Non-Federal Program: Overview

Non-Federal air navigational aids (NavAids) and Automated Weather Observing Systems (AWOS) are required by law to be operated and maintained to the same standards as Federally owned systems. The Non-Federal Program ensures that:

  • New non-Federal systems are installed and commissioned according to FAA standards.
  • Existing non-Federal systems are operated and maintained according to FAA standards.
  • Non-Federally employed maintenance technicians have sufficient training and competence to meet FAA standards.
  • Non-Federal systems and technicians are licensed, as necessary, by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
  • New non-Federal systems are designed according to FAA standards.

The Non-Federal Program enacts policies and procedures to regulate:

  • The approval process for newly-designed systems.
  • The life-cycles of those systems.*
  • The technicians who maintain those systems.

*A "life-cycle" includes installation, commissioning, operation, maintenance, takeover (if applicable), and ultimately, decommissioning.

Non-Federal systems play a significant role in the National Airspace System (NAS). For instance, they facilitate aviation access to hundreds of communities across the U.S. Without non-Federal systems, many of those communities would have little or no aviation access.

Key Elements of the Non-Federal Process:

  • Before a new type/make/model of NavAid or AWOS can be used for non-Federal purposes, it must be approved by the Non-Federal Program.
  • Owners of non-Federal systems should not install them without Non-Federal Program approval and oversight.
  • The non-Federally employed technician(s) who will maintain the systems must first receive "verification authority" from the Non-Federal Program.
  • After a system is installed, the non-Federal technicians must maintain specific records on the system's operations and maintenance.
  • Non-Federal Program personnel will annually inspect the system's operations and maintenance.

If you don't comply with the above process, FAA may shut down your system.

The Non-Federal Process can be complicated. Contact your Non-Federal Program Liaison for advice and guidance!


Last updated: Tuesday, October 11, 2022