Air Traffic Organization Policy

JO 7210.3W
Effective Date:
February 11, 2010
Subject:  Facility Operation and Administration

Includes: Change 1 dated 8/26/2010, Change 2 dated 3/10/2011, and
Change 3 dated 8/25/11



Section 9. Other Displays


Air traffic managers shall determine the location and the method for the display of vectoring altitude charts to provide controllers with the minimum vectoring altitudes as follows:

a. Where the system is adapted to display single radar sensors, provide:

1. An MVAC that accommodates the largest separation minima of all available sensors; or

2. Unique MVACs that accommodate the appropriate separation minima of each available sensor.

b. Where the system is adapted to simultaneously display multiple radar sensors, provide an MVAC that accommodates the largest separation minima of all available sensors.

c. Where the system is adapted to display multiple radar sensors in a priority sequence (for example, sort boxes), provide an MVAC that accommodates the largest separation minima of adapted sensors.

Technical Operations Aviation System Standards, National Flight Procedures Group should be contacted if assistance is required. (See FAAO 8260.3, United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS) Chapter 10.)

FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 5-5-4, Minima.


Prepare a vectoring chart in accordance with the criteria contained in FAA Order 8260.3, United States Standard for Terminal Instrument Procedures (TERPS).

a. MVACs must be developed and maintained using the Sector Design and Analysis Tool (SDAT). Facility Managers may request assistance in the development and maintenance of their MVAC or request SDAT user support by soliciting the Mission Support Services Services, Geographic Services Group. MVACs developed in SDAT properly apply obstruction clearance criteria required by FAA Order 8260.3. SDAT completes FAA Form 7210-9 and automatically creates and sends the necessary data files to Mission Support Services, ATC Products Group upon certification.

MVAs are established without considering the flight-checked radar coverage in the sector concerned. They are based on obstruction clearance criteria and controlled airspace only. It is the responsibility of the controller to determine that a target return is adequate for radar control purposes.

b. At a minimum, the airspace considered for providing obstacle clearance information on MVA charts must accommodate the facility's delegated area of control as well as adjacent airspace where control responsibility is assumed because of early handoff or track initiation.

c. MVACs may be subdivided into sectors to gain relief from obstacles that are clear of the area in which flight is to be conducted. There is no prescribed limit on the size, shape, or orientation of the sectors.

d. Depict the sectors in relationship to true north from the antenna site.

e. Facility requests for reduced required obstruction clearance (ROC) in an area designated as mountainous in accordance with 14 CFR, Part 95, Subpart B, must conform to the following procedures:

1. Designated mountainous terrain must be evaluated for precipitous terrain characteristics and the associated negative effects. Facility managers must use FAA Order 8260.3, paragraph 1720, as a guide when considering ROC reductions in designated mountainous areas. ROC reductions are not authorized where negative effects of precipitous terrain are documented or known having followed the process contained in subparas e2 and 3 below. ROC reductions within designated mountainous areas are only authorized by complying with at least one of the following criteria:

FAA Order 8260.3, Appendix 1, Glossary Term, Precipitous Terrain.

(a) Where lower altitudes are required to achieve compatibility with terminal routes.

(b) To permit vectoring within the airport radar traffic pattern area for either a departure procedure, an instrument approach procedure, or a visual approach to an airport. Air traffic managers must define each airport's radar traffic pattern area for which ROC reductions are sought. These areas must include sufficient maneuvering airspace necessary for ATC sequencing and spacing of traffic in the vicinity of an airport.

2. Where mountainous terrain has been deemed precipitous by the air traffic facility, each ROC reduction request must include a query to an independent data source, such as NASA's Aviation Safety Reporting System to determine if any ground proximity warnings have been reported in the subject area. After completing the query, consider the facility's history and experiences with turbulence at the minimum altitude requested. Avoid ROC reductions where reported ground proximity warnings relate to both existing MVA sector altitude ROC reductions and rapid terrain elevation changes. ROC reduction requests in these areas may require additional evaluation and review.

FAA Order 8260.3, Appendix 1, Glossary Term, Precipitous Terrain.

3. The facility MVAC package must include a detailed account of the steps taken by the facility to determine if the sector will qualify for taking a ROC reduction in the sector. This data will be reviewed by the Service Center Operations Support Group (OSG) and the ATC Products Group personnel for ROC reduction approval. Service Center Operations Support personnel must be the approving authority for ROC reduction criteria compliance with paragraph e1(a) and (b) above. Previously approved reductions in ROC justifications must be resubmitted for approval during a facility's recurring certification process.

Should a ROC reduction request be denied by Service Center Operations Support personnel, the manager may appeal the decision to Terminal Safety and Operations Support for review.

4. In the advent of the development of an automated precipitous terrain algorithm certified by AFS, the automated method will be used in lieu of the manual method described above.

5. Ensure MVA areas submitted for ROC reductions do not cover large geographical areas that include locations that would not, individually, meet ROC reduction standards. In such cases, the ATC Products Group may work with the Service Center and the facility to design a sector that will pass the approval process for a particular approach/departure route.

6. Whenever a ROC reduction is taken, the rationale/justification for taking the ROC reduction as defined in subpara e1 must be included in the MVAC package by facility managers.

7. ROC reductions should only be requested when there is a demonstrated operational need, and in no event will requested reductions result in an MVA that does not comply with 14 CFR 91.177.

f. An assumed adverse obstacle (AAO) additive is required in areas not designated as mountainous (ROC 1,000 feet) and in designated mountainous terrain areas when any ROC reduction is requested.

g. Where an operational need is demonstrated and documented, managers are permitted to round a resulting MVA with an AAO additive to the nearest 100-foot increment, provided the minimum ROC is maintained for other non-AAO obstacles. For example, 3,049 feet rounds to 3,000 feet to support glide slope intercept requirements.

h. Managers requesting to waive criteria contained in FAA Order 8260.3, must submit FAA Form 8260-1, Flight Procedures/Standards Waiver in conjunction with the MVA project. This waiver form will contain the criteria requested to be waived, with the operational need fully explained, and examples of how the facility will achieve an equivalent level of safety, if approved. The package will be sent to the ATC Products Group through the Service Center OSG. Upon completion of the ATC Products Group review, the package will be forwarded to the Flight Procedure Implementation and Oversight Branch. For the Flight Standards waiver process, facility managers do not need to complete a Safety Management System evaluation. An electronic copy of the completed waiver package must be sent to Terminal Safety and Operations Support.

i. MVAs must not be below the floor of controlled airspace and should provide a 300-ft buffer above the floor of controlled airspace. In some cases, this application will result in an exceptionally high MVA (for example, in areas where the floor of controlled airspace is 14,500 MSL). When operationally required to vector aircraft in underlying Class G (uncontrolled) airspace, 2 MVAs may be established. The primary MVA must be based on obstruction clearance and the floor of controlled airspace. A second, lower MVA that provides obstruction clearance only may be established. The obstruction clearance MVA must be uniquely identified; for example, by an asterisk (*). Do not consider buffer areas for controlled airspace evaluations.

j. If new charts prepared using SDAT create a significant impact on a facility's operation, the impact must be coordinated with ATO Terminal Safety and Operations Support for joint coordination with System Operations.

Significant impacts include changes to flight tracks for turbine-powered aircraft, multiple losses of cardinal altitudes, and/or reductions in airport arrival/departure rates.

k. Air traffic managers may request to merge adjoining, like altitude MVA sectors that resulted from using differing design criteria provided the merged sectors are identified in the remarks on FAA Form 7210-9 and a statement is included with each affected sector that the merged sectors are for Radar Video Map (RVM) presentation only; for example, Sector B, B1, and B2 are to be merged in SDAT shape files for RVM presentation only.

l. Air traffic managers must submit the request for MVACs to the appropriate Service Center OSG for review. The Service Center OSG must then forward the requested MVAC to the ATC Products Group for processing.

m. Each request must indicate the MVAC was accomplished in SDAT and stored in the SDAT repository.

n. Each request must include the SDAT generated Form 7210-9 with the manager's signature and point of contact at the submitting facility. Form 7210-9 must also be an electronic copy with the manager's signature, and imported into the MVA project file. When applicable, each Form 7210-9 must include explanations/ justifications for both ROC reduction and AAO additive rounding requests. The MVA request with Form 7210-9 may be electronically forwarded to the OSG but must be followed with a hard copy with original signatures. However, when the capability of electronic signatures is developed within SDAT, Form 7210-9 will be transmitted electronically between the facility, Service Center, and ATC Products Group in lieu of the paper process. SDAT will automatically store the approved MVAC package in the National Airspace System Resource (NASR).

o. For those facilities that use the SDAT program office for the development and maintenance of their MVACs, the SDAT program office personnel must be notified to complete the final submission step of the project within the repository when sending the MVAC request to the OSG.

p. When more than one chart is used, prepare those charts with the oldest review/certification date(s) first to help avoid lapses in annual review/certification requirements.

q. New charts that result in significant operational impacts must not be implemented by air traffic managers until associated changes to facility directives, letters of agreement, and controller training are completed within a period not to exceed 6-months from new chart certification.

r. Once a chart without significant operational impacts has been approved, it must be implemented as soon as possible. MVAC installations projected to be more than 60 days from date of approval must be coordinated with and approved by,the Service Center OSG.

s. Air traffic managers must ensure that MVACs are periodically reviewed for chart currency and simplicity and forwarded for certification to the ATC Products Group at least once every 2 years. Charts must be revised immediately when changes affecting MVAs occur.


Where procedures require altitude assignments to S/VFR and VFR aircraft less than the established IFR altitude or MVA, facility air traffic managers shall determine the need and the method for displaying the appropriate minimum altitude information.

FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 7-5-4, Altitude Assignment.
FAAO JO 7110.65, Para 7-8-5, Altitude Assignments.


a. An EOVM shall be established at all terminal radar facilities that have radar coverage in designated mountainous areas and an available channel in their video mappers. This map is intended to facilitate advisory service to an aircraft in an emergency situation wherein an appropriate terrain/obstacle clearance minimum altitude cannot be maintained. (See FIG 3-9-1.)

1. Designated mountainous areas are identified in 14 CFR Part 95, Subpart B.

2. Appropriate terrain/obstacle clearance minimum altitudes may be defined as MIA, MEA, Minimum Obstruction Clearance Altitude (MOCA), or MVA.

b. Alternatives, such as combining existing maps, eliminating a lower priority map or, as a least desirable alternative, merging the EOVM with the MVA map, shall be considered when necessary to accommodate the EOVM.

c. EOVM Use: The EOVM shall be used and the advisory service provided only when a pilot has declared an emergency or a controller determines that an emergency condition exists or is imminent because of the inability of an aircraft to maintain the appropriate terrain/obstacle clearance minimum altitude/s.

d. EOVM Design:

1. The basic design of the EOVM shall incorporate the following minimum features:

(a) Base contour lines of the mountains with the highest peak elevation of each depicted mountain plus 200 feet for natural low obstacle growth.

(b) Highest elevations of adjacent topography; e.g., valleys, canyons, plateaus, flatland, etc., plus 200 feet, or water.

(c) Prominent man-made obstacles; e.g., antennas, power plant chimneys, tall towers, etc., and their elevations.

(d) Satellite airports and other airports which could serve in an emergency.

(e) MVA if the EOVM must be merged with the MVA map for the former to be accommodated.

(f) Other information deemed essential by the facility.

To avoid clutter and facilitate maintenance, information depicted on the EOVM should be restricted to only that which is absolutely essential.

2. All elevations identified on the EOVM shall be rounded up to the next 100-foot increment and expressed as MSL altitudes.

To avoid unnecessary map clutter, the last two digits are not required.

2=200, 57=5700, 90=9000, 132=13200

e. EOVM Production: The preparation and procurement of the EOVM shall be accomplished in accordance with FAAO 7910.1, Aeronautical Video Map Program.

f. EOVM Verification: The original EOVM procurement package and any subsequent changes shall be checked for adequacy and then coordinated with the Terminal Procedures and Charting Group to verify the accuracy of its information. Annually, the EOVM shall be reviewed for adequacy and recoordinated with the Mission Support Services, Terminal Procedures and Charting Group for accuracy.

FIG 3-9-1
0309_At Anchor0


a. DVAs may be established at the request of the ATM and coordinated jointly with the appropriate Service Area OSG and Mission Support Services, Terminal Procedures and Charting Group for candidate airports within the facility's area of jurisdiction. DVAs should be considered when an obstacle(s) penetrates the airport's diverse departure obstacle clearance surface (OCS). The OCS is a 40:1 surface and is intended to protect the minimum climb gradient. If there are no obstacle penetrations of this surface, then standard takeoff minimums apply, obstacle clearance requirements are satisfied and free vectoring is permitted below the MVA. When the OCS is penetrated, the Terminal Procedures and Charting Group procedural designer will develop an obstacle departure procedure (ODP). An ODP may consist of obstacle notes, non-standard takeoff minimums, a specified departure route, a steeper than normal climb gradient, or any combination thereof. If an ODP is developed for a runway, it is a candidate for a DVA. The ATM should consider whether a DVA is desired and then consider if development would provide operational benefits exceeding existing practices. This is done after determining that sufficient radar coverage exists for any given airport with a published instrument approach. When established, reduced separation from obstacles, as provided for in TERPS diverse departure criteria, will be used to radar vector departing IFR aircraft below the MVA. To assist in determining if obstacles penetrate the 40:1 surface, ATMs may request the Terminal Procedures and Charting Group provide them with a graphic depiction of any departure penetrations in addition to completing the following steps:

1. If the location is listed in the Terminal Procedure Publication (TPP) index, check the take-off minimums and (Obstacle) Departure Procedures in section C of the TPP for the DVA runway. If nothing is listed, or only obstacle notes appear, then a DVA is not necessary. If a DP appears, development of a DVA becomes an option.

2. If the location is not listed, query the NFDC Web site at http://nfdc.faa.gov, and select the Special Procedures link to determine if a “special” instrument approach procedure exists at that airport/heliport. If there is a special procedure, the Regional Flight Standards All Weather Office (AWO) can supply FAA Form 8260-15A for ODP information when requested by the facility.

If the TPP or AWO indicates IFR departures N/A for any given runway, then a DVA is not authorized.

3. If the ATM elects to request a DVA, use the sample memorandum below as a guide (see FIG 3-9-2). Specify if the request is to establish, modify, or cancel a DVA. If modifying or canceling a DVA, attach the memorandum that authorizes the current DVA. The DVA request must include the following:

(a) Airport identifier.

(b) Desired DVA runway(s).

(c) Requested DVA method. Specify a range of operational headings by starting from the extreme left heading proceeding clockwise (CW) to the extreme right heading as viewed from the departure runway in the direction of departure (for example, Runway 36, 330 CW 030), or isolate a penetrating obstacle(s) by identifying that obstacle(s) either by DOF number or range/bearing from airport.

(d) Maximum Extent (Distance) from Departure Runway.

(e) Radar Type/Beacon Type. Provide whether the facility has an ASR-9 with Mode S beacon system.

(f) Facility Hours of Operation.

FIG 3-9-2
Sample DVA Memo


b. Forward DVA requests to the Terminal Procedures and Charting Group through the appropriate Service Area OSG Manager.

c. When a DVA is established, it will be documented and provided to the facility by the Terminal Procedures and Charting Group on FAA Form 8260-15D, Diverse Vector Area (DVA). The ATM must then prepare a facility directive describing procedures for radar vectoring IFR departures below the MVA including:

1. Textual or graphical description of the limits of each airport's DVA for each runway end.

2. Where required, specific radar routes, depicted on the radar display, where radar vectors are provided to aircraft below the MVA.

3. Free vectoring areas, in which random vectoring may be accomplished below the MVA.

d. IFR aircraft climbing within a DVA must not be assigned an altitude restriction below the MVA. When leaving the confines of the DVA, ensure the aircraft reaches the MVA or has reported leaving the altitude of the obstacle(s) for which the MVA was created, climbing to an altitude at least 1,000 feet above the obstacle.

e. Headings must not be assigned beyond those authorized by the DVA prior to reaching the MVA.

f. Ensure all controllers are familiar with the provisions of the facility directive before vectoring aircraft in accordance with DVA procedures.


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