VOLUME 3 GENERAL TECHNICAL ADMINISTRATION
CHAPTER 6 ISSUE A CERTIFICATE OF WAIVER OR AUTHORIZATION FOR AN AVIATION EVENT
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.
The objective of this task is to evaluate an application for Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Form
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.
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
thus the organizer/responsible person will submit an application for a Certificate of Waiver (CoW).
B. Regulatory Authority. Part
the Administrator the authority to issue a waiver from any regulation listed in §
regulations contained in part
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
1) Submit general questions, feedback, and
requests for support to the following email address:
2) Include in the subject line: “Attention: Manager, General Aviation and Commercial Division, Operations Group (AFS-830).”
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 §
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.
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
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
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.
3-6-5-7 ACB WAIVER PROCESS.
A. Waiver Application Review.
1) Application. An application for an ACB CoW is submitted using FAA
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
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: §§
a complete list, refer to §
not be waived at any time.
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.
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 §
to the associated exemption for applicable conditions and limitations.
Refer to the FAA National Aviation Events Program website for a list of exemption holders.
d) Waivers of the basic VFR weather minimums specified in §
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 1–2 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)
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?
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.
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
• 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
letter of approval.
f) Upon approval, FAA Form
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.
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
• Letter of disapproval (letter must detail reason(s) for disapproval),
• 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.”
3-6-5-11 PREREQUISITES AND COORDINATION REQUIREMENTS.
A. Prerequisites. This task requires knowledge of the regulatory requirements of 14 CFR parts
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.
3-6-5-13 REFERENCES, FORMS, AND JOB AIDS.
A. References (current editions):
• Title 14 CFR Parts
• FAA Order
JO 7210.3, Facility
Operation and Administration.
• FAA Order
to Airmen (NOTAM).
Rights at Federally-Obligated Airports.
• FAA Form 7711-1, Certificate of Waiver or Authorization
(see Figure 3-6-5B).
• FAA Form
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.
3-6-5-17 FUTURE ACTIVITIES.
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.
Figure 3-6-5A. FAA Form
for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization
Figure 3-6-5A. FAA Form
for Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (Continued)
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 3-6-5D. 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
3. Contest Director:
4. Chief Judge:
5. Safety Director:
6. Unicom Monitor:
3-6-5-19 through 3-6-5-33 RESERVED.