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!