Chapter 2. General Control

Section 1. General


The primary purpose of Flight Service is to support the NAS by providing certain essential services to supplement the ATC system. This is accomplished by providing users of the NAS with:

  1. Emergency assistance.
  2. SAR services for aircraft operating under VFR.
  3. Relay of IFR ATC clearances.
  4. Voice communications for designated portions of air route traffic control center (ARTCC) airspace.
  5. Flight progress reports.
  6. Advisory services and SVFR operations.
  7. Aviation weather support and enhancement for air traffic services.
  8. Weather report input, including (but not limited to) surface observations, augmentation, and PIREPs.
  9. NOTAM entry, dissemination, and coordination.
  10. Flight plan processing.
  11. Pilot briefing of meteorological and aeronautical information before and during flight.

Because there are many variables involved, it is impossible to develop a standard list of duty priorities that would apply uniformly to every situation. Personnel must evaluate each set of circumstances on its own merit. When more than one action is required, personnel must exercise their best judgment based on the known facts and circumstances. The action which appears most critical from a safety standpoint should be performed first.

The following order of duty priorities is offered as a guideline.

  1. Emergency situations. Emergency situations are those where life or property is in immediate danger.


Refer to paragraph 3-1-1 for information on determining an emergency.

  1. In‐flight services. In‐flight services are those provided to or affecting, aircraft in-flight, or otherwise operating on the airport surface.


Refer to paragraph 4-1-1 for a comprehensive description of in‐flight services.

  1. Pre‐flight services. Pre‐flight services are those directly affecting aircraft operations and are provided prior to actual departure.


Refer to paragraph 5-1-1 for a comprehensive description of pre‐flight services.


Specialists must accomplish the transfer of position responsibility in accordance with appropriate facility directives each time the responsibility for a position required to maintain operational continuity is transferred from one specialist to another. The relieving specialist and the specialist being relieved share equal responsibility for the completeness and accuracy of the position relief briefing.

Facilities must develop their procedures and directives in accordance with FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, paragraph 2-2-4, Duty Familiarization and the Transfer of Position Responsibility, and paragraph 2-2-6, Sign In/Out and On/Off Procedures.

  1. Different operational systems are used to provide flight services within the U.S. Each operational system must have individual instructions in the form of a user's manual or guide, either electronically or in paper form, that provide the necessary steps to accomplish the requirements set forth in this order.
  2. Where databases are shared, local procedures may be used to facilitate the handling of flight data across the flight plan area boundaries.
  3. Apply the procedures in this order, except when other procedures are contained in an LOA or other appropriate FAA documents, provided they only supplement this order and any standards they specify are not less than those in this order.


  1. Pilots are required to abide by applicable provisions of 14 CFR or any other pertinent regulations regardless of the application of any procedure in this order.
  2. FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration, contains administrative instructions pertaining to these letters and documents.
  1. Use automated procedures in preference to non-automated procedures when workload, communications, and equipment capabilities permit.
  2. Service providers must evaluate new automated procedures and/or capabilities independently for safety and policy compliance. Application of new automated procedures and/or capabilities will depend on Flight Service Directorate approval.


Technology's fast evolution makes it impossible to develop a standard list of approved automated procedures that apply uniformly to every situation and system.