Section 1. General
2-1-1. ATC SERVICE
Air Traffic Control services are not provided for model aircraft operating in the NAS or to any UAS operating in
the NAS at or below 400ft AGL.
- The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a collision involving aircraft operating in the system.
In addition to its primary purpose, the ATC system also:
- Provides a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic.
- Supports National Security and Homeland Defense missions.
The ATC system must provide certain additional services to the extent permitted. The provision of additional
services is not optional on the part of the controller, but rather required when the work situation permits. It is
recognized that the provision of these services may be precluded by various factors, including, but not limited
- Volume of traffic.
- Frequency congestion.
- Quality of surveillance.
- Controller workload.
- Higher priority duties.
- The physical inability to scan and detect situations falling in this category.
Controllers must provide air traffic control service in accordance with the procedures and minima in this order,
except when one or more of the following conditions exists:
A deviation is necessary to conform with ICAO Documents, National Rules of the Air, or special agreements
where the U.S. provides air traffic control service in airspace outside the U.S. and its possessions or:
NOTE: Pilots are required to abide by CFRs or other applicable regulations regardless of the application of
any procedure or minima in this order.
Other procedures/minima are prescribed in a letter of agreement, FAA directive, or a military document, or:
NOTE: These procedures may include altitude reservations, air refueling, fighter interceptor operations, law
A deviation is necessary to assist an aircraft when an emergency has been declared.
- This does not prohibit ATC from providing services to civil and public UAS.
The provisions of this paragraph apply to model aircraft operating at any altitude. For all other UAS, this
paragraph applies only to those UAS operating entirely at or below 400ft AGL.
2-1-2. DUTY PRIORITY
- Give first priority to separating aircraft and issuing safety alerts as required in this order. Good judgment must be used in prioritizing all other provisions of this order based on the requirements of the situation at hand.
NOTE: Because there are many variables involved, it is virtually impossible to develop a standard list of duty priorities that would apply uniformly to every conceivable situation. Each set of circumstances must be evaluated on its own merit, and when more than one action is required, controllers must exercise their best judgment based on the facts and circumstances known to them. That action which is most critical from a safety standpoint is performed first.
Provide support to national security and homeland defense activities to include, but not be limited to, reporting of suspicious and/or unusual aircraft/pilot activities.
Provide and/or solicit weather information in accordance with procedures and requirements outlined in this order.
- FAA Order JO 7610.4 Special Operations.
NOTE: Controllers are responsible to become familiar with and stay aware of current weather information needed to perform ATC duties.
Provide additional services to the extent possible, contingent only upon higher priority duties and other factors including limitations of radar, volume of traffic, frequency congestion, and workload.
2-1-3. PROCEDURAL PREFERENCE
Use automation procedures in preference to non-automation procedures when workload, communications, and equipment
Use automation procedures that provide closed loop clearances in preference to open loop clearances to promote
operational advantage for time-based management (TBM) when workload permits. (e.g., a QU route pick that
anticipates length of vector and includes the next fix that ties into the route of flight.)
Use radar separation in preference to nonradar separation when it will be to an operational advantage and
workload, communications, and equipment permit.
Use nonradar separation in preference to radar separation when the situation dictates that an operational
advantage will be gained.
NOTE: One situation may be where vertical separation would preclude excessive vectoring.
2-1-4. OPERATIONAL PRIORITY
It is recognized that traffic flow may affect the controller's ability to provide priority handling. However, without compromising safety, good judgment must be used in each situation to facilitate the most expeditious movement of priority aircraft. Provide air traffic control service to aircraft on a “first come, first served” basis as circumstances permit, except the following:
NOTE: It is solely the pilot's prerogative to cancel an IFR flight plan. However, a pilot's retention of an IFR flight plan does not afford priority over VFR aircraft. For example, this does not preclude the requirement for the pilot of an arriving IFR aircraft to adjust his/her flight path, as necessary, to enter a traffic pattern in sequence with arriving VFR aircraft.
Treat air ambulance flights as follows:
- An aircraft in distress has the right of way over all other air traffic.
Provide priority handling and expedite the movement of presidential aircraft and entourage and any rescue support aircraft as well as related control messages when traffic conditions and communications facilities permit.
- Provide priority handling to civil air ambulance flights when the pilot, in radio transmissions, verbally identifies the flight by stating “MEDEVAC” followed by the FAA authorized call sign or the full civil registration letters/numbers. Good judgment must be used in each situation to facilitate the most expeditious movement of a MEDEVAC aircraft.
NOTE: If a flight plan includes the letter “L” for “MEDEVAC” and/or includes “MEDEVAC” in Item 11 (Remarks) of the flight plan or Item 18 (Other Information) of an international flight plan, the entries are considered informational in nature only and not an identification for operational priority.
- Provide priority handling to AIR EVAC and HOSP flights when verbally requested by the pilot.
If a flight plan includes “HOSP” or “AIR EVAC” in either Item 11 (Remarks) or Item 18 (Other Information) of an international flight plan, the entries are considered informational in nature only and not an identification for operational priority. For aircraft identification in radio transmissions, civilian pilots will use normal call signs when filing “HOSP” and military pilots will use the “EVAC” call sign.
- Assist the pilots of MEDEVAC, AIR EVAC, and HOSP aircraft to avoid areas of significant weather and adverse conditions.
- If requested by a pilot, provide additional assistance (i.e., landline notifications) to expedite ground handling of patients, vital organs, or urgently needed medical materials.
NOTE: As used herein the terms presidential aircraft and entourage include aircraft and entourage of the President, Vice President, or other public figures when designated by the White House.
Provide priority handling and maximum assistance to SAR aircraft performing a SAR mission.
Provide priority handling and maximum assistance to expedite the movement of interceptor aircraft on active air defense missions until the unknown aircraft is identified.
Provide priority handling to NIGHT WATCH aircraft when NAOC (pronounced NA-YOCK) is indicated in the remarks section of the flight plan or in air/ground communications.
- FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 10-1-3, Providing Assistance.
NOTE: The term “NAOC” will not be a part of the call sign but may be used when the aircraft is airborne to indicate a request for special handling.
Provide priority handling to any civil or military aircraft using the code name “FLYNET.”
Provide priority handling to aircraft using the code name “Garden Plot” only when CARF notifies you that such priority is authorized. Refer any questions regarding flight procedures to CARF for resolution.
- FAA Order JO 7610.4, Para 12-1-1 Applications.
NOTE: Garden Plot flights require priority movement and are coordinated by the military with CARF. State authority will contact the Regional Administrator to arrange for priority of National Guard troop movements within a particular state.
Provide priority handling to USAF aircraft engaged in aerial sampling/surveying missions using the call sign “SAMP.”
Provide priority handling to Special Air Mission aircraft when SCOOT is indicated in the remarks section of the flight plan or used in air/ground communications.
NOTE: The term “SCOOT” will not be part of the call sign but may be used when the aircraft is airborne to indicate a request for special handling.
When requested, provide priority handling to TEAL and NOAA mission aircraft.
Provide priority handling to expedite the movement of OPEN SKIES Treaty observation and demonstration (F and D) flights.
- FAA Order JO 7610.4, Para 12-6-1, Applications.
NOTE: An Open Skies Treaty (F and D) aircraft has priority over all “regular” air traffic. “Regular” is defined as all aircraft traffic other than:
Provide priority handling, as required to expedite Flight Check aircraft.
- Aircraft directly involved in presidential movement.
- Forces or activities in actual combat.
- MEDEVAC, and active SAR missions.
- AIR EVAC and HOSP aircraft that have requested priority handling.
NOTE: It is recognized that unexpected wind conditions, weather, or heavy traffic flows may affect controller's ability to provide priority or special handling at the specific time requested.
IFR aircraft must have priority over SVFR aircraft.
Aircraft operating under the North American Route Program (NRP) are not subject to route limiting restrictions (e.g., published preferred IFR routes, letter of agreement requirements, standard operating procedures).
If able, provide priority handling to diverted flights. Priority handling may be requested via use of “DVRSN” in the remarks section of the flight plan or by the flight being placed on the Diversion Recovery Tool (DRT).
If able, provide priority handling to FALLEN HERO flights when "FALLEN HERO" is indicated in the remarks section of the flight plan or requested in air/ground communications.
- FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 17-4-5, Diversion Recovery.
2-1-5. EXPEDITIOUS COMPLIANCE
- Use the word “immediately” only when expeditious compliance is required to avoid an imminent situation.
- Use the word “expedite” only when prompt compliance is required to avoid the development of an imminent situation. If an “expedite” climb or descent clearance is issued by ATC, and subsequently the altitude to maintain is changed or restated without an expedite instruction, the expedite instruction is canceled.
- In either case, if time permits, include the reason for this action.
2-1-6. SAFETY ALERT
Issue a safety alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is in a position/altitude that, in your judgment,
places it in unsafe proximity to terrain, obstructions, or other aircraft. Once the pilot informs you action is
being taken to resolve the situation, you may discontinue the issuance of further alerts. Do not assume that because
someone else has responsibility for the aircraft that the unsafe situation has been observed and the safety alert
issued; inform the appropriate controller.
1. The issuance of a safety alert is a first priority (see para 2-1-2, Duty Priority) once the controller observes
and recognizes a situation of unsafe aircraft proximity to terrain, obstacles, or other aircraft. Conditions, such
as workload, traffic volume, the quality/limitations of the radar system, and the available lead time to react are
factors in determining whether it is reasonable for the controller to observe and recognize such situations. While
a controller cannot see immediately the development of every situation where a safety alert must be issued, the
controller must remain vigilant for such situations and issue a safety alert when the situation is recognized.
2. Recognition of situations of unsafe proximity may result from MSAW/E-MSAW, automatic altitude readouts,
Conflict/Mode C Intruder Alert, observations on a PAR scope, or pilot reports.
3. Once the alert is issued, it is solely the pilot's prerogative to determine what course of action, if any, will
Terrain/Obstruction Alert. Immediately issue/ initiate an alert to an aircraft if you are aware the aircraft is at
an altitude that, in your judgment, places it in unsafe proximity to terrain and/or obstructions. Issue the alert
Aircraft Conflict/Mode C Intruder Alert. Immediately issue/initiate an alert to an aircraft if you are aware of
another aircraft at an altitude that you believe places them in unsafe proximity. If feasible, offer the pilot an
alternate course of action. When an alternate course of action is given, end the transmission with the word
- LOW ALTITUDE ALERT (call sign),
- CHECK YOUR ALTITUDE IMMEDIATELY.
- and, if the aircraft is not yet on final approach,
- THE (as appropriate) MEA/MVA/MOCA/MIA IN YOUR AREA IS (altitude)
- TRAFFIC ALERT (call sign) (position of aircraft) ADVISE YOU TURN LEFT/RIGHT (heading),
- CLIMB/DESCEND (specific altitude if appropriate) IMMEDIATELY.
- “Traffic Alert, Cessna Three Four Juliet, 12'o clock, 1 mile advise you turn left immediately.”
- “Traffic Alert, Cessna Three-Four Juliet, 12'o clock, 1 mile advise you turn left and climb immediately.”
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-13-1, Conflict Alert (CA) and Mode C Intruder (MCI) Alert.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-13-2, En Route Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (E-MSAW).
- FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-14-6, CA/MCI.
- FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-2-21, Altitude Filters.
- FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-21, Traffic Advisories.
2-1-7. INFLIGHT EQUIPMENT MALFUNCTIONS
- When a pilot reports an inflight equipment malfunction, determine the nature and extent of any special handling desired.
NOTE: Inflight equipment malfunctions include partial or complete failure of equipment, which may affect either safety, separation standards, and/or the ability of the flight to proceed under IFR, or in Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) airspace, in the ATC system. Controllers may expect reports from pilots regarding VOR, TACAN, ADF, GPS, RVSM capability, or low frequency navigation receivers, impairment of air-ground communications capability, or other equipment deemed appropriate by the pilot (e.g., airborne weather radar). Pilots should communicate the nature and extent of any assistance desired from ATC.
- Provide the maximum assistance possible consistent with equipment, workload, and any special handling requested.
- Relay to other controllers or facilities who will subsequently handle the aircraft, all pertinent details concerning the aircraft and any special handling required or being provided.
2-1-8. MINIMUM FUEL
If an aircraft declares a state of “minimum fuel,” inform any facility to whom control jurisdiction is transferred of the minimum fuel problem and be alert for any occurrence which might delay the aircraft en route.
NOTE: Use of the term “minimum fuel” indicates recognition by a pilot that his/her fuel supply has reached a state where, upon reaching destination, he/she cannot accept any undue delay. This is not an emergency situation but merely an advisory that indicates an emergency situation is possible should any undue delay occur. A minimum fuel advisory does not imply a need for traffic priority. Common sense and good judgment will determine the extent of assistance to be given in minimum fuel situations. If, at any time, the remaining usable fuel supply suggests the need for traffic priority to ensure a safe landing, the pilot should declare an emergency and report fuel remaining in minutes.
2-1-9. REPORTING ESSENTIAL FLIGHT INFORMATION
Report as soon as possible to the appropriate FSS, airport manager's office, ARTCC, approach control facility,
operations office, or military operations office any information concerning components of the NAS or any flight
conditions which may have an adverse effect on air safety.
NOTE: FSSs are responsible for classifying and disseminating Notices to Air Missions.
2-1-10. NAVAID MALFUNCTIONS
- When an aircraft reports a ground-based NAVAID malfunction, take the following actions:
- Request a report from a second aircraft.
- If the second aircraft reports normal operations, continue use and inform the first aircraft. Record the incident on FAA Form 7230-4 or appropriate military form.
- If the second aircraft confirms the malfunction or in the absence of a second aircraft report, activate the standby equipment or request the monitor facility to activate.
- If normal operation is reported after the standby equipment is activated, continue use, record the incident on FAA Form 7230-4 or appropriate military form, and notify technical operations personnel (the Systems Engineer of the ARTCC when an en route aid is involved).
- If continued malfunction is reported after the standby equipment is activated or the standby equipment cannot be activated, inform technical operations personnel and request advice on whether or not the aid should be shut down. In the absence of a second aircraft report, advise the technical operations personnel of the time of the initial aircraft report and the estimated time a second aircraft report could be obtained.
- When an aircraft reports a GPS or WAAS anomaly, request the following information and/or take the following actions:
- Record the following minimum information:
- (a) Aircraft make, model, and call sign.
- (b) Location or position, and altitude at the time where GPS or WAAS anomaly was observed.
- (c) Date/time of occurrence.
- Request a report from a second aircraft.
- Record the incident on FAA Form 7230-4 or appropriate military form.
- Inform other aircraft of the anomaly as specified in paragraph 4-8-1j or k, as applicable.
- ATTENTION ALL AIRCRAFT, GPS REPORTED UNRELIABLE (OR WAAS UNAVAILABLE) IN VICINITY/AREA (position).
- “Attention all aircraft, GPS reported unreliable (or WAAS unavailable) in the area 30 miles south of Waco VOR.”
- When a pilot reports a WAAS anomaly, determine from the pilot what indications he or she observes and record the information in accordance with sub-paragraph b above.
2-1-11. USE OF MARSA
- MARSA may only be applied to military operations specified in a letter of agreement or other appropriate FAA or military document.
- ATC facilities do not invoke or deny MARSA. Their sole responsibility concerning the use of MARSA is to provide separation between military aircraft engaged in MARSA operations and other nonparticipating IFR aircraft.
- DOD must ensure that military pilots requesting special-use airspace/ATCAAs have coordinated with the scheduling agency, have obtained approval for entry, and are familiar with the appropriate MARSA procedures. ATC is not responsible for determining which military aircraft are authorized to enter special-use airspace/ATCAAs.
2-1-12. MILITARY PROCEDURES
Military procedures in the form of additions, modifications, and exceptions to the basic FAA procedure are prescribed herein when a common procedure has not been attained or to fulfill a specific requirement. They must be applied by:
Other ATC facilities when specified in a letter of agreement.
- ATC facilities operated by that military service.
- 1. An Air Force facility providing service for an Air Force base would apply USAF procedures to all traffic regardless of class.
- 2. A Navy facility providing service for a Naval Air Station would apply USN procedures to all traffic regardless of class.
- ATC facilities, regardless of their parent organization (FAA, USAF, USN, USA), supporting a designated military airport exclusively. This designation determines which military procedures are to be applied.
- 1. An FAA facility supports a USAF base exclusively; USAF procedures are applied to all traffic at that base.
- 2. An FAA facility provides approach control service for a Naval Air Station as well as supporting a civil airport; basic FAA procedures are applied at both locations by the FAA facility.
- 3. A USAF facility supports a USAF base and provides approach control service to a satellite civilian airport; USAF procedures are applied at both locations by the USAF facility.
- A USAF unit is using a civil airport supported by an FAA facility- USAF procedures will be applied as specified in a letter of agreement between the unit and the FAA facility to the aircraft of the USAF unit. Basic FAA procedures will be applied to all other aircraft.
2-1-13. FORMATION FLIGHTS
Control formation flights as a single aircraft. Separation responsibility between aircraft within the formation
rests with the flight leader and the pilots of the other aircraft in the flight. This includes transition periods
when aircraft within the formation are maneuvering to attain separation from each other to effect individual control
during join-up and breakaway.
Support formation flight join-up for two aircraft when all of the following occur:
- Requested by any participating pilot.
- All participating pilots concur.
- Either of the participating pilots reports the other/s in sight.
“ROOK01 has EAGLE03 in sight, request formation join-up with EAGLE03 at flight level two zero zero. EAGLE03
will be the lead.”
- “EAGLE03 verify requesting flight join-up with ROOK01.”
- If affirmative:
“ROOK01 climb and maintain flight level two zero zero. Report (advise) when formation join-up is complete.”
If multiple single aircraft request to join-up, multiple formations are joining as one, or aircraft are joining an
established formation, obtain confirmation of required items listed in subparagraph 2-1-13a, from the lead
After join-up, aircraft beacon code assignment will be determined by formation type.
For a standard formation only the aircraft acting as the lead will squawk an ATC assigned beacon code. Ensure
all other aircraft squawk standby.
For a nonstandard formation, each aircraft should squawk an ATC assigned beacon code. Controller discretion
allows aircraft in a nonstandard formation to squawk standby if operationally advantageous.
- FAA Order JO 7610.4, Paragraph 12-11-6, Nonstandard Formation Tactics, subparagraph b3
- “N123JP squawk standby.”
- “N123SP have N123JP squawk standby.”
When formation break-up is requested, issue control instructions and/or clearances which will result in approved
separation through the lead or directly to the requesting aircraft in the formation.
- “N5871S requesting flight break-up with N731K. N731K is changing destination to PHL.”
- “N731K squawk 5432, turn right, fly heading zero-seven-zero.
“Center, BAMA21. BAMA23 is requesting to RTB.”
“BAMA21 have BAMA23 squawk 5544, descend and maintain flight level one-niner-zero and change to my frequency.”
“Center, BAMA21. BAMA23 is requesting to RTB.”
“BAMA23 squawk 5544. BAMA23 Radar contact (position if required). Cleared to SSC via direct. Descend and
maintain flight level one-niner-zero.”
Military and civil formation flights in RVSM airspace.
- Utilize RVSM separation standards for a formation flight, which consists of all RVSM approved aircraft.
Utilize non-RVSM separation standards for a formation flight at or above FL 290, which does not consist of all
RVSM approved aircraft.
If aircraft are requesting to form a formation flight to FL 290 or above, the controller who issues the
clearance creating the formation flight is responsible for ensuring that the proper equipment suffix is
entered for the lead aircraft.
If the flight departs as a formation, and is requesting FL 290 or above, the first center sector must ensure
that the proper equipment suffix is entered.
If the formation flight is below FL 290 and later requests FL 290 or above, the controller receiving the RVSM
altitude request must ensure the proper equipment suffix is entered.
Upon break-up of the formation flight, the controller initiating the break-up must ensure that all aircraft or
flights are assigned their proper equipment suffix.
2-1-14. COORDINATE USE OF AIRSPACE
- Ensure that the necessary coordination has been accomplished before you allow an aircraft under your control to enter another controller's area of jurisdiction.
- Before you issue a control instruction directly to a pilot that will change the aircraft's heading, route, speed, or altitude, you must ensure that coordination has been completed with all controllers whose area of jurisdiction is affected by those instructions unless otherwise specified by a letter of agreement or facility directive. If your control instruction will be relayed to the pilot through a source other than another radar controller (FSS, New York Radio, San Francisco Radio, another pilot, etc.), you are still responsible to ensure that all required coordination is completed.
- 1. It is good operating practice for controllers to confirm that required coordination has been/will be effected, especially in unusual circumstances, such as recently modified sector configurations, airspace changes, route changes, etc.
- 2. Ensuring that all required coordination has been completed does not necessarily imply that the controller issuing the control instruction directly to the pilot has to perform the coordination action.
2-1-15. CONTROL TRANSFER
- Transfer control of an aircraft in accordance with the following conditions:
- At a prescribed or coordinated location, time, fix, or altitude; or,
- At the time a radar handoff and frequency change to the receiving controller have been completed and when authorized by a facility directive or letter of agreement which specifies the type and extent of control that is transferred.
- Transfer control of an aircraft only after eliminating any potential conflict with other aircraft for which you have separation responsibility.
- Assume control of an aircraft only after it is in your area of jurisdiction unless specifically coordinated or as specified by letter of agreement or a facility directive.
2-1-16. SURFACE AREAS
- Coordinate with the appropriate nonapproach control tower on an individual aircraft basis before issuing a clearance which would require flight within a surface area for which the tower has responsibility unless otherwise specified in a letter of agreement.
- FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 4-3-1, Letters of Agreement.
- 14 CFR Section 91.127, Operating on or in the Vicinity of an Airport in Class E Airspace.
- P/CG Term - Surface Area.
- Coordinate with the appropriate control tower for transit authorization when you are providing radar traffic advisory service to an aircraft that will enter another facility's airspace.
NOTE: The pilot is not expected to obtain his/her own authorization through each area when in contact with a radar facility.
- Transfer communications to the appropriate facility, if required, prior to operation within a surface area for which the tower has responsibility.
2-1-17. RADIO COMMUNICATIONS
Avoid issuing a frequency change to helicopters known to be single-piloted during air-taxiing, hovering, or low-level flight. Whenever possible, relay necessary control instructions until the pilot is able to change frequency.
- Transfer radio communications before an aircraft enters the receiving controller's area of jurisdiction unless otherwise coordinated or specified by a letter of agreement or a facility directive.
- Transfer radio communications by specifying the following:
NOTE: Radio communications transfer procedures may be specified by a letter of agreement or contained in the route description of an MTR as published in the DOD Planning AP/1B (AP/3).
- The facility name or location name and terminal function to be contacted.
: Omit the location name when transferring communications to another controller within your facility, or, when the tower and TRACON share the same name (for example, Phoenix Tower and Phoenix TRACON).
EXCEPTION: Controllers must include the name of the facility when instructing an aircraft to change frequency for final approach guidance.
- Frequency to use except the following may be omitted:
- (a) FSS frequency.
- (b) Departure frequency if previously given or published on a SID chart for the procedure issued.
- (c) :
- (1) Ground or local control frequency if in your opinion the pilot knows which frequency is in use.
- (2) The numbers preceding the decimal point if the ground control frequency is in the 121 MHz bandwidth.
- “Contact Tower.”
- “Contact Ground.”
- “Contact Ground Point Seven.”
- “Contact Ground, One Two Zero Point Eight.”
- “Contact Huntington Radio.”
- “Contact Departure.”
- “Contact Los Angeles Center, One Two Three Point Four.”
- Time, fix, altitude, or specifically when to contact a facility. You may omit this when compliance is expected upon receipt.
NOTE: AIM, para 5-3-1, ARTCC Communications, informs pilots that they are expected to maintain a listening watch on the transferring controller's frequency until the time, fix, or altitude specified.
- CONTACT (facility name or location name and terminal function), (frequency).
- If required,
- AT (time, fix, or altitude).
- Controllers must, within a reasonable amount of time, take appropriate action to establish/restore communications with all aircraft for which a communications transfer or initial contact to his/her sector is expected/required.
NOTE: For the purposes of this paragraph, a reasonable amount of time is considered to be 5 minutes from the time the aircraft enters the controller's area of jurisdiction or comes within range of radio/communications coverage. Communications include two-way VHF or UHF radio contact, data link, or high frequency (HF) radio through an approved third-party provider such as New York Radio or San Francisco Radio.
- ERAM facilities, beginning with initial audio contact with an aircraft, must utilize the voice communication indicator to reflect the current status of voice communications.
- In situations where an operational advantage will be gained, and following coordination with the receiving controller, you may instruct aircraft on the ground to monitor the receiving controller's frequency.
- “Monitor Tower.”
- “Monitor Ground.”
- “Monitor Ground Point Seven.”
- “Monitor Ground, One Two Zero Point Eight.”
- In situations where a sector has multiple frequencies or when sectors are combined using multiple frequencies and the aircraft will remain under your jurisdiction, transfer radio communication by specifying the following:
- (Identification) CHANGE TO MY FREQUENCY (state frequency).
- “United two twenty-two change to my frequency one two three point four.”
NOTE: Most light helicopters are flown by one pilot and require the constant use of both hands and feet to maintain control. Although Flight Control Friction Devices assist the pilot, changing frequency near the ground could result in inadvertent ground contact and consequent loss of control. Pilots are expected to advise ATC of their single-pilot status if unable to comply with a frequency change.
In situations where the controller does not want the pilot to change frequency but the pilot is expecting or may want a frequency change, use the following phraseology.
- REMAIN THIS FREQUENCY.
2-1-18. OPERATIONAL REQUESTS
Respond to a request from another controller, a pilot or vehicle operator by one of the following verbal means:
- Restate the request in complete or abbreviated terms followed by the word “APPROVED.” The phraseology “APPROVED AS REQUESTED” may be substituted in lieu of a lengthy readback.
- (Requested operation) APPROVED. or
- APPROVED AS REQUESTED.
- State restrictions followed by the word “APPROVED.”
- (Restriction and/or additional instructions, requested operation) APPROVED.
- State the word “UNABLE” and, time permitting, a reason.
- UNABLE (requested operation).
- and when necessary,
- (reason and/or additional instructions.)
- State the words “STAND BY.”
NOTE: “STAND BY” is not an approval or denial. The controller acknowledges the request and will respond at a later time.
2-1-19. WAKE TURBULENCE
- Apply wake turbulence procedures to an aircraft operating behind another aircraft when wake turbulence separation is required.
NOTE: Para 5-5-4, Minima, subparagraphs g and h specify the required radar wake turbulence separations. Time-based separations are contained in Para 3-9-6, Same Runway Separation, Para 3-9-7, Wake Turbulence Separation for Intersection Departures, Para 3-9-8, Intersecting Runway Separation, Para 3-9-9, Nonintersecting Converging Runway Operations, Para 3-10-3, Same Runway Separation, Para 3-10-4, Intersecting Runway Separation, Para 6-1-4, Adjacent Airport Operation, Para 6-1-5, Arrival Minima, and Para 6-7-5, Interval Minima.
- The separation minima must continue to touchdown for all IFR aircraft not making a visual approach or maintaining visual separation.
2-1-20. WAKE TURBULENCE CAUTIONARY ADVISORIES
- Issue wake turbulence cautionary advisories including the position, altitude if known, and direction of flight to aircraft operating behind an aircraft that requires wake turbulence separation when:
- . VFR aircraft not being radar vectored are behind the larger aircraft.
- IFR aircraft accept a visual approach or visual separation.
- . VFR arriving aircraft that have previously been radar vectored and the vectoring has been discontinued.
- Issue cautionary information to any aircraft if in your opinion, wake turbulence may have an adverse effect on it. When traffic is known to be a Super aircraft, include the word Super in the description. When traffic is known to be a Heavy aircraft, include the word Heavy in the description.
NOTE: Wake turbulence is generated when an aircraft produces lift. Because the location of wake turbulence is difficult to determine, the controller is not responsible for anticipating its existence or effect. Aircraft flying through a Super/Heavy aircraft's flight path may have an increased chance of a wake encounter.
- CAUTION WAKE TURBULENCE (traffic information).
2-1-21. TRAFFIC ADVISORIES
Unless an aircraft is operating within Class A airspace or omission is requested by the pilot, issue traffic advisories to all aircraft (IFR or VFR) on your frequency when, in your judgment, their proximity may diminish to less than the applicable separation minima. Where no separation minima applies, such as for VFR aircraft outside of Class B/Class C airspace, or a TRSA, issue traffic advisories to those aircraft on your frequency when in your judgment their proximity warrants it. Provide this service as follows:
To aircraft that are not radar identified:
- To radar identified aircraft:
- Azimuth from aircraft in terms of the 12-hour clock, or
- When rapidly maneuvering aircraft prevent accurate issuance of traffic as in 1 above, specify the direction from an aircraft's position in terms of the eight cardinal compass points (N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W, and NW). This method must be terminated at the pilot's request.
- Distance from aircraft in miles.
- Direction in which traffic is proceeding and/or relative movement of traffic.
NOTE: Relative movement includes closing, converging, parallel same direction, opposite direction, diverging, overtaking, crossing left to right, crossing right to left.
- If known, type of aircraft and altitude.
- TRAFFIC, (number) O'CLOCK, or when appropriate,
- (direction) (number) MILES, (direction)-BOUND and/or (relative movement),
- and if known,
- (type of aircraft and altitude). or
- When appropriate,
- (type of aircraft and relative position), (number of feet) FEET ABOVE/BELOW YOU.
- If altitude is unknown, ALTITUDE UNKNOWN.
- “Traffic, eleven o'clock, one zero miles, southbound, converging, Boeing Seven Twenty Seven, one seven thousand.”
- “Traffic, twelve o'clock, one five miles, opposite direction, altitude unknown.”
- “Traffic, ten o'clock, one two miles, southeast bound, one thousand feet below you.”
- When requested by the pilot, issue radar vectors to assist in avoiding the traffic, provided the aircraft to be vectored is within your area of jurisdiction or coordination has been effected with the sector/facility in whose area the aircraft is operating.
- If unable to provide vector service,inform the pilot.
- Inform the pilot of the following when traffic you have issued is not reported in sight:
- (a) The traffic is no factor.
- (b) The traffic is no longer depicted on radar.
- TRAFFIC NO FACTOR/NO LONGER OBSERVED, or
- (number) O'CLOCK TRAFFIC NO FACTOR/NO LONGER OBSERVED,
- (direction) TRAFFIC NO FACTOR/NO LONGER OBSERVED.
- Distance and direction from fix.
- Direction in which traffic is proceeding.
- If known, type of aircraft and altitude.
- ETA over the fix the aircraft is approaching, if appropriate.
- TRAFFIC, (number) MILES/MINUTES (direction) OF (airport or fix), (direction)-BOUND,
- and if known,
- (type of aircraft and altitude), ESTIMATED (fix) (time),
- TRAFFIC, NUMEROUS AIRCRAFT VICINITY (location).
- If altitude is unknown, ALTITUDE UNKNOWN.
For aircraft displaying Mode C, not radar identified, issue indicated altitude.
- “Traffic, one zero miles east of Forsythe V-O-R, Southbound, M-D Eighty, descending to one six thousand.”
- “Traffic, reported one zero miles west of Downey V-O-R, northbound, Apache, altitude unknown, estimated Joliet V-O-R one three one five.”
- “Traffic, eight minutes west of Chicago Heights V-O-R, westbound, Mooney, eight thousand, estimated Joliet V-O-R two zero three five.”
- “Traffic, numerous aircraft, vicinity of Delia airport.”
- “Traffic, one o'clock, six miles, eastbound, altitude indicates six thousand five hundred.”
2-1-22. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM (UAS) ACTIVITY INFORMATION
- Issue UAS advisory information for known UAS activity, when in your judgment their proximity warrants it. If known, include position, distance, course, type of unmanned aircraft (UA), and altitude.
- “U-A-S activity, 12 o'clock, 1 mile, southbound, quad copter, 400 feet and below.”
- “Unmanned aircraft system activity, 2 miles east of Brandywine Airport, 300 feet and below.”
- Issue UAS advisory information for pilot-reported or tower-observed activity, when in your judgment, their proximity warrants it. If known, include position, altitude, course, and type. Continue to issue advisories to potentially impacted aircraft for at least 15 minutes following the last report.
- “U-A-S activity reported, 12 o'clock, 1 mile, altitude reported one thousand two hundred.”
- “Unmanned aircraft system activity observed, 1 mile east of Trenton Airport, altitude unknown.”
2-1-23. BIRD ACTIVITY INFORMATION
- Issue advisory information on pilot-reported, tower-observed, or radar-observed and pilot-verified bird activity. Include position, species or size of birds, if known, course of flight, and altitude. Do this for at least 15 minutes after receipt of such information from pilots or from adjacent facilities unless visual observation or subsequent reports reveal the activity is no longer a factor.
- “Flock of geese, one o'clock, seven miles, northbound, last reported at four thousand.”
- “Flock of small birds, southbound along Mohawk River, last reported at three thousand.”
- “Numerous flocks of ducks, vicinity Lake Winnebago, altitude unknown.”
- Relay bird activity information to adjacent facilities and to FSSs whenever it appears it will become a factor in their areas.
2-1-24. TRANSFER OF POSITION RESPONSIBILITY
The transfer of position responsibility must be accomplished in accordance with the “Standard Operating Practice (SOP) for the Transfer of Position Responsibility,” and appropriate facility directives each time operational responsibility for a position is transferred from one specialist to another.
2-1-25. WHEELS DOWN CHECK
Remind aircraft to check wheels down on each approach unless the pilot has previously reported wheels down for that approach.
NOTE: The intent is solely to remind the pilot to lower the wheels, not to place responsibility on the controller.
- Tower must issue the wheels down check at an appropriate place in the pattern.
- CHECK WHEELS DOWN.
- Approach/arrival control, GCA must issue the wheels down check as follows:
- To aircraft conducting ASR, PAR, or radar monitored approaches, before the aircraft starts descent on final approach.
- To aircraft conducting instrument approaches and remaining on the radar facility's frequency, before the aircraft passes the outer marker/final approach fix.
- WHEELS SHOULD BE DOWN.
2-1-26. SUPERVISORY NOTIFICATION
Ensure supervisor/controller-in-charge (CIC) is aware of conditions which impact sector/position operations
including, but not limited to, the following:
- Equipment status.
- Potential sector overload.
- Emergency situations.
- Special flights/operations.
Aircraft/pilot activity, including unmanned aircraft system (UAS) operation that is considered suspicious, as
prescribed in FAA Order JO 7610.4, paragraph 7-3-1, and for information more specific to UAS, FAA Order JO 7210.3,
2-1-27. PILOT DEVIATION NOTIFICATION
When it appears that the actions of a pilot constitute a pilot deviation, notify the pilot, workload permitting.
- (Identification) POSSIBLE PILOT DEVIATION ADVISE YOU CONTACT (facility) AT (telephone number).
- FAA Order JO 8020.16, Air Traffic Organization Aircraft Accident and Aircraft Incident Notification, Investigation, and Reporting, Chapter 11, Para 3, Air Traffic Facility Responsibilities.
2-1-28. TCAS RESOLUTION ADVISORIES
When an aircraft under your control jurisdiction informs you that it is responding to a TCAS Resolution Advisory
(RA), do not issue control instructions that are contrary to the RA procedure that a crew member has advised you
that they are executing. Provide safety alerts regarding terrain or obstructions and traffic advisories for the
aircraft responding to the RA and all other aircraft under your control jurisdiction, as appropriate.
Unless advised by other aircraft that they are also responding to a TCAS RA, do not assume that other aircraft in
the proximity of the responding aircraft are involved in the RA maneuver or are aware of the responding aircraft's
intended maneuvers. Continue to provide control instructions, safety alerts, and traffic advisories as appropriate
to such aircraft.
NOTE: When notified by the pilot of an RA, the controller is not prohibited from issuing traffic advisories and
Once the responding aircraft has begun a maneuver in response to an RA, the controller is not responsible for
providing approved separation between the aircraft that is responding to an RA and any other aircraft, airspace,
terrain or obstructions. Responsibility for approved separation resumes when one of the following conditions is
- The responding aircraft has returned to its assigned altitude, or
A crew member informs you that the TCAS maneuver is completed and you observe that approved separation has
been reestablished, or
The responding aircraft has executed an alternate clearance and you observe that approved separation has been
NOTE: 1. AC 120-55, Air Carrier Operational Approval and Use of TCAS II, suggests pilots use the following
phraseology to notify controllers during TCAS events. When a TCAS RA may affect an ATC clearance, inform ATC when
beginning the maneuver, or as soon as workload permits.
- 1. “New York Center, United 321, TCAS RA.”
NOTE: 2. When the RA has been resolved, the flight crew should advise ATC they are returning to their previously
assigned clearance or subsequent amended clearance.
- 2. “New York Center, United 321, clear of conflict, returning to assigned altitude.”
2-1-29. RVSM OPERATIONS
Controller responsibilities must include but not be limited to the following:
- Non-RVSM aircraft operating in RVSM airspace.
- Ensure non-RVSM aircraft are not permitted in RVSM airspace unless they meet the criteria of excepted aircraft and are previously approved by the operations supervisor/CIC. The following aircraft are excepted: DOD, DOD-certified aircraft operated by NASA (T38, F15, F18, WB57, S3, and U2 aircraft only), MEDEVAC, manufacturer aircraft being flown for development/certification, and Foreign State aircraft. These exceptions are accommodated on a workload or traffic-permitting basis.
NOTE: The operations supervisor/CIC is responsible for system acceptance of a non-RVSM aircraft beyond the initial sector-to-sector coordination following the pilot request to access the airspace. Operations supervisor/CIC responsibilities are defined in FAA Order JO 7210.3, Chapter 6, Section 9, Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).
- Ensure sector-to-sector coordination for all non-RVSM aircraft operations within RVSM airspace.
- Inform the operational supervisor/CIC when a non-RVSM exception flight is denied clearance into RVSM airspace or is removed from RVSM airspace.
- Non-RVSM aircraft transitioning RVSM airspace.
Ensure that operations supervisors/CICs are made aware when non-RVSM aircraft are transitioning through RVSM airspace.
- Apply appropriate separation standards and remove any aircraft from RVSM airspace that advises it is unable RVSM due to equipment while en route.
- Use “negative RVSM” in all verbal ground-to-ground communications involving non-RVSM aircraft while cleared to operate within RVSM airspace.
- “Point out Baxter21 climbing to FL 360, negative RVSM.”
- For the following situations, use the associated phraseology:
- To deny clearance into RVSM airspace.
- “UNABLE CLEARANCE INTO RVSM AIRSPACE.”
- To request a pilot to report when able to resume RVSM.
- “REPORT ABLE TO RESUME RVSM.”
- In the event of a change to an aircraft's RVSM eligibility, amend the RVSM qualifier (“W”) in the ICAO equipment string in order to properly identify non RVSM aircraft on the controller display.
NOTE: Changing the equipment suffix instead of amending the equipment string may result in incorrect revisions to other ICAO qualifiers.
- ATC may allow aircraft to remain in RVSM airspace using reduced vertical separation minima after the loss of a transponder or Mode C altitude reporting.
NOTE: In a transponder out situation, the aircraft's altitude-keeping capabilities required for flight in RVSM airspace should remain operational.
2-1-30. TERRAIN AWARENESS WARNING SYSTEM (TAWS) ALERTS
When an aircraft under your control jurisdiction informs you that it is responding to a TAWS (or other on-board
low altitude) alert, do not issue control instructions that are contrary to the TAWS procedure that a crew member
has advised you that they are executing. Provide safety alerts regarding terrain or obstructions and traffic
advisories for the aircraft responding to the TAWS alert and all other aircraft under your control jurisdiction,
Once the responding aircraft has begun a maneuver in response to TAWS alert, the controller is not responsible for
providing approved separation between the aircraft that is responding to a TAWS alert and any other aircraft,
airspace, terrain or obstructions. Responsibility for approved separation resumes when one of the following
conditions is met:
- The responding aircraft has returned to its assigned altitude, or
A crew member informs you that the TAWS maneuver is completed and you observe that approved separation has
been reestablished, or
The responding aircraft has executed an alternate clearance and you observe that approved separation has been
2-1-31. “BLUE LIGHTNING” EVENTS
Ensure that the supervisor/controller-in-charge (CIC) is notified of reports of possible human trafficking. These may be referred to as “Blue Lightning” events.