APREQ VS Point-Out

SoCal

Rookie
Nov 6, 2008
42
0
6
San Diego
I have asked other senior controllers, looked it up in the regs and even googled it. I saw one response over on atcmonitor.com, but I figured I would ask here and see what comments come up.

To my understanding, a Point-Out is when you are transferring radar identification of an ACFT and are pointing the aircraft out to another controller (via auto or manual) to allow the ACFT to enter their airspace without transferring radio communications. Once they accept the point out they are responsible for keeping aircraft on their frequency aircraft separated from the point-out ACFT.

An approval request does not always include the exchange of radar identification, and more or less it is a request to deviate from published procedures. If an APREQ is accepted then the requesting controller is still fully responsible for separation unless a follow-on point-out is made and accepted.

Any other thoughts or ideas on this one?
 

DairyCreamer

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2009
185
2
18
Elsewhere
Your pointout description is basically correct. From the P/CG -

RADAR POINT OUT- An action taken by a controller to transfer the radar identification of an aircraft to another controller if the aircraft will or may enter the airspace or protected airspace of another controller and radio communications will not be transferred.​

And yes, if the other controller says "pointout approved," they separate from the aircraft you are sending in to their airspace.

As for APREQ, well, kinda... it doesn't necessarily involve radar identification transfer (like APREQing a WAFDOF or something).

Scenario... ABC123 is at 330 eastbound requesting 370, I have traffic at 340 10 mins away opposite direction. Top of my stratum is 350.

In order to avoid leveling the aircraft (because unnecessarily leveling aircraft is evil in my book) while ensuring separation with the opposite direction traffic (I'm not going to ship him until he's at 350), I will call the sector above me to APREQ ABC123 climbing to 370.

If the sector above says approved to my request for climbing to 370, you best be damned sure if he climbs in to a guy at 370, that's his deal, not mine. If it's a guy at 360, well, I might be held liable as Controller B since I would probably see a limited out there since it's within the 1200' filter limit overlap.

Generally, yes, an APREQ is just asking to deviate from normal procedure. But unless the approving controller shows you traffic "a-la, reference XYZ456, approved" and you say "traffic observed" (much like a pointout) then you go ahead and do whatever you APREQed since the approving controller is essentially telling you, sure, you can do that because I have no traffic to interfere with that "abnormal" operation.

If you call to APREQ something odd with the next controller and they approve it, they are liable for any deal if they didn't tell you about something that would be traffic for that person. If you should have known about something despite the approving controller omitting it, you too could be held liable.

~Nate
 

boondr

PHD without a degree
Jul 13, 2008
338
2
18
North of the Equator
Like Dairy Creamer said an APREQ in the radar world doesn't necessarily mean radar identification won't be transferred. Oftentimes the APREQ is coordinated on an aircraft that has already been handed off to the other controller. You are just getting approval to ship that aircraft at other than SOP.
 

Davo

Trusted Contributor
Mar 14, 2009
699
3
18
I am not a controller so don't snap at me too much!, but I do not understand why you would want to hold onto an aircraft that is going into someone else's airspace. Is this for handling emergency situations or is this incase the recieving controller is too busy to take the hand off at the point in the LOA? Maybe I am just missing something all together. If an aircraft wanted to climb out of your airspace shouldn't they be shipped off to the higher altitude controller? Thanks for not biting my head off. :)
 

boondr

PHD without a degree
Jul 13, 2008
338
2
18
North of the Equator
I am not a controller so don't snap at me too much!, but I do not understand why you would want to hold onto an aircraft that is going into someone else's airspace. Is this for handling emergency situations or is this incase the recieving controller is too busy to take the hand off at the point in the LOA? Maybe I am just missing something all together. If an aircraft wanted to climb out of your airspace shouldn't they be shipped off to the higher altitude controller? Thanks for not biting my head off. :)
Usually point outs are for situations where the aircraft will not be in the airspace of the controller recieving the point out long enough to justify an additional frequency change. In many places airspace is so chopped up there are many places where point outs are SOP because the aircraft will only spend 2 or 3 miles in a someones airspace. It's just a lot easier to take a point out.
 

DairyCreamer

Senior Member
Apr 26, 2009
185
2
18
Elsewhere
I am not a controller so don't snap at me too much!, but I do not understand why you would want to hold onto an aircraft that is going into someone else's airspace. Is this for handling emergency situations or is this incase the recieving controller is too busy to take the hand off at the point in the LOA? Maybe I am just missing something all together. If an aircraft wanted to climb out of your airspace shouldn't they be shipped off to the higher altitude controller? Thanks for not biting my head off. :)
I highly encourage you to visit an air traffic facility and observe for a while. I see you live in WA... if you're anywhere near Seattle, consider getting a tour of the center in Auburn. Otherwise if you're in a city, the local airport probably has a tower and/or TRACON nearby.

A point out is a purely radar function, so, you'll have to visit a center/TRACON to see them, though a tower will radar might experience a handful as well. Depending on the traffic, you could do a few dozen POs a day. They are extremely common, and at least at the center are a basic precept of being able to perform D-Side functions.

The question you want to ask yourself is, why would you want to talk to an aircraft if you don't have to? This is why the pointout exists. If he's not affecting you in any way (and most of the time they aren't), then you can watch him fly through your airspace without having to have him check in, then subsequenty ship him minutes later without any other ATC instruction.

Also... there are a lot of times when the aircraft being pointed out won't even enter your airspace, but he'll get within your protected airspace (en-route under radar, protected airspace is 2.5 NM from the boundary). You must point someone out if they're going to get within the protected airspace of the other controller, but I certainly wouldn't initiate a handoff to that controller if the aircraft was never going to enter their airspace in the first place. At ZAB, this happens all the time near the ZAB/ZFW/ZHU boundary for aircraft going to LLO from around the PEQ area. We'll point them out to ZFW since they run the boundary for a hundred miles or so before re-entering ZHU airspace.

~Nate

PS - If you bother pulling up the High En-Route chart off SkyVector.com to see what I was talking about, understand that the center boundary on the chart there is the low boundary FL230 and below. Above that, the boundary is shifted north a few miles such that J183 never enters ZFW airspace. The way center radar processing works, if he enters another facility's airspace, you HAVE to initiate the handoff to ensure the flight plan continues processing down the line. But so many aircraft run the boundary down there without actually entering ZFW, well, hence the point outs.
 

Davo

Trusted Contributor
Mar 14, 2009
699
3
18
Thank you for the information. I have visited the Seattle tower, tracon, and center. I thought this was about an aircraft going into someone elses airspace and staying in their airspace not coming back to yours or even a third controller shortly after. I knew about the 2.5NM but I guess I didn't think how often that comes into play with routes and destinations. Hopefully I get a OJTI who is as willing to teach as you guys.
 

MikeATC

Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
1,230
3
38
Nashville TN
Point Out - think about this way, the aircraft will clip a portion of another airspace or will be close to the boundry of anothers airspace and you want that controller to protect for the aircraft being pointed out.

APREQ - Is nothing more than a approval request, it can range from the aircraft is climbing or descending and won't be level when it enters anothers controllers airspace, the aircraft is at a altitude that is wrong for direction of flight, you want control of an aircraft that is still in someone else's airspace but has been handed off to you, etc.
 

GoTigersGo

Rookie
Aug 5, 2009
70
0
6
ZME
You can even APREQ something and not even do it. For instance, if the radar may need an out for some traffic, a good D-side would go ahead and APREQ an aircraft at an IAFDOF (Inappropriate Altitude for Direction of Flight) with the next sector. The radar controller may be thinking something different than the D-side, and not have to use the APREQed altitude.
 

rogersjf

Trusted Contributor
Mar 11, 2009
656
9
18
New Jersey
Likewise at some facilities who have TMU's, they put out Apreqs on departures, so that a call can be made to get a time for wheels up for the Dest. not to be confused with a DSP restriction. and now with TMA, times are given via Apreqs to enter the stream above at the specified time the computer allots.
 

xxDYxx

Junior Member
Jul 14, 2009
94
0
6
Kunsan
To the OP,
I'm sorry, I dint see a question anywhere... are you asking "what's the difference between a point out and an apreq?" If so, I dint think it was really necessary to post the question on line. If you are actively controlling traffic without knowing what these two things mean, and without getting a good answer form a co-worker, then there is something wrong. I hope i just misunderstood the purpose of this thread...
 

admin

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 11, 2008
4,166
4
38
To the OP,
I'm sorry, I dint see a question anywhere... are you asking "what's the difference between a point out and an apreq?" If so, I dint think it was really necessary to post the question on line. If you are actively controlling traffic without knowing what these two things mean, and without getting a good answer form a co-worker, then there is something wrong. I hope i just misunderstood the purpose of this thread...
The whole purpose of this forum is to discuss rules and regulations involving air traffic control. We welcome all questions that pertain to the FAA.
 

boondr

PHD without a degree
Jul 13, 2008
338
2
18
North of the Equator
You can even APREQ something and not even do it. For instance, if the radar may need an out for some traffic, a good D-side would go ahead and APREQ an aircraft at an IAFDOF (Inappropriate Altitude for Direction of Flight) with the next sector. The radar controller may be thinking something different than the D-side, and not have to use the APREQed altitude.


I don't know about that, you APREQ something with me I am going to work my traffic like it is going to happen. If he comes to me other than that it could be a problem if I have aircraft at the altitude you coordinated he wouldn't be on. IMO when you are APREQing something you are coordinating exactly how that aircraft will be transferred. IE if SOP is ANYFX @ 17000 and you APREQ "ANYFX @ 16000" to me ANYFX @ 17000 is now available if I need it, If you then ship him SOP it could be dangerous. That is unless you throw a conditional on it like "if we need it"
 

atcguruaf

Rico Suave
Jan 4, 2009
1,377
0
36
Right here
I thought this thread was about the difference between an APREQ and a point out, or rather APREQ vs. Point out. All these crossing altitudes is just confusing for me. I'm a tower guy, can't y'all dumb it down for me? haha.. j/k w/ y'all
 

boondr

PHD without a degree
Jul 13, 2008
338
2
18
North of the Equator
I thought this thread was about the difference between an APREQ and a point out, or rather APREQ vs. Point out. All these crossing altitudes is just confusing for me. I'm a tower guy, can't y'all dumb it down for me? haha.. j/k w/ y'all
Ok lets see if I can try this. (I am completely making this all up never worked at a VFR tower) You work at a VFR tower. SOP is that IFR inbounds enter via left downwind for runway 4. The parent radar facilty APREQS a right downwind for runway 4. So you begin work your pattern like a right downwind is going to happen. If the radar facility then ships him in a SOP left downwind it could be a problem no?( maybe it isn't a problem but you see what I am getting at?)
 

I90trainee

Newcomer
Feb 12, 2009
9
0
1
Ok lets see if I can try this. (I am completely making this all up never worked at a VFR tower) You work at a VFR tower. SOP is that IFR inbounds enter via left downwind for runway 4. The parent radar facilty APREQS a right downwind for runway 4. So you begin work your pattern like a right downwind is going to happen. If the radar facility then ships him in a SOP left downwind it could be a problem no?( maybe it isn't a problem but you see what I am getting at?)
The transfer of communication point between the radar facility and you should be far enough out there...at a minimum of at least 5 miles where it shouldn't really matter what downwind they sequenced the aircraft too, you should have enough time to work it out.
 

boondr

PHD without a degree
Jul 13, 2008
338
2
18
North of the Equator
The transfer of communication point between the radar facility and you should be far enough out there...at a minimum of at least 5 miles where it shouldn't really matter what downwind they sequenced the aircraft too, you should have enough time to work it out.


OK you can just put a big FAIL on my VFR Tower post. But in the Radar world it possibly lead to a conflict especially during busy times when available altitudes are scarce.
 

atcguruaf

Rico Suave
Jan 4, 2009
1,377
0
36
Right here
well, sometimes the aircraft doesn't switch in time. I would expect the aircraft to enter on a right downwind. Anything different would not be acceptable. An APREQ allows (in my opinion) you deviate from SOP/LOA, but once the APREQ is in place, it overrides the SOP/LOA, you don't get both options making me have to work around both. If they're supposed to climb to 16K, per LOA, and you APREQ 17K, I'd be working my traffic around the aircraft climbing to 17K.

I do agree with someone's comment on here. The only time I can think of APREQing something is if it's nonstandard or different than what any publication says.

So, back to point: my "interpretation" as to when to use the following:

Point-Out - To be used as stated in the definition.

APREQ - To be used when wanting to deviate from any standard procedure.
 

meatasaurusx

Trusted Member
Jun 19, 2008
370
2
18
Chi-town
In simple terms...

Point out means I'm goin to be in or closer than standard separation to your airspace but I'm going to keep the aircraft on my frequency.

Apreq means I want to give an aircraft to you but in a different manner than what has been previously arranged.