Air Traffic Organization Policy

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. Other Flight Requests


a. Operations at and above 10,000 feet MSL and below the floor of Class A airspace.

1. Facility air traffic managers or their designated representative may approve or disapprove preflight requests for ATC authorization to deviate from transponder requirements. When coordination requirements are beyond the interphone capability of a terminal facility, the appropriate ARTCC must assume the interfacility coordination task.

2. Pilots/operators may be required to comply with reasonable conditions as necessary to maintain an acceptable level of safety. Such conditions may include:

(a) Filing a flight plan.

(b) Maintaining radio contact with ATC.

(c) Notifying ATC prior to entering the affected airspace.

3. Information regarding approved VFR operations in noncompliance with Mode C transponder requirements must be forwarded to all affected facilities. Facilities must ensure that the information is available at the proper control positions.

4. LOA between facilities and operators or individuals may be established pending the installation of appropriate transponder equipment. Deviations should not be approved for more than 6 months but additional 6-month agreements may be established when required by unusual operational circumstances.

5. Facility air traffic managers must ensure that the local FSDO is provided with sufficient information to permit follow-up on operators who create an unnecessary burden on the ATC system by continually attempting such operations without reasonable effort to install the appropriate equipment.

b. Operations within a Mode C veil and within and above Class C airspace up to 10,000 feet MSL.

A Mode C veil is that airspace within a 30 NM radius of a Class B airspace primary airport from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL excluding the Class B airspace itself.

1. Approvals to deviate from the Mode C requirement by operators of aircraft without transponders must be issued by the facility air traffic manager or his/her designee.

2. Authorizations may be issued for a single event or on a continuing basis.

(a) Single-event authorizations may be issued verbally or in a letter to the proponent.

(b) Long term authorizations must be issued in writing by the appropriate facility air traffic manager or his/her designee. In cases involving another facility's airspace or fringe airports, the authorization should be incorporated into a LOA. Multi-signature LOAs should be used in situations involving two or more individual operators.

3. The following are examples of operations for which authorizations may be issued:

(a) Aircraft with insufficient panel space or electrical system capacity to accommodate a Mode C transponder (e.g., antique aircraft; agricultural aircraft).

(b) Ferrying aircraft.

(c) Operations for the purposes of installing or repairing an aircraft's transponder, or other maintenance/service.

(d) Operations conducted in facility defined areas of nonradar coverage.

(e) Operations conducted by aircraft based at a fringe airport must be limited to those that:

A fringe airport is an airport that is approximately 25 NM or farther from Class B airspace primary airport and is not served by a scheduled air carrier; or an airport outside the Mode C veil at which aircraft operations in the traffic pattern routinely enter the Mode C veil.

(1) Will not adversely impact other operations receiving radar service in the area.

(2) Are restricted to altitudes below 2,500 feet AGL.

(3) Are not coincidental with controlled traffic flows within the terminal area.

(4) Are conducted in the airport traffic pattern and via the most direct routing out of the Mode C veil, consistent with existing traffic and noise abatement procedures.

(f) National defense operations or other operations in the public interest which can be accommodated safely and would not adversely impact the efficient movement of traffic.

4. Written authorizations must specify an effective and expiration date/time, a description of any area(s) and altitude(s) to which the authorization is limited, and any advance call up or other communications requirements deemed appropriate.

5. Facilities must limit each authorization to the airspace for which it is responsible by having the aircraft enter/exit the affected airspace through its delegated airspace. However, to provide expeditious responses to requests, facility managers may consider other methods for processing authorization requests and incorporate such methods in letters of agreement with those ATC facilities that control traffic within the affected airspace.


Handle requests by pilots of these aircraft to operate into airports having U.S. Government operated control towers as follows:

a. If the pilot is unable to contact the tower where the authorization is needed via local telephone, he/she may relay the request through the nearest FSS or the tower if there is no collocated FSS. The request must include:

1. The aircraft identification.

2. The aircraft type.

3. The pilot's name.

4. The departure point.

5. The destination airport.

6. The proposed date and the time of arrival.

b. The facility relaying the request must:

1. Inform the pilot that approval will be invalid if the aircraft does not arrive within 30 minutes before or after the proposed arrival time.

2. Inform the destination airport tower via Service B or Service F circuit. On Service B, the text must begin “NORDO CROP DUSTER LNDG AUZN REQ.”

c. The destination tower must transmit an approval or a disapproval to the originating facility for delivery to the pilot. This approval/disapproval must include consideration of local airport management rules, anticipated traffic, and other influencing factors. As appropriate, it must include special instructions, reason for disapproval, or a suggested alternative arrival time.


14 CFR Part 91 requires that flight test operations be conducted only over open water or sparsely populated areas having a light volume of air traffic. FAA personnel are sometimes asked to assist aircraft operators in selecting areas where it is likely that only a few aircraft will be operating. When such requests are received, FAA personnel must cooperate in every reasonable way. In Class A airspace, aircraft may be cleared on an individual basis to areas having a light volume of air traffic, or they may be required to operate within special operating areas established for flight test activity.


The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) sanctions all speed record attempts before they are made and certifies them on completion. The FAA has agreed to participate in this program by obtaining the certifying start and finish time. Remunerations must not be accepted for services rendered in support of this program.


FAA tower specialists must act as NAA officials for certifying record attempts by commercial aircraft provided that the following conditions are met:

a. Departure Point: Before takeoff, a representative of the airline must submit the NAA Certificate of Start form to the tower specialist and make arrangements with him/her to give and time the signal to the pilot to start the takeoff roll.

b. Arrival Point: A representative of the airline must notify the tower controller at the terminating airport as far in advance as possible that a record attempt is to be made so that he/she will be alerted to time the moment of touchdown. The airline representative must also submit the Certificate of Finish form to the tower controller for certification of the time of touchdown. The participating airline is responsible for collecting and forwarding all NAA forms certified by FAA tower specialists.


a. Except for rare instances, photogrammetric missions must be conducted on “clear days,” in VFR flight conditions, and usually when the sun angle is high. Accordingly, infrequent IFR flight plan filing can be anticipated.

b. Most missions will involve a series of overlapping photographic exposures, although some missions may involve only a single exposure. In any case, the aircraft must necessarily move precisely along a predetermined course/s at a predetermined altitude. This part of the mission is called the flight line.

c. Facility management personnel must be guided by the following when handling photogrammetric flights.

1. Facilities are expected to make every reasonable effort to accommodate photogrammetric missions, but judgment must be exercised to minimize overall system impact.

2. When contacted by the pilot in advance, the controlling facility is required to secure a complete understanding of the operation to be conducted. In this regard, it must be anticipated that the operation may be delayed due to weather (this possibility should be covered in the preflight planning). Since the flight could be delayed not only for hours but in some cases for days, facility personnel must be adequately briefed to cope with such situations on a spontaneous basis.

3. When the pilot commences a flight line (the actual photographic run), every reasonable effort should be made to permit the flight to continue uninterrupted; i.e., without change in course or altitude. Should it become necessary to break the aircraft off the flight line, it should be vectored or cleared back into position for another run as soon as possible.

The Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors (MAPPS) speaks for the photogrammetric flight industry (www.mapps.org). FAA officials have emphasized the following points to MAPPS:

 a. The pilot is expected to make every effort to contact the appropriate ATC facility prior to the mission to explain flight requirements and to avoid “no notice” air/ground telephone requests whenever possible.

 b. That firm “hard and fast” approvals cannot be guaranteed due to the rapid changes which can occur in the ATC operational situation, but every reasonable effort will be made by ATC to accommodate pilot requests.

 c. The pilot is expected to say “This is a photo survey mission” when contacting the ATC facility via air/ground communications and subsequently to inform the controller when the flight line is commenced.


Air traffic managers may approve requests to conduct aerobatic practice activity within Class B, C, D, or E airspace, provided the following requirements have been satisfied:

a. The operations are conducted in accordance with a waiver issued by the appropriate FSDO to the aircraft operator for all applicable Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

b. The operation must not adversely affect the safety of the air traffic operation or result in a reduction of service to other users.

c. The facility manager must evaluate the impact on air traffic controller workload and the service requirements of the airspace where the operation will be conducted before authorizing these operations.

d. A facility directive must be prepared describing the procedures for managing these operations. The directive must contain, as a minimum, the controller and aircraft operator responsibilities, and a diagram that depicts the geographical area in which the activity will take place.

1. The air traffic manager's approval to conduct these operations is not a waiver to the CFR. The issuance of waivers to applicable part/section of the CFR is the responsibility of the FSDO.

2. The Class of airspace the operation is conducted in determines what air traffic approval, if any, is required.

14 CFR Section 91.303, Aerobatic flight.

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