Interpretation 23

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  • Date of Interpretation Applicable 7110.65 section
    2/28/2017 2-1-13

    Background Information

    This is in response to a request for interpretation of Federal Aviation Administration Order (FAAO) JO 7110.65, Paragraphs 2-1-13a and 2-1-13a Note 1, Formation Flights.


    Once a formation flight has requested breakup, may a controller issue clearances to the aircraft involved, or must the formation be made to establish itself into individual flights with approved separation before clearances may be issued?


    Note 1 of the paragraph states: “Separation responsibility between aircraft within the formation during transition to individual control rests with the pilots concerned until approved separation has been attained.” FAA JO 7610.4, Special Operations, paragraph 12-11-3, concurs with this language by stating: “Separation between aircraft within the formation is the responsibility of 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 and during join up or breakaway.”

    Therefore, a controller may issue control instructions through the lead aircraft which will result in approved separation without the need for the formation to first arrange itself into individual flights.
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