ATC Issues & Procedures

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The National Airspace System (NAS) is continuously being updated and changed in order to improve system efficiency.  NBAA supports the continued transition to a future aviation system that is satellite-based rather than today's ground-based navigation system, and will continue to play an active role representing the needs of general aviation in the technical and regulatory evolution of a Next Generation (NextGen) aviation system.

In addition to these changes, there are certain areas of the NAS where special attention is warranted and where special procedures are required due to persistent traffic volume issues, seasonal increases in volume, or other factors.

  • Call Signs

    How to Get an ICAO Call Sign/Telephony Designator

    NBAA's Domestic Operations Committee has developed an online resource to help eligible operators request an International Civil Aviation Organization company designator and telephony designator, better known as a call sign, from the FAA.

  • NOTAM Realignment

    NOTAM Realignment

    The FAA is modernizing the NOTAM system to improve the quality of NOTAMs, provide enhanced filtering and sorting of data, and to conform with ICAO standards. NOTAM Realignment is one of the first steps toward the FAA's NextGen system.

  • Flight Plan Filing

    Flight Plan Filing

    In order to take full advantage of RNAV equipment and procedures, operators need to properly file an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) flight plan even for U.S. domestic flights. This will allow the automatic assignment of RNAV Standard Instrument Departures (SID), Standard Terminal Arrivals (STAR) and preferential routes.

  • New York Metro Airspace Overview

    New York Metro Airspace Overview

    The airspace in and around the New York City metro area is the most congested and complex airspace in the NAS. Learn more the area airports, common departure and arrival issues, and the route issues encountered in the New York metro airspace.

  • Wind Routes

    Wind Routes

    In April 2010, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced a new set of routes for traffic headed from the Western United States into the New York City metro area that could be used by air traffic control (ATC).

  • Winter Snowbird Traffic and VACAPES Airspace

    Winter Snowbird Traffic and VACAPES Airspace

    During certain times of the year, particularly during the winter, seasonal traffic between the northeastern US and Florida increases dramatically. Offshore radar routes, and in some cases the Virginia Capes Operating Area (VACAPES), can be used to reduce congestion.

  • Communications with Air Traffic Control

    Communications with Air Traffic Control

    Clear concise communication between flight crews and air traffic controllers is absolutely essential. Learn about requirements and best practices for communications with ATC.

  • Ski Country Special Traffic Management Program

    Rocky Mountain Area Special Traffic Management Program

    The Rocky Mountain Area STMP is run annually from mid-December until early January, and again during Presidents Day weekend in February, to control the IFR arrival rates into Aspen-Pitkin County/Sardy Field (ASE), Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE) and Rifle/Garfield County Field Airport (RIL).

FAA InFO Addresses Special Procedures Flown by Unauthorized Pilots
Nov. 17, 2017
A recent FAA Information for Operators (InFO) notice warns instrument-rated pilots against utilizing special instrument procedures without authorization. As the term implies, a special instrument procedure allows authorized operators to fly unique approaches or departures under certain conditions, or to a private runway or landing area lacking a standard instrument procedure. Operators must receive authorization from the FAA's Flight Standards Service to perform these special procedures, often with stipulations. Also, pilots may neither request nor accept an ATC clearance to fly these special procedures without the agency's approval. Read more about the FAA’s InFO.
Election's Conclusion Means Return of 'Other VIP TFRs'
Nov. 28, 2016
Following a presidential election, business aviation operators can expect a series of special temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) related to the activities of the president-elect and vice president-elect. NBAA characterizes these as "Other VIP TFRs," to distinguish them from the two most common types of VIP TFRs: those related to the movements of the president and vice president. "It is important that operators pay attention to the NBAA website and the contents of the NOTAMs themselves to be absolutely certain they understand the restrictions put in place," sad NBAA Air Traffic Services Project Manager Jim McClay, adding that NBAA is constantly working to reduce the impact of VIP TFRs on business aviation. Read more.
Operators: Learn Proper Flight-Plan Codes Ahead of Domestic IFR Filing Requirement
Nov. 9, 2016
The FAA is stressing the importance of properly communicating aircraft and crew capabilities to air traffic controllers through a flight plan form developed by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Pilots flying RNAV procedures in the U.S., or operating internationally, have used the new form since 2012. Pilots flying IFR within the United States are expected to use the ICAO form early next year. The ICAO flight plan requires "much greater detail about the capabilities of the aircraft and its crew," said John Kosak, program manager for weather at NBAA Air Traffic Services. "The codes placed in Fields 10 and 18 more clearly detail what specific departure, enroute and approach clearances you’re able to accept from air traffic control on each flight." Learn more about the new filing requirement.
International and Domestic Flight Plans Must Include Aircraft Registration, Address Code
Dec. 16, 2015
An FAA review of flight plans revealed that many operators were not including the aircraft registration and six-character hexadecimal code that is the aircraft’s address in Item 18 of their ICAO flight plans. Therefore, the agency has issued Information for Operators 15015, which emphasizes the importance of providing the required information in the proper format. Meeting the requirement is important for all operators, regardless of their destination, because the information determines the level of air traffic services they will receive, said Rich Boll, chairman of the NBAA Access Committee’s ATC, Airspace and Flight Technologies Working Group. Read more about this requirement.
NOTAM Search Tool Continues Pilot-Friendly Improvements
Oct. 26, 2015
New improvements to the FAA's notice to airmen (NOTAM) Search, now featuring new filter and priority sorting options, makes flight planning easier than ever. "NOTAM Search is an ongoing project to improve pilot access to NOTAMs," said Rich Boll, a member of NBAA's Access Committee. The upgraded NOTAM system includes letters to airmen, construction NOTAMs and graphics and more. It also offers a flight path search, enabling the user to define parameters, such as width of the search from the flight path, and review all NOTAMs along that path. Users can also filter NOTAMs by date or sort NOTAMs by priority. Read more about NOTAM Search improvements.
New NBAA Resource Details How Operators May Obtain an ICAO Call Sign
Oct. 13, 2015
NBAA's Domestic Operations Committee recently developed an online resource to help eligible operators request an International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) company designator and telephony designator, better known as a call sign, from the FAA. Committee members Bryant Blanco, from Private Jets, and Jason Herman, from Latitude 33 Aviation, used their real-world experience with the application process to help guide fellow NBAA Members. If the FAA determines a company designator or telephony designator will benefit the National Airspace System, the Air Traffic Organization will issue a company or telephony designator and NBAA's new resource walks operators through the application process. Learn more about obtaining an ICAO call sign.
E-STMP is Gone, But Winter Demand at Colorado Airports Remains
Nov. 18, 2013
This year, the FAA is not utilizing the electronic special traffic management program the agency did have in place at three Colorado airports, but NBAA air traffic specialists warn that decision will not mitigate demand at those popular destinations. After consultations with NBAA, FAA instead opted to use a ground-delay program to manage traffic at ASE, EGE and RIL during the 2013-14 winter season. "This is something controllers and air crews are used to seeing," according to Dean Snell, assistant manager of NBAA's Air Traffic Services. "It's much more efficient, but there will still be delays because demand still outpaces capacity." Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on flying to Colorado this winter.
FAA Releases Holiday Traffic Management Details for Colorado Airports
Nov. 18, 2013
In preparation for the upcoming 2013–2014 holiday season, the FAA has released a notice outlining plans for managing air traffic in and out of three Colorado airports: Aspen-Pitkin County (ASE), Eagle County Regional (EGE) and Rifle/Garfield County (RIL). This season, the FAA will not be using an air traffic slot reservation program (managed through the e-STMP system); instead, the agency will implement a variety of initiatives, including ground delay programs (GDPs), miles-in-trail, required routes and ground stops. Review the FAA notice and additional details on NBAA's winter holidays web page.
NBAA Actively Involved in NOTAM Evolution
Sept. 20, 2013
As part of its ongoing improvement efforts, the FAA will introduce a revised format and contractions in its Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) on Oct. 1. More improvements are on the way, said Bob Lamond, Jr., NBAA's director of air traffic services and infrastructure who is a member of the RTCA Tactical Operations Committee working group dedicated to evaluating the current system and recommending improvements that efficiently communicate pertinent NOTAM information to pilots. Describing the effort as a "work in progress," the upcoming changes will harmonize the U.S. system with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards. Read more about the improvements to NOTAMs.
NBAA Gets Quick FAA Action on Troublesome NOTAM Website Disclaimers
August 19, 2013
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has responded quickly and positively to a request from the NBAA Access Committee to remove a restrictive disclaimer from certain government websites used by pilots and others to search for notices to airmen (NOTAMs) and other aeronautical information. The current language has not only warned visitors that the sites are not considered official sources, but also raised concerns that third-party sources commonly used by NBAA Members to retrieve NOTAMs might not be considered compliant with Part 91. The FAA said the disclaimers will be modified on Aug. 22 to legally allow for the use of the information contained on the websites. Learn more about the coming changes.
Outdated Code Used in Electronic Approach Charts for ASH, CRQ and LIU
June 21, 2013
Jeppesen NavData for cycle 1307, effective June 27, contains outdated procedure coding at the following locations: Boire Field, NH (ASH), Mc Clellan-Palomar, CA (CRQ) and Littlefield Mun, TX (LIU). Multiple changes have been made to the procedures that Jeppesen did not revise for cycle 1307. Revised coding will appear in Jeppesen NavData for cycle 1308, effective July 25. Until then, an entry will appear in the NavData Change Notices beginning June 28.

Review the Jeppesen alert, which contains a list of all affected procedures. (PDF)
FAA Expands Size of Protected Airspace for Circling Approaches
May 27, 2013
For almost 20 years, the aviation industry has expressed to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) its concern about the amount of airspace surrounding airports dedicated to circling approaches. Now, the FAA has started expanding the protected airspace used for such approaches in an effort to give larger, faster aircraft more stability upon landing. Listen to this week's NBAA Flight Plan podcast for more on the FAA's decision to increase the area of protected airspace devoted to circling approaches.
FAA Changes Wake Turbulence Separation Minima for Certain Parallel Runway Operations
May 10, 2013
Since 2006 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been working to develop a safe wake mitigation procedure that allows reduced wake turbulence separation during certain operations from closely-spaced parallel runways. Comprehensive analysis of wake turbulence has shown that sufficient crosswinds on parallel runways can allow for the elimination of departure wake separation minima. Starting Wednesday, May 15, the FAA will roll out a one-year demonstration of the Wake Turbulence Mitigation for Departures (WTMD) system at San Francisco International Airport (SFO), followed by Houston International (IAH) on May 20 and then Memphis International (MEM) in August. Winds must be favorable to the runway configuration and visual meteorological conditions must prevail in order for WTMD to be enabled. WTMD use will be broadcast over the ATIS, and pilots will have the option to request longer separation times if needed. Pilots operating at these demonstration airports should familiarize themselves with InFO 13006 as well as WTMD operations. Additional information on WTMD can be found in FAA Order JO 7110.316.
Pilots Need to Prepare for Procedural Changes on Standard Instrument Departures
June 25, 2012
Changes are on the horizon that will affect pilots flying instrument departures and arrivals. Following years of discussion, the new "Climb Via" instruction for standard instrument departures (SIDs) is scheduled to go live on Aug. 15. It mirrors the similar "Descend Via" instruction already being issued for standard terminal arrival route procedures. Learn More.