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Section 5  Issue a Certificate of Waiver for an Aerobatic Contest Box

3-6-5-1    REPORTING SYSTEM. Use Safety Assurance System (SAS) Activity Recording (AR) for this task and use activity code 1233 to record Aerobatic Contest Box (ACB) data collection.

3-6-5-3    OBJECTIVE. The objective of this task is to evaluate an application for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (see Figure 3-6-5A), and issue FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (see Figure 3-6-5B), for the purpose of establishing an ACB. Completion of the task results in the approval or disapproval of the applicant’s FAA Form 7711-2.

3-6-5-5    GENERAL.

A.    Background. Aerobatic competitions are events in which every competitor flies a series of flights that are graded by a team of judges. The flights take place in a block of airspace referred to as an ACB. The judges grade each individual figure flown, as well as how well the sequence is positioned within the aerobatic box. Typically the aerobatic maneuvers conducted during a competition do not meet the requirements of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, and thus the organizer/responsible person will submit an application for a Certificate of Waiver (CoW).

B.    Regulatory Authority. Part 91, § 91.903 grants the Administrator the authority to issue a waiver from any regulation listed in § 91.905. The regulations contained in part 91 are actually the responsibility of air traffic control (ATC). However, certain portions of these regulations have been delegated to the Flight Standards Service (FS) for oversight and enforcement in accordance with FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration. Even though the mandate to designate and supervise operations within waivered airspace is within the purview of FS, all airspace waivers are fully coordinated with ATC to ensure safety of flight in the National Airspace System (NAS). Requests for an ACB waiver are processed by the responsible Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The final approval of the waiver or authorization is the responsibility of the FSDO manager for the area in which the terms of the waiver or authorization are to be exercised.

C.    FSDO Support. The General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800) has assigned an aviation events subject matter expert (SME) to provide support to each FSDO. FSDOs can locate their assigned SME/specialist by visiting the National Aviation Events Program website at https://www.faa.gov/about/initiatives/airshow.

1)    Submit general questions, feedback, and requests for support to the following email address: 9-AFS-800-Correspondence@faa.gov.
2)    Include in the subject line: “Attention: Manager, General Aviation and Commercial Division, Operations Group (AFS-830).”

D.    Definitions.

1)    Aerobatic Contest Box (ACB). A block of airspace, located within waivered airspace, established for the purposes of evaluating competitors.
2)    Aerobatic Flight. The provisions of § 91.303 constitute the definition of aerobatic flight.
3)    Aviation Event. Aviation events include air shows, aerobatic competitions, closed-course air races, cross-country air races, parachute demonstrations, balloon events, flyovers, and fly-ins conducted before an invited assembly of persons.
4)    Chief Judge. At an aerobatic contest, the person assigned as the primary judge of one or more categories of competition. The chief judge does not actually judge the competitors, but helps to ensure the safety of competitors within the contest box. The chief judge is assisted by numerous other persons located on the ground and/or in the immediate vicinity of the contest box.
5)    Chief Technical Monitor. Person assigned duties by the contest director to perform a technical inspection of each competing aircraft and its equipment. The chief technical monitor should hold an Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) certificate; however, this position may be filled by the contest director with the “best qualified” person available.
6)    Contest Director. At an aerobatic contest, the person who acts as the general manager of the overall event and is responsible for all safety-related issues. The contest director may delegate specific duties, functions, and authority, but must retain complete accountability for the safety of the event. The contest director may also be the person who is designated by the FAA to monitor the event. The contest director ensures that all participants comply with all rules set forth in the International Aerobatic Club (IAC) rule book as well as the provisions of the CoW.
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7)    Inspector-in-Charge (IIC). The aviation safety inspector (ASI) (Operations) who is assigned the responsibility of issuing the waiver and conducting ongoing surveillance of the ACB.
8)    Participant. Any individual and/or pilot specifically involved with or participating in the aerobatic competition.
9)    Responsible Person. The person responsible for ensuring that ACB operations comply with all provisions of the CoW and achieve and maintain the highest level of safety. This person is listed in block 2 of FAA Form 7711-2.
10)    Safety Director. The person who reports directly to the contest director and is responsible for flight and ground safety. The safety director and contest director may be the same person.
11)    Special Provisions. Conditions, requirements, or limitations necessary to protect nonparticipating persons, property on the surface, and other users of the NAS.

Table 3-6-5A.       Competition Categories and ACB Dimensions

Competition Category

ACB Vertical Dimensions (AGL) Airplane

Upper Limit

Lower Limit

ACB Vertical Dimensions (AGL) Glider

Upper Limit

Lower Limit


























NOTE:  Lateral dimensions of an ACB are 3,300’ x 3,300’ for all categories of aircraft. See Figure 3-6-5C, Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Rectangular Dimensions.


A.    Waiver Application Review.

1)    Application. An application for an ACB CoW is submitted using FAA Form 7711-2.The FSDO should begin processing applications for ACBs within 30 days of receipt. Upon receipt, FAA Form 7711-2 should be reviewed for discrepancies. If discrepancies exist, a meeting with the applicant may be helpful to quickly resolve them. The information submitted by the applicant on FAA Form 7711-2 must not be altered by the issuing office. It is imperative that the safety of all participants and nonparticipants are considered when issuing a CoW for an ACB. The responsible FSDO must evaluate each waiver application to ensure that all risk is mitigated to an acceptable level.
2)    Waived Regulations. ACB applicants typically request a waiver from the following regulations: §§ 91.117, 91.119(c), 91.121, 91.127, 91.129, 91.130, 91.131, and 91.303. For a complete list, refer to § 91.905.
a)    Section 91.119(a) and (b) may not be waived at any time.
b)    Section 91.119(c) is waived only if structures are unoccupied, or to allow participating aircraft to operate closer than 500 feet to essential personnel, vehicles, or vessels on the ground. All participating aircraft must maintain at least 500 feet from nonessential personnel.
c)    Section 91.151 fuel requirements for flight in visual flight rules (VFR) conditions may not be waived for any operations conducted in an ACB. However, some Recognized Industry Organizations (RIO) may hold an exemption to § 91.151. Refer to the associated exemption for applicable conditions and limitations. Refer to the FAA National Aviation Events Program website for a list of exemption holders.
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d)    Waivers of the basic VFR weather minimums specified in § 91.155 may be considered only in areas where the entire aerobatic maneuvering area is totally within Class B, C, and D airspace.
3)    Time of ACB Operation. ACB operations shall be conducted between official sunrise and sunset only.
4)    Area of Operation. The dimensions of an ACB is dependent upon the competition category established for the event (see Table 3-6-5A, Competition Categories and ACB Dimensions). The encompassing waivered airspace typically begins at the surface with vertical limits varying based on the competition category and adjacent airspace. The waivered airspace may be circular or square with the following dimensions:
a)    Circular. Typically depicted as a 12 statute mile (sm) radius centered on the ACB. The center point should be identified using latitude/longitude coordinates. See Figure 3‑6‑5D, Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Circular Dimensions.
    Square. Typically depicted as 1 sm x 1 sm square. The corners should be identified with latitude/longitude coordinates. See Figure 3-6-5C.

NOTE:  Applications should include a textual description, aerial photograph(s) and/or VFR sectional of the ACB, and the encompassing waivered airspace.

5)    Spectator Areas. If a spectator area is established, the ASI should evaluate the method that will be used to ensure spectators remain at least 500 feet from the designated contest area.
6)    ATC Coordination. ACBs may be located at towered or nontowered airports. Inspectors must coordinate with the ATC facility having primary airspace jurisdiction over the proposed competition site. Where an ATC hub facility exists, one call can be made to the airspace and procedures specialist to facilitate expeditious coordination. In all cases, the waiver shall not be signed unless the working file contains documentation of ATC coordination.
7)    Airport Coordination. Applicants should coordinate the planned activity with airport management and other aviation entities on the airport (e.g., flight training, agricultural, and/or parachute operations) to ensure operations within waivered airspace achieve and maintain the highest level of safety for all participants and nonparticipants.
a)    At times airport management may attempt to prohibit ACB activities, citing safety or efficiency reasons. However, the owner or operator of any airport that has been developed or improved with Federal grant assistance (referred to as “federally obligated”) is required to operate the airport for the use and benefit of the public and to make it available for all types, kinds, and classes of aeronautical activity without granting an exclusive right.
b)    If a federally obligated airport wants to prohibit an aeronautical activity, such as an ACB, ASIs must delay processing the waiver application until airports have completed their review process. In addition, ASIs should consider contacting their assigned SME for support.
c)    Advisory Circular (AC) 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports, states:

An airport sponsor can deny a prospective aeronautical service provider the right to engage in an on-airport aeronautical activity for reasons of safety and efficiency. A denial based on safety must be based on evidence demonstrating that airport safety will be compromised if the applicant is allowed to engage in the proposed aeronautical activity. Airport sponsors should carefully scrutinize the safety reasons for denying an aeronautical service provider the opportunity to engage in an aeronautical activity if the denial has the possible effect of limiting competition. The FAA is the final authority in determining what, in fact, constitutes a compromise of safety. As such, an airport sponsor that is contemplating the denial of a proposed on-airport aeronautical activity is encouraged to contact the local Airports District Office (ADO) or the Regional Airports Office. Those offices will then seek assistance from FAA Flight Standards (FS) and Air Traffic (AT) to assess the reasonableness of the proposed action and whether unjust discrimination results from the proposed restrictions on aeronautical activities because of safety and efficiency.

8)    Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). The responsible person or their delegate is authorized (via special provision) to activate/deactivate the NOTAM with the appropriate Flight Service facility.
9)    ACB Management. Effective ACB management is critical in ensuring that contest operations achieve and maintain the highest level of safety. Inspectors must evaluate the responsible person’s willingness and ability to effectively manage an ACB. This should be accomplished, in part, by meeting with the applicant to address the following:
a)    ACB Access. How does the responsible person intend to control access to the ACB?
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b)    Safety Personnel.

1.    Has the responsible person designated the safety personnel? For example:

    Contest director.

    Chief judge.

    Safety director.

    Safety observer.

2.    Has the responsible person established a method to ensure each competition pilot maintains two-way radio communication with safety personnel (e.g., chief judge)?

c)    Recordkeeping. Has the responsible person established a method to record the names of key safety personnel and the pilot’s name, airman certificate number, and aircraft registration number? This information will be made available to the FAA upon request. See Figure 3-6-5E, Sample Briefing Signature Page.
d)    Compliance With CoW. Has the responsible established a method to ensure that ACB participants fully understand the CoW and all associated special provisions? See Figure 3‑6-5E.
e)    Weather. Has the responsible person established weather minimums for ACB operations?

NOTE:  The responsible person may delegate functions (e.g., activating/deactivating a NOTAM, recordkeeping) to another person, provided that person is listed in the associated special provisions.

B.    Waiver Application Approval Process.

1)    Approval Process. An ACB waiver is approved upon satisfactory review of the application and associated documents.
2)    Procedures.
a)    Prepare FAA Form 7711-1 and the applicable special provisions.

1.    Each ACB CoW must include special provisions. Refer to the National Aviation Events Program website for a list of applicable special provisions.

2.    ASIs may determine it is necessary to modify existing special provisions or develop additional special provisions in order to address safety concerns. Requests to add or modify special provisions must be forwarded to their assigned aviation events SME for concurrence.

b)    Submit FAA Form 7711-1 to the FSDO manager or delegated representative (e.g., acting manager) for signature.
c)    Notify the applicant.
d)    Prepare an office file that includes, but is not limited to, a copy of the following:

    FAA Form 7711-1 and applicable special provisions;

    FAA Form 7711-2;

    Letter of approval; and

    Documentation of ATC coordination.

e)    Send the applicant the original signed FAA Form 7711-1, applicable special provisions, original signed FAA Form 7711-2, and letter of approval.
f)    Upon approval, FAA Form 7711-2 and all attachments become a part of FAA Form 7711-1.

C.    Waiver Application Disapproval Process.

1)    Disapproval Process. In rare instances, the FSDO may disapprove an application for an ACB. For example, the air traffic facility having jurisdiction over the affected airspace determines the location of the proposed ACB would create a significant burden on the NAS. This determination should be documented in writing by the jurisdictional air traffic facility. In this case, the FSDO and the jurisdictional air traffic facility are encouraged to assist the applicant with finding an acceptable alternate ACB location or develop additional provisions to mitigate risk at the originally requested location.
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2)    Procedures.
a)    Notify the assigned aviation events SME of pending disapproval.
b)    Notify the applicant.
c)    Prepare an office file that includes, but is not limited to, a copy of the following:

    FAA Form 7711-2,

    Letter of disapproval (letter must detail reason(s) for disapproval), and

    Documentation of ATC coordination, if applicable.

d)    Send the applicant the original signed FAA Form 7711-2 and the letter of disapproval.

3-6-5-9    SAS AR PROCEDURES. Record the activity in SAS AR as follows:

A.    Main Section. In the “National Use” field, select “AC” from the drop-down.

B.    Location Section. Enter the location of the ACB.

C.    Personnel/Equipment Section. Select “Add New Personnel” and input the name of the applicant.

D.    Other Section. In the “Tracking” field, enter “Approved” or “Disapproved.”


A.    Prerequisites. This task requires knowledge of the regulatory requirements of 14 CFR parts 1, 61, and 91 and FAA orders and policies. In addition, the person preparing and coordinating the waiver must be qualified as an ASI (Operations).

B.    Coordination. This task may require coordination with an ATC facility, a local, state, or Federal government agency, and the affected property owners with property underlying or adjacent to the ACB.


A.    References (current editions):

    Title 14 CFR Parts 1, 61, and 91.

    FAA Order JO 7210.3, Facility Operation and Administration.

    FAA Order 7930.2, Notices to Airmen (NOTAM).

    AC 150/5190-6, Exclusive Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports.

B.    Forms:

    FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (see Figure 3-6-5B).

    FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (see Figure 3-6-5A).

C.    Job Aids. None.

3-6-5-15    TASK OUTCOMES. Completion of this task results in one of the following:

    Issuance of FAA Form 7711-1 with attached special provisions; or

    Disapproval of an application for a CoW with the reasons for the disapproval noted on the reverse side of the form in the “Remarks” block.


A.    Surveillance. Surveillance of activities/events conducted in the ACB.

B.    Cancellation. Possible cancellation of the CoW due to noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the waiver and/or action necessary to ensure future compliance.

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Figure 3-6-5A.  FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization

Figure 3-6-5A. FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization

Figure 3-6-5A.  FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (Continued)

Figure 3-6-5A. FAA Form 7711-2, Application for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (Continued)

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Figure 3-6-5B.  FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization

Figure 3-6-5B. FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization

Figure 3-6-5C.  Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Rectangular Dimensions

Figure 3-6-5C. Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Rectangular Dimensions

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Figure 3-6-5D.  Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Circular Dimensions

Figure 3-6-5D. Aerobatic Contest Box/Waivered Airspace With Circular Dimensions

Figure 3-6-5E.  Sample Briefing Signature Page

I have read and/or been briefed on this document and fully understand the procedures, requirements, and limitations of the waiver and all of its special provisions.

1.  Date:                                                                                     

2.  Location:                                                                             

3.  Contest Director:                                                                

4.  Chief Judge:                                                                        

5.  Safety Director:                                                                  

6.  Unicom Monitor:                                                                














































3-6-5-19 through 3-6-5-33 RESERVED.