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7110.65:Chapter 13

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Chapter 13. Decision Support Tools

Chapter 13. Decision Support Tools

Section 1. ERAM Decision Support Tools (EDST)


EDST is used by the sector team in performing its strategic planning responsibilities. EDST uses flight plan data, forecast winds, aircraft performance characteristics, and track data to derive expected aircraft trajectories, and to predict conflicts between aircraft and between aircraft and special use or designated airspace. It also provides trial planning and enhanced flight data management capabilities. Under ERAM, the EDST capabilities constitute the initial En Route decision support tools.


  1. Actively scan EDST information for predicted aircraft-to-aircraft and aircraft-to-airspace alerts.
  2. When a conflict probe alert is displayed, evaluate the alert and take appropriate action as early as practical, in accordance with duty priorities.
  3. Prioritize the evaluation and resolution of conflict probe alerts to ensure the safe, expeditious, and efficient flow of air traffic.

    NOTE: Conflict probe alerts are based on standard radar separation. Conflict probe does not account for instances in which greater separation may be needed (e.g., non-standard formations, A380) or where reduced separation is permitted (e.g., 3mile airspace).

  4. When a conflict probe alert is displayed and when sector priorities permit, give consideration to the following in determining a solution:
    1. Solutions that involve direct routing, altitude changes, removal of a flight direction constraint (i.e., inappropriate altitude for direction of flight), and/or removal of a static restriction for one or more pertinent aircraft.
    2. Impact on surrounding sector traffic and complexity levels, flight efficiencies, and user preferences.
  5. When the Stop Probe feature is activated for an aircraft, conflict probe for that aircraft shall be restarted before transfer of control, unless otherwise coordinated.

    NOTE: The requirement in paragraph 13-1-2e does not apply to aircraft entering a non EDST facility.


When EDST is operational at the sector and when sector priorities permit, use the trial plan capability to evaluate:

  1. Solutions to predicted conflicts.
  2. The feasibility of granting user requests.
  3. The feasibility of removing a flight direction constraint (i.e., inappropriate altitude for direction of flight) for an aircraft.
  4. The feasibility of removing a static restriction for an aircraft.


When the results of a trial plan based upon a user request indicate the absence of alerts, every effort should be made to grant the user request, unless the change is likely to adversely affect operations at another sector.


  1. The ACL must be used as the sector team’s primary source of flight data.
  2. Actively scan EDST to identify automated notifications that require sector team action.
  3. When an ACL or DL entry has a Remarks indication, the Remarks field of the flight plan must be reviewed. Changes to the Remarks field must also be reviewed.
  4. Highlighting an entry on the ACL or DL must be used to indicate the flight requires an action or special attention.
  5. The Special Posting Area (SPA) should be used to group aircraft that have special significance (e.g., aircraft to be sequenced, air refueling missions, formations).
  6. Sector teams shall post flight progress strips for any non-radar flights.
  7. A flight progress strip shall be posted for any flight plan not contained in the EAS.
  8. Sector teams shall post any flight progress strip(s) that are deemed necessary for safe or efficient operations. The sector team shall comply with all applicable facility directives to maintain posted flight progress strips.
  9. The Drop Track Delete option shall be used in accordance with facility directives.


  1. Where automated coordination with a facility is not available (e.g., an international facility, a VFR tower), use the Coordination Menu or a flight progress strip to annotate manual coordination status, in accordance with facility directives.
  2. When the Coordination Menu is used and the flight plan is subsequently changed, remove the yellow coding from the Coordination Indicator after any appropriate action has been taken.

13-1-7. HOLDING

For flights in hold, use the ERAM Hold Data Menu/Hold View, the EDST Hold Annotations Menu, a flight progress strip, or a facility approved worksheet, to annotate holding instructions, in accordance with facility directives.


  1. All control information not otherwise recorded via automation recordings or voice recordings must be manually recorded using approved methods.
  2. When a verbal point out has been approved, remove the yellow color coding on the ACL.
  3. When the ACL or DL Free Text Area is used to enter control information, authorized abbreviations must be used. You may use:
    1. The clearance abbreviations authorized in TBL 13-1-1.
      TBL 13-1-1 Clearance Abbreviations
      Abbreviation Meaning
      A Cleared to airport (point of intended landing)
      B Center clearance delivered
      C ATC clears (when clearance relayed through non−ATC facility)
      CAF Cleared as filed
      D Cleared to depart from the fix
      F Cleared to the fix
      H Cleared to hold and instructions issued
      N Clearance not delivered
      O Cleared to the outer marker
      PD Cleared to climb/descend at pilot’s discretion
      Q Cleared to fly specified sectors of a NAVAID defined in terms of courses, bearings, radials, or quadrants within a designated radius
      T Cleared through (for landing and takeoff through intermediate point)
      V Cleared over the fix
      X Cleared to cross (airway, route, radial) at (point)
      Z Tower jurisdiction
    2. The miscellaneous abbreviations authorized in TBL 13-1-2.
    3. The EDST equivalents for control information symbols authorized in TBL 13-1-3.
    4. Plain language markings when it will aid in understanding information.
    5. Locally approved abbreviations.
  4. When the ACL or DL Free Text Area is used to enter control information, the Free Text Area must remain open and visible. When no longer relevant, the information entered into the Free Text Area must be updated or deleted.
  5. Control information entered in the Free Text Area must be used for reference purposes only.

    NOTE: Information entered into the Free Text Area does not pass on handoff and, if necessary, must be coordinated.

TBL 13-1-2 Miscellaneous Abbreviations
Abbreviation Meaning
BC Back course approach
CT Contact approach
FA Final approach
FMS Flight management system approach
GPS GPS approach
I Initial approach
ILS ILS approach
MA Missed approach
NDB Nondirectional radio beacon approach
OTP VFR conditions−on−top
PA Precision approach
PT Procedure turn
RA Resolution advisory (Pilot−reported TCAS event)
RH Runway heading
RNAV Area navigation approach
RP Report immediately upon passing (fix/altitude)
RX Report crossing
SA Surveillance approach
SI Straight-in approach
TA TACAN approach
TL Turn left
TR Turn right
VA Visual approach
VR VOR approach
TBL 13-1-3 EDST Equivalents for Control Information Symbols
Abbreviation Meaning
T dir Depart (direction if specified)
Climb and maintain
Descend and maintain
CR Cruise
X Cross
M Maintain
/ airway Join or intercept (airway, jet route, track, or course)
= While in controlled airspace
WICA While in control area
dir ECA Enter control area
dir OOCA Out of control area
dir ESA Cleared to enter surface area. Indicated direction of flight by appropriate compass letter(s)
TSA alt Through surface area and altitude indicated direction of flight by appropriate compass letter(s). Maintain special VFR conditions (altitude if appropriate) while in surface area
250 K Aircraft requested to adjust speed to 250 knots
-20 K Aircraft requested to reduce speed 20 knots
+30 kt Aircraft requested to increase speed 30 knots
SVFR Local Special VFR operations in the vicinity of (name) airport are authorized until (time). Maintain special VFR conditions (altitude if appropriate)
B4 Before
AF After or Past
/ Until
*instructions* Alternate instructions
REST Restriction
AOB At or Below
AOA At or Above
- From-to (route, time, etc.)
(alt)B(alt) Indicates a block altitude assignment. Altitudes are inclusive, and the first altitude must be lower than the second (Example 310B370)
V time Clearance void if aircraft not off ground by time
CL Pilot canceled flight plan
+info+ Information or revised information forwarded
**alt** Other than assigned altitude reported. Example: **50**
ARC mi. dir. DME arc of VORTAC or TACAN
C freq. Contact (facility) or (freq.), (time, fix, or altitude if appropriate). Insert frequency only when it is other than standard
R Radar contact
R alt Requested altitude
R/ Radar service terminated
RX Radar Contact Lost
RV Radar vector
RVX Pilot resumed own navigation
HO Handoff completed
E Emergency
W Warning
P Point out initiated. Indicate the appropriate facility, sector, or position.
FUEL Minimum fuel
EFC time Expect further clearance at (time)
- fix Direct to fix
FRC Full route clearance
IAF Initial approach fix
NORDO No radio
PT Procedure turn
RLS Release
REQ Request
SI Straight in


  1. The EDST Inappropriate Altitude for Direction of Flight (IAFDOF) feature must be used in the automatic mode (i.e., IAFDOF Manual must remain deselected) unless otherwise authorized in a facility directive.
  2. Completion of any required coordination for IAFDOF must be acknowledged on the ACL by removing the IAFDOF coding.
  3. Completion of appropriate coordination for an Unsuccessful Transmission Message (UTM) must be acknowledged on the ACL by removing the UTM coding.
  4. Issuance of the Expect Departure Clearance Time (EDCT) to the pilot or other control facility must be acknowledged on the DL by removing the EDCT coding.
  5. IAFDOF, UTM, or EDCT coding must be acknowledged only after the appropriate action has been completed.
  6. The first sector which displays Embedded Route Text (ERT) coding must issue and send/acknowledge the route prior to initiating a hand-off unless verbally coordinated or as specified in appropriate facility directives. Do not send/acknowledge ERT coding unless the sector has track control for the flight or it has been otherwise coordinated.
  7. Route Action Notifications (RAN) such as ATC preferred routes or route processing errors must be amended at the first control position that displays the RAN unless verbally coordinated or as specified in appropriate facility directives. Do not remove RAN coding unless the sector has track control or it has been otherwise coordinated.


  1. The sector team shall perform automation entries in a timely manner.
    • NOTE:
    • 1. Conflict probe accuracy requires timely updates of data used to model each flight’s trajectory. If this data is not current, the aircraft entries and notification of probe results for surrounding sectors and facilities, as well as the subject sector, may be misleading.
    • 2. Data used to model an individual aircraft’s trajectory includes route of flight, assigned and interim altitudes, application/removal of an adapted restriction for that flight, and aircraft type.
  2. An exception to the requirement to enter or update interim altitudes may be authorized for certain ARTCC sectors if explicitly defined in an appropriate facility directive.

    NOTE: Conflict probe accuracy in assigning alert notification is dependent upon entry/update of a flight’s interim altitude.


  1. Adhere to all applicable delay reporting directives.
  2. Delay information shall be recorded. Delay information may be automatically recorded via use of the EDST Hold Annotations Menu, ERAM Hold Data Menu, ERAM Hold View, or manually on flight progress strips or facility-approved worksheets, in accordance with the facility-defined standard.
  3. When using the Hold Annotation Menu to automatically record delay information, the hold annotations shall be deleted when the aircraft is cleared from holding.

    NOTE: When using EDST hold annotations, delay information cannot be accurately recorded unless the annotations are deleted when the aircraft is cleared from holding. When using the ERAM Hold Data Menu or Hold View, delays are automatically recorded when the aircraft is cleared out of hold.


Upon receipt of the overdue aircraft notification take appropriate actions set forth in Chapter 10, Section 3, Overdue aircraft.

NOTE: ESDT overdue aircraft notification is based on radar track data. Updating an aircraft’s route of fight will remove the overdue aircraft notification.


  1. Graphic depictions of flight trajectories may be used only to aid in situational awareness and strategic planning.
  2. Do not use trajectory-based positions as a substitute for radar track position.
  3. Do not use trajectory-based altitude in lieu of Mode C for altitude confirmation.
  4. Do not use the GPD for radar identification, position information, transfer of radar identification, radar separation, correlation, or pointouts.


In the event that current forecast wind data are not available, continue use of conflict probe and trial planning with appropriate recognition that alert and trajectory data may be affected.


In the event of a loss of connectivity to an adjacent ERAM facility, continue use of EDST with appropriate recognition that alert data may be affected.


In the event of a surveillance or flight data outage, electronic flight data may be used to support situational awareness while the facility transitions to alternate automation capabilities or non radar procedures.


  1. Airspace Configuration Elements are:
    1. Special Activity Airspace (SAA).
    2. Airport Stream Filters (ASF).
    3. Adapted restrictions.
  2. Where assigned as a sector responsibility by facility directive, the sector team shall update Airspace Configuration Elements to reflect current status.

    NOTE: Unless otherwise covered in an LOA or facility directive, activating or scheduling the SAA in the Airspace Status View does NOT constitute coordination for activation of airspace.

  3. For Airspace Configuration Elements designated as a sector responsibility, notify the operational supervisor when the status of an Airspace Configuration Element has been modified.

Section 2. ATOP - Oceanic

The following procedures are applicable to the operation of the ATOP Oceanic Air Traffic Control (ATC) System.


  1. The ATOP ATC System is utilized in designated en route/oceanic airspace. ATOP includes both surveillance and flight data processing, which provides the controllers with automated decision support tools to establish, monitor and maintain separation between aircraft, and aircraft to airspace and terrain.
  2. ATOP capabilities include:
    1. MEARTS based radar surveillance processing.
    2. Conflict Prediction and Reporting.
    3. Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Broadcast (ADS-B).
    4. Automatic Dependent Surveillance- Contract (ADS-C).
    5. Controller Pilot Data Link Communications (CPDLC).
    6. ATS Interfacility Data Communications (AIDC).
    7. Additional Decision Support Tools used primarily for situational awareness.
    8. Electronic Flight Data including Electronic Flight Strips.


The controller must use the most accurate information available to initiate, monitor, and maintain separation.

  1. a. Apply the following procedures in airspace where conflict probe is being utilized as a decision support tool:
    1. Conflict Probe Results.
      1. (a) Controllers must assume that the conflict probe separation calculations are accurate.
      2. (b) Unless otherwise prescribed in subpara a3, controllers must utilize the results from conflict probe to initiate and maintain the prescribed separation minima.
    2. Conflict Resolution.
      1. (a) When a controller is alerted to a conflict, which will occur in his/her sector, take the appropriate action to resolve the conflict.
      2. (b) The controller responsible for resolving a conflict must evaluate the alert and take appropriate action as early as practical, in accordance with duty priorities, alert priority, and operational considerations.
      3. (c) Unless otherwise specified in facility directives, the controller must take immediate action to resolve any “red” conflicts.
    3. Overriding Conflict Probe.
      1. (a) Controllers must not override conflict probe except for the following situations:
        1. (1) The application of a separation standard not recognized by conflict probe listed in subpara a8(a), or as identified by facility directive.
        2. (2) When action has been taken to resolve the identified conflict and separation has been ensured, or
        3. (3) Control responsibility has been delegated to another sector or facility, or
        4. (4) Other situations as specified in facility directives.
      2. (b) Controllers must continue to ensure that separation is maintained until the overridden conflict is resolved.
    4. Use of Probe when Issuing Clearances. Utilize conflict probe results when issuing a clearance to ensure that any potential conflict has been given thorough consideration.
    5. Use of Probe when Accepting Manual Transfers. Prior to manually accepting an aircraft transfer from an external facility ensure that the coordinated flight profile is accurately entered, conflict probe initiated and, if necessary, action is taken to resolve any potential conflicts.
    6. Trial Probe. The controller can utilize trial probe to assess whether there are any potential conflicts with a proposed clearance or when performing manual coordination.

      NOTE: Once initiated, trial probe does not take into account any changes made to the proposed profile or to any other flight profile in the system. It is an assessment by conflict probe of the current situation at the time the controller enters the trial probe. A trial probe does not alleviate the controller from performing a conflict probe when issuing a clearance or accepting a transfer.

    7. System Unable to Perform Conflict Probe for a Specific Aircraft.
      1. (a) If a flight’s profile becomes corrupted, conflict probe may not be able to correctly monitor separation for that flight. Take the necessary steps to correct an aircraft’s flight plan when conflict probe could not be performed.
      2. (b) In addition, after verifying flight plan data accuracy, utilize other decision support tools to establish and maintain the appropriate separation minima until such time that conflict probe can be utilized.
    8. Conflict Probe Limitations.
      1. (a) Conflict Probe does not support the following separation minima:
        1. (1) Subpara 8-4-2a2 - Nonintersecting paths.
        2. (2) Subpara 8-4-2d - Intersecting flight paths with variable width protected airspace.
        3. (3) Subpara 8-4-3a - Reduction of Route Protected Airspace, below FL 240.
        4. (4) Subpara 8-4-3b - Reduction of Route Protected Airspace, at and above FL 240.
        5. (5) Subpara 8-4-4a1 - Same NAVAID: VOR/VORTAC/TACAN.
        6. (6) Subpara 8-4-4a2 - Same NAVAID: NDB.
        7. (7) Subpara 8-4-4c - Dead Reckoning.
        8. (8) Para 8-5-4 - Same Direction.
        9. (9) Para 8-8-5 - VFR Climb and Descent.
  2. Additional Decision Support Tools: These support tools include: range/bearing, time of passing, intercept angle, the aircraft situation display (ASD) and electronic flight data.
    1. The results provided by these additional decision support/controller tools can be used by the controller for maintaining situational awareness and monitoring flight profile information, and for establishing and maintaining separation standards not supported by probe, or when probe is unavailable.
    2. Under no circumstances must the controller utilize any of the additional decision support tools to override probe results when the applicable separation standard is supported by probe and none of the other conditions for overriding probe apply.


  1. Currency of Information: The sector team is responsible for ensuring that manually entered data is accurate and timely. Ensure that nonconformant messages are handled in a timely manner and that the flight’s profile is updated as necessary.

    NOTE: Conflict probe accuracy requires timely updates of data used to model each flight’s trajectory. If this data is not current, the aircraft flight profile and probe results may be misleading.

  2. Data Block Management.
    1. Ensure that the data block reflects the most current flight information and controller applied indicators as specified in facility directives.
    2. Ensure that appropriate and timely action is taken when a special condition code is indicated in the data block.
  3. Electronic Flight Strip Management.
    1. Electronic flight strips must be maintained in accordance with facility directives and the following:
      1. (a) Annotations. Ensure that annotations are kept up to date.
      2. (b) Reduced Separation Flags. Ensure the flags listed below are selected appropriately for each flight:
        1. (1) M- Mach Number Technique (MNT).
        2. (2) R- Reduced MNT.
        3. (3) D- Distance-based longitudinal.
        4. (4) W- Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM).
      3. (c) Degraded RNP. Select when an aircraft has notified ATC of a reduction in navigation capability that affects the applicable separation minima.
      4. (d) Restrictions. Ensure restrictions accurately reflect the cleared profile.
  4. Queue Management.
    1. Manage all sector and coordination queues in accordance with the appropriate message priority and the controller’s priority of duties.
    2. In accordance with facility directives, ensure that the messages directed to the error queue are processed in a timely manner.
  5. Window/List Management.
    1. Ensure that the situation display window title bar is not obscured by other windows and/or lists.

      NOTE: The title bar changes color to denote when priority information on the ASD is being obscured or is out of view.

    2. In accordance with facility directives, ensure that designated windows and/or lists are displayed at all times.


  1. Means of communication.
    1. When CPDLC is available and CPDLC connected aircraft are operating outside of VHF coverage, CPDLC must be used as the primary means of communication.
    2. Voice communications may be utilized for CPDLC aircraft when it will provide an operational advantage and/or when workload or equipment capabilities demand.
    3. When CPDLC is being utilized, a voice backup must exist (e.g., HF, SATCOM, Third party).
    4. When a pilot communicates via CPDLC, the response should be via CPDLC.
    5. To the extent possible, the CPDLC message set should be used in lieu of free text messages.

      NOTE: The use of the CPDLC message set ensures the proper “closure” of CPDLC exchanges.

  2. Transfer of Communications to the Next Facility.
    1. When the receiving facility is capable of CPDLC communications, the data link transfer is automatic and is accomplished within facility adapted parameters.
    2. When a receiving facility is not CPDLC capable, the transfer of communications must be made in accordance with local directives and Letters of Agreement (LOAs).
  3. Abnormal conditions.
    1. If any portion of the automated transfer fails, the controller should attempt to initiate the transfer manually. If unable to complete the data link transfer, the controller should advise the pilot to log on to the next facility and send an End Service (EOS) message.
    2. If CPDLC fails, voice communications must be utilized until CPDLC connections can be reestablished.
    3. If the CPDLC connection is lost on a specific aircraft, the controller should send a connection request message (CR1) or advise the pilot via backup communications to log on again.
    4. If CPDLC service is to be canceled, the controller must advise the pilot as early as possible to facilitate a smooth transition to voice communications. Workload permitting, the controller should also advise the pilot of the reason for the termination of data link.
    5. When there is uncertainty that a clearance was delivered to an aircraft via CPDLC, the controller must continue to protect the airspace associated with the clearance until an appropriate operational response is received from the flight crew. If an expected operational response to a clearance is not received, the controller will initiate appropriate action to ensure that the clearance was received by the flight crew. On initial voice contact with aircraft preface the message with the following:
      • (Call Sign) CPDLC Failure, (message).


In addition to the requirements set forth in Chapter 8, Offshore/Oceanic Procedures, Section 2, Coordination, automated coordination must constitute complete coordination between ATOP sectors, both internally and between sectors across adjacent ATOP facilities, except:

  1. When the aircraft is in conflict with another in the receiving sector, or
  2. When otherwise specified in facility directives or LOA.


  1. When operating in a multiple controller operation at a workstation, ensure all ATC tasks are completed according to their priority of duties.
  2. Multiple controller operation must be accomplished according to facility directives.