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Airport Toolbox 41 Obstacles As a part of requesting a new or improved instrument approach procedure, the airport opera- tor must provide the FAA with survey data. Such surveys can be fairly costly (approximately $30,000 to $50,000+ depending on the existing data and character of the area to be surveyed). The FAA has three Advisory Circulars detailing the required survey process: FAA AC150/5300-16--General Guidance and Specifications for Aeronautical Surveys: Establishment of Geodetic Control and Submission to the National Geodetic Survey FAA AC 150/5300-17B--General Guidance and Specifications for Aeronautical Survey Airport Imagery Acquisition and Submission to the National Geodetic Survey FAA AC 150/5300-18A--General Guidance and Specifications for Submission of Aeronautical Surveys to NGS: Field Data Collection and Geographic Information System (GIS) Standards Airspace During the FAA's Airspace Analysis and approach procedure design process, the airspace for surrounding airports is also taken into consideration. Factors considered include other existing instrument procedures, arrival and departure routes, and any special use or restricted airspace in the airport vicinity. If the airport operator has concerns regarding surrounding airspace, such con- cerns should be discussed with the FAA Airport District Office before undertaking the survey effort. 5.3.2 Other Instrument Approach Procedure Improvements/Enhancements In addition to the actual instrument approach procedure, the airport operator can install facilities to enhance weather information and communications at the airport. These additional enhancements maximize the utility of the instrument approach procedure by providing local weather information for the lowest available minimums and direct communication with approach control. Automated Weather Instrument approach procedures provide access to the airport, but the appropriate minimums for a specific instrument approach may depend on the local weather. Unless there is an airport traf- fic control tower (ATCT), local weather information is generally provided through an Automated Weather Observation System (AWOS) or Automated Surface Observation System (ASOS). The primary differences between the two systems are that ASOS can distinguish among types of pre- cipitation and detect lightning. Ground Communication At airports without an ATCT, a desirable enhancement to an instrument approach procedure is direct ground communication with approach control. Without a means of direct communica- tion with approach control, the pilot must call the local approach control facility over the phone to receive an IFR clearance and a void time. When this occurs, approach control holds all other IFR traffic from arriving or departing the airport and the pilot must depart within the window of time before the void time in the clearance. The need to hold other aircraft operations reduces the capacity of the airport. To avoid phone clearances, airport operators may wish to consider the following ground communication systems: Ground Communications Outlet (GCO)--An unstaffed, remotely controlled, ground-to- ground communications facility. Pilots at uncontrolled airports may contact air traffic control and Flight Service Stations (FSS) via VHF to a telephone connection to obtain an instrument clearance or close a VFR or IFR flight plan. Pilots may also get an updated weather briefing prior to takeoff. The GCO system is intended to be used only on the ground.