Towered and Non-towered Airports
The definition for airports refers to any area of land or water used or intended for landing or takeoff of aircraft. This includes special types of facilities including seaplane bases, heliports, and facilities to accommodate tilt rotor aircraft. An airport includes an area used or intended for airport buildings, facilities, as well as rights of way together with the buildings and facilities.
There are two types of airports: towered and non-towered.
These two types can be further subdivided to:
- Civil Airports: airports that are open to the general public.
- Military/Federal Government Airports: airports operated by the military, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), or other agencies of the Federal Government.
- Private Airports: airports designated for private, restricted, or emergency use only, not open to the general public.
A towered airport has an operating control tower, and the air traffic control (ATC) is responsible for providing the safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic at airports where the type of operations and/or volume of traffic requires such a service.
Sources for Airport Data
When a remote pilot operates in the vicinity of an airport, it is important to review the current data for that airport such as communication frequencies, the airport services available, closed runways, whether an airport is under construction, or other important pertinent information. Four common sources of information are:
- Aeronautical Sectional Charts
- Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)
- Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs)
- Automated Terminal Information Services (ATIS)
The Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory) provides the most comprehensive information on a given airport as it contains information on airports, heliports, and seaplane bases that are open to the public. The Chart Supplement U.S. is published in seven books, which are organized by regions and revised every 56 days. The Chart Supplements available online at the FAA website faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav, but also more readily available at SkyVector.com.
The FAA publication that provides the aviation community with basic flight information and Air Traffic Control procedures for use in the National Airspace System of the United States is the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).