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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

Air Traffic Control and the National Airspace System

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Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge



Table of Contents

Chapter 1, Introduction To Flying
Chapter 2, Aircraft Structure
Chapter 3, Principles of Flight
Chapter 4, Aerodynamics of Flight
Chapter 5, Flight Controls
Chapter 6, Aircraft Systems
Chapter 7, Flight Instruments
Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents
Chapter 9, Weight and Balance
Chapter 10, Aircraft Performance
Chapter 11, Weather Theory
Chapter 12, Aviation Weather Services
Chapter 13, Airport Operation
Chapter 14, Airspace
Chapter 15, Navigation
Chapter 16, Aeromedical Factors
Chapter 17, Aeronautical Decision Making




Air Traffic Control and the National
Airspace System

The primary purpose of the ATC system is to prevent a
collision between aircraft operating in the system and to
organize and expedite the flow of traffic. In addition to
its primary function, the ATC system has the capability to
provide (with certain limitations) additional services. The
ability to provide additional services is limited by many
factors, such as the volume of traffic, frequency congestion,
quality of radar, controller workload, higher priority duties,
and the pure physical inability to scan and detect those
situations that fall in this category. It is recognized that these
services cannot be provided in cases in which the provision
of services is precluded by the above factors.

Consistent with the aforementioned conditions, controllers
shall provide additional service procedures to the extent
permitted by higher priority duties and other circumstances.
The provision of additional services is not optional on the
part of the controller, but rather is required when the work
situation permits. Provide ATC service in accordance with
the procedures and minima in this order except when:
1. A deviation is necessary to conform with ICAO
Documents, National Rules of the Air, or special
agreements where the United States provides ATC
service in airspace outside the country and its
possessions or:
2. Other procedures/minima are prescribed in a letter of
agreement, FAA directive, or a military document,
3. A deviation is necessary to assist an aircraft when an
emergency has been declared.

Coordinating the Use of Airspace
ATC is responsible for ensuring that the necessary
coordination has been accomplished before allowing an
aircraft under their control to enter another controller's area
of jurisdiction.

Before issuing control instructions directly or relaying
through another source to an aircraft which is within
another controller's area of jurisdiction that will change that
aircraft's heading, route, speed, or altitude, ATC ensures
that coordination has been accomplished with each of the
controllers listed below whose area of jurisdiction is affected
by those instructions unless otherwise specified by a letter
of agreement or a facility directive:
1. The controller within whose area of jurisdiction the
control instructions are issued.
2. The controller receiving the transfer of control.
3. Any intervening controller(s) through whose area of
jurisdiction the aircraft will pass.

If ATC issues control instructions to an aircraft through a
source other than another controller (e.g., Aeronautical Radio,
Incorporated (ARINC), Automated Flight Service Station/
Flight Service Station (AFSS/FSS), another pilot) they ensure
that the necessary coordination has been accomplished with
any controllers listed above, whose area of jurisdiction is
affected by those instructions unless otherwise specified by
a letter of agreement or a facility directive.

Operating in the Various Types of Airspace
It is important that pilots be familiar with the operational
requirements for each of the various types or classes of
airspace. Subsequent sections cover each class in sufficient
detail to facilitate understanding with regard to weather, type
of pilot certificate held, as well as equipment required.

Basic VFR Weather Minimums
No pilot may operate an aircraft under basic VFR when the
flight visibility is less, or at a distance from clouds that is
less, than that prescribed for the corresponding altitude and
class of airspace. [Figure 14-9] Except as provided in 14
CFR Section 91.157, Special VFR Weather Minimums, no
person may operate an aircraft beneath the ceiling under
VFR within the lateral boundaries of controlled airspace
designated to the surface for an airport when the ceiling is
less than 1,000 feet. Additional information can be found in
14 CFR section 91.155(c).

Operating Rules and Pilot/Equipment Requirements
The safety of flight is a top priority of all pilots and the
responsibilities associated with operating an aircraft
should always be taken seriously. The air traffic system
maintains a high degree of safety and efficiency with strict
regulatory oversight of the FAA. Pilots .y in accordance
with regulations that have served the United States well, as
evidenced by the fact that the country has the safest aviation
system in the world.

All aircraft operating in today's National Airspace System
(NAS) has complied with the CFR governing its certification
and maintenance; all pilots operating today have completed
rigorous pilot certification training and testing. Of equal
importance is the proper execution of preflight planning,
aeronautical decision-making (ADM) and risk management.
ADM involves a systematic approach to risk assessment
and stress management in aviation, illustrates how personal
attitudes can influence decision-making, and how those
attitudes can be modified to enhance safety in the flight
deck. More detailed information regarding ADM and
risk mitigation can be found in Chapter 17, Aeronautical