Air Traffic Organization Policy

JO 7210.3
Effective Date:
April 3, 2014
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration

Section 6. Radar Use


a. Electronic Commissioning:

1. Subsequent to the initial installation of an ARSR/ASR system, the provisions of FAAO 8200.1, United States Standard Flight Inspection Manual, para 215 must be satisfied prior to the electronic commissioning of the facility.

2. Major equipment modifications or major component changes to existing installations may necessitate a special flight check to reaffirm that the radar is continuing to meet the original commissioning criteria. When such a change is made, the new type equipment must be electronically commissioned in accordance with subpara 1 above.

3. If ASR equipment cannot meet the surveillance approach requirement during the flight check, consider this phase of the flight check as secondary and commission the equipment for its primary purpose of providing radar traffic control service.

b. Operational Implementation:

1. When a radar facility is to be commissioned, a 60-day period of use (without the application of radar separation standards) should elapse between the electronic commissioning date and the inauguration of radar air traffic control service. This period will permit controllers to gain experience in tracking, vectoring, and identification. It will better ensure a full understanding of the equipment, procedures, and services to be provided. However, this 60-day period is not mandatory and may be reduced or eliminated provided NOTAM requirements can be satisfied and the Service Area office is assured that the intended service can be carried out in a safe and efficient manner.

2. Only one phase of service should be implemented at a time. A period of 30 to 60 days should elapse between the implementation of subsequent phases. For example, ARTCCs may initiate en route service on specific routes or within specified areas; terminals may implement either arrival or departure service 30 to 60 days prior to expanding to other areas/services. Advertised services must be implemented on an all-aircraft basis and must be accomplished in accordance with FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. If services are initially implemented on a “part-time” basis, the daily hours (preferably 8 hours or longer) must be specified in the aeronautical information message and the advertised services maintained during those hours. The extent and types of service will be dependent upon operational requirements, personnel, and equipment capabilities. The schedule of radar service implementation must be jointly determined by the facility air traffic manager and the Service Area office. Service Area office approval is required prior to the implementation of each phase of radar service.

3. A review of the existing LOA must be accomplished to ensure that necessary changes are made or that new agreements are consummated and approved prior to implementing any phase of radar traffic control. Airspace areas for which radar terminal facilities have responsibility should include sufficient vector areas for:

(a) Positioning and spacing of arriving aircraft en route to the airport from outer fixes or radar handoff points.

Normally, no less than two nor more than four outer fixes are used to serve a single approach course. These fixes are normally located to permit simultaneous holding at the same altitude. When only one radar approach control position is used, two outer fixes are optimum. If two radar approach positions are available, four fixes are optimum.

(b) Spacing and control of departing aircraft and aircraft executing missed approaches.

(c) Positioning and spacing transitioning aircraft.

c. Notification Procedures:

1. Issue an aeronautical information message for each location at least 30 days prior to and again immediately following implementation of radar ATC procedures containing the following:

(a) Nature of service; e.g., departure, arrival, en route.

(b) Proposed or effective date.

(c) Specific airspace affected.

(d) Hours of service if less than 24 hours per day.


2. When an additional service is to be implemented or a change in programmed areas of application is made, issue an aeronautical information message delineating that new service. Advance notice is desirable. However, it is not mandatory, and the aeronautical information message may be issued concurrently with the inauguration of the extended radar service.

3. When a change in ARSR/ASR equipment is made, issue an aeronautical information message if a modification to existing service will result and/or if a break in service of more than 30 minutes will occur.

4. A copy of each of the memoranda/aeronautical information message sent to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Management Office for inclusion in the Notices to Airmen publication and/or the Airport/Facility Directory must be addressed to Manager of Publications, Manager of System Safety and Procedures, Manager of Flight Services Administration, and the appropriate Service Area offices.

3-6-2. RADAR USE

a. Approved radar systems may be used for:

1. Surveillance of aircraft to assure the effective use of airspace.

2. Vectoring aircraft to provide separation and radar navigation.

3. Vectoring aircraft to final approach.

4. Vectoring IFR aircraft to the airport of intended landing.

5. Monitoring instrument approaches.

6. Providing radar traffic, weather, chaff, and bird activity information.

7. Providing assistance to pilots of aircraft in distress.

b. Approved terminal radar systems may also be used for:

1. Conducting precision or surveillance approaches.

2. Formulation of clearances and control intructions based on runways and movement areas observable on the ASDE.

In accordance with FAAO JO 7110.65, Chapter 3, Airport Traffic Control - Terminal, Section 6, Airport Surface Detection Procedures.


Not Applicable to STARS.

Facility air traffic managers must ensure that radar controllers perform daily performance checks of the decoder control box as follows:

a. Each controller is responsible for determining on a day-to-day basis if the operation of his/her decoder control box is satisfactory for ATC purposes. Decoder control box performance can be determined by checking all switches, thumbwheel code selectors, and selected channels to ensure that they are functioning properly. The actual operation of each channel should be checked by decoding a known target sequentially on each channel and observing it on both double and single slash. Notify the OMIC/OSIC if a malfunction is observed.

b. OMICs/OSICs must make an entry on FAA Form 7230-4 of any malfunctions and report same to the Technical Operations personnel on duty.

c. At sites equipped with automatic beacon decoders, such as ARTS and the TPX-42, the radar beacon control decoder box need not be checked daily. The requirements of subpara a above must be met as soon as possible after reverting to broadband beacon information.


a. Facility air traffic managers may assign Mode 3/A codes to be monitored in addition to those required by FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, Chapter 5, Section 2, Beacon Systems.

b. A facility directive must be issued establishing facility standards for displaying required transponder replies in all available operational modes.

c. Where desirable, beacon targets may be displaced at a slightly greater range than their respective primary returns. When beacon displacement is elected, issue a facility directive specifying the standard relationship between primary returns and the beacon control slash of secondary returns. The maximum allowable beacon target displacement which may be specified by the facility air traffic manager is 1/4 mile for STARS and 1/2 mile applied in 1/4 mile increments for all other facilities.


a. Minimum target size for terminal radar systems using terminal digital radar or full digital target symbols, except for MEARTS, must not be less than the minimum target size shown in Technical Operations' orders concerning the maintenance of terminal digital radar. The target symbol must be centered on the terminal digital radar/full digital system type target presentation.

Target size is fixed in MEARTS regardless of range or data block character size.

b. When operating in FUSION, the minimum target size for Precision Approach Monitor (PAM) operations and for the normal use of tower radar displays is 1,200 feet. The target symbol must be centered on the terminal digital radar/full digital system type target presentation.

Increased separation required (ISR) will be required for aircraft outside the range for PAM or other normal use of certified tower radar displays.


a. The following system settings for the terminal digital radar/DVCP must be established in a facility directive.

1. Normal weather setting positions when 2-level weather is selected on the system control panel.

2. MEARTS normal weather setting positions when 3-level weather is selected on the system control panel.

3. Normal weather setting positions when 6-level weather is selected on the system control panel.

4. Name, range/azimuth, altitude, and coordinates of prominent obstructions.

5. Azimuth and range settings of moving target indicator (MTI) reflectors used for map alignment.

6. Permanent beacon target (Parrot) used for map alignment location.

b. The following display settings must be established in a facility directive, except for MEARTS:

1. Weather/Radar Gate normal setting.

2. Position startup weather level settings.

c. The air traffic manager and Technical Operations SMO manager must prepare a local order defining the procedures needed to protect the antenna, shutdown the antenna, transfer power between high and low voltage, and transfer from one channel to another channel.


a. Air traffic managers at radar facilities must determine whether or not a clear operational benefit will result by establishing prearranged coordination procedures (P-ACP). Such procedures would allow aircraft under one controller's jurisdiction to penetrate or transit another controller's airspace in a manner that assures standard separation without individual coordination for each aircraft. When reviewing existing P-ACPs, or contemplating the establishment of these procedures, consideration must be given to airspace realignment to preclude coordination/penetration of another operational position's airspace. Prior to implementing a P-ACP, negotiations should be accomplished locally and all affected personnel must be thoroughly trained in the application of the procedures.

b. When P-ACPs are established, a facility directive must be published. The directive must include, as a minimum:

1. Requirement that the NAS Stage A (en route) or ATTS (terminal) systems are fully operational.

2. Procedures to be applied in the event that prearranged coordination procedures are not practicable.

3. The position(s) authorized to penetrate the protected airspace of an adjacent position.

4. Detailed responsibilities relating to P-ACP for each position.

5. The requirement that two positions of operation cannot be authorized to penetrate each other's airspace simultaneously.

6. Controllers who penetrate another controller's airspace using P-ACP must display data block information of that controller's aircraft which must contain, at a minimum, the position symbol and altitude information. 

7. Controllers who penetrate another controller's airspace using P-ACP must determine whether the lead aircraft is a heavy or B757 when separating aircraft operating directly behind, or directly behind and less than 1,000 feet.  

8. Procedures to be applied for those modes of operation when the computer fails or is shut down, the beacon fails and only primary is available, and for nonbeacon aircraft or at automated facilities aircraft without an associated full data block. 

FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-10, Prearranged Coordination.

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