Call recording requirements at Flight Information Service (FIS) aerodromes

Closed 14 Feb 2018

Opened 14 Nov 2017


While Air Traffic Control (ATC) units are already required by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to record and retain two-way radiotelephony, the same requirement is not currently clear for UK Flight Information Service (FIS) units: it is non-mandatory under the requirements of CAP 670, but mandatory under CAP 797.
We propose that, in order to clarify requirements for UK FIS units:
  • the requirements in CAP 670 are changed to match those in CAP 797
  • radio telephony recording is made mandatory for all FIS units
  • all FIS units be equipped with at least a FIS-type recorder (a ‘cutdown’ ATC recorder). 
We believe the majority of UK FIS units are already doing this: a survey conducted by the CAA in 2012 indicated that roughly half of FIS aerodromes are equipped with some form of automatic recording equipment.
The recording equipment provided at some FIS aerodromes is similar to that provided at an ATC unit, but the equipment installed can vary between a custom PC-based solution and an MP3 recorder.
The replay quality obtained from these systems is therefore of concern to the CAA Transcription Unit, and users are encouraged to discuss their implementation with the CAA.
Custom PC-based solutions (such as specialist software run on a standard desktop PC) are a reasonable compromise for FIS aerodromes as an interim measure, provided that the hardware and software are appropriately configured and maintained.
The CAA has conducted research with a number of FIS units already operating this type of system, and established a set of parameters to ensure its suitability. We are proposing that such a solution could be used for a period not exceeding five years.

Why We Are Consulting

In 2014, the CAA published the second edition of the Flight Information Services Officer Manual (CAP 797). Paragraph 22.32 of Section 9 requires the “recording and retention of data for investigative purposes”.

In order to support this requirement, the “recommendation” currently contained in the Air Traffic Service Safety Requirements (CAP 670), paragraph COM01.5, should be strengthened to a “requirement”.

The CAA is obliged to undertake an Impact Assessment before introducing any new regulatory requirement.

It is also expected that future regulation from EASA will require the recording of FIS stations, and the CAA requirements are expanding on the details of this.

Scope of the requirement

This requirement shall apply to all flight information services that operate within the UK for over 30 days (total) per year. This applies to continuous and staggered operations across the year for services run for specific events.

It is strongly recommended that short-term or temporary operations that operate for less than 30 days a year also record and utilise the requirements set out.

Recordings shall be required for radiotelephony messages and telephone conversations conducted during operational hours with other FIS units,  ATC facilities and airfield ground vehicles. These shall be retained by the FIS Unit for a minimum period of 30 days from the date of the last recorded message (as required by ICAO Annex 11, paragraph ).


  • Aerodrome Operators


  • Safety
  • Security