Updated in Dec 2013

Air Traffic Procedures Advisory Committee (ATPAC)

  1. REFERENCE:  FAA ORDER 1110.76 establishes and constitutes the charter for ATPAC
    1. Membership must consist of those organizations identified in the current charter.
    2. Nominations for new membership can be made by current Committee members and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).  The FAA, in consultation with the committee, may grant tentative membership approval.
    1. All persons present, including members of the public, have the opportunity to provide input during discussions.  However, only the designated representative of a member organization (excepting FAA) participates formally in the determination of consensus.
    2. All recommendations and certain decisions, as outlined in these guidelines, require consensus of the approved member organizations’ representatives present at the meeting.  No minimum quorum of the full ATPAC membership is required for consensus, only consensus among the members present at the meeting who agree to move forward with a particular decision or recommendation.
    3. If a designated representative is willing to move forward with a decision or recommendation, but has particular comments or concerns regarding the consensus position, these comments can be included in the public record as a minority opinion or position.
    4. If consensus cannot be reached on how to proceed with an Area of Concern (AOC) after all representatives have had the opportunity to speak on the topic, at the Chairperson’s discretion, the discussion may be deferred until later in that meeting or to a later meeting. 
    5. If consensus cannot be reached on the resolution of an AOC, and additional research or information is not forthcoming from FAA or the sponsoring organization, then withdrawal of the AOC should be considered.  The decision to withdraw an AOC must be reached by consensus in accordance with paragraph 3a. 
  4. VOTING:  When voting is required, except as otherwise noted, all votes will be by a simple majority of the designated representatives from the member organizations who are present at the meeting.  A member organization that expects both its primary and alternate representatives, as appointed IAW the ATPAC Charter, to be absent for an anticipated vote may designate another member organization as its proxy for that vote.  The Chairperson must be notified of such proxy designation as soon as practicable, but prior to the vote. No one other than the Primary, Alternate or otherwise delegated representative IAW this paragraph may vote.
  5. COMMITTEE CHAIRPERSON:  The Chairperson must serve as the facilitator of discussion and ensure compliance with the procedures as described herein.
    1. The Chairperson (or designee in the absence of the Chairperson) must attend all Committee meetings.
    2. Duties of the Chairperson:
      1. Conduct a roll call at the beginning of every meeting to identify each member organization’s designated (primary or alternate) representative present for the meeting
        1. Announce any non-primary or alternate representatives authorized to vote for a member organization IAW paragraph 4 above.
      2. Solicit opinions from committee members as to whether an AOC is within the scope of the ATPAC charter and rule on the appropriateness of the topics.
      3. Run the meeting, including the determination of priority and time allowed for discussion of AOC’s and other committee business.
      4. Ensure that all opinions on a topic are heard and remain unbiased during the discussions. 
      5. Serve as a facilitator when building consensus on decisions and/or recommendations.
      6. Forward Committee recommendations for ATPAC charter changes to the FAA Administrator.
    1. Any Committee member or alternate member of the current charter is eligible to be Chairperson.  Nominations for the new Chairperson must be made in writing to the Executive Director and must be received by the close of the next to the last meeting of the current Charter.  Each member organization is permitted to submit one nomination for committee Chairperson.
    2. Announcements for nomination of Chairperson must be made as the final agenda item of the next to the last meeting of the current charter.
    3. Election of the Committee Chairperson will be conducted by written ballot during the last meeting of the current charter, and determined by majority vote in accordance with paragraph 4.
    4. The term of office for the newly elected Chairperson will coincide with each new charter.  The Chairperson begins serving his/her term of office at the first meeting of the new charter.
    5. The Chairperson can be recalled at any time during the term of office by a two-thirds vote of the full Committee designated representatives.
    1. The Executive Director must attend all ATPAC meetings.
    2. Duties of the Executive Director:
      1. Provide the Committee with information relative to ATPAC discussion issues and ensure coordination of safety issues through the ATO Safety Roundtable.
      2. Provide expertise and administrative support to the Committee.  This support must not be limited to Air Traffic, and may include the appropriate representatives of other FAA services (lines of business) or external organizations, i.e. NASA, NWS, etc.
      3. Prepare the agenda and the minutes of all meetings and provide any other information pertinent to the function of the committee.
      4. Publish minutes of each meeting in accordance with paragraph 8
    1. Meetings are held as needed, approximately two meetings per year. Meeting locations will be determined jointly between the Executive Director and the Chairperson based on the needs of the committee work.  The Chairperson and Executive Director must be jointly responsible for hotel and meeting space arrangements for the out-of-town meetings.
    2. The Chairperson and the Executive Director must be present for all discussions on AOCs. However, when necessary,  the Chairperson may designate a primary or alternate ATPAC member to act as chairperson and the Executive Director may designate an FAA employee to act as Executive Director.
    3. Meeting dates and times will be set at least one meeting in advance, preferably two, where practical.  The Chairperson will designate appropriate times for convening, breaks, adjourning, etc. at each meeting.
    4. The meeting agenda must include at a minimum:
      1. Call to Order/Roll Call
      2. Recognition of Attendees
      3. Executive Director’s Report
      4. Chair Report
      5. Call for Safety Items
      6. Approval of minutes of the previous meeting
      7. Review of Agenda Items
      8. Introduction of New AOCs or Miscellaneous items
      9. Status updates to existing AOCs
      10. Location, dates for future meetings.
      11. When required, announcements of nominations for new Chairperson.
      12. When required, election of new Chairperson.
    1. The minutes of each meeting will be posted on the ATPAC web site not later than 30 days after the close of the meeting.  The minutes must include, but not be limited to:
      1. Time and place of the meeting
      2. Attendees
      3. A list of outstanding AOCs, including those newly introduced at the meeting.
      4. A summary of each AOC and Agenda item discussion, and action taken on each item.  The minutes shall NOT include references to individual committee members.  The term “member” must be used rather than “he” or “she.”
      5. A summary of presentations or reports made to the committee, Copies of handout materials may be attached or referenced, as appropriate.
      6. Copies of reports, statements, or recommendations issued or approved by the Committee.
      7. The schedule of planned future meetings, to the extent known.
      8. Election of a new Chairperson, when appropriate.
  1. AOC:           
    1. Any member may submit a proposed AOC.  Where possible, proposed AOCs should be submitted to the Executive Director at least 30 days prior to the next scheduled meeting.  Committee members should be provided an electronic copy of all proposed AOCs one week prior to the meeting.  With the exception of an AOC that has been accepted by the Committee and determined to be a Safety Issue, the Chairperson may defer discussion of proposed AOCs submitted less than 30 days prior to a meeting until the following meeting to allow members time to research the issue.  Any member submitting a proposed AOC within 30 days of the meeting should email the proposed AOC and associated references to the full committee as soon as possible. The Chairperson, in consultation with the Executive Director, will determine the order in which proposed AOCs will be taken up and the time allotted to each discussion. 
    2. Until the first meeting at which a proposed AOC is discussed, it’s status is solely up to the member who introduced it.  After an AOC has been accepted by the Committee, the status of any action on the AOC is determined by the Committee by consensus.
    3. AOCs are subjects of marked interest concerning procedural matters or practices in the air traffic control system that member organization(s) believe need to be addressed or corrected by the FAA or system users.
    4. Safety Issues.  The sponsor may identify an AOC as a potential safety issue when it represents a significant problem that needs to be addressed by ATPAC. If accepted by the committee, the safety issue must be referred to the ATO Safety Roundtable to ensure no duplication of efforts.  A safety issue must be given priority consideration by the Chairperson for discussion by the committee. 
    5. A Safety issue must be allotted sufficient time to allow the sponsor to fully detail their specific concerns. At a minimum, the sponsor must provide the following information when identifying a potential safety issue:
      1. Background and context that illustrates the safety concern and why it should be accepted by ATPAC for resolution; 
      2. Demonstrate how the proposed safety issue is systemic and not a single event or only affects one particular entity; and,
      3. – Clearly identify the safety risk by providing quantitative data or examples.
    1. After the presentation, and discussion of the AOC by the Committee, a determination must be made on whether the AOC is a safety issue. This determination will be by consensus as described above in paragraph 3.  Should the issue be accepted for ATPAC resolution, the assigned ATO safety representative shall conduct a due-diligence review to determine whether the issue is already being addressed by the FAA through programs such as: ATSAP, CSIP, AOV, DCP, AFS, etc.  If there are activities ongoing to mitigate the issue, ATPAC will be provided a briefing of ongoing FAA actions for consideration and/or monitoring.
    2. If ATPAC determines that ongoing FAA safety mitigations are NOT sufficient and additional ATC work is needed, the Executive Director shall refer the safety issue to the ATO Safety Roundtable who will undertake corrective action as appropriate and ensure the Executive Director is kept informed.
    3. The status of an AOC must be recorded as follows:
      1. Action completed when the AOC is resolved by committee consensus.  For example, an AOC may be considered Action Completed when one of the following occurs (not all inclusive):
        1. FAA adopts a Document Change Proposal
        2. FAA informs ATPAC that no action is being taken about the recommendation (see 9.e.iv below).
        3. FAA informs ATPAC that action is being taken to establish new procedure(s).
      2. Deferred when the Committee is continuing work on the AOC and wishes to keep it active from one meeting to the next.
      3. Withdrawn when the Committee no longer wishes to discuss an AOC that has been under consideration.
      4. Non-Adopted when recommendations are not adopted by the FAA. FAA will provide rationale for any decision to non-adopt recommendations of an AOC.
    1. A Recommendation is a definitive statement generated by the Committee to address the issues in an AOC. It provides to the FAA a proposed course of action to correct, refine, or change the policies or procedures identified in the AOC.
    2. A Recommendation is forwarded to the FAA by the Executive Director
    3. If it is determined that a Recommendation has not been acted upon within a reasonable length of time or in a satisfactory manner as determined by the Committee members, the Committee Chairperson is responsible for assuring contact with the appropriate FAA office to seek a timely or appropriate response or resolution.
    4. A Recommendation may be modified or withdrawn by Committee consensus upon receipt of new information or clarifying documentation from the FAA, members of the Committee, or interested public.
  2.  AD HOC COMMITTEES/WORKING GROUPSAd hoc committees or working groups are comprised of a number of Committee members or alternate members who meet between regularly scheduled meetings to work on projects, as directed by the Committee.  The product of the ad hoc group will be presented to the full Committee for their review and action at the next scheduled meeting. Work products or advice from an ad hoc committee must not be presented directly to the Executive Director nor referred elsewhere until they have been considered by the full committee.
  3.  NUMBERING AOCs, AND RECOMMENDATIONS:  Each AOC will be recorded and numbered in numerical order prefixed by the meeting number in the order introduced during the meeting.  For example, AOCs presented during the 107th ATPAC meeting will be numbered AOC 107-1, AOC 107-2, etc.  Recommendations will be numbered sequentially under the AOC from which they stem.
    1. When an AOC is adopted or adopted with modification by the FAA, ATPAC may still have an interest in the subsequent actions related to the closed AOC.  When this occurs, the subject AOC will become an Agenda item.  Agenda item updates will be provided/scheduled by FAA as progress occurs.
    2. An Item of Interest may be identified as an Agenda Item to enhance the awareness of ATPAC members.  Members may suggest Agenda Items to the Chairperson.  Briefings or updates on Agenda Items will be scheduled at the discretion of the Executive Director, based on the availability of FAA or industry subject matter experts. Areas of interest may include research projects or programs whose outcome may influence existing or future air traffic procedures, airport or airspace capacity and efficiency or other aviation enterprise safety improvements of interest to the Committee.  Briefings often provide a dual benefit, such as:
      1. Information related to ATPAC  deliberations on the modification, elimination, or creation of air traffic procedures through technology or procedural improvements, and
      2. Feedback to the researcher or program representative from the perspective of the expertise and background of ATPAC members.
    1. A member may request or suggest facility tours as part of an ATPAC Meeting Agenda to introduce ATPAC members to new technology or procedures.  A suggested tour may form the basis of a future meeting venue.