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VFR Operations — Basic Radar Service to VFR Aircraft Last updated: 2018-01-23

Basic radar services for VFR aircraft must include:

1. Safety alerts.

2. Traffic advisories.

3. Limited radar vectoring when requested by the pilot.

4. Sequencing at locations where procedures have been established for this purpose and/or when covered by a SOP.

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 7-6-1}”

Service availability

a. Inform aircraft on initial contact whenever this service cannot be provided because of radar outage or other reasons.

b. Radar sequencing to the primary airport, when local procedures have been developed, must be provided unless the pilot states that the service is not requested. Arriving aircraft are assumed to want radar service unless the pilot states “Negative radar service,” or makes a similar comment.

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 7-6-2}”

Approach sequence

a.Identify the aircraft before taking action to position it in the approach sequence.

b.Do not assign landing sequence numbers, when establishing aircraft in the approach sequence, unless this responsibility has been delegated in a LOA or facility directive.

The landing sequence is ordinarily established by the tower.


Establish radar contact before instructing a VFR aircraft to enter the traffic pattern at a specified point or vectoring the aircraft to a position in the approach sequence. Inform the pilot of the aircraft to follow when the integrity of the approach sequence is dependent on following a preceding aircraft. Ensure visual contact is established with the aircraft to follow and provide instruction to follow that aircraft.

FOLLOW (description) (position, if necessary).

b. Direct a VFR aircraft to a point near the airport to hold when a position is not available in the approach sequence for the runway in use. The aircraft may be vectored to another runway after coordination with the tower.

c. Apply the following procedures to a VFR aircraft being radar sequenced:

  • 1. Apply the appropriate radar separation minima .

  • 2. When parallel runways are less than 2,500?feet apart, do not permit a heavy jet/B757 to overtake any aircraft nor a large aircraft to overtake a small aircraft established on final within your area of responsibility.

Control transfer

a. Inform the tower of the aircraft’s position and then instruct the pilot to contact the tower.

b. The aircraft may be instructed to contact the tower prior to the tower being advised of the aircraft’s position provided:

  • 1. The tower advises the aircraft is in sight, and

  • 2. Space is available in the landing sequence.

c. Instruct the pilot to contact the tower at the appropriate point when the approach control ARTS/STARS track data is being displayed on the tower’s display, the aircraft is tagged by ARTS/STARS, and a SOP specifies change of communications and control jurisdiction points.

The point at which an aircraft is instructed to contact the tower is determined by prior coordination between the tower and approach control and will vary, depending on the runway in use, weather, etc. The transfer of communications ordinarily occurs at least 5 miles from the runway. The point for the transfer of communications should be a sufficient distance from the airport to permit the tower to properly sequence the aircraft, but not at a distance that could derogate the provision of radar traffic information service.

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 7-6-5 - 7-6-9}”

Termination of service

Basic radar services should be provided to the extent possible, workload permitting. Terminate radar service to aircraft landing at airports other than those where sequencing service is provided at a sufficient distance from the airport to permit the pilot to change to the appropriate frequency for traffic and airport information.







CONTACT (frequency identification),


“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 7-6-11}”

Service provided when there is no control tower

a. Provide the following services during hours when the tower is not in operation:

  • 1. Wind direction and velocity.

Issue information provided from the FSS or WSO. Otherwise, inform the pilot that wind information is not available.

  • 2. Traffic information.

  • 3. Inform aircraft when radar service is terminated.

b. Do not assign landing sequence.

“{Reference: FAAO 7110.65 7-6-12}”

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