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
 

Part 3. TERMINAL AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL FACILITIES

Chapter 10. Terminal Operations, Services, and Equipment

Section 1. General

10-1-1. OPERATING POSITION DESIGNATORS

a. The following designators may be used to identify operating positions in a terminal. (See TBL 10-1-1.)

TBL 10-1-1
Operating Position Designators

 

Designator

Position

1.

AD

Arrival Data (Radar)

2.

AP

Approach Control

3.

AR

Arrival Control (Radar)

4.

CC

Coordinator (Tower)

5.

CD

Clearance Delivery

6.

CI

Coordinator (Radar)

7.

DC

Departure Control

8.

DD

Departure Data (Radar)

9.

DR

Departure Control (Radar)

10.

EN

Flight Service

11.

FD

Flight Data

12.

GC

Ground Control

13.

LC

Local Control

14.

OM

Operations Manager

15.

OS

Operations Supervisor

16.

PAR

Precision Approach Radar

17.

STMCIC

Supervisory Traffic Management Coordinator-in-Charge

b. Facility air traffic managers may use designators other than those listed to accommodate local situations.

10-1-2. TOWER/RADAR TEAM CONCEPTS

a.  There are no absolute divisions of responsibilities regarding position operations. The tasks to be completed remain the same whether one, two, or three people are working positions within a tower cab/facility/sector. The team, as a whole, has responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the tower cab/facility/sector.

b. The intent of the team concept is not to hold the team accountable for the action of individual members in the event of an operational error/deviation.

10-1-3. MILITARY ATC BOARDS

a. Commanders at USAF bases with flight operations have been directed by USAF to establish airfield operations boards. Among other things, the boards develop recommendations for improving ATC and airfield services and attempt to resolve local air traffic problems.

b. The ATCT manager, his/her representative, or the ATREP at these bases may be designated as a member of the board. The FAA member must inform the board that his/her participation does not commit the FAA to abide by the board's recommendations even though they may be approved or even suggested by him/her.

c. The FAA member should become familiar with Air Force Regulation 55-48, Air Force Instructions 13-203, Air Traffic Control, and 13-213, Airfield Management.

10-1-4. SECTIONAL AERONAUTICAL AND TERMINAL AREA CHARTS

a. Terminal Area Charts (TACs) provide detailed information needed for flight within or in the vicinity of Class B airspace. Visual checkpoints are depicted on TACs, and at some locations, on Sectional Charts.

b. VFR Flyway Planning Charts are published on the back of existing TACs. Facilities with a TAC desiring publication of a VFR Flyway Planning Chart should submit requests through the Terminal Operations Service Area office to Terminal Safety and Operations Support. Additional charts may be considered after all Class B airspace locations have been completed. VFR Flyway Planning Charts, which are intended to facilitate VFR transition through high density areas, depict generalized VFR routing clear of major controlled traffic flows which may be used as alternatives to flight within Class B airspace. Pictorial ground references and VFR checkpoints are provided to aid visual navigation. These charts are designed for information and planning purposes and are not intended to discourage VFR operations within Class B airspace. Pilot compliance with recommended flyways and associated altitudes is strictly voluntary. Controllers must not assign a charted VFR flyway to a pilot as part of a clearance nor predicate separation of aircraft on any expected pilot compliance with the depicted altitudes.

c. Facility air traffic managers must review VFR checkpoints published on Sectionals, TACs, and VFR Flyway Planning Charts for accuracy, completeness, and reasonableness. Nearby ATCT that make use of the same area depicted on the charts must agree upon the checkpoints to be depicted.

d. Submit changes or revisions to VFR checkpoints to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Management at least 10 weeks prior to the scheduled publication date.

e. If required, a list of checkpoints may be developed in association with local flight schools and fixed base operators for local use. They may only be used with local users who participated in developing the list. They may not be charted or published.

10-1-5. AREAS OF NONVISIBILITY

Air traffic managers of towers located where portions of the airport surface are normally designated movement areas and/or where portions of the airport traffic pattern are not visible from the tower must, after coordination with the airport management, issue a letter to airmen describing the condition. The recommended wording is:

a. “Due to obstructed vision, (facility identification) tower is unable to provide airport traffic control service in following areas: (describe the areas).”

b. “Due to the movement of uncontrolled ground traffic, (facility identification) tower is unable to provide airport traffic control service in the following areas: (describe the areas).”

c. “Use caution, the following areas are not visible from the (facility name) tower: (describe the areas, traffic pattern, active runway).”

10-1-6. SELECTING ACTIVE RUNWAYS

a. ATCT supervisor/CIC has primary responsibility for determining which runways are to be designated as “active” runways. Where optional configurations of multiple active runways are used for operational flexibility, responsibility for designating which of the optional runways are active at any time may be further delegated. A facility directive must be issued to define specific coordination requirements. (See FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, para 3-1-3 thru para 3-1-5, para 3-5-1, para 3-5-2, etc.)

b. Determination of the active runway/s requires consideration of all known factors that may in any way affect the safety of takeoff/landing operations including the initial departure and the instrument approach phases of flight within terminal area airspace. (See FAAO JO 7110.65, para 2-1-16, para 2-1-18, para 2-6-1 thru para 2-6-5, para 3-1-8, para 3-3-1 thru para 3-5-3, etc.)

NOTE-
Example of items to be considered are: surface wind direction and velocity, wind shear/microburst alerts/reports, adjacent airport traffic flows, severe weather activity, IFR departure restrictions, environmental factors, etc.

10-1-7. USE OF ACTIVE RUNWAYS

a. Facility air traffic managers must issue a facility directive containing procedures to ensure the efficient use of runways, positive control and coordination of aircraft/vehicles on or near active runways. Authorization for aircraft/vehicles to taxi/proceed on or along an active runway, for purposes other than crossing, must be provided via direct communications on the appropriate local control frequency. This authorization may be provided on the ground control frequency after coordination with local control is completed for those operations specifically described in a facility directive. In addition, a facility directive must include procedures for the use of a memory aid for appropriate operational positions. This memory aid must visually and/or aurally indicate that an aircraft/vehicle/pedestrian is on or near an active runway. Where memory aids for runway use have been established, their use must be mandatory. Where memory aids are not in place, utilize collaborative effort, and develop and implement site-specific memory aids and procedures outlining their use.

b. Facility air traffic managers must include local procedures in the facility directive to assist the local and ground controllers in maintaining awareness of aircraft positions on the airport.

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3-1-4, Coordination Between Local and Ground Controllers.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3-1-7, Position Determination.

c. FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, contains procedures for the control of aircraft/vehicle movements on active runways. Exceptions may be authorized, upon approval by the Terminal Operations Service Area Director, to allow prearranged coordination where equivalent procedural safeguards exist to preclude a loss of separation. Exceptions must be limited to complex locations with clearly demonstrated extraordinary requirements that cannot be met through the application of the standard procedures in FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. The following are required:

1. A facility directive that clearly defines ground/local/cab coordinator responsibilities and contains safeguards to prevent inadvertent use of runways by local/ground/cab coordinator at the same time and do not rely solely on visual observation (look-and-go).

2. The use of the cab coordinator in runway crossing procedures must have restraints to guard against unanticipated actions by the local controller to prevent traffic conflicts. Coordinators must not approve runway crossings in front of aircraft on the runway awaiting takeoff without first coordinating with the local controller. Similar restraints should be included with regard to landing aircraft; e.g., cutoff points that ensure the runway is clear before landing aircraft arrive over the threshold. Based on a direct knowledge of the local controller's instant traffic situation, the cab coordinator may authorize ground control to conduct an operation across an active runway. The cab coordinator must ensure the timeliness of all such operations and initiate any necessary action to prevent runway crossing incidents. When not absolutely certain of local control's traffic, the cab coordinator may still effectively function as a communications link between the local controller and the ground controller.

3. A separate facility directive must explicitly outline the responsibilities of the cab coordinator in authorizing active runway crossings. This directive must address and clearly answer the questions of the cab coordinator's function, authority, and accountability in these operations. The Terminal Operations Service Area Director must review and approve this facility directive prior to its implementation.

4. The Terminal Operations Service Area Director must forward a copy of the approved facility directive to the Director of System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Management.

d. Facility air traffic managers at instrumented airports with operating control towers must, in addition to the above, annually review local airport surface diagrams to ensure that the runway centerline heading information is current. This may be accomplished by comparing the posted magnetic headings of the runways shown on the airport obstruction chart, corrected to the current magnetic variation for the facility, with the heading shown on the airport surface diagram. The air traffic manager must review local departure procedures to ensure continued compatibility with the runway headings posted on the airport surface diagram.

e. Air traffic managers must develop a facility directive which specifically defines the responsibilities of local and ground control to ensure that coordination is accomplished to accommodate an aircraft exiting the runway which must enter another taxiway/runway/ramp area, other than the one used to exit the landing runway, in order to taxi clear of the runway.

NOTE-
This directive is only required at facilities where an aircraft exiting the runway must enter another taxiway/runway/ramp area, other than the one used to exit the landing runway, in order to taxi clear of the runway.

10-1-8. PROCEDURES FOR OPENING AND CLOSING RUNWAYS

Each ATM:

a. Must ensure that the authority, responsibility, and procedures to be used when opening or closing a runway are defined in an LOA with airport management/military operations office. Items which should be addressed, if relevant, are: the use of barriers/visual aids (lighted or unlighted “X”, barricades, etc.), portions of the closed runway available for ground operations such as crossings, and information for issuing NOTAMs. Other items may be included, as appropriate.

NOTE-
Only the airport management/military operations office can close or open a runway.

b. Must develop and provide a tailored checklist to be used when opening and closing a runway. A facility directive must designate the position responsible for completing the checklist. Items which should be included, if relevant, are:

1. Coordination.

(a) Airport management.

(b) Intra­facility.

(c) Inter­facility.

(d) Technical operations.

(e) Traffic management.

2. Memory aids.

3. Safety Logic System.

4. Status information area.

5. Airfield lighting.

6. NAVAIDs.

7. ATIS.

8. Entry on the daily log.

c. May increase the number of items and/or the level of detail of the opening and closing checklist as they deem necessary.

d. Must ensure that a facility directive includes procedures for the use of a memory aid that visually and/or aurally indicates that the runway is closed. Where a memory aid for a closed runway has been established, its use must be mandatory. Where a memory aid for a closed runway is not in place, utilize collaborative efforts to develop and implement site­specific memory aid(s) and procedures outlining its use.

NOTE-
When implementing these procedures, one should consider short­term versus long­term closures as well as planned versus unplanned processes.

REFERENCE-
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3­3­1, Landing Area Condition
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 3­3­2, Closed/Unsafe Runway Information
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 4­7­12, Airport Conditions
FAAO JO 7210.3, Para 4­7­3, System Impact Reports
FAAO JO 7210.3, Para 17­5­13, Electronic System Impact Reports

10-1-9. FLIGHT PROGRESS STRIP USAGE

Air traffic managers at automated terminal radar facilities may waive the requirement to use flight progress strips provided:

a. Back-up systems such as multiple radar sites/systems or single site radars with CENRAP are utilized.

b. Local procedures are documented in a facility directive. These procedures should include but not be limited to:

1. Departure areas and/or procedures.

2. Arrival procedures.

3. Overflight handling procedures.

4. Transition from radar to nonradar.

5. Transition from ATTS to non-ATTS.

c. No misunderstanding will occur as a result of no strip usage.

d. Unused flight progress strips, facility developed forms and/or blank notepads must be provided for controller use.

e. Facilities must revert to flight progress strip usage if back-up systems referred to in subpara a above are not available.

10-1-10. LOW VISIBILITY OPERATIONS

a.  Facility air traffic managers must participate in developing a local SMGCS plan when the airport is under the guidelines of the National SMGCS plan.

REFERENCE-
AC 120-57, Surface Movement Guidance and Control System (SMGCS).

b. Facility air traffic managers must ensure all operational personnel are properly briefed prior to the effective date of local SMGCS plan. All air traffic procedures included in the SMGCS plan must be contained in a facility directive.

10-1-11. MOBILE CONTROL TOWERS

a. Mobile control towers must be used at FAA locations:

1. To provide services during a move from an old tower structure into a new tower.

2. When repairs, rehabilitation, or installation of new equipment make the tower structure temporarily uninhabitable.

3. During periods of natural emergency; e.g., the tower structure has been damaged by fire, accident, or wind.

4. During national emergencies as required by the DOD at FAA and non-FAA locations.

b. Mobile control towers may be used at non-FAA locations when requested by flying organizations, cities, or other political entities to assist in the operation of fly-ins, air races, etc., provided:

1. The Terminal Operations Area Office, after careful consideration of a request to use FAA personnel and/or equipment, determines that the service is required and can be made available without:

(a) Jeopardizing FAA activities.

(b) Interfering with the gainful employment of competent non-Federal personnel.

2. Non-Federal personnel selected to support the event are properly certificated and rated in accordance with 14 CFR Part 65 for the airport.

3. The requesting organization is apprised that the mobile unit is subject to immediate recall should an emergency arise.

10-1-12. PARTICIPATION IN LOCAL AIRPORT DEICING PLAN (LADP)

a. Officials, at airports operating under 14 CFR Part 107 and Part 139 subject to icing weather conditions with control towers, should develop LADPs in order to involve all interested parties in the deicing/anti-icing process. Aircraft departing from airports without a LADP are not exempt from any traffic management initiative. 

b. The operators of these airports have been requested to host meetings involving airport users and air traffic in a partnership effort to achieve common solutions to local aircraft ground deicing/anti-icing problems. The emphasis is on developing local strategies that minimize the amount of time an aircraft spends on the ground after being deiced/anti-iced.

NOTE-
Deicing is the process of removing existing frozen precipitation, frost, or ice from aircraft surfaces. Anti-icing is the process of preventing accumulation of frozen contaminants on aircraft surfaces. Both processes may involve the application of various fluids to the aircraft.

c. Air traffic managers who receive requests from airport operators to participate in these meetings will use the following guidance:

1. When requested by the airport operator, the air traffic manager must participate in the development of a LADP. Since a LADP can affect an airport acceptance rate and/or departure rate, the air traffic manager must include the participation of the air traffic manager from the appropriate ARTCC, who must participate and/or utilize their traffic management unit (TMU). The plan will be reviewed and updated annually. The plan must include:

(a) A clear definition of triggering mechanism(s) used to implement the LADP, e.g., holdover tables, visible precipitation.

(b) Assignment of responsibility to notify air traffic of implementation and cessation of the LADP.

NOTE-
Air traffic facilities should not become the triggering mechanism except in rare circumstances. If air traffic is designated as the triggering mechanism, submit the proposed LADP to the Terminal Operations Service Area office for approval.

2. Develop or enhance local strategies to manage the number of aircraft at the departure runway queues and minimize the amount of time an aircraft spends on the ground after being deiced.

3. Gate hold procedures, when used as part of a LADP, should be initiated at the time the plan is implemented. The application of gate hold procedures during deicing/anti-icing operations are not predicated on other requirements of FAAO JO 7210.3.

NOTE-
The pilot-in-command remains the final authority as to aircraft operation. Air traffic is not responsible for tracking or adherence to aircraft holdover times.
 

4. Coordinate the expected start time, actual start time and stop time of the LADP with the appropriate ARTCC TMU. The ARTCC TMU will forward these times to the ATCSCC.

5. Balance the airport flow to accommodate demand. Adjust the arrival rate with the departure rate. These rates should reflect the number of operations expected to occur during deicing/anti-icing conditions and facilitate minimizing the amount of time an aircraft spends on the ground after being deiced/anti-iced.

6. Aircraft operators at LADP airports are responsible for complying with issued Expect Departure Clearance Time (EDCT) times and will not be exempted from compliance with these times. However, once an aircraft has been deiced/anti-iced, it must be released unless a ground stop applicable to that aircraft is in effect. If a facility believes aircraft operators are not performing deicing/anti-icing in a manner consistent to meet the EDCT time, the facility must notify the ATCSCC through the appropriate TMU.

7. Allocate the available departure slot capacity, when departure rates are reduced because of deicing, consistent with available resources. Facilities should consider the following unprioritized list of options when developing departure allocation procedures.

(a) OPTION A: First come, first served. When departure demand exceeds capacity, the air traffic facility will minimize departure delays at the runway queue by using gatehold or an equivalent procedure.

(b) OPTION B: Air traffic will determine the departure allocation based upon the departure rate and the stated demand, obtained directly from the users, during a specified time period. For example, air traffic will coordinate with each user and receive their demand for a 15-minute time period. Then, based upon the total airport departure demand for the 15-minute time period, determine the number of flights which the user will be allocated, advise each user, and determine which flights they will use to fill their allocation.

(c) OPTION C: Airport users determine the departure allocation. Air traffic will notify the users of the departure rate in effect and the users will then advise air traffic which flights they will use to fill their allocation. Air traffic will provide input on the coordination process but will not accept an active role in developing the departure allocation.

(d) OPTION D: Air traffic determines the departure rate and informs the users of the number of operations expected during a specific time period. Air traffic determines the total percentage of each users' daily operations based upon a “typical busy day” by dividing each of the users total daily operations by the airports total daily operations. Then, air traffic determines each users hourly share by multiplying the users daily percentage times the departure rate. The users will then distribute their hourly share evenly throughout the specific time intervals.

NOTE-
1. Air traffic may or may not take an active role in determining the percentage of each user's operations on a “typical busy day” and each user's hourly share.

2. If a user has only one aircraft scheduled per hour, attempts should be made to accommodate it.

8. Provide coordination, communication, and feedback with the parties included in the plan. Coordination should take place when airports are forecast to have icing conditions, during deicing/anti-icing and after deicing/anti-icing, to effect necessary adjustments. Prior to and after each winter season, the airport participants should assess the efficiency of the airport plan and address any specific concerns.

9. Develop an air traffic facility training program. Prior to each winter deicing/anti-icing season, conduct annual controller refresher training including, but not limited to, awareness of and sensitivity to the peculiar nature of deicing/anti-icing operations, icing conditions, and minimizing delays at the runway departure queue.

10-1-13. PRECISION OBSTACLE FREE ZONE (POFZ)

Coordinate with the Airport Division and Flight Standards to determine if precision approach operations are impacted by the POFZ. ILS hold lines will need to be relocated if aircraft (vertical surfaces) or vehicles fall within the POFZ.

Return to Air Traffic Publications Library Return to Order Home Page Return to Table of Contents