Section 6. Vertical Separation

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  • Section 6. Vertical Separation

    6-6-1. APPLICATION

    Assign an altitude to an aircraft after the aircraft previously at that altitude has reported leaving the altitude.

    • PHRASEOLOGY
    • REPORT LEAVING/REACHING (altitude/flight level).
    • REPORT LEAVING ODD/EVEN ALTITUDES/FLIGHT LEVELS.
    • (If aircraft is known to be operating below the lowest useable flight level),
    • SAY ALTITUDE.
    • or
    • (If aircraft is known to be operating at or above the lowest useable flight level),
    • SAY FLIGHT LEVEL.
    • or
    • If aircraft’s position relative to the lowest useable flight level is unknown),
    • SAY ALTITUDE OR FLIGHT LEVEL.

    NOTE: Consider known aircraft performance characteristics, pilot furnished and/or Mode C detected information which indicate that climb/descent will not be consistent with the rates recommended in the AIM.

    6-6-2. EXCEPTIONS

    Assign an altitude to an aircraft only after the aircraft previously at that altitude has reported at or passing through another altitude separated from the first by the appropriate minimum when:

    1. Severe turbulence is reported.
    2. Aircraft are conducting military aerial refueling.
    3. The aircraft previously at the altitude has been:
      1. Issued a clearance permitting climb/descent at pilot’s discretion.
      2. Cleared to CRUISE (altitude). However, do not use Mode C to effect separation with an aircraft on a cruise clearance.

        NOTE: An aircraft assigned a cruise clearance is assigned a block of airspace from the minimum IFR altitude up to and including the assigned cruising altitude, and climb/descent within the block is at pilot’s discretion. When the pilot verbally reports leaving an altitude in descent, he/she may not return to that altitude.

    6-6-3. SEPARATION BY PILOTS

    When pilots of aircraft in direct radio communication with each other during climb and descent concur, you may authorize the lower aircraft, if climbing, or the upper aircraft, if descending, to maintain vertical separation.

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