Section 5. Watch Coverage-Flight Service Stations

  1. Facility air traffic managers are responsible for preparing watch schedules for their facilities. These schedules must take into account normal traffic flow thereby permitting the posting of a continuing rotational schedule for an indefinite period of time. Facility management is responsible for appropriate consultation with local unions.
  2. Facility air traffic managers must, to the maximum extent possible, establish overlapping shifts thereby providing an opportunity for personnel to accomplish a majority of briefings without need for overtime assignment.
  3. Facility air traffic managers must ensure that air traffic control specialists (ATCS) assigned to a position of operation:
  1. Do not work more than 6 consecutive days.
  2. Do not work more than a 10-hour day.
  3. Have an off-duty period of at least 8 hours between watches.
  1. Efficient air traffic services require supervision of each watch regardless of the number of people assigned.
  2. At facilities where a specialist stands a watch alone, responsibility for the overall operation of the facility during the watch becomes a part of his/her duties.
  3. When two or more specialists are on duty and no supervisory personnel are available (see Note), one specialist who is fully qualified and rated in the assigned operational area must be designated by the facility air traffic manager as CIC/DLS for that watch. Specialists so designated may be required to perform specialist duties in addition to those associated with watch supervision. The CIC/DLS designation must be rotated among qualified specialists. Persons so designated perform the full range of duties associated with watch supervision. Watch supervision by itself does not justify a higher grade; i.e., the CIC/DLS does not perform supervisory duties, such as:
  1. Evaluating employee performance.
  2. Recommending selections, promotions, awards, disciplinary actions, and separations.
  3. Explaining and gaining support of employees for management policies and goals.
  4. Counseling employees on their performance ratings.
  5. Monitoring presidential aircraft movement.


A supervisor is considered available for watch supervision when he/she is physically present in the operational area and is able to perform the primary duties of the supervisory function. If the supervisor leaves the operational area or is engaged in an activity which may interfere with or preclude the performance of watch supervision duties, then a CIC/DLS must be designated.


OSs primary function is the supervision of their area and assistance to specialists. It is particularly important that supervisors carefully monitor current and anticipated sector activity to ensure that available controller staffing is deployed at optimal efficiency. Managers/supervisors must be responsible for managing the operational environment with a goal toward eliminating distractions in the operational environment. Managers must, to the extent practicable, avoid scheduling supervisors for nonoperational duties during periods of known heavy traffic.

  1. Facility air traffic managers must use all available qualified personnel to provide relief periods. First priority should be given to providing a reasonable amount of time away from the position of operation for meals. Additionally, time for such things as briefings and training should be made by rotating work assignments among qualified employees.
  2. Supervisors in charge are responsible for knowing the whereabouts of employees to ensure their operational availability. Supervisors are also responsible for ensuring that relief periods are applied in such a manner as to maximize the usage of personnel and to promote the efficiency of the agency.
  3. Relief period, i.e., break, is defined by the Comptroller General as being a “brief” rest period that may be assigned by the agency. While no specific timeframe is placed on the duration of relief periods, supervisors and managers will be held accountable to ensure that breaks are of a reasonable duration.
  4. Supervisors must not condone or permit individuals to sleep while on duty. Any such instance must be handled in accordance with Human Resource Policy Manual (HRPM), Standards of Conduct, or applicable corporate policy (for FCFSS contract facilities).

Facility air traffic managers must ensure that overtime duty is equitably distributed among all eligible employees who desire it. Retain overtime duty records for 12 months.

  1. Facility air traffic managers must ensure that the scheduled staffing is adjusted on holidays to a level consistent with the anticipated workload. Application of this policy is not intended to result in a standardized holiday staffing schedule for all holidays. Holiday staffing schedules may vary for individual holidays since the traffic in a particular area cannot always be expected to be the same for each holiday.
  2. Prior to establishing work schedules for a Federal holiday, facility air traffic managers must:
  1. Consider the previous year's traffic statistics for each holiday.
  2. Check, as appropriate, with local sources (Air National Guard, USN, USAF Reserves, local flying schools, fixed base operators, etc.) for information concerning anticipated activity.

Assign personnel to positions as required by activity, equipment, and facility function. Positions may be consolidated in consideration of activity and the qualifications of the personnel involved.


Hours of duty of facility air traffic managers and administrative staffs should conform with the duty hours of the Alaska Flight Service Information Area Group.


Facility air traffic managers in Alaska will be informed by the Director of Flight Service of their authorized facility personnel complements. The authorized complement will always be the end-of-year employment ceiling authorization. Circumstances may result in the establishment of a complement different from that provided in workload formulas.

  1. Prior to being designated as CIC/DLS, specialists must have been facility/area rated/certified for 6 months, except as provided in paragraph 2-6-3c. The specialist must also have completed an agency-approved and established CIC/DLS training course for Flight Service (Alaska) or Federal Contract Flight Service Stations (FCFSS). The Director of Flight Service may issue a facility waiver for the 6 months criteria where a more immediate assignment is indicated. Upon receipt of a waiver from the Director of Flight Services, the facility manager can then issue individual waivers to the 6 months requirement on a case-by-case basis. Waivers to facilities will be for 1 year with renewals based on the result of a yearly evaluation by the region.


In facilities that use CICs/DLSs to provide midwatch coverage, all facility/area rated/certified specialists that provide such coverage must complete an agency-approved and established CIC/DLS training course for Flight Service as described above, within 30 days of final certification/rating.

  1. Specialists that have completed the CIC/DLS course, have performed such duties, and subsequently transfer to another facility, must be required to complete those portions of the course that are specific to the new facility before assuming CIC/DLS duties, except as provided in paragraph 2-6-3. They must not be required to fulfill the 6 months experience requirement at the new facility.
  2. Upon completion of the CIC/DLS course, record an entry noting this in the specialist's Training and Proficiency Record, FAA Form 3120-1, section 3 or electronic equivalent; or the FCFSS equivalent.