U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Air Traffic Organization Policy

ORDER
JO 7210.3X
Effective Date:
February 9, 2012
 
     
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration
       Includes:  Errata effective 2/9/12, Change 1 effective 7/26/12, Change 2 effective 3/7/13, and Change 3 effective 8/22/13
 

Section 4. Recorders

3-4-1. USE OF RECORDERS

a. Air traffic facilities must record operational communications to the maximum extent practicable.

b. Record at each operating position to include all data transmitted and/or received via radio, telephone, VSCS, or automated means such as Mode S, Data Link, and satellite. Facility management must advise operating positions when the recording equipment associated with these positions is not operating or otherwise unavailable for recording. Facility management must then ensure that a written record, or equivalent, to the extent possible, is made for all IFR clearances.

c. If combined positions are periodically split into individual positions, record them on separate channels when so used.

d. Supervisors must ensure that the proper FAA/telephone company (TELCO) “jacks” are used to obtain the required recording at facilities with dual capability.

e. Use a separate channel on each recorder to record time at facilities with time-announce systems. Where these systems have not been installed, a spare receiver tuned to a time transmitting station may be used.

f. Operational voice recorders must be provided a time source.

g. Except as noted in para 3-4-2, Assignment of Recorder Channels, record with regard to the position in lieu of the function. All headset audio on a position must be recorded on a single channel. In facilities so equipped, all FAA-speaker audio must be recorded on the “radio only” jack channel. If a “radio only” jack is not available, another channel may be used.

h. Reserve one channel of each recorder for recording time; except two channels must be reserved on the FA5394, 30-channel recorder. If a coded time source and a time code reader are available, record the coded time source in preference to voice time announcements. Recording more than one time source on any recorder is prohibited.

i. Each FSS collocated with an ARTCC will use the center's voice recorder system resources to minimize requirements for spare parts, test equipment, and routine maintenance.

j. Recorders may be used to monitor any position for evaluation, training, or quality control purposes.

k. Air traffic managers should develop procedures to ensure that frequencies are not recorded when facilities are officially closed.

3-4-2. ASSIGNMENT OF RECORDER CHANNELS

a. Assign position recording channels in the following order of priority:

1. ARTCCs:

(a) Radar controller.

(b) Sector controller.

(c) Radar handoff controller.

(d) Radio controller.

(e) Coordinator.

(f) Supervisor.

(g) Traffic Manager.

(h) Flight data.

(i) Data systems coordinator.

(j) Mission coordinator.

(k) AMIS controller.

2. Terminals:

(a) Arrival control.

(b) Departure control.

(c) Local control.

(d) Precision approach radar.

(e) Clearance delivery.

(f) Ground control.

(g) Inbound flight data.

(h) Outbound flight data.

(i) Direction-finding.

(j) Supervisory.

(k) Automatic terminal information services (ATIS) - air traffic managers must designate a channel to record ATIS when a separate channel is not available. Record the ATIS message once at the time of preparation on the designated channel. Make a written record of each ATIS and retain for 15 days if a recorded channel is not available.

3. FSSs:

(a) Flight watch.

(b) Inflight.

(c) Preflight.

(d) Flight data.

(e) Supervisory.

4. ATCSCC:

(a) National Operations Manager (NOM).

(b) National Traffic Management Officer (NTMO).

(c) National Traffic Management Specialist (NTMS) operating position.

b. You may use existing remaining spare recording channels to record the primary radio frequencies of positions using the same priority stated above.

3-4-3. CHECKING AND CHANGING RECORDING EQUIPMENT

a. At En Route facilities and the ATCSCC, Technical Operations personnel must be responsible for checking and changing recorder tapes, digital audio tapes (DAT), and Digital Audio Legal Recorders (DALR).

REFERENCE-
(Analog) FAAO JO 6670.4, Maintenance of Multichannel Recorder Equipment,

or

(Digital) FAAO JO 6670.13, Maintenance of Digital Voice Recorder (DVR) Equipment and FAAO JO 6670.15, Maintenance of Digital Voice Recorder System Series II (DVR II) Equipment.

b. At terminal and flight service facilities:

1. Where recorders are not convenient to operating quarters, the facility air traffic manager and the Technical Operations local manager must develop an agreement assigning the responsibility for checking and changing recorder tapes, DATs, and DALRs.

2. Where recorders are convenient to operating quarters, air traffic personnel must perform recorder checks.

c. If air traffic personnel check and change tapes, DATs, or DALRs, the facility air traffic manager must ensure that personnel are trained in the proper methods to be used.

d. Recorder monitor operation checks on analog voice recorder systems must be performed daily and must not exceed 26 hours between checks. Procedures for monitoring operations in analog recorders are described in FAAO JO 6670.4, Maintenance of Multichannel Recorder Equipment.

1. On a daily basis (not to exceed 26 hours), validate the Nicelog supervision window for alarms, and verify normal operation of equipment on digital audio tapes.

2. Indicate accomplishments of checks on FAA Form 7230-4, Facility Record of Operation.

e. At facilities using DALR:

1. On a daily basis (not to exceed 26 hours), validate the Castle Rock SNMPc window for the alarms, and verify normal operation of the DALR system.

2. Document the accomplishment of the check on FAA Form 7230-4, Facility Record of Operation.

3-4-4. HANDLING RECORDER TAPES, DATs, OR DALR STORAGE

a. Place the following information on each reel or DAT storage case before storage:

1. The recorder number.

2. The date and the time UTC.

3. The initials of the person changing the reel.

b. Retain the tapes or DATs for 45 days, and ensure the DALR .wav file is set to retain recordings for 45 days, except:

1. En route facility utilizing system analysis recording tapes as their radar retention media (regardless of the type of voice recorder system being used) must retain voice recordings for 15 days.

2. Those facilities utilizing an analog voice recorder system must retain voice recordings for 15 days.

3. The David J. Hurley Air Traffic Control System Command Center must retain voice recordings for 15 days.

4. Accidents: Retain the tapes, DATs, or DALRs in accordance with FAAO 8020.11, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation and Reporting.

5. Incidents: Retain the tapes, DATs, or DALRs in accordance with FAAO 8020.11, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation, and Reporting; and FAAO 1350.15, Records Organization, Transfer, and Destruction Standards.

6. Hijacking: Retain all relevant tapes, DATs, or DALRs of hijackings from the time communication commences with the aircraft until communication has terminated. After 3 years, contact System Safety and Procedures for the release of the tapes, DATs, or DALRs. In every case, a release from System Safety and Procedures is required to return hijack tapes, DATs, or DALRs to service.

7. Tarmac Delay: When a facility is notified that an aircraft has or may have exceeded the “Three/Four­Hour Tarmac Rule,” retain voice recordings relevant to the event for 1 year.

3-4-5. VSCS DATA RETENTION

a. Retain the VSCS cassette, disc, and tape recordings and data communications/console typewriter printouts for 15 days unless they are related to an accident/incident as defined in accordance with FAAO 1350.15, Records Organization, Transfer, and Destruction Standards, Chapter 11, Section 8020.

b. If a request is received to retain the VSCS communications traffic listings and the system configuration and/or mapping data following an accident, the printout of the relative data will suffice, and the VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape may then be returned to service through the normal rotational cycle. The printout data are considered a permanent record and must be retained in accordance with aircraft accident/incident retention requirements. Reduction of the VSCS cassette, disc, and tape recordings to hard-copy format must be made at the earliest time convenient to the facility involved without derogating the ATC function and without prematurely taking the VSCS out of ATC service. Do not make these data and printouts a part of the accident/incident package.

c. If a request is received to retain a specific data recording and the data is available and contained on VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape, the VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape must be retained in its entirety. If the data requested is contained on several different media (e.g., VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape media), the facility may transfer all pertinent data to a common media and label the media a Duplicate Original. After successful transfer, the original VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape may be returned to service through the normal rotational cycle. However, if a specific request is received to retain the original VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape, the original VSCS cassette, disc, and/or tape must be retained in its entirety.

d. Treat the VSCS cassette, disc, tape, duplicate originals, and data communications/console typewriter printouts related to hijack aircraft the same as voice recorder tapes. (See para 3-4-4, Handling Recorder Tapes or DATs).

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