Section 1. General

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  • Section 1. General


    Provide airport traffic control service based only upon observed or known traffic and airport conditions.

    NOTE: When operating in accordance with CFRs, it is the responsibility of the pilot to avoid collision with other aircraft. However, due to the limited space around terminal locations, traffic information can aid pilots in avoiding collision between aircraft operating within Class B, Class C, or Class D surface areas and the terminal radar service areas, and transiting aircraft operating in proximity to terminal locations.


    Provide preventive control service only to aircraft operating in accordance with a letter of agreement. When providing this service, issue advice or instructions only if a situation develops which requires corrective action.

    • NOTE:
    • 1. Preventive control differs from other airport traffic control in that repetitious, routine approval of pilot action is eliminated. Controllers intervene only when they observe a traffic conflict developing.
    • 2. Airfield Operating instructions, Memorandums of Understanding, or other specific directives used exclusively by the Department of Defense (DOD) satisfies the criteria in Paragraph 3-1-2 above.


    The local controller has primary responsibility for operations conducted on the active runway and must control the use of those runways. Positive coordination and control is required as follows:

    NOTE: Exceptions may be authorized only as provided in para 1-1-11, Constraints Governing Supplements and Procedural Deviations, and FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, para 10-1-7, Use of Active Runways, where justified by extraordinary circumstances at specific locations.

    1. Ground control must obtain approval from local control before authorizing an aircraft or a vehicle to cross or use any portion of an active runway. The coordination must include the point/intersection at the runway where the operation will occur.
      • CROSS (runway) AT (point/intersection).
    2. When the local controller authorizes another controller to cross an active runway, the local controller must verbally specify the runway to be crossed and the point/intersection at the runway where the operation will occur preceded by the word “cross.”
      • CROSS (runway) AT (point/intersection).
    3. The ground controller must advise the local controller when the coordinated runway operation is complete. This may be accomplished verbally or through visual aids as specified by a facility directive.
    4. USA/USAF/USN NOT APPLICABLE. Authorization for aircraft/vehicles to taxi/proceed on or along an active runway, for purposes other than crossing, must be provided via direct communications on the appropriate local control frequency. This authorization may be provided on the ground control frequency after coordination with local control is completed for those operations specifically described in a facility directive.

      NOTE: The USA, USAF, and USN establish local operating procedures in accordance with, respectively, USA, USAF, and USN directives.

    5. The local controller must coordinate with the ground controller before using a runway not previously designated as active.


    Local and ground controllers must exchange information as necessary for the safe and efficient use of airport runways and movement areas. This may be accomplished via verbal means, flight progress strips, other written information, or automation displays. As a minimum, provide aircraft identification and applicable runway/intersection/taxiway information as follows:

    1. Ground control must notify local control when a departing aircraft has been taxied to a runway other than one previously designated as active.
    2. Ground control must notify local control of any aircraft taxied to an intersection for takeoff. This notification may be accomplished by verbal means or by flight progress strips.
    3. When the runways in use for landing/departing aircraft are not visible from the tower or the aircraft using them are not visible on radar, advise the local/ground controller of the aircraft's location before releasing the aircraft to the other controller.


    1. When established in a letter of agreement (LOA), vehicles, equipment, and personnel in two-way communications with ATC may be authorized to operate in the runway safety area (RSA) up to the edge of the runway surface, which includes when aircraft are arriving, departing, or taxiing along the runway.
      • PROCEED AS REQUESTED; (and if necessary, additional instructions or information).
      • FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 4-3-1, Letters of Agreement.

      NOTE: DoD-only airfields—See Service Manual and/or local operating procedures for guidance on aerodrome operations and LOA requirements.

    2. Ensure that the runway to be used is free of all known ground vehicles, equipment, and personnel before a departing aircraft starts takeoff or a landing aircraft crosses the runway threshold.

    NOTE: “PROCEED AS REQUESTED” is not approved phraseology for instructing aircraft, vehicles, equipment, or personnel to cross or operate on a runway.

    NOTE: Establishing hold lines/signs is the responsibility of the airport manager. Standards for surface measurements, markings, and signs are contained in the following Advisory Circulars; AC 150/5300-13, Airport Design; AC 150/5340 1, Standards for Airport Markings, and AC 150/5340-18, Standards for Airport Sign Systems. The operator is responsible to properly position the aircraft, vehicle, or equipment at the appropriate hold line/sign or designated point. The requirements in para 3-1-12, Visually Scanning Runways, remain valid as appropriate.


    1. Describe vehicles, equipment, or personnel on or near the movement area in a manner which will assist pilots in recognizing them.
      • EXAMPLE
      • “Mower left of runway two seven.”
      • “Trucks crossing approach end of runway two five.”
      • “Workman on taxiway Bravo.”
      • “Aircraft left of runway one eight.”
    2. Describe the relative position of traffic in an easy to understand manner, such as “to your right” or “ahead of you.”
      • EXAMPLE
      • 1. “Traffic, U.S. Air MD Eighty on downwind leg to your left.”
      • 2. “King Air inbound from outer marker on straight-in approach to runway one seven.”
      • 3. “Traffic, Boeing 737 on 2 mile final to the parallel runway, runway two six right, cleared to land. Caution wake turbulence.”
    3. When using a CTRD, you may issue traffic advisories using the standard radar phraseology prescribed in para 2-1-21, Traffic Advisories.


    Determine the position of an aircraft, personnel or equipment before issuing taxi instructions, takeoff clearance, or authorizing personnel, and/or equipment to proceed onto the movement area.

    NOTE: When possible, positions of aircraft, vehicles, equipment and/or personnel may be determined visually or through use of a display system. When ATC is unable to determine position visually or via a display system, position reports may be used.


    1. When low level wind shear/microburst is reported by pilots, Integrated Terminal Weather System (ITWS), or detected on wind shear detection systems such as LLWAS NE++, LLWAS-RS, WSP, or TDWR, controllers must issue the alert to all arriving and departing aircraft. Continue the alert to aircraft until it is broadcast on the ATIS and pilots indicate they have received the appropriate ATIS code. A statement must be included on the ATIS for 20 minutes following the last report or indication of the wind shear/microburst.

      NOTE: Some aircraft are equipped with Predictive Wind Shear (PWS) alert systems that warn the flight crew of a potential wind shear up to 3 miles ahead and 25 degrees either side of the aircraft heading at or below 1200' AGL. Pilot reports may include warnings received from PWS systems.

    2. At facilities without ATIS, ensure that wind shear/microburst information is broadcast to all arriving and departing aircraft for 20 minutes following the last report or indication of wind shear/microburst.
    3. Apply the following procedures and phraseolo- gy for the depicted wind shear detection system described below.
      1. At locations equipped with LLWAS, the local controller must provide wind information as follows:

        NOTE: The LLWAS is designed to detect low level wind shear conditions around the periphery of an airport. It does not detect wind shear beyond that limitation.

        • REFERENCE
        • FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 10-3-3, Low Level Wind Shear/Microburst Detection Systems.
        1. (a) If an alert is received, issue the airport wind and the displayed field boundary wind.
          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • WIND SHEAR ALERT. AIRPORT WIND (direction) AT (velocity). (Location of sensor) BOUNDARY WIND (direction) AT (velocity).
        2. (b) If multiple alerts are received, issue an advisory that there are wind shear alerts in two/several/all quadrants. After issuing the advisory, issue the airport wind in accordance with paragraph 3-9-1, Departure Information, followed by the field boundary wind most appropriate to the aircraft operation.
          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • WIND SHEAR ALERTS TWO/SEVERAL/ALL QUADRANTS. AIRPORT WIND (direction) AT (velocity). (Location of sensor) BOUNDARY WIND (direction) AT (velocity).
        3. (c) If requested by the pilot, issue specific field boundary wind information even though the LLWAS may not be in alert status.

          NOTE: The requirements for issuance of wind information remain valid as appropriate under this paragraph, para 3-9-1, Departure Information and para 3-10-1, Landing Information.

      2. Wind shear detection systems, including TDWR, WSP, LLWAS NE++ and LLWAS-RS provide the capability of displaying microburst alerts, wind shear alerts, and wind information oriented to the threshold or departure end of a runway. When detected, the associated ribbon display allows the controller to read the displayed alert without any need for interpretation.
        1. (a) If a wind shear or microburst alert is received for the runway in use, issue the alert information for that runway to arriving and departing aircraft as it is displayed on the ribbon display.
          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • (Runway) (arrival/departure) WIND SHEAR/ MICROBURST ALERT, (windspeed) KNOT GAIN/LOSS, (location).
          • EXAMPLE
          • 17A MBA 40K- 3MF
            • PHRASEOLOGY
          • EXAMPLE
          • 17D WSA 25K+ 2MD
            • PHRASEOLOGY
        2. (b) If requested by the pilot or deemed appropriate by the controller, issue the displayed wind information oriented to the threshold or departure end of the runway.
          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • (Runway) DEPARTURE/THRESHOLD WIND (direction) AT (velocity).
        3. (c) LLWAS NE++ or LLWAS-RS may detect a possible wind shear/microburst at the edge of the system but may be unable to distinguish between a wind shear and a microburst. A wind shear alert message will be displayed, followed by an asterisk, advising of a possible wind shear outside of the system network.

          NOTE: LLWAS NE++ when associated with TDWR can detect wind shear/microbursts outside the network if the TDWR fails.

          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • (Appropriate wind or alert information) POSSIBLE WIND SHEAR OUTSIDE THE NETWORK.
        4. (d) If unstable conditions produce multiple alerts, issue an advisory of multiple wind shear/microburst alerts followed by specific alert or wind information most appropriate to the aircraft operation.
          • PHRASEOLOGY
          • MULTIPLE WIND SHEAR/MICROBURST ALERTS (specific alert or wind information).
        5. (e) The LLWAS NE++ and LLWAS-RS are designed to operate with as many as 50 percent of the total sensors inoperative. When all three remote sensors designated for a specific runway arrival or departure wind display line are inoperative then the LLWAS NE++ and LLWAS-RS for that runway arrival/departure must be considered out of service. When a specific runway arrival or departure wind display line is inoperative and wind shear/microburst activity is likely; (for example, frontal activity, convective storms, PIREPs), the following statement must be included on the ATIS, “WIND SHEAR AND MICROBURST INFORMATION FOR RUNWAY (runway number) ARRIVAL/DEPARTURE NOT AVAILABLE.”

          NOTE: The geographic situation display (GSD) is a supervisory planning tool and is not intended to be a primary tool for microburst or wind shear.

    4. Wind Shear Escape Procedures.
      1. If an aircraft under your control informs you that it is performing a wind shear escape, do not issue control instructions that are contrary to pilot actions. ATC should continue to provide safety alerts regarding terrain or obstacles and traffic advisories for the escape aircraft, as appropriate.
        • EXAMPLE
        • “Denver Tower, United 1154, wind shear escape.”

        NOTE: Aircraft that execute a wind shear escape maneuver will usually conduct a full power climb straight ahead and will not accept any control instructions until onboard systems advise the crew or the pilot in command (PIC) advises ATC that the escape maneuver is no longer required.

      2. Unless advised by additional aircraft that they are also performing an escape procedure, do not presume that other aircraft in the proximity of the escape aircraft are responding to wind shear alerts/events as well. Continue to provide control instructions, safety alerts, and traffic advisories, as appropriate.
      3. Once the responding aircraft has initiated a wind shear escape maneuver, the controller is not responsible for providing approved separation between the aircraft that is responding to an escape and any other aircraft, airspace, terrain, or obstacle. Responsibility for approved separation resumes when one of the following conditions is met:
        1. (a) Departures:
          1. (1) A crew member informs ATC that the wind shear escape maneuver is complete and ATC observes that approved separation has been re-established, or
          2. (2) A crew member informs ATC that the escape maneuver is complete and has resumed a previously assigned departure clearance/routing.
        2. (b) Arrivals:
          1. (1) A crew member informs ATC that the escape maneuver is complete, and
          2. (2) The aircrew has executed an alternate clearance or requested further instructions.

        NOTE: When the escape procedure is complete, the flight crew must advise ATC they are returning to their previously assigned clearance or request further instructions.

        • EXAMPLE
        • “Denver Tower, United 1154, wind shear escape complete, resuming last assigned heading/(name) DP/clearance.”
        • Or
        • “Denver Tower, United 1154, wind shear escape complete, request further instructions.”


    1. Uncertified tower display workstations must be used only as an aid to assist controllers in visually locating aircraft or in determining their spatial relationship to known geographical points. Radar services and traffic advisories are not to be provided using uncertified tower display workstations. General information may be given in an easy to understand manner, such as “to your right” or “ahead of you.”
      • EXAMPLE
      • “Follow the aircraft ahead of you passing the river at the stacks.”
      • “King Air passing left to right.”
      • FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 10-5-3, Functional Use of Certified Tower Radar Displays.
    2. Local controllers may use certified tower radar displays for the following purposes:
      1. To determine an aircraft's identification, exact location, or spatial relationship to other aircraft.

        NOTE: This authorization does not alter visual separation procedures. When employing visual separation, the provisions of para 7-2-1, Visual Separation, apply unless otherwise authorized by the Service Area Director of Air Traffic Operations.

      2. To provide aircraft with radar traffic advisories.
      3. To provide a direction or suggested headings to VFR aircraft as a method for radar identification or as an advisory aid to navigation.
        • (Identification), PROCEED (direction)-BOUND, (other instructions or information as necessary),
        • or
        • (identification), SUGGESTED HEADING (degrees), (other instructions as necessary).

        NOTE: It is important that the pilot be aware of the fact that the directions or headings being provided are suggestions or are advisory in nature. This is to keep the pilot from being inadvertently misled into assuming that radar vectors (and other associated radar services) are being provided when, in fact, they are not.

      4. To provide information and instructions to aircraft operating within the surface area for which the tower has responsibility.
        • EXAMPLE
        • “TURN BASE LEG NOW.”

        NOTE: Unless otherwise authorized, tower radar displays are intended to be an aid to local controllers in meeting their responsibilities to the aircraft operating on the runways or within the surface area. They are not intended to provide radar benefits to pilots except for those accrued through a more efficient and effective local control position. In addition, local controllers at nonapproach control towers must devote the majority of their time to visually scanning the runways and local area; an assurance of continued positive radar identification could place distracting and operationally inefficient requirements upon the local controller. Therefore, since the requirements of para 5-3-1, Application, cannot be assured, the radar functions prescribed above are not considered to be radar services and pilots should not be advised of being in “radar contact.”

    3. Additional functions may be performed provided the procedures have been reviewed and authorized by appropriate management levels.


    When requested by a pilot or when you deem it necessary, inform an aircraft of any observed abnormal aircraft condition.

    • (Item) APPEAR/S (observed condition).
    • “Landing gear appears up.”
    • “Landing gear appears down and in place.”
    • “Rear baggage door appears open.”


    1. If traffic conditions permit, approve a pilot's request to cross Class C or Class D surface areas or exceed the Class C or Class D airspace speed limit. Do not, however, approve a speed in excess of 250 knots (288 mph) unless the pilot informs you a higher minimum speed is required.

      NOTE: 14 CFR Section 91.117 permits speeds in excess of 250 knots (288 mph) when so required or recommended in the airplane flight manual or required by normal military operating procedures.

    2. Do not approve a pilot's request or ask a pilot to conduct unusual maneuvers within surface areas of Class B, C, or D airspace if they are not essential to the performance of the flight.

      EXCEPTION. A pilot's request to conduct aerobatic practice activities may be approved, when operating in accordance with a letter of agreement, and the activity will have no adverse effect on safety of the air traffic operation or result in a reduction of service to other users.

      • FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 5-4-8, Aerobatic Practice Areas.

      NOTE: These unusual maneuvers include unnecessary low passes, unscheduled flybys, practice instrument approaches to altitudes below specified minima (unless a landing or touch-and-go is to be made), or any so-called “buzz jobs” wherein a flight is conducted at a low altitude and/or a high rate of speed for thrill purposes. Such maneuvers increase hazards to persons and property and contribute to noise complaints.


    1. Local controllers must visually scan runways to the maximum extent possible.
    2. Ground control must assist local control in visually scanning runways, especially when runways are in close proximity to other movement areas.


    Pilots are required to establish two-way radio communications before entering the Class D airspace. If the controller responds to a radio call with, “(a/c call sign) standby,” radio communications have been established and the pilot can enter the Class D airspace. If workload or traffic conditions prevent immediate provision of airport traffic control services, inform the pilot to remain outside the Class D airspace until conditions permit the services to be provided.



    When volcanic ash is present on the airport surface, and to the extent possible:

    1. Avoid requiring aircraft to come to a full stop while taxiing.
    2. Provide for a rolling takeoff for all departures.

      NOTE: When aircraft begin a taxi or takeoff roll on ash contaminated surfaces, large amounts of volcanic ash will again become airborne. This newly airborne ash will significantly reduce visibility and will be ingested by the engines of following aircraft.


    When a request is made by the pilot-in-command of an aircraft to return to the ramp, gate, or alternate deplaning area due to the Three/Four-Hour Tarmac Rule:

    1. Provide the requested services as soon as operationally practical, or
    2. Advise the pilot-in-command that the requested service cannot be accommodated because it would create a significant disruption to air traffic operations.

    NOTE: Facility procedures, including actions that constitute a significant disruption, vary by airport and must be identified in the facility directive pertaining to the Three/Four-Hour Tarmac Rule.

    • (Identification) TAXI TO (ramp, gate, or alternate deplaning area) VIA (route).
    • or
    • (Identification) EXPECT A (number) MINUTE DELAY DUE TO (ground and/or landing and/or departing) TRAFFIC,
    • or
    • DOT Rule, Enhancing Airline Passenger Protections, 14 CFR, Part 259, commonly referred to as the Three/Four-Hour Tarmac Rule.
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