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Services Available to Pilots

Chapter 4. Air Traffic Control

Section 1. Services Available to Pilots

4−1−1. Air Route Traffic Control Centers

Centers are established primarily to provide air traffic

service to aircraft operating on IFR flight plans within

controlled airspace, and principally during the

en route phase of flight.

4−1−2. Control Towers

Towers have been established to provide for a safe,

orderly and expeditious flow of traffic on and in the

vicinity of an airport. When the responsibility has

been so delegated, towers also provide for the

separation of IFR aircraft in the terminal areas.


AIM, Paragraph 5−4−3 , Approach Control

4−1−3. Flight Service Stations

Flight Service Stations (FSSs) are air traffic

facilities which provide pilot briefings, flight plan

processing, en route flight advisories, search and

rescue services, and assistance to lost aircraft and

aircraft in emergency situations. FSSs also relay ATC

clearances, process Notices to Airmen, broadcast

aviation weather and aeronautical information, and

advise Customs and Border Protection of transborder

flights. In Alaska, designated FSSs also provide

TWEB recordings, take weather observations, and

provide Airport Advisory Services (AAS).

4−1−4. Recording and Monitoring

a. Calls to air traffic control (ATC) facilities

(ARTCCs, Towers, FSSs, Central Flow, and

Operations Centers) over radio and ATC operational

telephone lines (lines used for operational purposes

such as controller instructions, briefings, opening and

closing flight plans, issuance of IFR clearances and

amendments, counter hijacking activities, etc.) may

be monitored and recorded for operational uses such

as accident investigations, accident prevention,

search and rescue purposes, specialist training and

evaluation, and technical evaluation and repair of

control and communications systems.

b. Where the public access telephone is recorded,

a beeper tone is not required. In place of the “beep”

tone the FCC has substituted a mandatory require-

ment that persons to be recorded be given notice they

are to be recorded and give consent. Notice is given

by this entry, consent to record is assumed by the

individual placing a call to the operational facility.

4−1−5. Communications Release of IFR

Aircraft Landing at an Airport Without an

Operating Control Tower

Aircraft operating on an IFR flight plan, landing at an

airport without an operating control tower will be

advised to change to the airport advisory frequency

when direct communications with ATC are no longer

required. Towers and centers do not have nontower

airport traffic and runway in use information. The

instrument approach may not be aligned with the

runway in use; therefore, if the information has not

already been obtained, pilots should make an

expeditious change to the airport advisory frequency

when authorized.


AIM, Paragraph 5−4−4 , Advance Information on Instrument Approach

4−1−6. Pilot Visits to Air Traffic Facilities

Pilots are encouraged to participate in local pilot/air

traffic control outreach activities. However, due to

security and workload concerns, requests for air

traffic facility visits may not always be approved.

Therefore, visit requests should be submitted through

the air traffic facility as early as possible. Pilots

should contact the facility and advise them of the

number of persons in the group, the time and date of

the proposed visit, and the primary interest of the

group. The air traffic facility will provide further

instructions if a request can be approved.


FAA Order 1600.69, FAA Facility Security Management Program

4−1−7. Operation Rain Check

Operation Rain Check is a program designed and

managed by local air traffic control facility