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4 Answers

Instrument Procedures – Clearance

Asked by: 1927 views Instrument Rating


Near my home town airport (KAUS) there is a VOR nearby (CWK)...it is always used in insturment clearances coming into and out of KAUS.  It is about 10 miles from the airport.   Even though it is part of the clearance, I observe that they RARELY go to in their actual procedures.  Outgoing, it looks like they are directed to their next point in their clearance.  Incoming, it seems they are  directed to the ILS localizer before they go to the VOR.

Is this common and why even have it as part of the clearance if it is rarely used in any departure or arrival?  I am just trying to understand.


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4 Answers

  1. Ron Klutts on Mar 27, 2013

    It’s there for lost communication situations and the ATC computers need a fix to get you on the airway. The computer can’t assign a vector, it needs a fixed point in space for you to enter the airway. Controllers know we always ask for direct or a shortcut and are in the habit of speeding us on our way if possible.

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  2. Wes Beard on Mar 27, 2013

    Great question Jeff,

    I struggled with a separate question though same answer and came to realize that the clearance pilots receive on the ground is what they are supposed to do if they lose radio contact with ATC.

    Inferring from your question ATC has radar services at your airport and ATC directs them on course. They can do that since ATC knows where they are. If radio contact was lost, the pilot would be required to fly to the VOR and provide position reports as needed.

    By the way my question dealt with altitude. Clearance is climb and maintain 5000 expect FL430 10 minutes after departure. Same answer as above.

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  3. Lucas on Mar 29, 2013

    Keep in mind that the majority of regulations have been designed with the intent to keep everyone safe and in the case of IFR regs the main goal is to keep pilots safe in the case of radio failure.

    Yes. Most clearances are pretty much void as soon as you take off. What I mean by that is that controllers will assign you a new segment route nearly every time you contact a new one, and the new clearance voids the old one. What if you are unable to contact the new controller (radio communication failure for example).Thats when you follow these acronyms:

    Fore the route (AVE F)

    you shall follow the route in this order

    If you were A – ssigned one then thats the one you shall follow

    If you had a V – ector then you will follow the vector until reaching the place you were being vectored to, and then continued on the assigned, or

    you will follow the E – xpected one: fly 350 vector to sparta VOR then expect V3 to KIZER intersection (you will fly direct to sparta then follow Victor 3 to KIZER and then go back to AVE F).

    and in none of the above where given, which is extremely rare, (you lost radios just after take off and was unable to get a clearance) you will fly as F – iled.

    Now keep in mind that many airplanes are only equipped with VORs and ADFs so for you to fly to an intersection or to a point on a route is nearly impossible and thats why they assign a VOR or an intersection to which navigation is easy to, both for departure and for arrival.

    Now for the altitude you shall immediately climb to the highest between the acronym MEA

    Minimum Enroute Altitude,
    Expected or

    So lets say you filed 6,000 and the clearance said to climb to 8,000 and expect 10,000 10 minutes after departure, then you would immediately climb to 10,000, if and when you had radio failure (and don’t forget to squawk 7600).

    Also if at any time during your flight you exit IFR conditions and are able to make a safe VFR landing at an airport you shall do so.

    I hope this helps you understand the intricacies of IFR clearances and regulations.

    Cheers Lucas

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  4. Mark Kolber on Mar 29, 2013

    Lucas, I don’t follow acronyms 🙂

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