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 2. Automated Terminal Tracking Systems (ATTS)


a. Do not use ATTS data when the system, or that portion of the systems, is released to Technical Operations technicians.

b. Verify the operational status of all ATTS components daily prior to operational use.

c. Advise effected facilities when ATTS equipment will not be operational at normal startup time, when it fails, is shut down, resumes operation, or when interfacility mode is lost/regained.


Facility directives must prescribe the use of the Scratch Pad and the specific responsibility for entering the current ATIS alpha character, the current General System Information (GSI), and the System Altimeter Setting. When an ATTS facility serves more than one controlled airport, an average of the altimeter settings for those airports may be specified as the System Altimeter Setting. A remote altimeter setting may be used in accordance with para 2-10-4, Comparison Checks, in the event that all local altimeter indicators fail. Do not use this procedure whenever conditions indicate the probability of a steep pressure gradient between two locations.

The ARTS II system does not provide a GSI area; however, it does provide the capability to enter and display an assigned altitude.


a. When a malfunction causes repeated discrepancies of 300 feet or more between the automatic altitude readouts and pilot reported altitudes, request authorized personnel to inhibit the automatic altitude report (Mode C) display until the malfunction has been corrected.

b. If available, operate the field inhibit/select switches in the select position for the leader line, ACID, altitude, and handoff fields. The control position symbol and other full data block fields must be selected/inhibited in accordance with facility directives.

c. Display Mode C on untracked (unassociated) targets within each controller's area of responsibility by setting the altitude filters to encompass all altitudes within the controller's jurisdiction. Set the upper limits no lower than 1,000 feet above the highest altitude for which the controller is responsible. In those stratified positions, set the upper and lower limit to encompass at least 1,000 feet above and below the altitudes for which the controller is responsible. When the position's area of responsibility includes down to an airport field elevation, the facility will normally set the lower altitude filter limit to encompass the field elevation, so that provisions of FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, para 2-1-6, Safety Alert, and subpara 5-2-17a2, Validation of Mode C Readout, may be applied. Air traffic managers may authorize the temporary suspension of this requirement when target clutter is excessive.

FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 5-2-23, Altitude Filters.


a. Where ATTS data from a system common to the TRACON and the tower is presented on a CTRD, and if operational benefits will accrue by using the MODIFY or QUICK LOOK functions, a facility directive or a LOA must be prepared specifying:

1. Procedures for data transfer between the TRACON and the tower cab.

2. Communications changeover points.

3. Transfer of control points.

4. Hours or conditions under which facility policy prohibits use of these functions.

5. The responsibility of the local control position to determine whether use of MODIFY or QUICK LOOK functions is satisfactory or some other mode of data transfer is to be used; e.g., voice call or computer handoff.

b. Factors to be considered by the controller in determining use of the MODIFY or QUICK LOOK functions and by the facilities for prohibiting their use include, but are not limited to, light on the face of the CTRD, traffic volume, other duties requiring the controller's attention, and the number of controllers available in the tower.


The air traffic manager of automated facilities must:

a. Approve all requests for automation changes sent to the respective Operational Support Facility via the National Automation Request form, FAA Form 6000-14.

b. Review each SITE PROGRAM BULLETIN (TERMINAL) issued by the Terminal Automation Support for local program functionality and changes to the data base to determine any operational/procedural impact. When necessary:

1. Issue a facility directive describing the functional change/s and any resulting procedural change/s.

2. Coordinate any functional, procedural, and airspace change/s with the ARTCC providing automation interface.

c. Ensure that operational suitability acceptance for software modifications is recorded on FAA Form 7230-4.

“A3.06, National Patch Level P operational suitability testing completed, acceptable.”

“A605, REV 20 operational suitability testing completed, acceptable.”

“A2.09, REV 20 operational suitability testing completed, acceptable.”

“M4.08R, operational suitability testing completed, acceptable.”


a. Facility air traffic managers must:

1. Establish automatic acquisition areas for arrivals and overflights at ranges permitting auto-acquisition of targets prior to the ARTCC/ATTS-to-ATTS automatic handoff area when the center is in the radar data processing (RDP) mode.

2. Coordinate with the adjacent automated facilities to ensure that computer handoffs will be initiated only after the aircraft is within their facility's automatic acquisition area. Where this is not feasible due to airspace assignment, facility directives must require use of an appropriate procedure specified in FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, to confirm the identity of all aircraft handed off prior to ATTS auto-acquisition.

3. Establish Automatic Acquisition Areas for departing aircraft 1 mile or less from the runway end.

4. Establish Automatic Termination Areas for arriving aircraft 1 mile or less from the runway threshold or, at satellite airports, the minimum radar coverage range/altitude whichever is greater.

5. Prescribe in a facility directive the operating position responsibility for determining if automatic acquisition of a departure track has occurred.

This is intended for operations where automatic acquisition responsibility could be confused, e.g., uncontrolled airports within a single sector, or between different radar sectors that serve the same airport.

b. Terminal Operations Service Area Directors may authorize a distance greater than specified in subparas a3 and 4 above, where the operational conditions dictate.


a. MSAW, CA and MCI values must be set in accordance with the standards specified in the Standards and Guidelines for CARTS Appendix D, Standards and Guidelines for ARTS IIIA, and Standards and Guidelines for MEARTS. Any instances of requests for values outside the standards must require a waiver from Vice President, Terminal Services.

b. When their continued use would adversely impact operational priorities, air traffic managers may temporarily inhibit the MSAW, the Approach Path Monitor portion of MSAW, and/or the CA and/or MCI functions. Except when equipment or site adaptation problems preclude these functions being used, a brief written report must be sent to the Terminal Operatons Service Area Office whenever they are inhibited. A copy of the report must be sent to Terminal Safety and Operations Support.

c. Facility air traffic managers are authorized to inhibit CA at specific operating positions if an operational advantage will occur.

d. Facility air traffic managers must ensure that:

1. MSAW and CA nuisance alarms are minimized by monitoring alarm frequency and location and forwarding suspected problem areas to the servicing Operational Support Facility along with any supporting documentation, via a National Automation Request (NAR) form.

2. A visual inspection and aural test of the MSAW speakers located in the operational quarters by supervisory personnel is included as part of the equipment check list required during each watch. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure the aural alarm is functioning and audible to the appropriate operational personnel.

3. The operational support facility has adapted the software functionality to ensure the aural alarms operate in the ATCT.

4. Aural alarms are received in the ATCT upon transfer of communications.

5. Controllers are aware of the towers geographic locations where aural alarms sound. (MSAW aural alarm areas.)

6. Tower aural alarm areas are identified.


Air traffic managers must ensure that:

a. The magnetic variation of radar video maps/geo maps, MSAW, DTMs/GTMs and radar site settings coincide and is verified annually.

b. Affected map or maps are recompiled when the official magnetic variation of record is changed/implemented.

1. The video map is the primary reference for maintaining radar antenna alignment.

2. The DTM is constructed to align with the radar antenna offset for magnetic north. Consequently, any change in antenna offset will result in a corresponding change in the relative positions of the terrain points and obstacles used to determine DTM bin altitude assignments. This will require generating and verifying a new DTM.

3. The GTM is constructed to align with true north offset by the site adaptable radar antenna magnetic variation. Consequently, any change in antenna offset will result in a corresponding change in the relative position of bin locations.

4. In both cases, DTM or GTM, any change in antenna offset will result in readaptation of the MSAW and CA databases; e.g., airport areas, inhibit volume areas, capture boxes, etc., to coincide with the changed declination.

5. Technical Operations Aviation System Standards has the responsibility to assign and maintain the Magnetic Variation of record for navigational facilities and airports.

Para 11-2-9, MSAW DTM Cartographic Certification, Updates, and Recompilation.
FAAO 8260.19, Flight Procedures and Airspace.


a. System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information, must be responsible for assuring that the National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) performs the certification of the terrain elevations and the obstacle elevations. Each new or recompiled MSAW DTM must be certified by the NACO through the AT/NACO Precise Geographic Position and Elevation Program (PREGPEP). Also, NACO must certify the periodic update of the MSAW obstacle elevation files.

b. The MSAW DTM must be recompiled by NACO if:

1. The ASR antenna on which the map is based is relocated more than 300 feet away from its original position and/or,

2. The magnetic variation of the site changes by two degrees or more.

Requests for new or recompiled DTMs are routed to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information.


Verification of the accuracy of new or modified digital maps must be accomplished through the use of “targets of opportunity” flying over displayed fixes, navigational aids, etc. Any observed discrepancies must be documented to indicate the observed direction and displacement. If any identified error cannot be corrected or if a facility is otherwise dissatisfied with the results from “targets of opportunity,” a request may be made through the FIFO for a flight check.

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