Section 2. Operations
5-2-1. INFORMATION REQUIREMENTS
a. Start assistance as soon as enough information
has been obtained upon which to act. Information
requirements will vary, depending on the existing
situation. Minimum required information for inflight
1. Aircraft identification, type, and transponder.
2. Nature of the emergency.
3. Pilot's desires.
b. After initiating action, provide the altimeter
setting, and obtain the following items or any other
pertinent information from the pilot or aircraft
operator as necessary:
1. Aircraft altitude.
2. Fuel remaining, in time.
3. Pilotreported weather.
4. Pilot capability for IFR flight.
5. Time and place of last known position.
6. Heading since last known position.
8. Navigation equipment capability.
9. NAVAID signals received.
10. Visible landmarks.
11. Aircraft color.
12. Number of people on board.
13. Point of departure and destination.
14. Emergency equipment on board.
5-2-2. FREQUENCY CHANGES
Provide assistance on the initial contact frequency.
Change frequencies only when there is a valid reason.
Advise the pilot to return to the initial frequency if
unable to establish contact.
5-2-3. AIRCRAFT ORIENTATION
Orient an aircraft by the means most appropriate to
the circumstances. Recognized methods include:
d. Sighting by other aircraft.
5-2-4. ALTITUDE CHANGE FOR
If deemed necessary, and if weather and
circumstances permit, recommend the aircraft maintain or increase altitude to
improve communications or reception.
5-2-5. ALERTING CONTROL FACILITY
When an aircraft is considered to be in emergency
status, alert the appropriate control facility, and
forward the following information as available:
a. Facility/sector and position calling.
b. Flight plan, including color of aircraft, if
c. Time of last transmission received, by whom,
and frequency used.
d. Last known position, estimated present position, and maximum range of flight of the aircraft
based on remaining fuel and airspeed.
e. Action taken by reporting facility and proposed
f. Number of persons on board.
g. Fuel status.
h. Position of other aircraft near the aircraft's route
of flight, when requested.
i. Whether an ELT signal has been heard or
reported in the vicinity of the last known position.
j. Other pertinent information.
5-2-6. VFR AIRCRAFT IN WEATHER
If a VFR aircraft requests assistance when it
encounters or is about to encounter IFR weather
conditions, request the pilot contact the appropriate
control facility. Inform that facility of the situation.
If the pilot is unable to communicate with the control
facility, relay information and clearances.
5-2-7. AIRCRAFT POSITION PLOTS
If necessary, plot the flight path of the aircraft on a
chart, including position reports, predicted positions,
possible range of flight, and any other pertinent
information. Solicit the assistance of other aircraft
known to be operating near the aircraft in distress.
Forward the information to the appropriate control
5-2-8. EMERGENCY LOCATOR
TRANSMITTER (ELT) SIGNALS
When an ELT signal is heard or reported:
a. Notify the ARTCC, who will coordinate with
the Rescue Coordination Center (RCC).
b. If the ELT signal report was received from an
airborne aircraft, attempt to obtain the following
1. The aircraft altitude.
2. Where and when the signal was first heard.
3. Where and when maximum signal was heard.
4. Where and when signal faded or was lost.
Solicit the assistance of other aircraft known to be
operating in the signal area for the same information.
Relay all information obtained to the ARTCC.
c. Attempt to obtain fixes or bearings on the signal
and forward any information obtained to the ARTCC.
Fix information, in relation to a VOR or a VORTAC
(radial distance), facilitates accurate ELT plotting by
RCC and should be provided when possible.
d. In addition to the above, when the ELT signal
strength indicates the transmitter may be on the
airport or in the vicinity, notify the onsite technical
operations services personnel for their action.
e. Air traffic personnel must not leave their
required duty stations to locate an ELT signal source.
f. Attempt to locate the signal source by checking
all adjacent airports not already checked by other
ATC facilities for the following information:
1. Can ELT signal be heard?
2. Does signal strength indicate transmitter may
be on airport?
3. Can attempt be made to locate and silence
4. Advise the results of any action taken.
Forward all information obtained and action taken to
g. Notify the ARTCC if the signal source is
located and whether the aircraft is in distress, plus any
action taken or proposed for silencing the transmitter.
Request person who located signal's source to
attempt to obtain ELT make, model, etc., for relay to
RCC via the ARTCC.
h. Notify the ARTCC if the signal terminates prior
to location of the source.
1. The ARTCC serves as the contact point for collecting
information and coordinating with the RCC on all ELT
2. Operational ground testing of ELT has been
authorized during the first 5 minutes of each hour. To
avoid confusing the tests with an actual alarm, the testing
is restricted to no more than three audio sweeps.
3. Portable, handcarried receivers assigned to air traffic
facilities (where no technical operations services
personnel are available) may be loaned to responsible
airport personnel or local authorities to assist in locating
5-2-9. EXPLOSIVE CARGO
When you receive information that an emergency
landing will be made with explosive cargo aboard,
inform the pilot of the safest or least congested airport
areas. Relay the explosive cargo information to:
a. The emergency equipment crew.
b. The airport management.
c. The appropriate military agencies when
requested by the pilot.
5-2-10. EXPLOSIVE DETECTION DOG
Take the following actions upon receipt of a pilot
request for the location of the nearest explosive
detection K-9 team.
a. Obtain the aircraft's identification and current
position, and advise the person in charge of the watch
of the pilot's request.
b. Relay the pilot's request to the FAA
Washington Operations Center, AEO100, (202)
2673333, and provide the aircraft identification and
c. AEO100 will provide the nearest location.
Have AEO100 standby while the information is
relayed to the pilot.
d. If the pilot wishes to divert to the airport
location provided, obtain an estimated arrival time
from the pilot, and advise the person in charge of the
e. After the aircraft destination has been
determined, provide the estimated arrival time to
AEO100. AEO-100 will then notify the appropriate
airport authority at the diversion airport. In the event
the K9 team is not available at this airport, AEO100
will advise the air traffic facility and provide them
with the secondary location. Relay this to the pilot
concerned for appropriate action.
FAAO 7210.3, Para 2111, Explosives Detection K9 Teams
5-2-11. INFLIGHT EQUIPMENT
When a pilot reports an inflight equipment
malfunction, take the following action:
a. Request the nature and extent of any special
14 CFR Part 91.187 requires the pilot in command of each
aircraft operated in controlled airspace under IFR MUST
report as soon as practical to ATC any malfunctions of
navigational, approach, or communication equipment
occurring in flight. This includes the degree to which the
capability of the aircraft to operate IFR in the air traffic
control system is impaired and the nature and extent of any
assistance desired from air traffic control.
b. Provide the maximum assistance possible
consistent with equipment, workload, and any
special handling requested.
c. Relay any special handling required or being
provided to other specialists or facilities who will
subsequently handle the aircraft.
5-2-12. NAVY FLEET SUPPORT MISSIONS
Handle Navy Fleet Support Missions aircraft as
a. When you receive information concerning an
emergency to a U.S. Navy Special Flight Number
aircraft, inform the nearest ARTCC of all pertinent
b. Relay the words “SPECIAL FLIGHT NUMBER” followed by the number given as part of the
routine IFR flight information.
5-2-13. COUNTRIES IN THE SPECIAL
INTEREST FLIGHT PROGRAM
Upon receipt of any flight movement data on an
aircraft registered in a special interest country, notify
the supervisor and the appropriate ARTCC immediately. Additionally, if the aircraft is making an
emergency or an unscheduled landing in the United
States, notify the nearest Bureau of Customs and
Border protection office.
Special interest countries include Russia, China (not
including Hong Kong, Taiwan, or Macau), Cuba, Iran,
North Korea, Syria, and Sudan.
5-2-14. MINIMUM FUEL
If an aircraft declares a state of “minimum fuel,”
inform any facility to whom control jurisdiction is
transferred of the minimum fuel problem and be alert
for any occurrence which might delay the aircraft en
Use of the term “minimum fuel” indicates recognition by
a pilot that the fuel supply has reached a state whereupon
reaching destination, any undue delay cannot be
accepted. This is not an emergency situation but merely an
advisory that indicates an emergency situation is possible
should any undue delay occur. A minimum fuel advisory
does not imply a need for traffic priority. Common sense
and good judgment will determine the extent of assistance
to be given in minimum fuel situations. If, at any time, the
remaining usable fuel supply suggests the need for traffic
priority to ensure a safe landing, the pilot should declare
an emergency and report fuel remaining in minutes.
5-2-15. AIRCRAFT BOMB THREATS
a. When information is received from any source
that a bomb has been placed on, in, or near an aircraft
for the purpose of damaging or destroying such
aircraft, notify the supervisor or facility manager. If
the threat is general in nature, handle it as a suspicious
activity. When the threat is targeted against a specific
aircraft and you are in contact with that aircraft, take
the following actions as appropriate:
1. Facility supervisors are expected to notify the
appropriate offices, agencies, and operators/air carriers
according to applicable plans, directives, FAA Order JO
7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, or
2. Suspicious activity is covered in FAA Order JO 7610.4,
Chapter 7, Hijacked/Suspicious Aircraft Reporting and
Procedures. Military facilities would report a general
threat through the chain of command or according to
FAAO JO 7610.4, Chapter 7, Hijacked/Suspicious Aircraft Reporting and
3. A specific threat may be directed at an aircraft registry
or tail number, the air carrier flight number, the name of
an operator, crew member or passenger, the departure/arrival point or times, or combinations thereof.
1. Advise the pilot of the threat.
2. Report the threat to the Domestic Events
Network (DEN) Air Traffic Security Coordinator
(ATSC) via (202) 4934170. If unable to contact the
DEN ATSC notify the Transportation Security
Administration/Transportation Security Operation
Center (TSA/TSOC) directly at 7035633400.
3. Ask if the pilot desires to climb or descend to
an altitude that would equalize or reduce the outside
air pressure/existing cabin air pressure differential.
Obtain and relay an appropriate clearance considering minimum en route altitude (MEA), minimum
obstruction clearance altitude (MOCA), minimum
reception altitude (MRA), and weather.
Equalizing existing cabin air pressure with outside air
pressure is a key step which the pilot may wish to take to
minimize the damage potential of a bomb.
4. Handle the aircraft as an emergency, and/or
provide the most expeditious handling possible with
respect to the safety of other aircraft, weather
conditions, ground facilities, and personnel.
Emergency handling is discretionary and should be based
on the situation. With certain types of threats, plans may
call for a lowkey action or response.
5. Obtain and relay clearance to a new
destination, if requested.
6. When a pilot requests technical assistance or
if it is apparent that such assistance is needed, do
NOT suggest what actions the pilot should take
concerning a bomb, but obtain the following
information and notify the supervisor who will
contact the DEN ATSC or TSA/TSOC as explained
in a2 above.
This information is needed by TSA explosives experts so
that the situation can be assessed and immediate
recommendations made to the pilot. The aviation
explosives experts may not be familiar with all military
aircraft configurations but can offer technical assistance
which would be beneficial to the pilot.
(a) Type, series, and model of the aircraft.
(b) Precise location/description of the bomb
device, if known.
(c) Other details which may be pertinent.
b. When a bomb threat involves an aircraft on the
ground and you are in contact with the suspect
aircraft, take the following actions in addition to
those discussed in the preceding paragraphs which
may be appropriate:
1. If the pilot ignores the threat, recommend that
takeoff be delayed until the pilot or aircraft operator
establishes that a bomb is not aboard.
2. Advise the aircraft to remain as far away from
other aircraft and facilities as possible, to clear the
runway, if appropriate, and to taxi to an isolated or
designated search area. When it is impractical or if the
pilot takes an alternative action, such as parking and
offloading immediately, advise other aircraft to
remain clear of the suspect aircraft by at least
100 yards, if able.
Passenger deplaning may be of paramount importance
and must be considered before the aircraft is parked or
moved away from the service areas. The decision to use
ramp facilities rests with the pilot, aircraft operator,
and/or airport manager.
c. If you are unable to inform the suspect aircraft
of a bomb threat or if you lose contact with the
aircraft, advise your supervisor to contact the DEN
ATSC for relay of pertinent details to other sectors or
facilities, as deemed necessary.
d. When a pilot reports the discovery of a bomb or
suspected bomb on an aircraft, determine the pilot's
intentions and comply with his/her requests insofar as
possible. Take all the actions discussed in the
preceding paragraphs which may be appropriate
under the existing circumstances.
e. The handling of aircraft when a hijacker has or
is suspected of having a bomb requires special
considerations. Be responsive to the pilot's requests
and notify supervisory personnel. Apply hijacking
procedures in accordance with FAA Order JO 7610.4,
Special Operations, Chapter 7, and if needed, offer
assistance to the pilot according to the preceding
5-2-16. EMERGENCY SECURITY
CONTROL OF AIR TRAFFIC (ESCAT)
a. The ESCAT Plan outlines responsibilities,
procedures, and instructions for the security control
of civil and military air traffic and NAVAIDs under
various emergency conditions.
b. When notified of ESCAT implementation,
follow the instructions received from the Air Traffic
Control System Command Center
1. To ensure that ESCAT actions can be taken
expeditiously, periodic ESCAT tests will be
conducted in connection with NORAD exercises.
Tests may be local, regional, or national in scope.
2. FSS must participate in tests except where
such participation will involve the safety of aircraft.
3. During ESCAT tests, all actions will be
FAAO JO 7610.4, Chapter 6, Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic