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ATC Clearances

CLIMB AND
MAINTAIN

TURN RIGHT
HEADING ZERO
SIX ZERO.

CLEARED FOR
TAKEOFF.

The issuance of Air Traffic Control (ATC) clearances significantly contributes to a safe and more efficient
ATC system and is the means by which controllers maintain control of the nations airspace. This lesson
provides you with the purpose of and the different types of ATC clearances, including the appropriate
sequence and pilot responsibility for compliance. The ATC system cannot function without ATC clearances.
Controllers deal with clearances on a daily basis, and your ability to master these procedures and
effectively issue the appropriate clearance will produce a safe and orderly flow of air traffic.

On an End-of-Lesson Test, and in accordance with FAA Order 7110.65 and FAR
91.123, you will identify:
1. Purpose of an ATC clearance.
2. Pilots responsibility for compliance with an ATC clearance.
3. ATC clearance items and their sequence.
4. Clearance prefixes and their use.
5. Types of ATC clearances.

An ATC clearance is an authorization by air traffic control for:


The purpose of preventing collision between known aircraft.
An aircraft to proceed under specified traffic conditions within controlled airspace.
Example: CLEARED FOR TAKEOFF. CLEARED TO LAND.

Phraseology: All aircraft proceeding under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) must obtain an ATC
clearance, Example: DELTA ONE, RUNWAY ONE EIGHT, CLEARED TO LAND.
CLEARANCE PURPOSE

COLLISION
PREVENTION

CLEARANCE PURPOSE

CLEARANCE PURPOSE
NOVEMBER EIGHT GOLF, CLEARED TO McALESTER AIRPORT
VIA DIRECT ARDMORE, DIRECT ADA, DIRECT TULSA, DIRECT.
MAINTAIN NINER THOUSAND.

TULSA

ADA

ARDMORE

AUTHORIZATION FOR AIRCRAFT TO PROCEED McALESTER


AIRPORT
UNDER SPECIFIC CONDITIONS TO DESTINATION
ATB32-3B

ATC Instructions 7110.65, Glossary:


ATC instructions are directives issued by air traffic control for the purpose of requiring a pilot to take
specific action.
Example: TURN LEFT HEADING TWO FIVE ZERO.
GO AROUND.
CLEAR RUNWAY.
ATC clearances generally include specific instructions.
Example: CLEARED TO WILL ROGERS AIRPORT VIA DEPART NORTH, DIRECT
ARDMORE VICTOR SEVENTEEN, MAINTAIN EIGHT THOUSAND. REPORT LEAVING FOUR
THOUSAND.

Pilot Responsibility and Compliance 7110.65, Glossary; FAR, Part 91.123: The pilot-in-command of an
aircraft may NOT deviate from the provisions of an air traffic clearance, Except in an emergency.
Unless an Amended Clearance has been obtained.
PILOT COMPLIANCE

PILOT COMPLIANCE
UT E
RO
ED
GN
A SSI
LETS FLY OVER
THE LAKE!

NO DEVIATION, UNLESS:
IN AN EMERGENCY.
AMENDED CLEARANCE
HAS BEEN OBTAINED.

ATB32-4

ATC instructions also require pilot compliance.


Pilots may request:
A different clearance from that which has been issued.
Clarification or amendment, as appropriate, any time a clearance is not fully understood or is
considered unacceptable because of safety.
Pilot operating on an IFR flight plan, landing at an airport with no functioning control tower
Pilot is responsible for canceling IFR flight plan:
With FSS or
Through other means of direct communication with ATC (radio, telephone, etc.)
Pilot operating on an IFR flight plan at an airport with a functioning control tower is NOT required to
cancel IFR.
Flight plan is automatically closed upon landing.
Clearances Items 7110.65, par. 4-2-1
Clearances are issued based on pilot request, ATC needs, and the prevailing conditions.
As many as 9 clearance items may be used.
Issue the 9 clearance items as appropriate, in the sequence listed below:
CLEARANCE ITEMS

CLEARANCE ITEMS
ITEM EXPLANATION
1. Aircraft identification Aircraft call sign
2. Clearance limit Destination airport or short-range
clearance to a fix
3. Standard Instrument Procedures that provide specific
Departure (SID) departure instructions
4. Route of flight Route an aircraft will fly from departure
airport to destination
5. Altitude data in order flown The altitude or flight level at which the
aircraft will fly
6. Mach number, if applicable Aircraft Mach speed, if applicable
7. Holding instructions As required
8. Any special instructions As required
9. Frequency and beacon Self-explanatory
code information
ATB32-5

1. Aircraft identification is the call sign of the aircraft and is always included in a clearance
2. Clearance limit is the destination airport or a short-range clearance to a fix along the way.
3. Standard Instrument Departure (SID). Preplanned departure procedure used to transition from the
terminal to the appropriate en route structure A departure instruction as assigned by a controller
(such as depart north, turn right after takeoff). Flight Management System Procedure (FMSP) is
a programmed route for specifically equipped aircraft.
4. Route of flight, including the route an aircraft will fly from departure airport to destination,
including departure procedures.
5. Altitude data in order flown- The altitude or flight level the aircraft will fly at, including any
interim altitude that is assigned for ATC purposes.
6. Mach number- if applicable
7. Holding instructions- Instructions for an aircraft to hold within a specified airspace, within a
specified area, or at a specified point while awaiting further clearance.
8. Special instructions-may be associated with any of the other items and are used as required.
9. Frequency and beacon code information

CLEARANCE ITEMS (EN ROUTE)


CLEARANCE ITEMS (EN ROUTE)

T S
N795K
TLPNC
90 PNC SW O P NC V516 3120
CFV JLN
B E90/A D-A
T 190
123.3
SW O P1345 90

A TB3 2-6

Phraseology Example: NOVEMBER SEVEN NINER FIVE KILO CLEARED TO JOPLIN


Example AIRPORT VIA DEPART SOUTH TURN LEFT DIRECT PONCA
CITY VORTAC VICTOR FIVE SIXTEEN COFFEYVILLE DIRECT
MAINTAIN NINER THOUSAND. CONTACT KANSAS CITY
CENTER ON ONE TWO THREE POINT THREE SQUAWK THREE
ONE TWO ZERO.

Purpose This exercise will improve your knowledge of ATC clearance items and the sequence
in which they are issued.

Directions Use the flight progress strip below to select information pertaining to clearance items
and list these items in the appropriate sequence.

Example: Description Actual Data


1. Altitude 110

CLEARANCE ITEMS EXERCISE


CLEARANCE ITEMS EXERCISE

T N
N42FM
-MLC
100 MIO MLC V9 MIO/0032 2424
C210/A D-A
T190
119.2
MLC P1345 90

ATB32-7

Exercise Clearance items and sequence.


Description Actual Data
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.

CLEARANCE PREFIXES
Use prefixes when relaying clearances, information, or requests through non-ATC facilities:
Dispatcher
Airport operator
Another aircraft, etc.
CLEARANCE RELAY
NOVEMBER TWO, ATC CLEARS
NOVEMBER TWO AS FILED. N2

N1

NOVEMBER ONE, ATC CLEARS


NOVEMBER TWO AS FILED.
ATC FACILITY NON-ATC FACILITY
USE ATC PREFIX THROUGH NON-ATC FACILITIES

There are three types of prefixes:


ATC CLEARS. (clearance)
ATC ADVISES. (information)
ATC REQUESTS. (request)

Omit ATC prefix when issuing:


Directly to aircraft
To an ATC facility Including an FSS
FSS shall prefix a clearance with appropriate phrase:
ATC CLEARS.
ATC ADVISES.
ATC REQUESTS.
Relay clearances verbatim.
RESPONSE ITEM

What prefix phrase should you use to relay a clearance to an aircraft through another
aircraft?

A. ATC CLEARS.
B. ATC RELAYS.
C. ATC ADVISES.

RESPONSE ITEM

The pilot-in-command of an aircraft may not deviate from a clearance unless an


amendment has been obtained or

A. an early departure is required.


B. instrument flight rules are in effect.
C. an emergency exists.

Clearance Types 7110.65, Chaps. 3, 4:


There are many types of ATC clearances. Most include specific ATC instructions for the pilot to
follow.
In this lesson, we will discuss 11 types of ATC clearances:
Amended
Taxi
Takeoff
Departure
Approach
Through
Altitude Reservation
Holding
Cruise
Landing
Composite
Amended Clearance 7110.65, par. 4-2-5:
Amendments to previously issued clearances for ATC purposes occur frequently.
Route and/or altitude changes are the primary reason for amended clearances.
Taxi Clearance 7110.65, par. 3-7-2 Taxi Clearances are instructions provided by ATC for the route
aircraft/vehicles are to follow while on the movement area of an airport.
When taxiing an aircraft to the runway and it will NOT cross another active runway:
N12345 TAXI TO RUNWAY ______ or
N12345 TAXI TO RUNWAY _______ VIA _________. (if needed)

When taxiing an aircraft to the runway and it WILL cross another active runway:
N12345 RUNWAY ______ TAXI VIA _______HOLD SHORT RUNWAY _____.
(Movement on a nonmovement area is the responsibility of the pilot, the aircraft operator, or the aircraft
company.)

Takeoff Clearance 7110.65, par. 3-9-9 A Takeoff Clearance is issued to authorize the pilot to depart
the airport. If more than one runway is active, clearance to take off is preceded by the runway number.

Departure Clearance 7110.65, par. 4-3-2: A Departure Clearance is authorization for a pilot to proceed from
the point of departure to the point of destination under specific conditions.
This is generally the initial clearance

DEPARTURE CLEARANCE
LEARJET SIX THREE BRAVO,
CLEARED TO TULSA AIRPORT VIA
VICTOR FOURTEEN, MAINTAIN
EIGHT THOUSAND.

LEARJET SIX THREE


BRAVO, CLEARED. . .

Include the following items in IFR Departure Clearances:


Aircraft identification
Airport of departure
When clearance is to be relayed to aircraft by FSS or non-ATC facility
Clearance limit
Normally the destination airport
Air Force One is cleared to destination as filed
Departure procedures
Includes specific instructions
Route of flight
Altitude

Approach Clearance 7110.65, par. 4-8-1 authorize aircraft to execute a particular instrument
approach to a specific airport for the purpose of landing at that airport.

APPROACH CLEARANCE
APPROACH CLEARANCE

ROGER.

SOUTHWEST ONE NINETY-NINE,


SOUTH PARK APPROACH, CLEARED
I-L-S RUNWAY THREE FOUR
APPROACH.

ATB32-15

Pilots must follow the entire approach procedure, unless:


They are cleared for a straight-in approach.
The pilot has visual contact with the ground, and upon pilot request, may be cleared for a contact
approach (if weather conditions permit).
The weather conditions are VFR at the airport, then the pilot may be cleared for a visual approach
or may elect to cancel their IFR flight plan.

Through Clearances 7110.65, par. 4-2-6 are issued for pilots to make intermediate stops while en
route to a final destination.
THROUGH CLEARANCE

THROUGH CLEARANCE

SANTA ROSA
AIRPORT
BEANTOWN
AIRPORT

BEECH SIX FIVE QUEBEC,


MAYBERRY TOWER, CLEARED
THROUGH SANTA ROSA AIRPORT
TO BEANTOWN AIRPORT, MAINTAIN
SIX THOUSAND.

MAYBERRY
AIRPORT

Issue a Through Clearance when an advantage can be realized.


A Through Clearance is a combination Departure/Approach/Departure.
Allows one clearance instead of two or more.

Altitude Reservation (ALTRV) Clearance 7110.65, par. 4-2-7 authorizes an aircraft to


proceed via a preapproved altitude reservation flight plan.
An ALTRV normally includes the:
Departure
Climb
Cruise altitude
NOTE: This is not a Cruise Clearance. Generally, a block of altitudes are assigned for ALTRVs, and the
arrival phase to the point where ATC provides separation between aircraft.

Holding Clearance 7110.65, Glossary is issued in accordance with holding procedures while awaiting
further clearance from air traffic control to keep aircraft:
Within a specified airspace
Within a specified area (ground operations)
At a specified point
HOLDING CLEARANCE

HOLDING CLEARANCE

NOVEMBER FOUR SEVEN OSCAR, SOUTH


PARK APPROACH, CLEARED TO JOHNSON
VORTAC, HOLD WEST OF JOHNSON
VORTAC, MAINTAIN SEVEN THOUSAND,
EXPECT FURTHER CLEARANCE. . .
ATB32-18

Cruise Clearance 7110.65, Glossary authorizes a pilot to conduct flight at any altitude from the
minimum IFR altitude up to and including the altitude specified in the clearance.

CRUISE CLEARANCE
ROGER.
5,000 FEET

4,000

CESSNA ONE HOTEL


LIMA, CLEARED TO THE 3,000
DUMPVILLE AIRPORT,
CRUISE FIVE THOUSAND. 2,000

1,000

DUMPVILLE AIRPORT

The pilot may level off at any intermediate altitude within this block of airspace.
Climb/descent within the block is to be made at the discretion of the pilot.
Pilots shall not return to an altitude previously reported as vacated.

Landing Clearance 7110.65, par. 3-10-5 is authorization for an aircraft to land at a specified airport
under specific conditions, and means that appropriate separation on the landing runway will be ensured.
LANDING CLEARANCE

ROGER.

SOUTHWEST ONE NINETY-NINE,


SOUTH PARK TOWER, RUNWAY
TWO EIGHT CLEARED TO LAND.

Composite Flight Plan Clearance 7110.65, par. 4-2-8 is a combination of both a VFR and IFR
flight.
COMPOSITE FLIGHT PLAN CLEARANCE
A

When initial route of flight is IFR


Clear aircraft to fix where IFR route portion ends.
When initial route of flight is VFR
Issue clearance when pilot requests or is approaching initial fix for IFR route.

Descriptive Statements & Types of Clearances


DESCRIPTIVE STATEMENT TYPE OF CLEARANCE
(magnetic cards) (White board)

1. Provides aircraft or vehicles a route to follow


while on movement area of airport

2. Authorizes aircraft to execute a particular


procedure for the purpose of landing at an
airport.

3. A combination of both a VFR and IFR flight.

4. Authorization for an aircraft to land at a


specified airport.

5. Authorizes the pilot to depart the airport.

6. Changes previously issued clearance.


7. Authorization for pilot to proceed from point
of origin to point of destination.

8. Authorization for pilot to conduct flight at


any altitude from the minimum IFR altitude
up to and including the altitude specified in
the clearance.

9. A clearance that keeps aircraft within a


specified airspace, specified ground area, or
at a specified point while waiting for further
clearance.

10. Clearance authorizing pilots to make


intermediate stops while en route to a final
destination.