Skip to page content

United States

Basic Flight Information and Air Traffic Control Procedures

The FAA publishes the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) which provides basic flight information and air traffic control (ATC) procedures for use in the National Airspace System (NAS); and an international version, the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), which contains parallel information to the AIM. For ease of search, certain sections of the AIM and AIP are highlighted throughout this website. The AIM and AIP, in their entirety, are located via the following links:

National Security and Requirements for Civil and Foreign State Aircraft Operations in United States Territorial Airspace

Comprehensive requirements for civil and foreign state aircraft operations to or from, within, or transiting United States territorial airspace, are located in the National Security sections of the FAA's Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) and Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). The AIM and AIP National Security sections are located via the following links:

The above links for the AIM and AIP National Security sections include information on the following requirements:

  • Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ)
  • DVFR flights
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Advance Passenger Information System (APIS)
  • Diplomatic clearances
  • FAA/Transportation Security Administration (TSA) airspace waivers
  • TSA aviation security programs
  • FAA flight routing authorizations — FAA flight routing authorizations may be required for certain aircraft operations from the following countries as designated by the U.S. State Department: Cuba, Iran, The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea), The People's Republic of China, The Russian Federation, Sudan, and Syria

The above links for the AIM and AIP National Security sections are user-friendly versions of the Special Security Instructions FDC NOTAMs that are located via the following links:

National security in the control of air traffic is governed by 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) part 99, Security Control of Air Traffic that can be found via the following link:

Interception Procedures

In an era of increased national security threats, it is important to be aware of the possibility of being intercepted by military aircraft, particularly if entering U.S. airspace from abroad. Pilots should be familiar with intercept procedures located in AIM and AIP and be prepared to readily comply. Be advised that non-compliance may result in the use of force. Current NOTAMs should be checked for any updated intercept procedures. Interception procedures are located via the following links:

Washington DC Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA)

Pilots must be aware of the Washington, D.C. Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) and use caution when flying in airspace within 60 nautical miles (NM) of the DCA VOR. Pilots must complete the mandatory FAA online course for special awareness training on the DC SFRA/DC FRZ prior to flying within 60 NM of the DCA VOR. It is strongly recommended that all pilots flying VFR within 100NM of the DCA VOR also complete this training. The FAA's DC SFRA special awareness training course can be found at the following link:

The inner airspace of the DC SFRA is the Washington DC Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ), consisting of highly restricted airspace that includes prohibited areas P56A and P56B. Additional requirements apply to pilots flying within the DC FRZ. Aircraft suspected of making unauthorized entry into the DC SFRA may be alerted by laser lights directed at the aircraft by the Visual Warning System (VWS). More information pertaining to the DC SFRA, DC FRZ, and the VWS is located via the following links:

Special Use Airspace and Other Airspace Areas

Pilots must remain aware of airspace where flight operations may be limited, restricted, prohibited, or where special flight rules are applied, such as Special Use Airspace (SUA) and Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR) areas. Pilots must review Notices to Airmen (NOTAM)s in areas of their intended flight operation route to determine impact. The FAA provides other sources of information via the following links:

Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic (ESCAT)

Under 32 CFR 245, Plan for Emergency Security Control of Air Traffic (ESCAT), procedures may be implemented to identify and control air traffic within a specified air defense area in the event of air defense emergencies, defense emergency, or national emergency conditions. When emergency conditions prompt implementation of ESCAT, flights will be required to comply with any airspace and/or flight restrictions that may be issued in support of National Defense or Homeland Security initiatives. Information pertaining to ESCAT is located via the following links:

Associated Information

General Operating and Flight Rules in United States Airspace

Flight rules that govern the operation of aircraft in United States territorial airspace, including pilot responsibilities, airspace rules, aircraft requirements, and other flight-related regulations is located via the following link:

Subpart H, in the above link, addresses foreign aircraft operations and operations of U.S.-Registered Civil Aircraft Outside of the United States including the following specific regulations:

  • Part 91.703 Operations of Civil Aircraft of U.S. Registry Outside of the United States
  • Part 91.711 Special Rules for Foreign Civil Aircraft
  • Part 91.715 Special Flight Authorizations for Foreign Civil Aircraft

Flight Plans

FAA flight plan guidance for both domestic and international filers

Designated Authorities

U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Department of Homeland Security
Customs and Border Protection HQ
1300 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20229
Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
500 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20536
Health/Quarantine
US Department of Health and Human Services
Center for Disease Control and Prevention
1600 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30329
Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division
U.S. Department of Transportation
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs
Office of International Aviation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Firearm Imports
U.S. Department of Justice
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
99 New York Ave, NE
Washington, DC 20226

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/AIR_TRAFFIC/PUBLICATIONS/US_RESTRICTIONS/procedures/