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Ed Cesnalis

Clearance Delivery

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Now that we are talking about flight following I think about Clearance Delivery. I might not depart a single Class C or B field in my CT in a given year. Its the one time I bother to write stuff down. What do you say when you contact Clearance Delivery for a VFR departure?

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I'm back and forth to McGhee Tyson in Knoxville pretty regularly.

 

Something like...

 

"Knoxville Clearance delivery, Sky Arrow 467SA, VFR to Copperhill, TN 1A3, 5,500', on course heading about 205 degrees"

 

They'll come back, after a short delay, say...

 

"N467SA, on departure maintain runway heading at or below 3,000', squawk 4526, Departure Control 118.0".

 

After readback, they tell you to contact ground.

 

After takeoff, tower advises to contact departure, and eventually they clear you to assigned altitude and on course.

 

Pretty simple once you do it a few times.

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Try this sequence:

 

Cleared To Sacramento, Maint VFR @ 7,500, DF 119.5, SQ 4234, Advise Taxi

>FD00WT Cleared To Sacramento...

 

 

Might be a regional thing, but I don't think I ever hear "cleared to..." in that scenario when VFR.

 

That implies a clearance, which implies IFR.

 

The only exceptions I can think of VFR are Special VFR and Class Bravo clearances.

 

Again, maybe they do use "Cleared to..." for VFR flight where you are. They don't around here.

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Might be a regional thing, but I don't think I ever hear "cleared to..." in that scenario when VFR.

 

That implies a clearance, which implies IFR.

 

The only exceptions I can think of VFR are Special VFR and Class Bravo clearances.

 

Again, maybe they do use "Cleared to..." for VFR flight where you are. They don't around here.

 

I think your right Eddie.

 

On a VFR clearance delivery I assume I am getting cleared as far as the departure controller and it doesn't include VFR flight following until departure hands me off, or doesn't.

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...I assume I am getting cleared as far as the departure controller...

 

Again, terminology is important and I don't think its technically a clearance, in spite of having been received by Clearance Delivery.

 

But I might be wrong on this one - its just my impression.

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http://stm.laartcc.org/VFR+Clearances

 

It is technically a clearance and in Charlie or Bravo a clearance is required since the tower cannot visually separate these aircraft from others operating in the class C or B airspace. The exception is for pattern work where the tower can visually separate ...

 

The VFR clearance is supposed to be simple perhaps as simple as: "Cessna One Two Three Sierra Xray, after departure maintain VFR, departure frequency one three four point two, squawk one zero three two." The clearance is for operating in the Charlie or Bravo then it terminates it does not include flight beyond to your destination.

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"Atlanta Clearance Delivery this is Cessna N1234K looking for IFR clearance to XYZ."

 

I jot down the acronym CRAFT for:

 

Cleared To

Route of Flight

Altitude

Frequency

Transponder Code

 

So the read back is usually:

 

"N34K cleared to XYZ, as filed, 3000, expect 7000 in 10, 123.7, 1234"

 

Ah, CRAFT, I call CD before start up and use something more like:

 

Runway

Taxi Via

Heading

Altitude restriction

Frequency

Transponder

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Thanks.

 

The language is fuzzier that I thought, but as I supected.

 

So, these are technically clearances - stipulated.

 

But, in my defense, notice that in the Class C example, they do not say "Cleared to...", which was my main point.

 

And the Class B clearance was one of two cases I knew of where a VFR pilot might hear the words "Cleared into..." or "Cleared out of...", the other being Special VFR.

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Thanks.

 

The language is fuzzier that I thought, but as I supected.

 

So, these are technically clearances - stipulated.

 

But, in my defense, notice that in the Class C example, they do not say "Cleared to...", which was my main point.

 

And the Class B clearance was one of two cases I knew of where a VFR might hear the words "Cleared into..." or "Cleared out of...", the other being Special VFR.

 

Yes your main point was correct, there is still more detail to pick at: "FD00WT, GND, Cleared To Sacramento, Maint VFR @ 7,500, DF 119.5, SQ 4234, Advise Taxi" Not only would CD not clear to Sacramento they would not deal with a cruise altitude but they may include an altitude limitation.

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Isn't clearance delivery for IFR and not for VFR? I was told in N. Las Vegas when I called them I wasn't required and they just had me call ground.

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Some ground controllers give a lecture if you skip CLNC, try LGB.

 

In class D and C no clearance is required and no transponder code is required, you can depart with 1200 without any problem. The only requirement is to maintain two way radio comm with ATC. If you wanted to get flight following out of class C you can call CLNC and get you discrete code from them.

 

In class B you do need a clearance but you do not need a discrete code, 1200 will be fine, the control tower can give you your B clearance as part of your takeoff clearance (Skyhawk 1234X cleared into the B, cleared for takeoff, fly RWY hdg climb and maintain 2000). Again, if you need flight followong, it might be a good idea to call CLNC.

 

So, to summarize, you don't have to call CLNC in any class airport if you are departing VFR, in class C and B CLNC can and will (most cases) give you a discrete code for VFR Flight Following if requested.

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Isn't clearance delivery for IFR and not for VFR? I was told in N. Las Vegas when I called them I wasn't required and they just had me call ground.

 

N. Las Vegas is Class D, no clearance required.

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Another confusion, at least for me is that Charlie and Bravo require a clearance and one is explicit when inbound and the other requires only 2-way communication to constitute a clearance.

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Van Nuys ( Class D ) has clearance delivery but because I do a northerly departure I don't use it. When I depart eastbound it puts you right into Burbank's Class C so that's when I call CLNC.

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Another confusion, at least for me is that Charlie and Bravo require a clearance and one is explicit when inbound and the other requires only 2-way communication to constitute a clearance.

 

To be clear, no clearance is required into Class C airspace. All that is required is the two-way communications be maintained. You'll never hear them use the words "Cleared into Charlie airspace" for that reason.

 

Edited to add: I may be thinking of Class D. Let me organize my thoughts and check the AIM on this.

 

And CTLSi is right - I neglected the ATIS code in my example by accident. Probably because I think I usually give it to Ground when ready to taxi.

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To be clear, no clearance is required into Class C airspace. All that is required is the two-way communications be maintained. You'll never hear them use the words "Cleared into Charlie airspace" for that reason.

 

Edited to add: i may be thinking of Class D. Let me organize my thoughts and check the AIM on this.

 

And CTLSi is right - I neglected the ATIS code in my example by accident. Probably because I think I usually give it to Ground when ready to taxi.

 

Since you are being clear, we already covered this and it boils down to there being no visual separation provided so a clearance is necessary. The fact that 2-way coms constitute a clearance doesn't mean no clearance is required, the 2-way coms / clearance is required.

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,,,KVGT just has ground, same with Reno... they are in essence the same...

 

KVGT Clearance Delivery:124.0

Reno Clearance Delivery: 124.9 370.85 They have a uniform and a victor.

 

Clearance Delivery and Ground may fulfill some of the same requests but they are essentially different.

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I was actually under the impression that if there was a Clearance Delivery all departures were supposed to use it. I think this may be due to the fact that at the airports I fly out of mostly they tell you on ATIS "All VFR departures contact Clearance Delivery..." and then give a frequency. That does not make it sound like it's optional.

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  • If the facility has clearance delivery and you need a clearance or flight following it is best to use it.
  • If the ATIS tells you to use it, use it
  • If ground wants you to use it, ...
  • If CLNC doesn't want to be bothered you might be requesting a clearance that you don't need.

I had a controller chew me out on the air for not calling myself 'light sport' he was tower. Later after I was done talking to ground, where the nice lady had no trouble with me saying 'Flight Design' he then got on the ground frequency and made me explain why I didn't continue to use 'Light Sport'. If ground wants me to get a clearance from clearance delivery at least makes a level of sense.

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...it boils down to there being no visual separation provided so a clearance is necessary. The fact that 2-way coms constitute a clearance doesn't mean no clearance is required, the 2-way coms / clearance is required.

 

Charlie,

 

I'm really only trying to be helpful.

 

To me as an instrument rated (though not IFR current) pilot and instructor, "Clearance" means something pretty specific.

 

If, after calling Clearance Delivery in Knoxville, they said anything involving "Cleared to...", an alarm would go off in my head, and my next transmission would be, "Knoxville Clearance delivery, you do understand that 467SA is a VFR flight", to be absolutely sure they did not misunderstand my initial call or confuse me with another aircraft. Around here they do NOT say "Cleared to..." to a VFR aircraft - or at least I've never heard it.

 

This review is good for everyone concerned, including me:

 

vfr2.GIF

 

Just note that neither C nor D airspace require a clearance to enter. That's all I was saying. If "Clearance" is being construed to mean something else, then so be it.

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Eddie,

 

The only distance between you and me is the question: 'Does the required to enter 2-way communication constitute a clearance?' It is referred to as a clearance on the way out, and refereed to as a clearance by controllers training materials.

 

Here it is refereed to as a clearance by Santa Barbara's guide to Class C Procedures, a guide that should work well for any Class C airport.

 

Santa Barbara Class C Procedures

Pilots are requested to please adhere to the following procedures when departing from the Santa Barbara Airport.

1. Monitor the ATIS (http://www.faa.gov/a...ct/sba/ATIS.htm) on 132.65. This will inform the pilot of pertinent local weather conditions, runway in use, etc.

2. Contact Clearance Delivery on 132.9. This is required of all VFR and IFR departures. Please advise the controller of your call sign, type aircraft, direction of flight or destination. Additionally, please confirm receipt of current ATIS (http://www.faa.gov/a...ct/sba/ATIS.htm) by stating ATIS code. BE PREPARED TO COPY DEPARTURE PROCEDURE INFORMATION. All aircraft departing the airport are assigned initial departure headings, altitudes, frequencies, and transponder codes. Please read back the clearance to ensure correctness and comprehension. Adherence to assigned headings and altitudes is imperative for air safety. When the clearance has been received, please contact ground control on 121.7

3. When contacting ground control, please state your call sign and position on the airport in your initial call-up. Ground Control will assign the departure runway, and will also specify a taxi route if necessary. REMEMBER TO READ BACK ALL RUNWAY ASSIGNMENTS AND HOLD SHORT INSTRUCTIONS. Controllers are required to ensure receipt of these items by obtaining pilot read backs verbatim. When you are number one at the hold line for your assigned runway, contact the tower controller on 119.7.

4. The tower controller will issue you a takeoff clearance when traffic permits. Obviously, based on traffic, you may not receive a takeoff clearance immediately. Remember to acknowledge all transmissions directed to you aircraft. We request that aircraft not operate their transponder in the ON position until airborne. ONCE AIRBORNE, REMAIN ON THE TOWER FREQUENCY UNTIL ADVISED TO "CONTACT DEPARTURE".

5. Contact the approach controller on the assigned frequency. Due to traffic, you may be assigned additional headings and altitudes. Compliance with these instructions is imperative to air safety. Once safely clear of conflicting traffic, aircraft will normally be instructed to "resume own navigation and appropriate VFR altitudes". However, these instructions may be spaced apart as traffic warrants. For clarification, "resume own navigation" means only to fly a heading of the pilot's choice, not a clearance to climb. Conversely, "resume appropriate VFR altitudes" is a clearance to climb, but not a clearance to deviate from an assigned heading. IFR aircraft will of course be assigned headings and altitudes throughout their flight.

Unless the pilot has requested VFR flight following to the destination airport, RADAR services will only be provided to the edge of Santa Barbara Approach Control Airspace.

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In general clearance delivery is used to receive IFR clearances prior to departure but there are airports that use them for VFR as well to provide ATC instructions (Air Traffic Clearance) to a VFR aircraft departing the airport. This process helps set the stage for a VFR departure, and help relieve ground control of some workload. The use of clearance delivery for a particular airport will be defined within the ATIS information. Sometimes the requirements will change based on the time of day and controller workload so listening to ATIS is important to make the determination if you call ground or CD first.

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A clearance is really approval from the ATC facility for you to do what you say you want to do.

If you want to operate within their Class B for example, then they need to know what you intend to do…land, transit, what altitude, what direction, what type etc. They will assume by your request that you're qualified to do what you say you want to do and have an airplane suitably equipped and of course the weather has to be legal for your flight.

In this regard a 'VFR clearance' is their acceptance of you into their airspace and the requirement that you do what they say and stick to it. Two way radio comm is a requirement and your acceptance tells them you can comply. For example, "you're cleared into the Class B", "you're cleared SVFR to…".

One important difference is that even when 'cleared VFR', the pilot is responsible for traffic avoidance whereas under IFR ATC supplies separation (although in VFR conditions , on an IFR clearance, you share a level of separation responsibility, to see and avoid, with ATC).

 

Another kind of 'VFR clearance' is an SVFR, Special VFR, which is a clearance which allows you to go in/out of controlled airspace without an IFR clearance when the viz is at least 1 mile and you can remain clear of clouds.

Usually 'clearances' are for IFR traffic and the main reason is so that ATC knows what you will do in the event of lost comm because they've made a slot for you in the system and they assume that you will do what you agreed that you were cleared to do at the altitudes cleared to and the times you were cleared to do it e.g. holding.

 

For VFR traffic the term 'clearance' is a bit looser than IFR but once 'cleared' you are expected to comply or notify them of any change in plans or routing, altitude etc. whilst in their airspace. Once 'cleared' and read back you and ATC have made a deal such that both you and ATC are on the same page and you both understand what you are expected to do, 'as per your 'clearance'.

 

Clearance Delivery is simply a special frequency dedicated to mostly issuing IFR clearances and any other type, such as SVFR. The busiest airports have them. In fact, they got so busy that the major airlines don't even call Clearance Delivery unless there's a problem or it's one of those bad weather days with massive delays. Routinely, IFR clearances to airliners are inputted throughout the airline's Dispatch department, and requested and received by the flight itself via datalink. ACARS will print out the clearance and if it's okay with the crew they acknowledge it with a code input.

Other airports handle clearances via ground control, or tower, and non-controlled via FSS, by radio or phone.

 

Light Sport was originally intended for 'recreational' flying but…the rules do allow for access to certain types of airspace and it's just tough if some ATC guys don't like it. Of course, they handle LSA on a workload permitting basis, but I've found that if you sound professional, talk professional, and anticipate what they need from you then you'll do fine. Of course, there are jerks amongst the ATC ranks too…but they exist because of airplanes, not the other way around.

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