Section 4. Transfer of Radar Identification

  1. APPLICATION

To provide continuous radar service to an aircraft and facilitate a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of traffic, it is often necessary to transfer radar identification of an aircraft from one controller to another. This section describes the terms, methods, and responsibilities associated with this task. Interfacility and intrafacility transfers of radar identification must be accomplished in all areas of radar surveillance except where it is not operationally feasible. Where such constraints exist, they must be:

  1. Covered in letters of agreement which clearly state that control will not be based upon a radar handoff, or
  2. Coordinated by the transferring and receiving controllers for a specified period of time.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 4-3-8, Coordination with Receiving Facility.

  1. TERMS
  1. Handoff. An action taken to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft from one controller to another controller if the aircraft will enter the receiving controller's airspace and radio communications with the aircraft will be transferred.
  2. Radar Contact. The term used to inform the controller initiating a handoff that the aircraft is identified and approval is granted for the aircraft to enter the receiving controller's airspace.
  3. Point Out. An action taken by a controller to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft to another controller and radio communications will not be transferred.
  4. Point Out Approved. The term used to inform the controller initiating a point out that the aircraft is identified and that approval is granted for the aircraft to enter the receiving controller's airspace, as coordinated, without a communications transfer or the appropriate automated system response.
  5. Traffic. A term used to transfer radar identification of an aircraft to another controller for the purpose of coordinating separation action. Traffic is normally issued:
  1. In response to a handoff or point out;
  2. In anticipation of a handoff or point out; or
  3. In conjunction with a request for control of an aircraft.
  1. Traffic Observed. The term used to inform the controller issuing the traffic restrictions that the traffic is identified and that the restrictions issued are understood and will be complied with.
  1. METHODS
  1. Transfer the radar identification of an aircraft by at least one of the following methods:
  1. Physically point to the target on the receiving controller's display.
  2. Use landline voice communications.
  3. Use automation capabilities.

NOTE-

Automated handoff capabilities are only available when FDP is operational.

  1. TERMINAL. Use the “Modify” or “Quick Look” functions for data transfer between the TRACON and tower cab only if specific procedures are established in a facility directive. The local controller has the responsibility to determine whether or not conditions are adequate for the use of STARS data on the TDW.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 12-6-4, Use of Stars Quick Look Functions.

  1. When making a handoff, point‐out, or issuing traffic restrictions, relay information to the receiving controller in the following order:
  1. The position of the target relative to a fix, map symbol, or radar target known and displayed by both the receiving and transferring controller. Mileage from the reference point may be omitted when relaying the position of a target if a full data block associated with the target has been forced on the receiving controller's radar display.

EXAMPLE-

“Point out, Southwest of Richmond VOR . . ..”

  1. The aircraft identification, as follows:
  1. The aircraft call sign, or
  2. The discrete beacon code of the aircraft during interfacility point‐outs only, if both the receiving and the transferring controllers agree.

NOTE-

Acceptance of a point‐out using the discrete beacon code as the aircraft's identification constitutes agreement.

  1. EN ROUTE. The Computer Identification Number (CID) during intrafacility point-outs.

EXAMPLE-

“Point Out, Southwest of Richmond VOR, C-I-D 123…”

  1. The assigned altitude, appropriate restrictions, and information that the aircraft is climbing or descending, if applicable, except when inter/intrafacility directives ensure that the altitude information will be known by the receiving controller.

NOTE-

When physically pointing to the target, you do not have to state the aircraft position.

  1. Advise the receiving controller of pertinent information not contained in the data block or available flight data unless covered in an LOA or facility directive. Pertinent information may include:
  1. Assigned heading.
  2. Speed/altitude restrictions.
  3. Observed track or deviation from the last route clearance.
  4. Any other pertinent information.

PHRASEOLOGY-

HANDOFF/POINT-OUT/TRAFFIC (aircraft position), (aircraft ID or discrete beacon code), (altitude, restrictions, and other pertinent information, if applicable).

  1. When receiving a handoff, point‐out, or traffic restrictions, respond to the transferring controller as follows:

PHRASEOLOGY-

(Aircraft ID) (restrictions, if applicable) RADAR CONTACT,
or
(aircraft ID or discrete beacon code) (restrictions, if applicable) POINT‐OUT APPROVED,
or
TRAFFIC OBSERVED,
or
UNABLE (appropriate information, as required).

  1. If any doubt as to target identification exists after attempting confirmation in accordance with this section, apply the provisions of paragraph 5-3-5, Questionable Identification.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-2-18, Validation of Mode C Readout.

  1. TRAFFIC
  1. When using the term “traffic” for coordinating separation, the controller issuing traffic must issue appropriate restrictions.
  2. The controller accepting the restrictions must be responsible to ensure that approved separation is maintained between the involved aircraft.
  1. TRANSFERRING CONTROLLER HANDOFF

Unless otherwise coordinated or specified in an LOA or facility directive, the transferring controller must:

  1. Complete a handoff prior to an aircraft entering the airspace delegated to the receiving controller.
  2. Verbally obtain the receiving controller's approval prior to making any changes to an aircraft's flight path, altitude, speed, or data block information while the handoff is being initiated or after acceptance.
  3. Advise the receiving controller of pertinent information not contained in the data block or flight progress strip, including:
  1. Assigned heading.
  2. Airspeed restrictions.
  3. Altitude information issued.
  4. Observed track or deviation from the last route clearance.
  5. The beacon code, if different from that normally used or previously coordinated.
  6. Any other pertinent information.
  1. Initiate verbal coordination to verify the position of primary or nondiscrete targets, except for intrafacility automated handoffs in STARS, ERAM, or MEARTS in Fused Display Mode.
  2. Initiate verbal coordination before transferring control of a track when “CST,” “FAIL,” “NONE,” “IF,” “NT,” or “TRK” is displayed in the data block.
  3. Advise the receiving controller if radar monitoring is required.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 4-1-2, Exceptions.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 4-4-2, Route Structure Transitions.

  1. Consider the target being transferred as identified on the receiving controller's display when the receiving controller acknowledges receipt verbally or accepts the automated handoff.
  2. Prior to transferring communications:
  1. Resolve any potential violations of adjacent airspace and potential conflicts with other aircraft in your area of jurisdiction.
  2. Coordinate with any controller whose area of jurisdiction the aircraft will transit prior to entering the receiving controller's area of jurisdiction.
  3. Forward to the receiving controller any restrictions issued to ensure separation.
  4. Comply with restrictions issued by the receiving controller.
  1. Comply with the provisions of paragraph 2-1-17, Radio Communications. To the extent possible, transfer communications when the handoff has been accepted.

NOTE-

Before the STARS “modify/quick look” function is used to effect a handoff, a facility directive that specifies communication transfer points is required.

  1. After transferring communications, continue to comply with the requirements of subparagraphs h1 and h2.
  2. Before releasing control of the aircraft, issue restrictions to the receiving controller that are necessary to maintain separation from other aircraft within your area of jurisdiction.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-14, Coordinate Use of Airspace.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-15, Control Transfer.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-6, Receiving Controller Handoff.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).
FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 4-3-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).

  1. RECEIVING CONTROLLER HANDOFF

The receiving controller must:

  1. Ensure that the target position corresponds with the position given by the transferring controller or that there is an appropriate association between an automated data block and the target being transferred before accepting a handoff.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-14, Coordinate Use of Airspace.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-15, Control Transfer.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-5, Transferring Controller Handoff.

  1. Issue restrictions that are needed for the aircraft to enter your sector safely before accepting the handoff.
  2. Comply with restrictions issued by the transferring controller unless otherwise coordinated.
  3. After accepting a handoff from another facility, confirm the identification of a primary target by advising the aircraft of its position, and of a nondiscrete beacon target by observing a code change, an “ident” reply, or a “standby” squawk unless one of these was used during handoff. These provisions do not apply at those towers and GCAs that have been delegated the responsibility for providing radar separation within designated areas by the overlying approach control facility and the aircraft identification is assured by sequencing or positioning prior to the handoff.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-9-5, Approach Separation Responsibility.

  1. Consider a beacon target's identity to be confirmed when:
  1. The data block associated with the target being handed off indicates the computer assigned discrete beacon code is being received; or
  2. You observe the deletion of a discrete code that was displayed in the data block; or

NOTE-

When the beacon code received from the aircraft does not match the computer assigned beacon code, the code received (ERAM, MEARTS) or the site-adapted code (received, computer-assigned, or both for STARS) will be displayed in the data block. When the aircraft changes to the computer assigned code, the code is automatically removed from the data block. In this instance, the observance of code removal from the data block satisfies confirmation requirements.

  1. You observe the numeric display of a discrete code that an aircraft has been instructed to squawk or reports squawking.
  1. Take the identified action prior to accepting control of a track when the following indicators are displayed in the data block:
  1. “AMB”: advise the other facility that a disparity exists between the position declared by their computer and that declared by your STARS system.
  2. “NAT” or “NT”: advise the other facility if a disparity exists between the position declared by their computer and the actual target position.
  3. “DATA,” “CST,” “NONE,” or “OLD”: initiate verbal coordination.
  1. ERAM: Notify the OS/CIC when a MISM is displayed in the data block.
  2. Advise the transferring controller as soon as possible if you will delay the climb or descent of the aircraft through the vertical limits of that controller's area of jurisdiction, unless otherwise specified in an LOA or a facility directive.
  1. POINT OUT
  1. The transferring controller must:
  1. Obtain approval before permitting an aircraft to enter the receiving controller's delegated airspace.
  1. EN ROUTE: Automated approval may be utilized in lieu of verbal approval. If the receiving controller takes no action, revert to verbal procedures.

NOTE-

  1. Use fourth line data for aircraft not on their flight plan route.
  2. Where specified in a letter of agreement, some facilities may restrict interfacility automated point outs.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-10-1, En Route Or Oceanic Sector Team Responsibilities.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-3, Methods.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-10, En Route Fourth Line Data Block Usage.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-14-3, Computer Entry of Flight Plan Information.

  1. TERMINAL: Automated point out approval may be utilized in lieu of verbal provided the procedures are contained in a facility directive/LOA.
  1. Obtain the receiving controller's approval before making any changes to an aircraft's flight path, altitude, speed, or data block information after the point out has been approved.
  2. Comply with restrictions issued by the receiving controller unless otherwise coordinated.
  3. Be responsible for subsequent radar handoffs and communications transfer, including flight data revisions and coordination, unless otherwise agreed to by the receiving controller or as specified in a LOA.
  1. The receiving controller must:
  1. Ensure that the target position corresponds with the position given by the transferring controller or that there is an association between a computer data block and the target being transferred prior to approving a point out.
  2. Be responsible for separation between point out aircraft and other aircraft for which he/she has separation responsibility.
  3. Issue restrictions necessary to provide separation from other aircraft within his/her area of jurisdiction.
  1. AUTOMATED INFORMATION TRANSFER (AIT)

Transfer radar identification, altitude control, and/or en route fourth line control information, without verbal coordination under the following conditions:

  1. During radar handoff; and
  2. Via information displayed in full data blocks; and
  3. When following procedures specified in your facility AIT directive and/or LOA.

NOTE-

Information transferred using AIT procedures may be bi-directional, and may involve more than two sectors. Complete coordination, awareness of traffic flow, and understanding of each position's responsibilities concerning AIT procedures cannot be overemphasized.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-10, En Route Fourth Line Data Block Usage.
FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 4-3-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).

  1. PREARRANGED COORDINATION

Prearranged coordination allowing aircraft under your control to enter another controller's area of jurisdiction may only be approved provided procedures are established and published in a facility directive/LOA in accordance with FAA Order JO 7210.3, paragraph 3-6-7, Prearranged Coordination.

NOTE-

Under no circumstances may one controller permit an aircraft to enter another's airspace without proper coordination. Coordination can be accomplished by several means; i.e., radar handoff, automated information transfer, verbal, point-out, and by prearranged coordination procedures identified in a facility directive that clearly describe the correct application. Airspace boundaries should not be permitted to become barriers to the efficient movement of traffic. In addition, complete coordination, awareness of traffic flow, and understanding of each position's responsibility concerning penetration of another's airspace cannot be overemphasized.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 2-1-14, Coordinate Use of Airspace.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-3, Methods.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).
FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 3-6-7, Prearranged Coordination.

  1. EN ROUTE FOURTH LINE DATA BLOCK USAGE
  1. The fourth line of the data block must be displayed. When used for forwarding control information, only the specified messages listed in this section may be used. Any additional control information must be forwarded via other communications methods. Free text may be used by individual sector teams for recording information the team deems appropriate for managing the sector, but must be removed prior to initiation of identification transfer.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-5, Transferring Controller Handoff, subpara b.
FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).

  1. The en route fourth line data block area must be used for coordination purposes only in association with radar identified aircraft.
  2. When automated information transfer (AIT) procedures are applied, en route fourth line usage for transfer of control information must be specifically defined within facility AIT directive.

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).
FAA Order JO 7210.3, Para 4-3-8, Automated Information Transfer (AIT).

  1. Coordination format for assigned headings must use the designation character “H” preceding a three-digit number.

EXAMPLE-

H080, H270

  1. Aircraft assigned a heading until receiving a fix or joining a published route must be designated with assigned heading format followed by the fix or route.

EXAMPLE-

H080/ALB, 080/J121, PH/ALB

NOTE-

  1. The notation “PH” may be used to denote present heading.
  2. The character “H” may be omitted as a prefix to the heading assignment only if necessary due to character field limitations, and it does not impede understanding.
  1. Coordination format for weather deviations must use the designated characters:
    D-deviation
    L-left
    R-right
    N-north
    E-east
    S-south
    W-west
    /F – direct next NAVAID/waypoint
    D+2 headings – deviate between.

NOTE-

  1. Two digits specify turns in degrees and must include direction character(s). Three digits specify heading(s).
  2. The inclusion of a /NAVAID, /waypoint, or /F indicates that the pilot has been authorized to deviate for weather and must rejoin the route at the next NAVAID, waypoint, or fix in the route of flight in accordance with the phraseology in paragraph 2-6-4.

EXAMPLE-

D90/ATL, DL/KD75U, D090/F

  1. The absence of a NAVAID, waypoint, or /F indicates that the pilot has been authorized to deviate for weather only, and the receiving controller must provide a clearance to rejoin the route in accordance with subparagraph 2-1-15c.

EXAMPLE-

DN, D20L, D30R, D080+120

  1. Coordination format for assigned airspeeds must use the designation character “S” preceding a three-digit number.

NOTE-

A “+” notation may be added to denote an assigned speed at or greater than the displayed value. A “-” notation may be added to denote an assigned speed at or less than the displayed value.

EXAMPLE-

S210, S250, S250+, S280-

  1. Aircraft assigned a Mach number must use the designation “M” preceding the two-digit assigned value.

EXAMPLE-

M80, M80+, M80-

REFERENCE-

FAA Order JO 7110.65, Para 5-4-10, En Route Fourth Line Data Block Usage, subpara g NOTE.

  1. Aircraft authorized to conduct celestial navigation training within 30 NM of the route centerline specified within the en route clearance.

EXAMPLE-

CELNAV

  1. Coordination format for aircraft requesting an altitude change must use the designation characters “RQ” preceding a three-digit number.

EXAMPLE-

RQ170, RQ410

  1. Coordination format for aircraft requesting a route change must use the designation “RQ/” preceding a specific fix identifier.

EXAMPLE-

RQ/LAX, RQ/NEUTO

  1. The acceptance of a handoff by the receiving controller must constitute receipt of the information contained within the en route fourth line data block.This information must not be modified outside of the controller's area of jurisdiction unless verbally coordinated or specified in a Letter of Agreement or Facility Directive. It is the responsibility of the receiving controller to advise the transferring controller if any information is not understood, or needs to be revised.

NOTE-

Due to system and character limitations the usage of these standardized entries may require additional support via facility directive in order to provide complete coordination.

  1. All other control information must be coordinated via other methods.