U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION
FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION
Air Traffic Organization Policy

ORDER
JO 7210.3
Y
Effective Date:
April 3, 2014
 
     
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration
       

Section 8. Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System (STARS)

11-8-1. OPERATIONAL USE

a. Do not use STARS data when the system is released to Technical Operations Services.

b. Verify the operational status of all STARS components daily.

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

11-8-2. DATA ENTRIES

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 ARTS 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.

11-8-3. DISPLAY DATA

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

b. 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.

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

11-8-4. USE OF STARS QUICK LOOK FUNCTIONS

a. Where STARS data from a system common to the TRACON and the tower is presented on the TDW or supplemental display in the tower cab, and if operational benefits will accrue by using the QUICK LOOK function, 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 QUICK LOOK function 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 QUICK LOOK function and by the facilities for prohibiting their use include, but are not limited to, light on the face of the TDW or supplemental display, traffic volume, other duties requiring the controller's attention, and the number of controllers available in the tower.

11-8-5. AUTOMATION PROGRAM CHANGES

The air traffic manager of STARS 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.

EXAMPLE-
“National operating system suitability testing completed, acceptable.”

11-8-6. AUTOMATIC ACQUISITION/TERMINATION AREAS

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/STARS-to-STARS 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 ARTS 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.

NOTE-
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 3 and 4 above, where the operational conditions dictate.

11-8-7. MINIMUM SAFE ALTITUDE WARNING (MSAW) AND CONFLICT ALERT (CA)

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

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

c. MSAW Digital Terrain Maps (DTMs) must be kept current.

d. Terminal Operations Area Offices must:

1. Furnish STARS facilities a copy of:

(a) Newly received FAA Forms 7460-2, Notice of Actual Construction or Alteration.

(b) Emergency Notices of Construction of structures of 200 feet or more above ground level lying within 60 NM of their radar site.

2. Ensure that the daily National Flight Data Digest (NFDD) is provided to STARS facilities and other offices when it affects their area of jurisdiction.

e. Facility air traffic managers must ensure that:

1. The material described in subpara d1 above, is reviewed and that appropriate corrections to the DTM are made.

2. The magnetic variation of the facility's DTM coincides with the magnetic variation of the facility's radar video maps/geo maps.

NOTE-
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 relative positions of the terrain points and obstacles used to determine DTM bin altitude assignments. This will require not only generating and verifying a new DTM, but also readapting the MSAW and CA data bases; e.g., airport areas, inhibit volume areas, capture boxes, etc., to coincide with the changed declination.

REFERENCE-
Para 11-2-8, Magnetic Variation of Video Maps/Geo Maps at ARTS Facilities.

3. MSAW parameters are modified, as appropriate, to minimize the extent of inhibit areas as specified in the Standards and Guidelines for STARS.

4. An aural test of the MSAW speakers located in the operational quarters is included as part of the equipment checklist required during each watch. The purpose of this test is to ensure the aural alarm is functioning and audible to the appropriate operational personnel.

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

6. Tower aural alarm areas are identified.

7. 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.

11-8-8. MAGNETIC VARIATION OF VIDEO MAPS/GEO MAPS AT STARS FACILITIES

Air traffic managers must ensure that the magnetic variation of radar video maps/geo maps, MSAW, DTMs, and radar site settings coincide. The magnetic variation must be verified annually and a change of 2 degrees or more requires a recompiling of the effected map or maps.

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

REFERENCE-
Para 11-8-7, Minimum Safe Altitude Warning (MSAW) and Conflict Alert (CA).
Para 11-8-9, MSAW DTM Cartographic Certification, Updates, and Recompilation.

11-8-9. MSAW DTM CARTOGRAPHIC CERTIFICATION, UPDATES, AND RECOMPILATION

a. System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Management 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 Air Traffic/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 the 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.

NOTE-
Requests for new or recompiled DTMs are routed to System Operations Airspace and Aeronautical Information Management.
The NACO requires approximately ten weeks to build and deliver a DTM.

11-8-10. DIGITAL MAP VERIFICATION

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.

11-8-11. MODE C INTRUDER (MCI) ALERT PARAMETERS

a. Use the nominal value of parameters specified in the appropriate NAS Configuration Management Document and Site Program Bulletins for the MCI Alert functions, except for the base altitude parameter, as specified in subparas b or c below, unless a waiver to adjust the base altitude parameter value is received from System Operations Security.

b. MCI Alert base altitude must be set at any value between ground level and 500 feet AGL at the discretion of the facility air traffic manager. Any instance of base altitudes above 500 feet AGL must be documented and forwarded to System Operations Security, through the respective Terminal Operations Area Office.

c. Facility air traffic managers are authorized to temporarily adjust the MCI Alert base altitude at a sector(s)/position(s) when excessive MCI Alerts derogate the separation of IFR traffic. For the purpose of this section, temporary is considered to be of less than 4 hours duration, not necessarily continuous, during any calendar day. The following is required when MCI base altitude is adjusted:

1. Log each occurrence on FAA Form 7230-4, when this procedure is being used, including the sector/position and temporary altitude.

2. Documentation must be forwarded to System Operations Security if it is determined that a temporary adjustment of the MCI base altitude does not meet the needs of the sector/position.

d. Facility air traffic managers are authorized to inhibit the display of MCI Alert at specified sectors/position.

11-8-12. OPERATIONAL MODE TRANSITION PROCEDURES

a. Facilities must develop and maintain current detailed procedures for transition to and from the various automated and nonautomated modes of operation.

NOTE-
The architecture of STARS allows for different operational modes during display component failures. For example, a system component failure could result in positions within the same facility operating in EASL, ESL, or FSL mode. Facilities are encouraged to take advantage of this capability to minimize the impact of display system outages.

b. The transition plans must include as a minimum:

1. Transition decision authority; i.e., the individual responsible for making the transition decision.

2. Specific transition procedures.

3. Detailed checklists specifying the duties and the responsibilities for the OSIC and other appropriate positions. The checklist must include, as a minimum, the following information/procedures:

(a) Transition decision authority.

(b) Coordination/notification procedures
(intra- and interfacility).

(c) Specific duties/responsibilities (including detection and resolution of potential conflicts).

NOTE-
Whenever possible, coordination/notification procedures and duties/responsibilities should be listed in the sequence in which they are to be accomplished.

11-8-13. RADAR SELECTION PROCEDURES

a. Facilities must develop and maintain current detailed procedures for selection of radar sites.

NOTE-
The architecture of STARS allows for the selection of up to 16 different radars including short range and long-range radars at each display. This could result in positions within the same facility working and receiving radar information from different radars. Facilities are encouraged to take advantage of this capability to minimize the impact of radar outages, blind areas, limited radar coverage, etc.

b. The selection plans must include as a minimum:

1. Radar selection decision authority; i.e., the individual responsible for making the radar selection decision.

2. Specific radar selection procedures.

3. Detailed checklists specifying the duties and the responsibilities for the OSIC and other appropriate positions. The checklist must include, as a minimum, the following information/procedures:

(a) Radar selection decision authority.

(b) Coordination/notification procedures
(intra- and interfacility).

(c) Specific duties/responsibilities (including detection and resolution of potential conflicts).

NOTE-
Whenever possible, coordination/notification procedures and duties/responsibilities should be listed in the sequence in which they are to be accomplished.

11-8-14. MULTI-SENSOR RADAR OPERATIONS

a. Facilities must develop and maintain current detailed procedures for selection and use of multi-sensor radar operations.

NOTE-
The architecture of STARS allows for the use of multi-sensor radar coverage. This could result in positions within the same facility working in both single sensor slant range mode and multi-sensor mode. Facilities are encouraged to take advantage of this capability to minimize the impact of radar outages, blind areas, limited radar coverage, etc.

b. The plans must include as a minimum:

1. Decision authority to use multi-sensor coverage; i.e., the individual responsible for making the decision.

2. Specific multi-sensor radar procedures.

3. Detailed checklists specifying the duties and the responsibilities for the OSIC and other appropriate positions. The checklist must include, as a minimum, the following information/procedures:

(a) Decision authority to use multi-sensor radar coverage.

(b) Coordination/notification procedures (intra- and interfacility).

(c) Specific duties/responsibilities (including detection and resolution of potential conflicts).

NOTE-
Whenever possible, coordination/notification procedures and duties/responsibilities should be listed in the sequence in which they are to be accomplished.

11-8-15. SINGLE SITE COVERAGE ATTS OPERATIONS

Facilities may adapt all sort boxes within 40 miles of the antenna to that site as preferred and with the single site indicator set to permit the use of 3 miles radar separation as defined in FAAO JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, subpara 5-5-4b3, Minima. This adaptation may be used provided:

a. A significant operational advantage will be obtained using single site coverage. Consideration must be given to such aspects as terminal interface, radar reliability, etc.; and

b. Facility directives are issued to:

1. Define areas within 40 NM of any radar site in which the adaptation has been modified.

2. Permit 3 NM separation in the modified area.

3. Accommodate local procedural changes.

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