Section 2. Clearances

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  • Section 2. Clearances

    4-2-1. CLEARANCE ITEMS

    Issue the following clearance items, as appropriate, in the order listed below:

    1. Aircraft identification.
    2. Clearance limit.
      1. When the clearance limit is an airport, the word “airport” must follow the airport name.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • CLEARED TO (destination) AIRPORT.
      2. When the clearance limit is a NAVAID, and the NAVAID type is known, the type of NAVAID must follow the NAVAID name.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • CLEARED TO (NAVAID name and type).
      3. When the clearance limit is an intersection or waypoint, and the type is known, the type must follow the intersection or waypoint name.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • CLEARED TO (intersection or waypoint name and type).
    3. Standard Instrument Departure (SID).
    4. Route of flight including PDR/PDAR/PAR when applied.
    5. Altitude data in the order flown.
    6. Mach number, if applicable.
    7. USAF. When issuing a clearance to an airborne aircraft containing an altitude assignment, do not include more than one of the following in the same transmission:
      1. Frequency change.
      2. Transponder change.
      3. Heading.
      4. Altimeter setting.
      5. Traffic information containing an altitude.
    8. Holding instructions.
    9. Any special information.
    10. Frequency and beacon code information.

    4-2-2. CLEARANCE PREFIX

    1. Prefix a clearance, information, or a request for information which will be relayed to an aircraft through a non-ATC facility by stating “A-T-C clears,” “A-T-C advises,” or “A-T-C requests.”
    2. Flight service stations and ARTCC Flight Data Units must prefix a clearance with the appropriate phrase: “ATC clears,” “ATC advises,” etc.

    4-2-3. DELIVERY INSTRUCTIONS

    Issue specific clearance delivery instructions, if appropriate.

    4-2-4. CLEARANCE RELAY

    Relay clearances verbatim.

    4-2-5. ROUTE OR ALTITUDE AMENDMENTS

    1. Amend route of flight in a previously issued clearance by one of the following:
      1. State which portion of the route is being amended and then state the amendment.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • CHANGE (portion of route) TO READ (new portion of route).
      2. State the amendment to the route and then state that the rest of the route is unchanged.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • (Amendment to route), REST OF ROUTE UNCHANGED.
      3. Issue a clearance “direct” to a point on the previously issued route.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • CLEARED DIRECT (fix,waypoint).
        • Or
        • CLEARED DIRECT (destination) AIRPORT.

        NOTE: Clearances authorizing “direct” to a point on a previously issued route do not require the phrase “rest of route unchanged.” However, it must be understood where the previously cleared route is resumed. When necessary, “rest of route unchanged” may be used to clarify routing.

      4. Issue the entire route by stating the amendment.
      • EXAMPLE
      • (Cessna 21A has been cleared to the Airville Airport via V41 Delta VOR V174 Alfa VOR, direct Airville Airport, maintain 9000. After takeoff, the aircraft is rerouted via V41 Frank intersection, V71 Delta VOR, V174 Alfa VOR. The controller issues one of the following as an amended clearance):
      • 1. “Cessna Two One Alfa change Victor Forty-One Delta to read Victor Forty-One Frank, Victor Seventy-One Delta.”
      • 2. “Cessna Two One Alfa cleared via Victor Forty-One Frank, Victor Seventy-One Delta, rest of route unchanged.”
      • 3. “Cessna Two One Alfa cleared via Victor Forty-One Frank, Victor Seventy-One Delta, Victor One Seventy-Four Alfa V-O-R, direct Airville airport, maintain Niner Thousand.”
    2. When route or altitude in a previously issued clearance is amended, restate all applicable altitude restrictions.
      • EXAMPLE
      • 1. (A departing aircraft is cleared to cross Ollis intersection at or above 3,000; Gordonsville VOR at or above 12,000; maintain FL 200. Shortly after departure the altitude to be maintained is changed to FL 240. Because altitude restrictions remain in effect, the controller issues an amended clearance as follows):

        “Amend altitude. Cross Ollis intersection at or above Three Thousand; cross Gordonsville V-O-R at or above One Two Thousand; maintain Flight Level Two Four Zero.”

        (Shortly after departure, altitude restrictions are no longer applicable, the controller issues an amended clearance as follows):

        “Climb and maintain Flight Level Two Four Zero.”

      • 2. (An aircraft is cleared to climb via a SID with published altitude restrictions. Shortly after departure the top altitude is changed to FL 230 and compliance with the altitude restrictions is still required, the controller issues an amended clearance as follows):

        “Climb via SID except maintain Flight Level Two Three Zero.”

      • NOTE:
      • 1. Restating previously issued altitude to “maintain” is an amended clearance. If altitude to “maintain” is changed or restated, whether prior to departure or while airborne and previously issued altitude restrictions are omitted, altitude restrictions are canceled, including SID/STAR altitude restrictions if any.
      • 2. Crossing altitudes and speed restrictions on Obstacle Departure Procedure/s (ODP/s) cannot be canceled or amended by ATC.
    3. Issue an amended clearance if a speed restriction is declined because it cannot be complied with concurrently with a previously issued altitude restriction.
      • EXAMPLE
      • (An aircraft is cleared to cross Gordonsville VOR at 11,000. Shortly thereafter he/she is cleared to reduce his/her airspeed to 300 knots. The pilot informs the controller he/she is unable to comply with both clearances simultaneously. The controller issues an amended clearance as follows):

        “Cross Gordonsville VOR at One One Thousand. Then, reduce speed to Three Zero Zero.”

      NOTE: The phrase “do the best you can” or comparable phrases are not valid substitutes for an amended clearance with altitude or speed restrictions.

    4. Air traffic control specialists should avoid route and/or altitude changes for aircraft participating in the North American Route Program (NRP) and that are displaying “NRP” in the remarks section of their flight plan. Specialists at facilities actively participating in the High Altitude Redesign (HAR) program should avoid route and/or altitude changes for aircraft participating in full HAR and high altitude Point-to-point (PTP), and that are displaying “HAR,” or “PTP” in the remarks section of their flight plan.

      NOTE: Air traffic control specialists retain the latitude necessary to tactically resolve conflicts. Every effort should be made to ensure the aircraft is returned to the original filed flight plan/altitude as soon as conditions warrant.

    4-2-6. THROUGH CLEARANCE

    You may clear an aircraft through intermediate stops.

    • PHRASEOLOGY
    • CLEARED THROUGH (airport) TO (fix).

    4-2-7. ALTRV CLEARANCE

    Use the phrase “via approved altitude reservation flight plan,” if the aircraft will operate in an approved ALTRV.

    • PHRASEOLOGY
    • VIA APPROVED ALTITUDE RESERVATION (mission name) FLIGHT PLAN.

    NOTE: An ALTRV normally includes the departure, climb, cruise, and arrival phases of flight up to and including holding pattern or point/time at which ATC provides separation between aircraft.

    4-2-8. IFR-VFR AND VFR-IFR FLIGHTS

    interpretation 25
    1. Clear an aircraft planning IFR operations for the initial part of flight and VFR for the latter part to the fix at which the IFR part ends.
    2. Treat an aircraft planning VFR for the initial part of flight and IFR for the latter part as a VFR departure. Issue a clearance to this aircraft when it requests IFR clearance approaching the fix where it proposes to start IFR operations. The phraseology CLEARED TO (destination) AIRPORT AS FILED may be used with abbreviated departure clearance procedures.
    3. When an aircraft changes from VFR to IFR, the controller must assign a beacon code to Mode-C equipped aircraft that will allow MSAW alarms.
    4. When VFR aircraft operating below the minimum altitude for IFR operations requests an IFR clearance and the pilot informs you, or you are aware, that they are unable to climb in VFR conditions to the minimum IFR altitude:
      1. Before issuing a clearance, ask if the pilot is able to maintain terrain and obstruction clearance during a climb to the minimum IFR altitude.
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • (Aircraft call sign), ARE YOU ABLE TO MAINTAIN YOUR OWN TERRAIN AND OBSTRUCTION CLEARANCE UNTIL REACHING (appropriate MVA/MIA/MEA/OROCA)

        NOTE: Pilots of pop-up aircraft are responsible for terrain and obstacle clearance until reaching minimum instrument altitude (MIA) or minimum en route altitude (MEA). Pilot compliance with an approved FAA procedure or an ATC instruction transfers that responsibility to the FAA; therefore, do not assign (or imply) specific course guidance that will (or could) be in effect below the MIA or MEA.

        • EXAMPLE
        • “November Eight Seven Six, are you able to provide your own terrain and obstruction clearance between your present altitude and six thousand feet?”
      2. If the pilot is able to maintain their own terrain and obstruction clearance, issue the appropriate IFR clearance as prescribed in Para 4-2-1, Clearance Items, and Para 4-5-6, Minimum En Route Altitudes.
      3. If the pilot states that they are unable to maintain terrain and obstruction clearance, instruct the pilot to maintain VFR and to state intentions.
      4. If appropriate, apply the provisions of Para 10-2-7, VFR Aircraft In Weather Difficulty, or Para 10-2-9, Radar Assistance Techniques, as necessary.

    4-2-9. CLEARANCE ITEMS

    The following guidelines must be utilized to facilitate the processing of airfile aircraft:

    1. Ensure the aircraft is within your area of jurisdiction unless otherwise coordinated.
    2. Obtain necessary information needed to provide IFR service.
    3. Issue clearance to destination, short range clearance, or an instruction to the pilot to contact an FSS if the flight plan cannot be processed. If clearance is to destination airport, the phraseology CLEARED TO (destination) AIRPORT must be used. If clearance is to a NAVAID, state the name of the NAVAID followed by the type of NAVAID, if the type is known. If clearance is to an intersection or waypoint and the type is known, the type must follow the intersection or waypoint name.

    NOTE: These procedures do not imply that the processing of airfiles has priority over another ATC duty to be performed.

    4-2-10. CANCELLATION OF IFR FLIGHT PLAN

    1. If necessary, before instructing an IFR aircraft arriving at an airport not served by an air traffic control tower or flight service station to change to the common traffic advisory frequency, provide the pilot with instructions on how to cancel his/her IFR flight plan.
      1. Airports with an air/ground communications station:
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • (Call sign) REPORT CANCELLATION OF IFR ON (frequency).
      2. Airports without an air/ground communications station:
        • PHRASEOLOGY
        • (Call sign) REPORT CANCELLATION OF IFR THIS FREQUENCY OR WITH FLIGHT SERVICE.
        • Or
        • (Call sign) REPORT CANCELLATION OF IFR THIS FREQUENCY OR WITH (FSS serving the area or the ATC controlling facility).
        • EXAMPLE
        • “N13WA report cancellation of IFR this frequency or with McAlester Radio.”
    2. Respond to a pilot’s cancellation of his/her IFR flight plan as follows:
      • PHRASEOLOGY
      • (Call sign) IFR CANCELLATION RECEIVED.
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