Welcome Guest. Sign in or Signup

3 Answers

IFR Departure Heading from Towered Airport

Asked by: 2968 views , , , ,
Instrument Rating

When departing IFR from a towered airport and assigned a heading to fly on departure, am I still responsible for obstacle clearance, or is the tower now responsible? Does it make any difference if my clearance starts with "Cleared via radar vectors..."? From other answers on this site, its clear that the pilot retains all responsibility at a non-towered field, but with diverse vectoring areas and various levels of tower radar service, how do you know when ATC is looking out for you and when they're not?

Ace Any FAA Written Test!
Actual FAA Questions / Free Lifetime Updates
The best explanations in the business
Fast, efficient study.
Pass Your Checkride With Confidence!
FAA Practical Test prep that reflects actual checkrides.
Any checkride: Airplane, Helicopter, Glider, etc.
Written and maintained by actual pilot examiners and master CFIs.
The World's Most Trusted eLogbook
Be Organized, Current, Professional, and Safe.
Highly customizable - for student pilots through pros.
Free Transition Service for users of other eLogs.
Our sincere thanks to pilots such as yourself who support AskACFI while helping themselves by using the awesome PC, Mac, iPhone/iPad, and Android aviation apps of our sponsors.

3 Answers

  1. Wes Beard on Apr 04, 2014

    If you are being provided radar vectors ATC is responsible for you obstacle clearance. Please read AIM 5-2-8. As always, if the clearance received would place you in the side of the mountain it would be wise to do whatever it takes not to become part of the mountain.

    +1 Votes Thumb up 1 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  2. Koehn on Apr 04, 2014

    You are always responsible for obstacle clearance. ATC is supposed to vector you away from obstacles, but the consequences of of ATC failing to do so are more severe for you than for them.

    +1 Votes Thumb up 1 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

  3. John D Collins on Apr 05, 2014

    A heading assigned by the tower on departure is not a vector. You are not on a vector until ATC identifies you with radar contact and gives you a heading to fly. Just radar contact is not a vector. When you are on a vector, ATC is required to provide for terrain and obstacle clearance. Regardless, it is always your responsibility to avoid terrain and obstruction clearance.

    +1 Votes Thumb up 1 Votes Thumb down 0 Votes

The following terms have been auto-detected the question above and any answers or discussion provided. Click on a term to see its definition from the Dauntless Aviation JargonBuster Glossary.

Answer Question

Our sincere thanks to all who contribute constructively to this forum in answering flight training questions. If you are a flight instructor or represent a flight school / FBO offering flight instruction, you are welcome to include links to your site and related contact information as it pertains to offering local flight instruction in a specific geographic area. Additionally, direct links to FAA and related official government sources of information are welcome. However we thank you for your understanding that links to other sites or text that may be construed as explicit or implicit advertising of other business, sites, or goods/services are not permitted even if such links nominally are relevant to the question asked.