Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Non-federal Program

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Program Information

What is a non-federal system? A system procured, installed, operated, and maintained by an entity other than any federal government agency. A list of non-federal system types are located here.

What should I do before planning anything involving a non-federal undertaking? The first step in any non-federal undertaking is to contact your Non-federal Program Liaison. But before doing that, we suggest that you explore this website to gain valuable knowledge and insight. That will enable you to have an educated discussion with your Liaison.

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Airport Sponsors (Owners) — FAQ

How do I connect my AWOS to WMSCR? You must have an AWOS III (or better), and contract with an FAA-approved third-party service provider. Please refer to the AWOS / WMSCR FAQ (PDF) for further details, and view a list of FAA-approved third-party service providers (PDF).

How do I share my weather data with the FAA and aviation community? You may contract with a third-party service provider to connect your AWOS III (or better) to the FAA's WMSCR system. Please refer to the AWOS / WMSCR FAQ (PDF) for further details, and view a list of FAA-approved third-party service providers (PDF).

What's the proper way to buy & install a new system for my airport? Just because a system is marketed as "non-federal" doesn't mean that the FAA has actually approved it for use in the NAS. And even approved systems must be installed and operated per FAA standards. Further details are available in the section of this website titled "Purchasing, Installing, and Operating Non-federally Owned Systems". We suggest reviewing it before contacting your Non-federal Program Liaison.

If the FAA Approves My Form 7460-1 (and 7460-2, If Required), May I Install & Operate My Non-federally Owned NavAid, AWOS, or Approach Lighting System*? No. FAA approval of your Form 7460-1 ("Notice of Proposed Construction or Alteration") and 7460-2 ("Supplemental Notice") is not the same as approval to install and operate your non-federal system. FAA approval of these forms merely means that your construction project will not cause radio-frequency interference, nor obstruct aircraft operations.

If the FAA approves your form 7460, contact a Non-federal Program Liaison, to seek permission to install your new NavAid, AWOS, or other systems.

What's the proper way to turn on (or "commission") a new system, and begin operating it at my airport? The Non-federal Program has a commissioning process. However, it may vary based on the type of system involved. Your Non-federal Program Liaison can explain the relevant process.

What's the proper way to move (or "relocate") an existing system at my airport? The Non-federal Program has a relocation process. However, like the commissioning process, it may vary based on the type of system involved. Your Non-federal Program Liaison can provide further details. (You should also contact your Liaison if you're planning to relocate a federally-owned system.)

What's the proper way to permanently shut down (or "decommission") an existing system at my airport? To ensure aviation safety, you should never shut down a non-federal system without first contacting your Non-federal Program Liaison. The FAA's decommissioning process ensures that, among other things, pilots will be notified that your system is out of service.

Does the non-federal Program regulate systems at privately owned airports? Yes.

Does the non-federal Program Only Regulate Visual Aids (VisAids) That Support Precision Instrument Approaches? Yes. The non-federal Program regulates four types of VisAids, all of which are Approach Lighting Systems (ALS). The specific types of ALS that we regulate are ALSF-2, MALS, MALSF, and MALSR. These approach lights support precision instrument procedures, such as those associated with an ILS or GBAS.

Note that we only regulate VisAids (specifically ALS) that support precision instrument approaches. We do not regulate "VFR only" ALS, such as Omni Directional Approach Lighting Systems (ODALS). Similarly, we do not regulate "VFR-only" Visual Glide Slope Indicators (VGSI), such as Precision Approach Path Indicators (PAPI), and Visual Approach Slope Indicators (VASI).

Which Facilities/Systems Does the non-federal Program Regulate? A list is available.

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Maintenance Technicians — FAQ

What credentials do I need to maintain a non-federally-owned system? / What qualifications do I need to become a Non-federal Technician? In order to become a "Non-federal Technician" you must receive "verification authority" from the non-federal Program. For more details, please refer to the web page titled Maintaining Non-federally Owned Systems.

What codes should I use in the Facilities Maintenance Log? We posted the latest list of logging codes (MS Excel). If you have any trouble downloading the document, please contact

How do I navigate the logging codes "cheat sheet"? The document is an Excel "workbook" file and was not designed to be printed. The workbook has six tabs or "tables". The first tab is a Table of Contents (ToC). It has "inter-document links" to each of the following five tables of codes: Administrative Codes, Maintenance Codes, Scheduled Cause Codes, Unscheduled Cause Codes, and Maintenance Action Codes. In the upper-left corner of each table is a link back to the ToC. Be sure to scroll down through each table to ensure you select the proper code.

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Manufacturers — FAQ

How can I legally market my product as a "non-federal" system? The FAA must approve your system before your customers can legally operate it in the NAS. (However, that is only one prerequisite your customers must meet.) For details on how to seek FAA approval of your system, refer to the web page titled "Requesting FAA Approval of Systems Intended to be Marketed for Non-federal Use".

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Last updated: Thursday, April 25, 2024