Section 4. Transfer of Radar Identification
To provide continuous radar service to an aircraft and facilitate a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic, it is often necessary to transfer radar identification of an aircraft from one controller to another. This section describes the terms, methods, and responsibilities associated with this task. Interfacility and intrafacility transfers of radar identification must be accomplished in all areas of radar surveillance except where it is not operationally feasible. Where such constraints exist, they must be:
a. Covered in letters of agreement which clearly state that control will not be based upon a radar handoff, or
b. Coordinated by the transferring and receiving controllers for a specified period of time.
a. Handoff. An action taken to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft from one controller to another controller if the aircraft will enter the receiving controller's airspace and radio communications with the aircraft will be transferred.
b. Radar Contact. The term used to inform the controller initiating a handoff that the aircraft is identified and approval is granted for the aircraft to enter the receiving controller's airspace.
c. Point Out. A physical or automated action taken by a controller to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft to another controller if the aircraft will or may enter the airspace or protected airspace of another controller and radio communications will not be transferred.
d. Point Out Approved. The term used to inform the controller initiating a point out that the aircraft is identified and that approval is granted for the aircraft to enter the receiving controller's airspace, as coordinated, without a communications transfer or the appropriate automated system response.
e. Traffic. A term used to transfer radar identification of an aircraft to another controller for the purpose of coordinating separation action. Traffic is normally issued:
1. In response to a handoff or point out;
2. In anticipation of a handoff or point out; or
3. In conjunction with a request for control of an aircraft.
f. Traffic Observed. The term used to inform the controller issuing the traffic restrictions that the traffic is identified and that the restrictions issued are understood and will be complied with.
a. Transfer the radar identification of an aircraft by at least one of the following methods:
1. Physically point to the target on the receiving controller's display.
2. Use landline voice communications.
3. Use automation capabilities.
4. TERMINAL. Use the “Modify” or “Quick Look” functions for data transfer between the TRACON and tower cab only if specific procedures are established in a facility directive. The local controller has the responsibility to determine whether or not conditions are adequate for the use of ARTS/STARS data on the BRITE/DBRITE/TDW.
b. When making a handoff, point-out, or issuing traffic restrictions, relay information to the receiving controller in the following order:
1. The position of the target relative to a fix, map symbol, or radar target known and displayed by both the receiving and transferring controller. Mileage from the reference point may be omitted when relaying the position of a target if a full data block associated with the target has been forced on the receiving controller's radar display.
2. The aircraft identification, as follows:
(a) The aircraft call sign, or
(b) The discrete beacon code of the aircraft during interfacility point-outs only, if both the receiving and the transferring controllers agree.
3. The assigned altitude, appropriate restrictions, and information that the aircraft is climbing or descending, if applicable, except when inter/intrafacility directives ensure that the altitude information will be known by the receiving controller.
2. Those en route facilities using host software that provides capability for passing interim altitude must include the specific operations and procedures for use of this procedure in a LOA between the appropriate facilities.
c. When receiving a handoff, point-out, or traffic restrictions, respond to the transferring controller as follows:
d. If any doubt as to target identification exists after attempting confirmation in accordance with this section, apply the provisions of para 5-3-5, Questionable Identification.
a. When using the term “traffic” for coordinating separation, the controller issuing traffic must issue appropriate restrictions.
b. The controller accepting the restrictions must be responsible to ensure that approved separation is maintained between the involved aircraft.
5-4-5. TRANSFERRING CONTROLLER HANDOFF
The transferring controller must:
a. Complete a radar handoff prior to an aircraft's entering the airspace delegated to the receiving controller.
b. Verbally obtain the receiving controller's approval prior to making any changes to an aircraft's flight path, altitude, or data block information while the handoff is being initiated or after acceptance, unless otherwise specified by a LOA or a facility directive.
c. Ensure that, prior to transferring communications:
1. Potential violations of adjacent airspace and potential conflicts between aircraft in their own area of jurisdiction are resolved.
2. Necessary coordination has been accomplished with all controllers through whose area of jurisdiction the aircraft will pass prior to entering the receiving controller's area of jurisdiction, except when such coordination is the receiving controller's responsibility as stated in para 5-4-6, Receiving Controller Handoff, and unless otherwise specified by a LOA or a facility directive.
3. Restrictions issued to ensure separation are passed to the receiving controller.
e. Comply with restrictions issued by the receiving controller unless otherwise coordinated.
f. Comply with the provisions of para 2-1-17, Radio Communications Transfer, subparas a and b. To the extent possible, transfer communications when the transfer of radar identification has been accepted.
g. Advise the receiving controller of pertinent information not contained in the data block or flight progress strip unless covered in a LOA or facility directive. Pertinent information includes:
1. Assigned heading.
2. Air speed restrictions.
3. Altitude information issued.
4. Observed track or deviation from the last route clearance.
5. The beacon code if different from that normally used or previously coordinated.
6. Any other pertinent information.
h. Ensure that the data block is associated with the appropriate target.
i. Initiate verbal coordination to verify the position of primary or nondiscrete targets when using the automated handoff functions except for intrafacility handoffs using single-sensor systems or multisensor systems operating in a mosaic RDP mode.
j. Initiate verbal coordination before transferring control of a track when “CST,” “FAIL,” “NONE,” “NB,” “NX,” “IF,” “NT”, or “TRK” is displayed in the data block.
k. Advise the receiving controller that radar monitoring is required when the aircraft is on a direct route initiated by ATC that exceeds usable NAVAID distances.
l. Issue restrictions to the receiving controller which are necessary to maintain separation from other aircraft within your area of jurisdiction before releasing control of the aircraft.
m. Consider the target being transferred as identified on the receiving controller's display when the receiving controller acknowledges receipt verbally or has accepted an automated handoff.
n. Accomplish the necessary coordination with any intervening controllers whose area of jurisdiction is affected by the receiving controller's delay in the climb or the descent of an aircraft through the vertical limits of your area of jurisdiction when the receiving controller advises you of that delay before accepting the transfer of radar identification unless otherwise specified by a LOA or a facility directive.
5-4-6. RECEIVING CONTROLLER HANDOFF
The receiving controller must:
a. Ensure that the target position corresponds with the position given by the transferring controller or that there is an appropriate association between an automated data block and the target being transferred before accepting a handoff.
b. Issue restrictions that are needed for the aircraft to enter your sector safely before accepting the handoff.
c. Comply with restrictions issued by the initiating controller unless otherwise coordinated.
d. Before you issue control instructions directly to an aircraft that is within another controller's area of jurisdiction that will change that aircraft's heading, route, speed, altitude, or beacon code, ensure that coordination has been accomplished with each of the controllers listed below whose area of jurisdiction is affected by those instructions unless otherwise specified by a LOA or a facility directive:
1. The controller within whose area of jurisdiction the control instructions will be issued.
2. Any intervening controller(s) through whose area of jurisdiction the aircraft will pass.
e. After accepting a handoff from another controller, confirm the identity of primary target by advising the aircraft of its position, and of a beacon target by observing a code change, an “ident” reply, or a “standby” squawk unless one of these was used during handoff. These provisions do not apply at those towers and GCAs which have been delegated the responsibility for providing radar separation within designated areas by the parent approach control facility and the aircraft identification is assured by sequencing or positioning prior to the handoff.
f. When using appropriate equipment, consider a discrete beacon target's identity to be confirmed when:
1. The data block associated with the target being handed off indicates the computer assigned discrete beacon code is being received, or
2. You observe the deletion of a discrete code that was displayed in the data block, or
3. You observe the numeric display of a discrete code that an aircraft has been instructed to squawk or reports squawking.
g. Initiate verbal coordination prior to accepting control of a track when “CST,” “NAT,” “NT,” “NONE,” “NB,” “NX,” “OLD,” “OL,” “AMB,” “AM,” “TU”, or “TRK” is displayed in the data block.
1. When an automated interfacility handoff action is initiated and “AMB” or “AM” is displayed in the full data block, advise the other facility that a disparity exists between the position declared by their computer and that declared by your ARTS/PIDP/STARS system.
2. When an automated inter-facility handoff action is initiated and “NAT,” “NT,” “TU”, or “TRK” is displayed in the full data block, advise the other facility if a disparity exists between the position declared by their computer and the actual target position.
h. Advise the transferring controller, prior to accepting the transfer of radar identification, that you will delay the climb or the descent of an aircraft through the vertical limits of the transferring controller's area of jurisdiction, unless otherwise specified in a LOA or a facility directive.
i. If you decide, after accepting the transfer of radar identification, to delay the aircraft's climb or descent through the vertical limits of the transferring controller's area of jurisdiction, advise the transferring controller of that decision as soon as possible. You now have the responsibility to ensure that the necessary coordination is accomplished with any intervening controller(s) whose area of jurisdiction is affected by that delay, unless otherwise specified in a LOA or a facility directive.
5-4-7. POINT OUT
a. The transferring controller must:
1. Obtain verbal approval before permitting an aircraft to enter the receiving controller's delegated airspace. TERMINAL. Automated approval may be utilized in lieu of verbal, provided the appropriate automation software is operational (automated point out function), and the procedures are specified in a facility directive/LOA.
2. Obtain the receiving controller's approval before making any changes to an aircraft's flight path, altitude, or data block information after the point out has been approved.
3. Comply with restrictions issued by the receiving controller unless otherwise coordinated.
4. Be responsible for subsequent radar handoffs and communications transfer, including flight data revisions and coordination, unless otherwise agreed to by the receiving controller or as specified in a LOA.
b. The receiving controller must:
1. Ensure that the target position corresponds with the position given by the transferring controller or that there is an association between a computer data block and the target being transferred prior to approving a point out.
2. Be responsible for separation between point out aircraft and other aircraft for which he/she has separation responsibility.
3. Issue restrictions necessary to provide separation from other aircraft within his/her area of jurisdiction.
5-4-8. AUTOMATED INFORMATION TRANSFER (AIT)
Transfer radar identification, altitude control, and/or en route fourth line control information, without verbal coordination under the following conditions:
a. During radar handoff; and
b. Via information displayed in full data blocks; and
c. Within the same facility, except as provided in para 5-4-9, Interfacility Automated Information Transfer; and
d. When following procedures specified in your facility AIT directive.
5-4-9. INTERFACILITY AUTOMATED INFORMATION TRANSFER
Transfer radar identification without verbal coordination under the following conditions:
a. During radar handoff; and
b. Via information displayed in full data blocks; and
c. On aircraft at assigned altitude in level flight; and
d. Only the first sector within the receiving facility must utilize the procedure; and
e. When following procedures specified in your facility AIT directive and LOA.
5-4-10. PREARRANGED COORDINATION
Prearranged coordination allowing aircraft under your control to enter another controller's area of jurisdiction may only be approved provided procedures are established and published in a facility directive/LOA in accordance with FAAO JO 7210.3, para 3-7-7, Prearranged Coordination.
5-4-11. EN ROUTE FOURTH LINE DATA BLOCK USAGE
a. The en route fourth line data block must be used to forward only the specified control information listed below. Any additional control information must be forwarded via other communication methods. En route fourth line data block free text area may be used by individual sector teams for recording any additional information the team deems appropriate for managing the sector, but must be removed prior to initiation of identification transfer.
b. The en route fourth line data block area must be used for coordination purposes only in association with radar identified aircraft.
c. When automated information transfer (AIT) procedures are applied, en route fourth line usage for transfer of control information must be specifically defined within facility AIT directive.
d. Coordination format for assigned headings must use the designation character “H” preceding a three-digit number.
e. Aircraft assigned a heading until receiving a fix or joining a published route must be designated with assigned heading format followed by the fix or route.
2. The character “H” may be omitted as a prefix to the heading assignment only if necessary due to character field limitations, and it does not impede understanding.
f. Aircraft authorized specific weather deviation or lateral weather deviation until able to proceed direct to a fix must be designated with the identified characters: D-deviation, L-left, R-right, N-north, E-east, S-south, W-west.
g. Coordination format for assigned airspeeds must use the designation character “S” preceding a three-digit number.
h. Aircraft assigned a Mach number must use the designation “M” preceding the two-digit assigned value.
i. Aircraft authorized to conduct celestial navigation training within 30 NM of the route centerline specified within the en route clearance.
j. Coordination format for aircraft requesting an altitude change must use the designation characters “RQ” preceding a three-digit number.
k. Coordination format for aircraft requesting a route change must use the designation “RQ/” preceding a specific fix identifier.
l. The acceptance of a handoff by the receiving controller must constitute receipt of the information contained within the en route fourth line data block. It is the responsibility of the receiving controller to advise the transferring controller if any information is not understood, or needs to be revised.
m. All other control information must be coordinated via other methods.