U.S. Department

of Transportation


Federal Aviation



Air Traffic


A Communication from the  Director of Air Traffic                        



Issue # 2001 - 7

December 2001                                                                                             

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In this Issue:


Radio and Interphone Communications

Intersection Departures

Who're You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters?

Vectors Below Minimum Vectoring Altitude

ATC Services for Hearing Impaired Pilots

Aeronautical Information Cutoff Schedule for the Year 2002


Radio and Interphone Communications

/*TER/ The National Transportation Safety Board has issued numerous safety recommendations to the FAA since 1973 to prevent runway incursions and other airport surface incidents. One such recommendation was for controllers to speak at reasonable rates when communicating with all flight crews, especially to those whose primary language is not English. In response to this recommendation, in June 2000, the FAA issued a GENOT to this effect. To maintain focus on this recommendation, we will periodically publish reminders in the Air Traffic Bulletin for controllers to speak at reasonable rates when communicating with all flight crews. (ATP-120)

Intersection Departures

/*T/ Clearing arrivals and departures: it is what tower controllers do all day long. However rote the task becomes, controllers remain alert for anything that might interrupt a routine operation: wind changes, airspeed differences, spacing, response time of aircraft taxiing off of or departing from a runway, vehicles operating near a runway, etc.

Our focus here is on departures from an intersection. They involve a high level of risk of conflict with other aircraft, vehicles, or objects and should be handled with caution. Here are a few factors that might cause that risk level to rise even higher:

         There are multiple intersections used for departures on the same runway.

         There are intersecting departure runways in use, with intersection departures in use on one or more of them.

         Traffic density or complexity increases.

         Multiple frequencies are in use by the same controller.

         Low visibility conditions are a factor.

         Similar types of aircraft are waiting to go at different intersections on a runway as well as full length departures.

Many controllers contend with several of these risk factors at once on a daily basis! They learn to use techniques and procedures that help to standardize their operation, creating "routines" used when they authorize intersection departures.

The basic rule, in FAAO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control, Paragraph 3-7-1d, Ground Traffic Movement, instructs controllers to, "State the runway intersection when authorizing an aircraft to taxi into position to hold or when clearing an aircraft for takeoff from an intersection."

RUNWAY (number) AT (taxiway designator), TAXI INTO POSITION AND HOLD.

Your facility standard operating procedures (SOP) may have additional guidance that spells out local procedures to use when authorizing use of intersection departures. You might also be using other personal techniques shared among your trainers and co-workers that work well at your airport. No procedure can always prevent errors from occurring. That is where basic controller skills are key:

         A good scan can catch the wrong aircraft taxiing onto the runway at an intersection when you have just authorized a full length departure to taxi into position and hold.

         If using multiple frequencies, consider combining them; if unable, you could separate them by listening to one through your earpiece, and the other through a speaker.

         If you use strips or strip-holders, different ways of managing them can give you visual clues of the arrival/departure sequence. For instance, tilt the strip for an aircraft given taxi into position and hold (TIPH) instructions to one side; tilt the strip for an aircraft given a landing clearance to the other side.

         If you use a pad to keep track of your pattern, you can use a notation next to the aircraft callsign to let you know at a glance which aircraft is at which intersection.

         Write it down! If not a requirement at your facility, consider having ground control (GC) mark the departure intersection on the strip, or have GC advise local control when an aircraft taxies to a nonstandard intersection for departure.

         When pilots check in "ready for departure," note their stated position on your strip or pad. If you see several similar aircraft and the pilot does not provide his position, ask him for it.

         When similar aircraft types line up at all your runway hold lines, be extra careful to watch which one moves when you clear it! (If no one moves, check the other end of the runway, or another runway. It happens.)

         During low visibility conditions, you can ask pilots for position reports as they taxi, if you do not have airport surface detection equipment (ASDE). Remember, if it is nighttime or you cannot see the departure intersection from the tower, you cannot authorize departures to TIPH from that intersection (FAAO 7110.65, Paragraph 3-9-4f.).

         Always be alert for the wrong aircraft to take a clearance onto the runway when intersection departures are in use.

         Utilize whatever memory aids, techniques, or devices you or your facility has. They can help trigger your memory if a distraction takes your attention away from the runway momentarily.

         Pay attention to your controller instinct and experience; you might detect that a taxiing pilot does not seem familiar with the airport and prevent his/her wrong turn onto a runway.

         Scan, scan, SCAN!

In June 2001, FAA issued the following advisory circulars (AC) to provide guidelines to pilots for the development and implementation of standard operating procedures for conducting safe aircraft operations on the airport surface:

         AC 91-73 for Parts 91 and 135 single-pilot operations.

         AC 120-74 for Parts 121, 125, and 135 flightcrews.

These ACs suggest to pilots that as much attention should be given to the planning of the airport surface movement portion of the flight as is given to the planning of other phases of flight.

In these ACs, situational awareness is heavily emphasized; pilots are advised that they can help controllers by maintaining awareness of their position, listening intently for instructions, and reading back control instructions to avoid confusion. Pilots are also advised to carry airport diagrams with them to confirm taxi routes and help them remain aware of their position while on the movement areas.

ACs are "advisory only," however. The main burden remains on the controller to correctly identify a departure's position on the field. Use all the tools and techniques you have available to positively identify aircraft poised at your intersections. (ATP-120)

Who're You Gonna Call? Ghostbusters?

/*TE/ Terminal facilities should coordinate with their appropriate ARTCC traffic management unit (TMU) ensuring they are kept aware of situations and conditions that may require the implementation of traffic management (TM) initiatives. Immediately notify the ARTCC TMU when arrival, departure, or tower en route delays are expected to reach 15 minutes. As a minimum, include the projected delay and number of aircraft expected to encounter delays. Additional changes of delay time should be reported in 15-minute increments, continuing until delays are reported as less than 15 minutes. Again, it is important to include the projected delay, the number of aircraft currently encountering delays, and the number of aircraft expected to encounter delays.

Towers that are not collocated with a terminal radar approach control facility (TRACON) TMU shall coordinate with the appropriate TRACON TMU where the TM function has been established.

Unusual circumstances or significant issues do not preclude the terminal TMU from contacting the ATCSCC directly. In this case, the terminal TMU shall ask the ATCSCC to conference the appropriate ARTCC TMU, and if necessary other affected terminals, and user organizations concerning the development and implementation of traffic management procedures. In addition, facility managers shall ensure internal procedures are developed to notify the ATCSCC and Facility Manager (Management) when delays exceed 90 minutes, except for EDCT delays created by GDPs.

The ARTCC shall be the focal point for coordinating with the ATCSCC concerning any TM issues, initiatives, programs, or information. Data received from terminal facilities shall be passed to the ATCSCC in a timely manner. For more information see
FAAO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, Chapter 17, Traffic Management National, Center, and Terminal. (ATT-200)

Vectors Below Minimum Vectoring

/*TER/ Pilots are always responsible for terrain separation.  However, when an air traffic controller assigns a departure procedure or control instructions involving altitude assignments, pilots expect that compliance with those instructions will provide terrain separation.

A pilot has no immediate knowledge of the minimum assignable altitude since ATC may utilize diverse vector areas, minimum vectoring altitudes, and other altitudes authorized by FAAO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control. Paragraph 5-6-1 authorizes a controller to vector departing IFR aircraft at or above the minimum vectoring altitude or the minimum IFR altitude except as authorized for radar approaches, special VFR, VFR operations, or by Paragraph 5-6-3, Vectors Below Minimum Altitude. Paragraph 5-6-3 allows controllers to vector IFR aircraft below minimum IFR altitude (MIA), but only when specific requirements have been met.

When controllers vector or assign headings to IFR aircraft below minimum IFR altitude, the FAA assumes responsibility for terrain separation. Controllers may only vector aircraft, assign direct, or a climb on course when the aircraft has reached MIA or when terrain and obstruction clearance is being otherwise assured. FAAO 7110.65 Paragraph 5-6-3, Vectors Below Minimum Altitude, describes how this may be accomplished when vectors will be provided. (ATP‑120)

ATC Services for Hearing Impaired    Pilots

/*FTER/ The following request for services for hearing impaired pilots was received through the Central Region's Operations Branch office in June 2001.

"A pilot with a hearing impairment called twice last week and asked about the availability of a Teletype keyboard at the AFSS. The pilot indicated there are over 100 deaf pilots in the United States with 5 to 10 located in Illinois alone. Could we respond to this inquiry/request. I am also interested in any information that we have available for our hearing impaired users."

An inquiry was sent to all regional operations managers (530) asking them to identify what services are provided and equipment used to provide ATC services to hearing impaired pilots. The following information was ascertained and may be of value to all employees.

As of December 31, 2000, a total of 3,973 medical certificates had been issued to deaf/hearing impaired pilots (690 were 1st class; 1,065 2nd class; and 2,218 3rd class). In summary, flight service stations reported receiving some requests for services from hearing impaired pilots. One respondent thought that hearing impaired pilots probably use the internet to receive services. Another believed that a person could not operate an aircraft if hearing impaired. Currently hearing and speech impaired pilots can receive services from the FAA in the following ways:

         Over-the-counter flight service briefings

         State-operated relay services

         Direct user access terminal system (DUATS)

         Visual signals (light guns) from FAA towers

         All flight service stations are wheel chair accessible and offer over-the-counter services to hearing impaired pilots.


Many facilities reported limited experience with the state-operated relay services, but for those that have never had the opportunity, this is how that service functions:

         A pilot contacts the state-operated relay service utilizing a TDD device connected to a phone line and requests assistance.

         The TDD device allows the hearing impaired person to type in a request for service or assistance to the relay operator.

         The relay operator then contacts the appropriate FSS/AFSS by telephone and acts as an interpreter for both parties.

         As the briefer presents the briefing information the relay operator enters the information into the TDD device "verbatim" for the pilot to read.

         When the pilot asks a question through the TDD device, the relay operator verbalizes the question to the briefer and relays the briefer's response via the TDD.

If the hearing impaired person has access to a computer, they can use DUATS to access the majority of a briefing and for flight plan service. To receive a professional interpretation of the weather information, the pilot must complete the briefing process by utilizing the services of a relay operator. FAA does not plan to establish direct TDD services; however, the new Operational and Supportability Implementation System (OASIS) will have an interactive briefing capability, which will improve direct access to the weather briefer's interpretations by hearing impaired pilots. Once OASIS is functional, a specialist and pilot will be able to utilize the instant messaging capability that comes with the Microsoft products.

Most controllers recognize that at towered airports the hearing impaired pilot can receive visual landing and takeoff instructions through the light gun just like any pilot who has no radio. One specialist was concerned because every time he used the light gun the pilot did not seem to know the signals and did not react properly. Hearing impaired pilots must rely on the light guns; therefore, they maintain a higher
skill level than is expected from a pilot with normal hearing.

Presently, FAA has no way of providing en route services for the hearing impaired pilot but DATA Link changes the ability to communicate with a hearing impaired pilot and may increase IFR flights by this group in the future. If you want to know more about hearing impaired pilots contact:

International Deaf Pilot Association (home.t-online.de/home/tosch/air.htm)
President, Clyde Smith
1553 Gravel Spring Circle
Jacksonville, IL 62650


Aeronautical Information Cutoff Schedule for the Year 2002

/*TEFR/  Strict adherence to specified cutoff dates will ensure that aeronautical information is published on the desired effective date. (ATA-100)






























27 Dec 01

18 Oct 01

26 Nov 01

25 Oct 01

18 Oct 01


9 Nov 01

* 24 Jan 02

15 Nov 01

24 Dec 01




7 Dec 01

21 Feb 02

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4 Jan 02

* 21 Mar 02

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1 Feb 02

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8 Nov 02


* Denotes Change Notice (CN).     NOTE:  There is no CN for Alaskan procedures.

Questions/comments about content should be addressed to ATP-100