to facilitate Special Operations being performed in IVAO’s aviation environment, as real as it gets. Due to the nature of Special Operations and its possibilities for abuse towards other people, the ‘as real as it gets’ Special Operations procedures are regulated as defined in these Special Operations Regulations. It is the Special Operations Department’s main focus to provide all IVAO members with the best possible experience and freedom when performing Special Operations procedures in an IVAO environment, whilst also limiting possible abuse of this freedom and the limitation of other people’s freedom in case they’re on the receiving end of any possible abuse due to freedom gained, or in case of any violation of aforementioned ‘golden rule’.

Everyone performing Special Operations in IVAO’s environment is expected to have knowledge of, and must adhere to, the guidelines established in these Special Operations Regulations. Any violation may result in disciplinary actions being taken against the individual or group violating the Special Operations Regulations. These disciplinary actions can be constrained by members of the Executive Council, IVAO senior staff members or supervisors and range from temporary limitations to permanent exclusion from the IVAO environment.


2. Classification of Special Operations activities

For clarity purposes, all possible Special Operations activities are being classed into different Special Operations categories, ranging from Category A through Category E. When performing Special Operations activities in the IVAO environment, the category will determine which activities are allowed to be performed by individuals, formation flights and Special Operations Groups, as well as determine the rewards when taking part in HQ-SOD approved events of a certain category. The range of categories is defined as follows:

2.1. Category A (Cat A) activities

The bulk of Special Operations activities in the IVAO environment falls under this category. It is the collective term for all Special Operations activities that do not fall under Categories B through E. The term ‘Category A activity’ will apply to activities performed by individuals, formation flights, Special Operations Groups (SOGs) and as a categorisation for HQ-SOD approved events.

Category A SO activities apply to, but are not limited to, the following Special Operations activities: firefighting, police, lifeliners, coast guard, search and rescue, medical and casualty evacuation, VIP flights (with possible escort), humanitarian operations, logistical (transport) operations, CIMIC, formation flights, air-to-air refueling, shipborne and aircraft carrier operations, low-level flights, tactical transport, AWACS operations, basic fighter maneuvers (BFM), combat air patrol (CAP), practice intercepts (PIs) etc.

2.2. Category B (Cat B) activities

Category B SO activities in the IVAO environment are defined by combative operations, both air-to-air (A-A) as well as air-to-ground (A-G). Category B activities consist of Advanced Combat Maneuvers (ACM), task group flights, combat air patrols and practice intercepts that are both meant to turn into ACM, scrambles and simulated targeting of both aircraft and ground objects. Due to the nature of Cat B activities, they are bound to a very specific set of conditions before they’re permitted to be performed. These conditions will be explained further below.

2.3. Category C (Cat C) activities

Category C activities involve all SO activities that are due to be performed in countries/airspace that do not have an active division. Basically, all SO activities in non-active divisions are prohibited unless it is an event that is being organised under very strict regulations. The regulations will be explained in the events section below.

2.4. Category D (Cat D) activities

SO activities that fall into category D are activities in which aircraft only fly for a relative short amount of time, for the purpose of airshows, races etc. Category D activities relate to aircraft practicing for airshows/races or performing in an airshow/race itself. SO Fly-Ins also fall under Category D activities.

2.5. Category E (Cat E) activities

The Category E activities were once invented with organised practice events in mind. They’re mainly meant for people to organise a get together to practice a specific set of procedures with a group of other people, i.e. air-to-air refueling. Category E activities can also be applied to individuals, formation flights or SOGs in case they are practicing a certain set of SO procedures and have setup a scenario in which they’re only practicing one set of procedures repeatedly.

2.6. Summary

In short, the classification of SO activities is as follows: Cat A: all operations not classified under any other category. Cat B: combative operations. Cat C: all SO activities in non-active divisions. Cat D: short flights for the purpose of airshows, races or fly-ins. Cat E: activities to repeatedly practice a certain set of SO procedures.


3. Individual Special Operations activities

Individuals performing ‘Special Operations activities’ outside their own division, are not considered to be performing Special Operations activities (OAT) and shall therefore follow GAT procedures in accordance with established ICAO rules and procedures, apart from activities defined below. It is also mandatory for individuals to adhere to the (Special Operations) Letter of Agreement of each division they pass through. The regulations for individuals do not apply to individuals participating in an HQ-SOD approved SO events. The following regulations apply to individual Special Operations activities:

  • Individuals wanting to perform Special Operations inside the boundaries of their own division are exempted from having to follow GAT rules and procedures (and are thus classified to be performing Special Operations as OAT) for the following activities: category A, D and E activities. There is one mandatory condition for individual Cat A, D and E activities to be allowed inside one’s own division: there has to be a continuous written agreement between the division’s SOC/SOAC/HQ and the individual, stating that the individual is permitted to be performing aforementioned activities inside his own division.
  • Individuals are not permitted to be performing any Special Operations activities as OAT outside their own division, apart from firefighting, lifeliner, search and rescue, humanitarian, logistical/transport SO activities. Outside their own division, individuals shall follow ICAO rules and procedures as GAT. In case of aforementioned exempted activities in this paragraph, an individual can file oneself as OAT. In case the individual is participating in the Special Operations World Tour and this tour requires the individual to perform SO activities outside the individual’s own division, this shall be permitted under the circumstances mentions in the briefing of the SO World Tour. The same applies to HQ approved SO events: in case an individual participates in an HQ approved SO event, they are permitted to execute all operations mentioned in the briefing of the HQ approved SO event, even if th involves performing Category B activities.
  • The participation of an individual in a divisional civilian event as OAT (as an individual or as an escort) shall only be permitted in case the individual has obtained prior approval from the organizing division, or in case of multiple organizing divisions, all divisions involved in the organization of the civilian event.
  • Individuals shall not organise or perform any Category B activities whatsoever.
  • All individuals wishing to intercept another aircraft (both GAT and OAT) in the IVAO environment, shall adhere to the following rules:
    • Military aircraft shall be used to perform interceptions.
    • Interceptions are prohibited unless prior approval is obtained from the aircraft that is to be intercepted and the ATC station the intercept is to be performed on.
    • Non-RVSM equipped OAT traffic operating in RVSM airspace shall not proceed within 2000ft vertical separation or 5NM longitudinal and lateral separation of any other aircraft unless prior permission from the intercepted pilot and ATC (if applicable) has been obtained. The same separation minima apply for airspace other than RVSM, unless otherwise prescribed on the basis of regional air navigation agreements and/or by the appropriate ATS authority.
    • RVSM equipped OAT traffic operating in RVSM airspace shall not proceed within 1000ft vertical separation or 5NM longitudinal and lateral separation of any other aircraft unless prior permission from the intercepted pilot and ATC (if applicable) has been obtained.
    • ATC stations shall notify the appropriate other ATC stations of the (intention to) intercept in case the aircraft involved are about to transition into another ATC station’s airspace.
    • Aircraft (re)joining their own or other formations are not considered to be performing an intercept and are thus exempted from above mentioned intercept rules.

4. Formation Special Operations activities

All aircraft wanting to perform SO activities in a formation of 2 or more aircraft shall adhere to the exact same set of rules as individual Special Operations activities mentioned above. (For a definition of a formation flight, see standardization agreement 7001 written by SOD).


5. Special Operations activities for Special Operations Groups (a Virtual Airline for SO)

The following set of regulations applies to official IVAO registered Special Operations Groups (SOGs) and its members, whenever they are performing SO activities with other members of their SOG. SOGs not registered in the IVAO database as an official IVAO approved SOG are not considered to be a SOG and shall follow the regulations under header “4. Formation Special Operations activities”.

SOGs performing ‘Special Operations activities’ outside their own division, are not considered to be performing Special Operations activities (OAT) and shall therefore follow GAT procedures in accordance with established ICAO rules and procedures, apart from activities defined below. They are permitted to perform formation flights as long as they follow GAT or SO LOA defined procedures. It is mandatory for SOGs to adhere to the (Special Operations) Letter of Agreement of each division they pass through. The regulations for SOG SO activities do not apply to SOGs participating in an HQ-SOD approved SO event. The following regulations apply to SOG Special Operations activities:

  • SOGs wanting to perform Special Operations inside the boundaries of their own division are exempted from having to follow GAT rules and procedures (and are thus classified to be performing Special Operations as OAT) for the following activities: category A, D and E activities. There is one mandatory condition for individual Cat A, D and E activities to be allowed inside one’s own division: there has to be a continuous written agreement between the division’s SOC/SOAC/HQ and the SOG that the SOG is permitted to be performing aforementioned activities inside its own division.
  • SOGs are not permitted to be performing any Special Operations activities as OAT outside their own division, apart from firefighting, lifeliner, search and rescue, humanitarian, logistical/transport SO activities. Outside their own division, SOGs shall follow ICAO rules and procedures as GAT. In case of aforementioned exempted activities in 5.2, a SOG can file themselves as OAT.
  • The participation of a SOG in a divisional civilian event as OAT (as individuals or as an escort) shall only be permitted in case the SOG has obtained prior approval from the organizing division, or in case of multiple organizing divisions, all divisions involved in the organization of the civilian event.
  • SOGs are permitted to organise HQ-SOD approved Cat B events twice a year. However, the organisation of such Cat B events is subject to all conditions mentioned in the events section for Cat B events below. In addition, a Cat B event can only be organised and approved by HQ-SOD in case the SOG has received permission from their division’s SOC/SOAC and only if their request for the Cat B event is submitted through their division’s SOC/SOAC.
  • A SOG is permitted to organise Cat B activities for and within their own SOG once every 3 months in case the following conditions are met:
    • It is mandatory for all pilots taking part in a SOG’s Cat B activities to be a member of aforementioned SOG. No non-SOG members allowed for Cat B activities performed by a SOG.
    • The SOG shall obtain prior written consent from both their division’s SOC/SOAC/HQ ánd HQ-SOD each time the SOG is planning to perform internal SOG Cat B activities.
    • The SOG’s Cat B activities shall be performed in a separate stretch of airspace, away from any other aircraft and the closing of this airspace for the SOG’s Cat B activities must be announced in the division’s NOTAM system.
    • All other conditions mentioned in the events section under Category B events of this document shall apply. This includes, but is not limited to, the division having an SO LOA available, the division having appointed separate stretch(es) of airspace for Cat B activities to take place in their SO LOA, any air targets can only be other aircraft from the SOG and ground targets are limited to non-civilian and unpopulated targets etc (see the events section, Cat B events below).
    • The SOG’s Cat B activities shall only be performed inside the boundaries of their division.

6. Registering a Special Operations Group

The Special Operations Department of IVAO is pleased to offer all active virtual Squadrons, Air Forces or Special Operations Units the opportunity to register as IVAO-CERTIFIED Special Operations Groups. (SOGs). SOGs are similar to civilian Virtual Airlines, yet they focus on performing Special Operations activities rather than civilian ones. Registering a SOG will grant access to the IVAO-SOG system, which is a unique facility designed to assist senior officers of those groups to administer the activities of their own SOG on the IVAO network. Additional benefits include weather and online tracking displays on the group's website and of course there is a considerable prestige of having your group registered as an approved IVAO-SOG. Furthermore, registering one’s SOG as an IVAO certified SOG will place the SOG’s activities under section 5 of this document rather than section 4, granting them additional possibilities and opportunities in the IVAO environment.

In order for a SOG to be registered as an IVAO certified SOG, follow the link to the registration page and send an email to specops@ivao.aero to confirm the wish to be an IVAO certified SOG. To be considered as an IVAO certified SOG, the following criteria have to be met:

  • The SOG shall be a freeware, non-commercial, non-profit organisation.
  • No commercial advertising is allowed.
  • Be active in IVAO.
  • Be operational. If not operational, the request will be voided.
  • Have at least 10 active members of IVAO.
  • Have a fully functional website which must not be under construction. The website must contain a staff and pilot roster accessible to at least HQ-SOD staff to match the roster with the IVAO database, a SOG rules and regulations page and it is mandatory for the pilot/staff roster page, SOG rules and regulations page and the homepage to have an English translation.
  • HQ-SOD is ultimately responsible for maintenance of the SOG database, the registrations and removals of IVAO certified SOGs, and HQ-SOD deserves the right to add or remove any SOG at all times in case they deem this to be necessary.
  • A SOG must receive prior written consent from their division’s director and assistant director for their SOG to be established in the division involved. In case their country doesn’t have an active division, the request for prior consent is sent to HQ-SOD.
  • The activities of IVAO certified SOGs in non-active divisions are limited to category C activities, as per previously mentioned SOG rules (section 5).
  • A division’s director and/or assistant director can request HQ-SOD to remove an IVAO certified SOG from the database at any time, though the final decision whether to remove the SOG from its IVAO certification lies with HQ-SOD.
  • The SOG’s CEO must:
    • Be at least 18 years old at the time of the registration.
    • Have an active IVAO account for at least 6 months.
    • Not have a suspension record in the last 3 months.
    • Have at least ADC or PP rating.
    • Be active on the IVAO network and have an active account at all times.
    • Be the CEO of a maximum of 1 SOG or VA.
  • A SOG shall submit a 3 letter ICAO code for the SOG to be registered under. In case the SOG is based on a real life Special Operations group, the ICAO code of the real-world variant shall be used. Only one SOG can register with a particular ICAO code. There cannot be 2 SOGs with the same ICAO code. Only members of this SOG reserve the right to use this ICAO code in the IVAO environment.

7. Special Operations World Tours

Both the Special Operations Department and the World Tour department are mutually responsible for creating the SOWT on an annual basis. The release date of the SOWT will be determined by both departments in close coordination with each other. Once the SOWT has been released, the World Tour Department is responsible for managing and maintaining the SOWT.


8. Divisional Special Operations tours

A division’s SOC/SOAC are responsible to organise and create divisional SO tours. The frequency and release dates of divisional SO tours shall be determined by the SOC/SOAC and is not bound to any regulations. Divisional SO tours shall be limited to Category A, D and E activities inside the division itself. In case the SOC/SOAC would like to involve other divisions in their divisional SO tour as well, this shall be bound to the following criteria:

  • The SOC/SOAC shall request prior written consent from all other divisions involved in the planned divisional SO tour.
  • Any legs from the divisional SO tour to be performed in other divisions shall be limited to transit flights under GAT ICAO rules and procedures.
  • In case the SOC/SOAC wants to perform Category A, D or E activities in other divisions as part of their divisional SO tour, the SOC/SOAC shall obtain prior written consent for these Category A,D or E activities from all other divisions involved.

9. Special Operations events

Each week, many Special Operations events are being organised IVAO-wide. We can separate SO events into two different types of event: divisional SO events and HQ-SOD approved SO events. Both types can be classified according to the classification explained in section 2 of this document, ranging from Category A through E events. In general, HQ-SOD approved IVAO events offer the organising party and its participants a greater number of perks, greater possibilities, a bigger number of participants and with all advantages to HQ-SOD approved events considered, usually a higher level of fun than divisional SO events. The following criteria shall apply to all SO events organised in the IVAO environment:

  • All organised SO events shall be categorized according to the classification explained in section 2 of this document.
  • Individuals, groups, SOGs, divisional SO staff and HQ-SOD staff can all organise an SO event, though the classification of the event determines who can organise which category event (this will be explained below).
  • Multiple combinations of individuals, groups, divisional SO staff or HQ-SOD are permitted to organise an SO event together in close coordination with each other.
  • SO events shall only be organised in active divisions, unless all requirements for Category C events have been met (as detailed below).
  • At no time shall it be permitted for aircraft participating in any SO event to interfere with GAT aircraft, unless the interference with GAT aircraft is the actual point of the SO event. In case of the latter, the interference shall be limited to GAT aircraft whose pilot signed up to participate in the SO event and whose participation has been approved by the organising party.
  • Divisional SO events are limited to Category A, D or E events. Participants of divisional SO events might be eligible for divisional awards in case a division has established such reward, but participants will not be eligible for any SO points towards the IVAO Jet Fighter or IVAO SO controller awards. In case divisional events are being announced in the IVAO forum sections, the organising party shall clearly state that the event has not been approved by HQ-SOD, thus the participants are not being awarded with any SO points.
  • All participants of HQ-SOD approved SO events are eligible for SO points towards their IVAO Jet Fighter award or IVAO SO Controller award. SO points for HQ-SOD approved SO events are being awarded as follows:
    • Category A events will be awarded with two (2) SO points for every participant. If the Cat A event takes place on multiple days, two (2) SO points will be issued to each participant for each day they participated.
    • Category B events will be awarded with three (3) SO points for every participant. If the Cat B event takes place on multiple days, three (3) SO points will be issued to each participant for each day they participated.
    • Category C events will be awarded with two (2) SO points for every participant. If the Cat C event takes place on multiple days, two (2) SO points will be issued to each participant for each day they participated.
    • Category D events will be awarded with one (1) SO point for every participant. If the Cat D event takes place on multiple days, one (1) SO point will be issued to each participant for each day they participated.
    • Category E events will be awarded with one (1) SO points for every participant. If the Cat E event takes place on multiple days, one (1) SO points will be issued to each participant for each day they participated. An extra one (1) SO point will be issued to participants who participated in all organised Cat E training sessions (minimum of three (3) sessions).

9.1 The following criteria shall be abided to when organising any category HQ-SOD approved SO event:

  • Organising parties of HQ-SOD approved SO event shall submit a request for such an event for HQ-SOD’s approval.
  • The organising party shall submit the request to organise an HQ-SOD approved SO event to specops@ivao.aero no later than 15 days prior to the planned date of the event. Requests received later than 15 days prior to the event date shall be rejected by HQ-SOD, though exceptions can be made at HQ-SOD’s discretion.
  • In case the organising party of an HQ-SOD approved SO event is not divisional SO staff, the organising party is to obtain approval form the division’s SOC/SOAC. No matter the organising party of such events, all requests shall always be submitted to HQ-SOD by the division’s SOC/SOAC. HQ-SOD assumes that the SOC/SOAC has coordinated the event with fellow divisional staff members once HQ-SOD receives a request.
  • The maximum number of HQ-SOD approved SO events is limited to one (1) event on any given day. A planning of all HQ-SOD approved SO events can be found on the IVAO forum or IVAO webpage.
  • It is mandatory for the HQ-SOD approved SO even requests to be submitted with a detailed briefing in English attached.
  • HQ-SOD handles all received requests for SO events on a first come, first serve basis. It is possible to announce the date for a planned SO event to the community prior to the request being sent to HQ-SOD, however HQ-SOD does not consider this to be an official request until they have received such request via email with the English briefing attached.
  • It is mandatory for at least one ATC station to be active during the HQ-SOD approved SO events. OAT shall be handled by military ATC stations as much as possible, divisional and AIP arrangements permitting. It is advisable to arrange for civilian ATC to be online to handle GAT and to help GAT stay clear of OAT. Military ATC stations shall use their ICAO code as identifier. However, the military ATC station’s callsign is allowed to be changed if approved by HQ-SOD.
  • An HQ-SOD approved SO event shall be open to all members from any division in order for the event to be approved.
  • HQ-SOD reserves the right to reject any requests for organising an HQ-SOD approved SO event. Though SOD will try to accommodate everyone as much as possible, there might be any number of reasons for HQ-SOD to reject a request, i.e. the event doesn’t meet the criteria explained in the regulations, a change in real world circumstances which suddenly changes the event into a war/conflict simulation etc.
  • Once approved, the organising party shall announce the event in the Special Operations section of IVAO’s HQ forum no later than 3 days prior to the event. Participants will not be eligible for any SO points in case this criterion has not been met, though exceptions may be possible at discretion of HQ-SOD.
  • The organising party shall maintain a list of all participants of the HQ-SOD approved SO event, both pilots and ATC. This list is vital for all participants to be awarded with any SO points towards their IVAO Jet Fighter and SO controller awards. The organising party shall send this list to specops@ivao.aero no later than 5 days after the event, using the template available on the IVAO webpage. Due to the importance of this list, failure to meet this criteria may result in disciplinary actions being taken against the organising party, ranging from exclusion of the division from organising any future SO events to temporary or even permanent exclusion from the IVAO environment.
  • HQ-SOD approved SO events should take place in separate training areas in a division’s FIR as much as possible. Organising parties shall make an effort to avoid interference with any other aircraft not participating in the event as much as possible.
  • It is the organising party’s responsibility to make sure all instructions for the event are being followed properly and to make sure all rules and regulations are being followed. In case the organising party notices any violations, they shall contact a supervisor to take appropriate action. They shall also send an email to specops@ivao.aero to notify HQ-SOD of these violations and include a summary of what happened, proof gathered (i.e. screenshots taken) and the details of the user violating the rules and/or regulations.

9.2 Category A Special Operations events

Category A SO events are defined as events in which category A activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat A SO events:

  • Cat A events can be organised by individuals, groups, SOGs, divisional SO staff and HQ-SOD staff. Requests for Cat A events organised by individuals, groups or SOGs shall be submitted to HQ-SOD through the division’s SOC/SOAC.

9.3 Category B Special Operations events

Category B SO events are defined as events in which category B activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat B SO events:

  • Cat B events can be organised by SOGs, divisional SO staff and HQ-SOD staff. Requests for Cat B events organised by SOGs shall be submitted to HQ-SOD through the division’s SOC/SOAC. SOGs and SOC/SOACs are limited to only organise a maximum of 2 HQ-SOD approved Cat B SO events per year.
  • Cat B events shall only take place in active divisions.
  • A minimum of one (military) ATC station is mandatory.
  • A detailed briefing in English shall be included in the event request. The briefing shall also contain detailed maps of the area of operations.
  • In case a Cat B event is being requested by an SOC/SOAC, it should have been included in the Division’s Activity Reporting Plan (DARP). If not, the request will be rejected. Exceptions to this criterion are possible at the discretion of HQ-SOD.
  • The division shall have established an SO LOA and shall publish this SO LOA on its webpage. The SO LOA shall also contain (temporary) segregated/restricted airspace specifically assigned for Cat B operations to take place. The lack of a published SO LOA or assigned Cat B areas will result in the request being rejected.
  • Cat B events shall take place in (temporary) segregated/restricted areas and it is strictly prohibited for participants to interfere with any other traffic not participating in the event.
  • A-A targeting or A-G targeting shall only be approved during Cat B events/activities. When targeting A-A objectives, the targets shall be limited to all aircraft whose pilot specifically signed up to participate in the Cat B event. At no point shall any civilian passenger aircraft be targeted during Cat B A-A combative activities.

Targets for any A-G operation shall never be any structure of a civilian nature that could house people in it, such as buildings, factories, vehicles etc. Targeting of A-G objects shall be limited to unpopulated military targets or objects that cannot house any people, such as bridges, containers etc. Participants targeting any other aircraft or ground objects than those that are part of the Cat B event, will eventually result in the individual/group being temporarily or permanently excluded from the IVAO environment due to a violation of the ‘golden rule’ mentioned in the mission statement.

  • Once HQ-SOD approves the request for a Cat B SO event, a liaison will be appointed by HQ-SOD to observe the event and to make sure that all the event requirements and rules and/or regulations are being followed. This liaison is not to participate in the event itself as a pilot, the liaison shall only observe the event.
  • In case of any Cat B events being performed, it is ultimately the SOC/SOAC’s responsibility to make sure all instructions for the event are being followed properly and to make sure all rules and regulations are being followed. In case the SOC/SOAC notices any violations, they shall contact a supervisor to take appropriate action. They shall also send an email to specops@ivao.aero to notify HQ-SOD of these violations and include a summary of what happened, proof gathered (i.e. screenshots taken) and the details of the user violating the rules and regulations.

9.4 Category C Special Operations events

Category C SO events are defined as events in which category C activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat C SO events:

  • Cat C SO events can be organised by HQ-SOD or by a joint effort from SOC/SOACs from a minimum of two active divisions.
  • Category C events are limited to firefighting, lifeliner, search and rescue, humanitarian, logistical/transport activities.
  • Fighter jets shall not be included in any Cat C SO event, unless the fighter jets are being used as an escort of other aircraft and only when prior written consent has been obtained from HQ-SOD.

9.5 Category D Special Operations events

Category D SO events are defined as events in which category D activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat D SO events:

  • Cat D events can be organised by individuals, groups, SOGs, divisional SO staff and HQ-SOD staff. Requests for Cat D events organised by individuals, groups or SOGs shall be submitted to HQ-SOD through the division’s SOC/SOAC.

9.6 Category E Special Operations events

Category E SO events are defined as events in which category E activities, as detailed in section 2 of this document, take place. The following criteria shall apply to Cat E SO events:

  • Cat E events can be organised by individuals, groups, SOGs, divisional SO staff and HQ-SOD staff.
  • No formal request is required to be sent to HQ-SOD. The only limitation is that the Cat E event shall not take place during the timeframe of any other HQ-SOD approved SO events.
  • The organising party shall publish the Cat E event in the Special Operations section of IVAO’s HQ forum a maximum of 1 day prior to the event, to alert all members of the Cat E event being perfomed. An HQ-SOD staff member will double check the forum post to make sure all requirements are being met.
  • A Cat E So event shall consist of a minimum of three (3) sessions. Each session shall be a minimum of three (3) days and a maximum of three (3) weeks apart. Participants will be awarded with one (1) SO point for each session they have participated in. One (1) extra SO point will be awarded if a participant attended all organised sessions.
  • As with any other event, the organising party shall also maintain a list of all participants per session and forward this list to HQ-SOD, using the template provided by HQ-SOD. However, this list shall only be forwarded to HQ-SOD once all sessions have been completed, not after each session.

For a guide on how to actually create an event once you have made yourself acquainted with above mentioned rules, please visit the following page: Create an S.O. Event


10. AWACS

  • The use of AWACS aircraft as ATC stations shall only be permitted during HQ-SOD approved SO events and only after approval for the involvement of the AWACS station is being given by HQ-SOD.
  • When online, the AWACS ATC station shall only control OAT participating in the SO event. By no means should an AWACS ATC station control any GAT.
  • In case the AWACS is controlling OAT in a stretch of airspace dedicated to the SO event, but also being controlled by another stationary ATC station at the same time, the AWACS station shall coordinate this with the other involved ATC station.
  • Participants flying the AWACS station during an SO event shall be permitted to use a double connection to both pilot the aircraft and control as an ATC station under the following mandatory conditions:
    • A separate email shall be submitted to specops@ivao.aero by the organising party, requesting a double connection for the AWACS participant.
    • The participant flying the AWACS aircraft shall not pilot the aircraft and control other aircraft at the same time. The participant shall first fly the AWACS to its orbit, engage the autopilot for the aircraft to continue its orbit indefinitely and only then shall the participant login as an ATC station and start controlling other aircraft. No double connections allowed until the AWACS has established the orbit on the autopilot.
    • The participant shall stop controlling other aircraft and log out of the ATC station prior to disengaging the autopilot and leaving its orbit. No double connections after leaving the orbit.
  • AWACS aircraft shall use the callsign “MAGIC” when both piloting and controlling at all times.
  • AWACS participants shall use the ICAO code of the division involved, followed by the suffix “M” and “CTR” when logging in as an ATC station in Ivac, i.e. EHAA_M_CTR.

11. Division Special Operations (Assistant) Coordinators

A division’s Special Operations Coordinator (SOC) and Special Operations Assistant Coordinator (SOAC) are being appointed by the division’s Director and/or Assistant Director. The appointment of an SOC/SOAC is, in principle, a divisional affair. A SOC and SOAC have a number of responsibilities towards their own division. These divisional responsibilities are defined and established at the discretion of the division’s Director and/or Assistant Director. However, SOC/SOACs are also considered to be a vital part of the Special Operations Department as a whole. As such, they also have a number of responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as a whole. The responsibilities of SOC/SOACs towards HQ-SOD and the SO community shall be defined as follows:

  • Each division’s SOC or SOAC shall submit a Division Activity Reporting Plan (DARP) to HQ-SOD on an annual basis. This DARP shall be submitted to HQ-SOD at the start of each new year, no later than January 31st of each new year. Each DARP shall be drafted according to the template provided by HQ-SOD and it shall contain a minimum of the following items:
    • Details of the SOC, SOAC and the division.
    • An overview of HQ-SOD approved SO events and divisional SO events organised in the previous year.
    • An overview of the HQ-SOD approved SO events and divisional SO events planned for the new year.
    • A report with an overview and review of all activities of the SOC and SOAC during the previous year.
    • A report with an overview and goals for the SOC and SOAC’s activities for the new year.
  • Each SOC and/or SOAC shall establish permanent or temporary training areas for Special Operations to take place in close coordination with other divisional staff members responsible for the division’s airspace.
    • Training areas can be defined as all danger areas, restricted airspace, prohibited airspace, cross border areas, temporary restricted airspace and temporary segregated airspace that are being dedicated to perform Special Operations activities and/or events.
    • It is advised that the type of training area and its lateral and vertical boundaries are being based on the real world (military) AIP. It is at the discretion of the SOC/SOAC how much, if any, of these areas are based on the real world (military) AIP.
    • HQ-SOD recognizes (military) AIP information might not always be available to each division or when available, might be severely outdated. In such cases, SOC/SOACs shall establish and define their own training areas.
    • Once permanent or temporary training areas have been established, SOC/SOACs shall also define which training areas shall be used for Category B SO activities and/or events.
    • In case temporary training areas are being established and reserved for SO activities/events, or in case permanent training areas are being closed to GAT for the purpose of SO activities and/or events, the SOC/SOAC shall ensure this to be announced in the NOTAM section of its division.
    • In case any Category B SO activities or events are planned to take place in established training areas, these areas shall always be closed to any other traffic than the traffic participating in the Category B activities and/or events for the entire duration of the Category B activities/events. This shall also be announced in the division’s NOTAM system.
  • Each SOC/SOAC shall ensure that established permanent and temporary training areas are being added to the division’s Ivac sector file(s).
  • Each SOC/SOAC shall establish a Special Operations Letter of Agreement for their own division.
    • This SO LOA, once established, shall be reviewed and updated (if applicable) on an annual basis.
    • The SOC/SOAC shall ensure that the established SO LOA is being published on their divisional web page. In case the division’s SO LOA has been updated, the divisional web page shall also be updated to reflect those changes.
    • It is advisable that the SO LOA is based on the real world (military) AIP. It is at the discretion of the SOC/SOAC how much, if any, of the SO LOA is based on the real world (military) AIP. HQ-SOD recognizes (military) AIP information might not always be available to each division or when available, might be severely outdated. In such cases, SOC/SOACs shall establish and define their own SO LOA.
    • The SO LOA to be established by the SOC/SOAC shall contain information on a minimum of the following subjects:
      • Information on general rules and procedures for OAT, such as OAT routes, assigned altitudes (blocks) etc.
      • Information on airspace structure and airspace classification.
      • Information on established training areas, which includes, but is not limited to, the type of training area, its lateral limits and its vertical limits.
      • Information on which training areas have been appointed specifically for Category B activities and/or events.
      • Speed and supersonic restrictions.
      • Information on military/Special Operations ATC stations and the airspace these ATC stations are responsible for under which conditions.
  • Each SOC/SOAC shall maintain a list of all individuals who have received the continued approval from the SOC/SOAC to perform Category A, D and E activities inside their own division at the individual’s discretion.
  • Each SOC/SOAC shall monitor and ensure that all SOGs based in their division shall only perform Category B activities once every 3 months. SOC/SOACs shall also ensure that the SOG has received prior divisional and HQ-SOD written consent to approve of the SOG’s planned Category B activities.
  • SOC/SOACs shall always announce the divisional and HQ-SOD approved SO events in both their divisional and HQ Special Operations forums once the approval from HQ-SOD has been obtained (if applicable). In case of divisional SO events, SOC/SOACs shall clearly state the SO event has not officially been approved by HQ-SOD and point out to possible participants that they shall not receive any SO points for their IVAO Jet Fighter or SO Controller award.
  • HQ-SOD assumes that prior to a request for an SO event is being submitted to HQ-SOD, the SOC/SOACs have ensured that all applicable fellow divisional staff members are aware and have approved the planning and proposition of the proposed SO event.
  • Each division’s SOC/SOAC shall organise a minimum of one (1) HQ-SOD approved Category A, B or C SO event per year, or a minimum of two (2) HQ-SOD approved Category D events.

HQ-SOD recognizes that the appointment and/or removal of any SOC or SOAC is generally considered to be a divisional affair. It is HQ-SOD’s policy to not interfere with these divisional affairs as much as possible. HQ-SOD recognizes that it should mostly be up to the division’s headquarters to decide whether they think a SOC or SOAC is performing his/her duties properly and to decide whether a SOC or SOAC should be removed from the position or not. However, all SOCs, SOACs and divisional headquarters should also recognize that their division’s SOC and SOAC not only have responsibilities towards their own division. Above mentioned SOC and SOAC responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as a whole are also mandatory to be performed by the SOC and/or SOAC.

In case a SOC and/or SOAC does not perform his/her responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community as defined above, HQ-SOD will first contact the SOC/SOAC and divisional headquarters to alert them of this fact and to try to find a solution for the SOC and/or SOAC to be able to fulfill above mentioned responsibilities. However, in cases where a SOC and/or SOAC continues to ignore their responsibilities towards HQ-SOD and the SO community and has shown no or too little improvement in fulfilling above mentioned responsibilities, HQ-SOD reserves the right to request IVAO’s Executive Council to remove the involved SOC and/or SOAC from their position.

Obviously, HQ-SOD recognizes that any duties and responsibilities being performed by IVAO staff members are being performed on a voluntary basis and in the staff member’s free time. HQ-SOD recognizes that it is always possible for (real world) circumstances to interfere or conflict with one’s IVAO duties and responsibilities and HQ-SOD will take this into consideration. However, HQ-SOD does expect SOC/SOACs to proactively inform HQ-SOD in cases where they cannot perform above mentioned duties and responsibilities due to interfering or conflicting (real world) circumstances. SOC/SOACs can expect HQ-SOD, in turn, to offer understanding for such circumstances and HQ-SOD will try to help find a solution as much and as best as possible, should this be necessary.


12. Glossary of terms:

A-A Air-toAir
A-G Air-to-Ground
ACM Advanced Combat Maneuvers
AIP Aeronautical Information Publication
ATC Air Traffic Control
AWACS Airborne Warning and Control System
BFM Basic Fighter Maneuvers
CAP Combat Air Patrol
DARP Division Activity Reporting Plan
GAT General Air Traffic
HQ-SOD Special Operations Department’s senior staff (director, assistant director, advisors)
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
LOA Letter of Agreement
OAT Operational Air Traffic
PI Practice Intercept
SO Special Operations
SOC Special Operations Coordinator
SOAC Special Operations Assistant Coordinator
SOD Special Operations Department
SOD Special Operations Director
SOAD Special Operations Assistant Director
SOWT Special Operations World Tour
TRA Temporary Restricted Airspace
TSA Temporary Segregated Airspace

The terms ‘inside/outside division’ are extensively being used in these regulations. These terms can be defined as the following: “Inside/outside sovereign airspace (‘territory’ as per Chicago convention and water definitions as per UN Law of the Sea) of the individual’s or SOG’s division state or multistate division, including airspace over open sea, for which civil FIR/UIR of the state(s) has been established.


13. Questions and information

For any questions relating to the Special Operations Regulations or any questions about Special Operations in general, please contact the IVAO Special Operations Department on specops@ivao.aero.