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FAASTeam Notice
Type: General Information
Notice Date: Thursday, January 14, 2021
Notice Number: NOTC1650
FAA Air Traffic Facilities Affected By COVID-19
This notice expired on
Sunday, February 14, 2021

This Notice is intended to alert General Aviation (GA) pilots of the conditions they may encounter while operating in terminal airspace or controlled airspace surrounding an airport tower when those ATC facilities close for COVID cleaning. Due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, the FAA has temporarily closed certain ATC facilities, which may impact or reduce ATC services or leave the airspace uncontrolled or handled by another facility. Often these closures have been in high volume airspace with a mix of GA and Air Carrier operations.

Please take the time to consider the following if you are planning a flight to and from airports with ATC Towers.

  • Check Notices To Airmen (NOTAMS) and thoroughly review your pre-flight briefing. NOTAMS for ATC Zero can pop up quickly.
  • If the airport is familiar to you, realize that the normal ATC procedures such as arrival routes, traffic patterns, etc. may not be in place during non-towered operations.  It is now up to the pilots arriving and departing the airport to provide separation and sequence landing and takeoff operations.
  • Tune in to the Common Traffic Advisory Frequency (CTAF) well in advance to raise your situational awareness of the flow of traffic already established at the airport.
  • Whether you are VFR or IFR, announce your position and intentions prior to the Final Approach Fix (IFR) or at least ten miles prior to entering the established traffic pattern (VFR).
  • If you cannot adequately determine the flow of traffic and your position in the flow, do not hesitate to hold a safe distance from the airport until your situation is clear to you.  You can always fly to an alternate until things settle down at your destination.
  • Once on the ground exercise extreme caution taxiing to and from the runway AND make sure that the runway and extended centerline in both directions is clear of traffic before crossing any runway.
  • Above all keep your eyes and ears outside the cockpit as much as possible so you can see and avoid an unintended occurrence.

Here are some online resources that may help:

A map showing ATC Facilities affected by COVID-19 

The Airmen’s Information Manual – Airport Operations

FAA Advisory Circular 90-66B – Non-Towered Airport flight Operations

Safety Alerts For Operators (SAFO) 20012

FAA Administrator Steve Dickson explains how the agency handles COVID cases in air traffic facilities.

Please fly safely.  Be prepared.  Have a plan of action and proceed to your alternate airport when your situation does not look or feel right.