Annex 2 – Rules of the Air


Developed by ICAO, the International Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) contained in the nineteen Technical Annexes to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (also called Chicago Convention) are applied universally and produce a high degree of technical uniformity which has enabled international civil aviation to develop in a safe, orderly and efficient manner.


Annex 2 – Rules of the Air

Established by the Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization (PICAO), the Rules of Air and Air Traffic Control (RAC) Division held it first session (16 meetings) between 15 October and 19 November 1945; the second session of the RAC Division met from 3 December 1946 to 6 January 1947 and proposed Standards and Recommended Practices for the Rules of the Air. They were adopted by the ICAO Council on 15 April 1948 and became effective on 15 September 1948, as Annex 2 – International Standards and Recommended Practices - Rules of the Air. Further to the 4th session of the RAC Division held from 14 November to 14 December 1950, the ICAO Council adopted on 27 November 1951 a complete revision and rearrangement of Annex 2 titled International Standards - Rules of the Air. Since then, it no longer contains Recommended Practices.


Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Management (PANS-ATM) - Doc 4444

Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Control (PANS-ATC), peculiar to the region concerned, were initially proposed by the Air Traffic Committee of the Regional Route Service Conference for the North Atlantic Region held in Dublin in March 1946. They were then reviewed by the Regional Air Navigation Meeting (RAN) for the European-Mediterranean Region held in Paris in April-May 1946 and a second version of the PANS-ATC was issued. It is to be reminded that, in April 1946, the PICAO Council agreed to change the title of those regional conferences from PICAO Route Service Conferences to PICAO Regional Air Navigation Meetings. Further editions of the PANS-ATC were prepared by the RAC Division and became applicable on a world-wide basis (from the 3rd edition of the Procedures); from the 4th edition approved on 28 November 1951, the PANS-ATC was given the title of Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Rules of the Air and Air Traffic Control (PANS-RAC), to reflect the fact that the new issue included procedures applicable to pilots and others relating to the provision of flight information and alerting service. New editions of the PANS-RAC were subsequently prepared; from the 14th edition applicable on 1 November 2001, the PANS-RAC was given the title of Procedures for Air Navigation Services – Air Traffic Management (PANS-ATM), to reflect that provisions and procedures relating to safety management of air traffic services and to air traffic flow management were included. These Procedures are complementary to Annex 2 – Rules of Air and Annex 11 – Air Traffic Services, and specify in greater detail than the Annexes the actual procedures to be applied by air traffic services units in providing their services to air traffic.


The Rules of the Air contained in Annex 2 include general flight rules, visual flight rules and instrument flight rules; in general, they are equivalent of the rules of the road for ground motor vehicles. Approved by the Council and recommended for worldwide application, the PANS contain material prepared as an amplification of the basic principles contained in the SARPs which are adopted by the Council in pursuance of Article 37 of the Chicago Convention.



Belgium -  17 April 1958 - World's Fair, Brussels ‑ United Nations Issue

Marshalling signal: Move Ahead

The stamp issued by Belgium in 1958 for the Brussels International Fair (Expo 58) pays tribute to ICAO’s major achievement in the airport communications services, namely Annex 2 by depicting a groundmarshaller with a stylized aircraft shown directly in the background. Aircraft marshalling is a method of visual signalling between ground personnel and pilots on an airport or helipad; it is a one-to-one communication on airports. The third edition of Annex 2 became applicable on 1 December 1956; among various changes and improvements, a new set of marshalling signals specifically designed for hovering helicopters were incorporated in this new version. Along with neighbouring countries, Belgium actively pushed for such helicopters signals, as SABENA, the then Belgian national airline, started the world’s first international helicopter service on 3 August 1953, when an 8-passenger Sikorsky S-55 left the new Heliport at Allée Verte in Brussels for Antwerpen and Rotterdam.


As regards the marshalling signal shown on the Belgian stamp, it can be noticed that the man’s arms are a little aside the body, palms facing backward; therefore, the signal shown means Move Ahead. The marshalling signals are depicted at Appendix 1 – Signals of Annex 2 - Rules of the Air.


Belgium – 3 August 1953.

World’s first international helicopter service between Brussels, Antwerpen and Rotterdam.


Belgium – 17 April 1958

First Day Cover with eight of the 16 stamps issued by Belgium in honour of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies, and for the purpose of financing the UN pavilion during the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair (held from 17 April to 19 October 1958, called Expo 58); the theme of this fair was Man on the Threshold of a new Era. The official label of the exhibition is affixed on the left-side of this cover.


Belgium – 17 April 1958 - First Day Cover with the UN Official cachet and a block of four stamps showing the groundmarshaller and the signal Move Ahead.



United Nations - 12 June 1978 - ICAO Safety in the Air

First Day Cover – Colorano Silk cachet, New York cancel – Groundmarshaller and the signal Move Ahead.

According to Annex 2 – Rules of the Air – Appendix 1, the marshalling signals are designed for use by the signalman with hands illuminated as necessary to facilitate observation by the pilot, as indicated on the above cover.


United Nations - 12 June 1978 - ICAO Safety in the Air

First Day Cover issued by the United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA)

Aristocrat cachet - Groundmarshaller (The text indicates: Mechanics directs jet to gate in night landing)

Geneva Cancel