Listening to BDL_TWR on my way to work and I heard tower request of what I presume to be a helicopter pilot: "report landing assured."

I'm an S2 VATSIM ATC and so I'm fairly familiar with the 7110.65Z, AIM, and FAR. From somewhere in all that I know that "landing assured" means "my engine could quit right now and I'd still safely make my intended landing surface."

But it occurred to me that I have no idea why/when/where it is incumbent on ATC to request that report from someone. The internet seems to think that this is not official phraseology, but generally used when the aircraft is going to drop out of radio contact due to terrain where they are landing. But I'd love a cite to an official source on proper/recommended use of such and can't find it.


3 Answers 3


It is not official phraseology and I don't think it's ever required. It's a technique or habit some controllers like.

Because BDL has a Class C service area, all aircraft are provided radar services. When an aircraft is being provided radar services, it must eventually be told one of two things:

  1. "Radar service terminated" (7110.75 5–1–9), or
  2. "Radar contact lost" (7110.55 5–3–7).

There are situations where neither one is necessary, enumerated at 5–1–9b. One such situation is:

An arriving VFR aircraft receiving radar service to a tower‐controlled airport within Class B airspace, Class C airspace, TRSA, or where basic radar service is provided has landed.

If a helicopter is landing elsewhere in the surface area, even if it is a defined heliport, then they are not landing at a "tower-controlled airport" and in theory they should be informed "radar contact lost" when they drop off the scope. The controller receiving a "landing assured" call gives them peace of mind that they don't need to go through a whole thing about radar contact being lost when, in fact, it is a normal and expected occurrence—and the pilot may never have been told "radar contact" in the first place, if they initially departed a ramp at the airport, for example, instead of entering the surface area after talking to Approach.

A non-radar tower controller might request a "landing assured" report for the same reason: controller peace of mind. No other reason.


Although the phraseology "report landing assured" is not contained in the FAA Air Traffic Control Handbook or the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual, etc., there are circumstances under which specific verbiage/phraseology may be required in accordance with a "Letter of Agreement" (LOA) between a Control Tower and organizations that conduct operations on or near an airport.

For example, an LOA between a helicopter operator and a Control Tower is not uncommon especially at airports with a significant amount of helicopter traffic. This type of LOA reduces radio transmissions, often provides standard routes, altitudes, and procedures for repeated operations.

An example would be the LOA between signatory helicopter operators and the Falcon Field (FFZ) Control Tower located near Phoenix, AZ. See this LOA with attachments HERE. (this FFZ LOA is an example only and may not be current or effective)

Note that in the LOA linked above in paragraph 5.- General Procedures, d., is the following pertinent excerpt containing the phraseology "report landing assured:"

d. Off-airport departures and landings within the FFZ Class Delta Airspace must be conducted at pilot’s own risk. Pilots must report landing assured at areas within the FFZ Class Delta Airspace not including Falcon Field Airport. When necessary for communications, pilots are authorized to climb to 100’ AGL prior to contacting FFZ ATCT.

(emphasis is mine)

In this LOA the agreed upon phraseology ("report landing assured") is not solicited by the Control Tower, but specified within the LOA.

The phraseology "report landing assured" from BDL Control Tower in the OP's question perhaps might be described and required within an LOA.


"Landing assured" has no place in IFR operations and as far as I know, no place in VFR operations. It might be a holdover from MANY years ago passed along from trainer to trainee, but I never saw it in FAA Order JO7110.65.

If I was providing IFR separation between an aircraft executing an instrument approach at a non-towered airport and an aircraft trying to depart the same airport, the only way I could clear the departure is with a pilot reported down time or the pilot canceling IFR. "Landing assured" gets me nothing.


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