Center D-Side Test


1. What takes precedent, 7110.65 or letter of agreement?

(7110.65 is the FAA document defining general ATC procedures and separation standards) : letters of agreement take precedent, though they must conform to general 7110.65 rules. A letter of agreement is a custom document between specific ATC facilities that list changes to regular procedures to expedite aircraft handling, such as "Bakersfield Approach has control for right turns and descent on all aircraft bound for BFL airport that are over or north of the GMN VOR, without prior coordination."

2. When do lifeguard aircraft receive priority handling?

When they request it or use "Lifeguard" in their callsign

3. When do you use immediately?

When imminent loss of life is likely if the instruction is not followed.

4. When do you use expedite?

When expeditious compliance is needed to keep the smooth and orderly flow of traffic in the sector.

5. How is minimum fuel defined?

When the aircraft has only enough fuel to attempt an approach at the primary airport without delay, then make it to the alternate airport if needed.

6. May an ATC facility invoke or deny MARSA?

(MARSA = Military aircraft Assumes Responsibility for SeparAtion)--No. Military aircraft may use their own separation with other military aircraft, at their discretion, by informing ATC they are "MARSA" with that aircraft. Once MARSA, they may join in formation or otherwise get closer than minimum FAA standards.

7. What information is required on military change of destination?

Origin airport, original destination airport, new destination, fuel on board, ETA. This information is forwarded to the nearest FSS station, which forwards it to the appropriate military facilities.

8. What is required when a military flight changes from IFR to VFR?

Origin airport, fuel on board, new ETA.

9. What is the proper interphone message format?

Callee answers with his sector number; caller states his sector number and message; callee states response and gives initials; caller gives initials to end the call, or gives or asks more information (and back up one step, so callee must give initials again).

10. When must a sigmet be broadcast?

When weather information is received that involves an area within 150 miles of the sector boundary or is otherwise important

11. When must a CWA be broadcast?


12. What is the maximum distance usable for a NAVAID between FL180-450?

140 nm

13. What items should be included in a departure clearance?

Callsign, "is cleared from," original airport or position, "to" destination airport; route, initial altitude, expected cruise altitude and time to expect it (in case of radio failure); squawk (beacon) code; for takeoffs: departure frequency; clearance void time; alternate instructions if not off by the clearance void time (such as, contact Center on this frequency, or Flight Service, if not off by 1850Z and state intentions).

14. What conditions must be met prior to using wrong altitude for direction of flight?

Must be approved by the next sector; must meet the general criteria (weather, traffic avoidance, or advantageous to the controller).

15. What is the lowest usable FL with an altimeter setting 29.91-28.92?


16. Who do you notify, as a D-side, when you start holding aircraft?

Your supervisor

17. What information must be coordinated with nonapproach control towers or FSS on arrival aircraft?

Callsign, aircraft type, ETA, type of approach

18. What aircraft are included in merging target procedures?

Targets that will pass over each other at only the minimum vertical separation distance (1,000 or 2,000 feet), or Airforce One at any altitude

19. What are the merging target procedures?

Call traffic to both aircraft; provide a vector if requested

20. At what point can you have an aircraft change its radar beacon code previously assigned?

When it is under your control (inside 2.5 miles of your boundary, or if you have asked for and been given control from the previous sector for a code change)

21. What aircraft are assigned or are on a code of 4000?

VFR aircraft (military) that rapidly change altitude

22. What does code 7700 represent?


23. What does code 7600 represent?

Radio failure

24. What does code 1200 represent?

VFR and not in communications with a radar facility

25. May you refuse a request to operate in Class A airspace with a failed transponder?

Yes (Class A is at and above FL180)

26. How do you validate mode C?

By corresponding the pilot's altitude report with the observed altitude readout in the datablock, which is required if receiving the aircraft from another facility (or right off the airport). If you took the handoff from another sector in the same facility, you can assume the altitude has been validated.

27. Can you use mode C altitude information for separation when unable to validate the readout?


28. What are the methods to identify a primary or radar beacon target in the enroute system?

When correlated with a pilot's position report (or within 2 miles from the departure runway), and no other targets are nearby or the target is on the aircraft's assigned beacon code; when the pilot is asked to turn 30 or more degrees and the target is observed to do so; when the pilot is asked to ident and an "ident" symbol (simliar to = sign) appears where expected; when another controller has radar-identified the aircraft and provides a position report or makes an automated handoff (regular datablock-type handoff); or when good judgement otherwise dictates the proposed target is or is not the aircraft in question.

29. Define the following terms:

A) Handoff

When permission is sought and granted for an aircraft to enter another controller's area of jurisdiction (sector), and transfer of responsibility for that aircraft is accepted by the receiving controller

B) Radar Contact

The handoff is accepted, or radar identity is established and the controller assumes responsibility for the aircraft.

C) Point Out

A request for a specified aircraft to transit the airspace of another controller, without transferring communications

D) Point out approved

Permission is granted for the point-out aircraft to transit the sector, possibly subject to additional restrictions (such as, "reference SWA178 20 NE of HEC, who will be descending to FL240, point out approved--go left with yours if you need to")

E) Traffic

Another aircraft that will pass at or less than minimum separation, or otherwise may be a factor that the pilot should know about.

F) Traffic observed

A given aircraft's position has been noted and acknowledged. This is usually used on a point-out request, by the requesting controller. Controller A may point out an aircraft to controller B, that will pass through the corner of B's airspace. B may reply, "reference UAL123, point out approved," to which A would note the position of UAL123 and reply "traffic observed." A then has the responsibility to separate from the UAL123 traffic with his point-out.

30. When making a manual handoff or pointout what information must be coordinated?

The word "Handoff" or "Point-out"; position relative to a radar fix (VOR or intersection), Aircraft callsign or beacon code, direction of flight or route, other pertinant information (like altitude, if not as displayed in the datablock).

31. What is the minimum separation for aircraft above FL600?

10 miles or 5,000 feet

32. What is the separation minima with an aircraft and a standard formation flight?

Same altitudes but 6 miles instead of 5

33. What is the separation minima with two standard formation flights?

7 miles

34. What is the separation minima with an aircraft and a non-standard formation flight?

5 miles from the closest aircraft (usually lead or trailing aircraft)

35. If necessary for separation, what should you do to the last aircraft in trail of a non-standard formation flight?

Have him squawk his own beacon code so you can separate from his exact position (regular 5 miles separation)--usually just the flight lead squawks and the others turn off their transponders.

36. What is the separation minima below FL600 with aircraft from boundary of adjacent airspace in which radar separation is also being used?

3 miles

37. What is the separation minima with aircraft at or above FL600 and adjacent airspace (radar separation in use)?

5 miles

38. What are the reasons for vectoring aircraft?

To achieve separation or spacing, for weather avoidance, or to expedite the flow of traffic in the sector.

39. What is the reason for speed adjustment?

Spacing, separation, or expeditious flow of traffic.

40. At what point should the data block reflect the current status of the aircraft?

Always, unless specified in a letter of agreement or facility procedure (like leaving out FL230 when handing off from low-altitude to high-altitude sectors).

41. Vertical separation in a nonradar environment: can you use the vacated altitude rule?

Yes-- when an aircraft "of similar performance" reports climbing or descending out of an altitude, you may assign that altitude to the next aircraft above/below him.

42. On celestial navigation, how far can an aircraft deviate from its centerline?

20 miles to either side

43. Must an aircraft on celestial navigation be coordinated?


44. Do active scrambles require any special handling? (Explain)

Notify supervisor and next controller; vector (if requested) the interceptors behind the target aircraft; provide any other assistance the scramble may request; separate from other civilian flights as normal.

45. What is the separation minima (vertical) between an aircraft and prohibited/restricted/warning area?

3 miles

46. What is the separation minima (lateral) on the above?

500 feet below FL290; 1000 feet above

47. Can a nonparticipating VFR-ON-TOP aircraft conduct flight in a prohibited/restricted/warning area?

No. (VFR ON-TOP means the aircraft is still on an IFR flight plan, but as long as the pilot announces they are "on top" (derived from "on top" of the clouds), they will provide their own traffic separation and will usually fly at VFR altitudes of their choice. You cannot terminate radar service for on-top aircraft, since they are technically on IFR flight plans, and must do what you can to get them a "hard" (regular IFR altitude with normal separation standards) when they request or need it).

48. What is the separation minima for aircraft dumping fuel?

Normal lateral separation; 1000 feet below.

49. Can you declare an emergency for a pilot?


50. What information is initially required on an emergency?

The nature of the problem and their intentions

51. At what point do you consider an aircraft overdue?

15 minutes after expected arrival/departure/progressing time

52. What does code 7500 represent?


53. What do the following stripmarking symbols represent?

A) Red underline (on altitude) Wrong altitude for direction of flight

B) (ALT) B (ALT) Assigned a block of altitudes (like FL240-FL270; they are free to move up and down at will)

C) CL Cancel

D) Red Circle Circled information has been coordinated or entered into the computer

E) RV Radar Vector (assigned heading)

54. How would you symbolize the following terms?

A) Alternate Instructions Written in parentheses in black

B) Contact particular (facility, sector or frequency) Black C and the frequency/facility/sector number if different than usual

C) Radar service terminated Single black diagonal line through the "R" (which is written on the strip when handoff is taken)

D) Radar contact lost Black "X" through the "R"

E) Control (received) for climb Red up-arrow

F) Control for turns Sideways 8 ("infinity" symbol)

G) Control for climb and turns Red infinity symbol with red up-arrow through the middle

H) Cleared to enter airspace Black triangle with arrow pointing to the middle

I) Holding instructions Black "H" with direction of holding pattern and radial in the superscript, length of turns above the horizontal line in the H; expect-further-clearance time in the subscript

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