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Section 6. SPECIAL REFUELING REQUIREMENTS

10-6-1. PROVISIONS FOR SPECIAL TRACKS/ANCHORS

The U.S. Military/FAA agreement for the conduct of aerial refueling operations embraces the concept of maximum use of published tracks/anchors.  However, in recognition of the requirement for flexibility, the following special provisions are incorporated.

a. Where published tracks/anchors are inadequate for special mission/sortie, a special track/anchor may be established.  Special tracks/anchors shall not be published in the DOD FLIP planning document, but may be described in letters of agreement.

b. Special tracks/anchors may be established for one time use by direct coordination with the appropriate ATC facility.

c. Special tracks/anchors for other than one time use require approval of the major military command concerned and coordination with the military regional representative.

10-6-2. RESPONSIBILITY OF REQUESTING UNIT

Except when special tracks/anchors are requested in accordance with paragraph 10-6-6 , the requesting unit shall be responsible for obtaining approval to transit or use:

a. SUA/ATCAA from the using agency.  Assurance must be obtained from the using agency that no other activity is scheduled in the area at same time/altitudes.

b. A published refueling track or anchor from the assigned scheduling unit.

c. An MTR entry or exit, including associated tracks, from the designated scheduling unit.

NOTE-
Notification of such approval is not required by FAA.

10-6-3. OPERATIONS WITHIN AN ALTRV

Missions operating in an approved altitude reservation (ALTRV) may conduct refueling operations within the ALTRV airspace.  (See Chapter 3.)

10-6-4. OPERATIONS OUTSIDE AN ALTRV

Missions not operating in an ALTRV may conduct refueling operations along special tracks/anchors within airspace approved for use as follows:

a. Units shall submit an approval request directly to the ATC facility concerned at least 12 hours in advance, or as soon as possible, to permit coordination and receipt of approval.

b. The approval request shall specify the following:

1. The portion of the route where refueling operations will be conducted.

2. ARCP patterns or rendezvous points if an En Route Cell Rendezvous is planned.

3. Altitudes requested.

4. Lateral dimensions of the airspace required.

5. Duration of operation.

6. Control times.

7. Any other information deemed necessary or requested.

c. The requirements for establishing special tracks/anchors are not applicable for refuelings conducted between aircraft operating as an en route formation.

10-6-5. IN-FLIGHT REQUESTS

The tanker commander is responsible for coordinating all in-flight requests with other aircraft in the refueling operation prior to the submission of such request to ATC.  The provisions of MARSA remain in effect during the execution of approved in-flight vectors unless separation responsibility is specifically assumed by the approving ATC facility.  In-flight requests for radar vectors or alternate routes or altitudes to avoid weather or for emergency refueling may be approved only at the request of the tanker commander as follows:

a. Radar vectors or changes of altitude may be approved at any time.

b. Nonradar routes may be approved only after the refueling aircraft have passed the ARCP.

10-6-6. SPECIAL EXERCISES

Special tracks/anchors may be established for use during planned exercises to meet a specific mission requirement.  This will be accomplished through a letter of agreement with the appropriate ATC facility and requires the approval of the major military command(s) concerned and coordination with the military regional representative.

10-6-7. ISSUE NOTAM

NOTAM/D's shall be issued for special tracks/ anchors outside Class A airspace so as to define the refueling area as specifically as mission security will allow.

10-6-8. VFR HELICOPTER REFUELING OPERATIONS

Headquarters United States Air Force/Navy/ Marine Corp/Army have stated a requirement to conduct VFR helicopter in-flight refueling operations at altitudes from 4,000 feet AGL down to 1,000 feet AGL at speeds below 150 knots.

10-6-9. VFR REFUELING TRACK ESTABLISHMENT

a. Military units may request establishment of a VFR helicopter refueling track when a determination has been made:

1. By appropriate military headquarters (major command/type command) that other alternatives have been explored; e.g., use of existing MOA's, restricted areas, or other published refueling tracks.

2. That coordination with the scheduling agencies of other military airspace/routes has been accomplished to develop mutually acceptable deconfliction criteria/procedures.

3. That the number of tracks shall be kept to the absolute minimum required to meet mission requirements.

b. The originator of the track shall obtain a route designator for use during coordination from NIMA/MCBB, Mail Stop L-27, 3200 South 2nd Street,
St. Louis AFS, Missouri 63118, by letter, message (NIMA ST. LOUIS AFS MO/MCBB) or telephone (DSN 693-4636 or commercial 314-263-4636) or
FAX (DSN 693-4993 or commercial 314-263-4997).   The number in the designator provided by NIMA will be prefixed by an "X"; e.g., AR X800V, to indicate the number to be used for coordination purposes only.   The prefix "X" will be deleted when published in FLIP planning.  The suffix "V" has been added to indicate a visual or VFR helicopter refueling track.

c. VFR published refueling tracks shall:

1. Be operationally flight evaluated for the entire track to ensure compatibility with VFR obstacle clearance.

2. Be depicted on DOD FLIP AP/1B charts.

NOTE-
Following MAJCOM/TYCOM and FAA approval (reference paragraph 10-4-7, the regional military representative will forward the route description to NIMA for publication in FLIP.

3. Be depicted on appropriate aeronautical charts.

NOTE-
The regional Air Traffic division in whose area the route originates is responsible for submitting the route description for publication.  A charting request shall be submitted to the NFDC.

10-6-10. REFUELING TRACK DEFINITION

a. Track width - In all cases, the refueling track shall be of sufficient size to contain all planned activities.  Normally, VFR refueling tracks will be 4NM either side of centerline unless otherwise specified.

b. Track length - Normally 50-100 NM.

c. Track alignment - Track alignment criteria shall be as follows:

1. Track widths shall be designed to permit refueling aircraft to avoid Class B, C, D, airspace and Class E surface based areas below
3,000 feet AGL, scheduled air carrier airports, and high-density general aviation airports.

2. All VFR refueling tracks to be flown at/below 1,500 feet AGL should be designed to permit aircraft flying the track to avoid charted, uncontrolled airports by 3 NM or 1,500 feet.  Where it is impracticable to comply with this criteria, procedures shall be established to minimize conflict with airport traffic by maintaining liaison with airport owners/operators.

3. Avoid known VFR flyways.

4. Tracks should be aligned to minimize disturbance to people or property on the ground.

10-6-11. OPERATING PROCEDURES

a. The scheduling unit shall notify the tie-in AFSS/FSS in advance of all planned refueling track usage on a daily basis.  This shall include route designator, time period, and altitude if other than published.

b. Appropriate ATC facilities (en route and terminals), wherein radio and radar coverage exist along the VFR track, shall provide radar advisory service (reference Order 7110.65) to tanker aircraft.

c. The tie-in AFSS/FSS shall transmit a NOTAM/D via data communications systems to all AFSS/FSS's in accordance with FAA Order 7110.10 and
Order 7930.2.

d. AFSS/FSS's shall include pertinent VFR refueling activity in pilot briefings in accordance with FAA Order 7110.10.

e. Tanker aircraft pilots scheduled to operate within VFR refueling tracks shall advise the AFSS/FSS nearest the entry point 5 minutes prior to entering and the AFSS/FSS nearest the exit point, upon exiting.

10-6-12. FLIGHT PLAN REQUIREMENTS

a. Pilots departing on IFR clearance en route to a helicopter refueling track are required to file to the fix/radial/distance of their entry/alternate entry point of the track.

b. Pilots transitioning to IFR upon exiting the helicopter refueling track are required to have on file a previously filed IFR flight plan from the appropriate fix/radial/distance of their exit point.

NOTE-
Except in Alaska, composite IFR-VFR-IFR flight plans may be filed with appropriate AFSS/FSS and BASEOPS.  Stereo flight plans could be an advantage in flight planning.

10-6-13. WEATHER MINIMUMS

Operations on VFR refueling tracks shall be conducted only when the weather is at or above
VFR minimums.

10-6-14. ADHERENCE TO REFUELING TRACK

Pilots operating on VFR refueling tracks shall be responsible for remaining within the lateral and vertical confines of the VFR refueling tracks.

10-6-15. FAA COORDINATION

a. Proposals for establishing VFR refueling tracks shall be submitted in the format and with the data depicted in FIG 10-4-1 to the appropriate ARTCC/CERAP with a copy to the appropriate regional military representative.  In those airspace areas not under the direct jurisdiction of FAA, the theater command headquarters shall develop procedures for coordination and approval of proposed tracks and anchors.

b. The ARTCC/CERAP which received the request for establishment of an aerial refueling track shall assume the responsibility for FAA internal coordination as necessary.  Following ARTCC/CERAP comment/concurrence, the originating unit will forward the final proposal to the military major/type command for approval.  The military major/type command will forward the proposal to the regional military representative for final review, coordination, and publication.

c. FAA regional Air Traffic divisions shall review each proposed VFR helicopter refueling route and coordinate it with other interested FAA divisions.   The regional review will include a determination that the proposed VFR refueling tracks are consistent with the criteria contained in this part.  Terminal Air Traffic facilities will be included in the development of tracks transiting their airspace.

d. Unusual requirements, not in accordance with this criteria, for limited/onetime-use VFR tracks, will be coordinated directly with appropriate military headquarters.

10-6-16. PUBLICATION/SCHEDULING

The military shall designate a scheduling activity for each VFR refueling track.  (See
paragraph 9-2-1.)

 

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