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2 Answers

How to know if you’ll be in radar contact when filling IFR direct

Asked by: 864 views Airspace, FAA Regulations, Instrument Rating

How would I know if you'd be in radar contact all the way to my destination? I assume most places would have radar coverage (except the mountainous regions). Would I just file direct and hope that there is radar all the way? Would ATC advise me at all if there is a lack of radar coverage or will they route me in a way to ensure constant radar coverage and thus make a direct route semi-direct?

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2 Answers



  1. John D Collins on Jun 10, 2016

    Radar is not required by direct routes when navigating to or from a Nav facility and inside the service volume of that facility. RNAV direct using GPS is also permitted without requiring radar coverage. Here are the instructions provided to controllers:

    c. Random routes.
    1. When not being radar monitored, GNSS-equipped RNAV aircraft on random RNAV routes must be cleared via or reported to be established on a point-to-point route.
    (a) The points must be published NAVAIDs, waypoints, fixes or airports recallable from the aircraft’s navigation database. The points must be displayed on controller video maps or depicted on the controller chart displayed at the control position. When applying nonradar separation the maximum distance between points must not exceed 500 miles.
    (b) Protect 4 miles either side of the route centerline.
    (c) Assigned altitudes must be at or above the highest MIA along the projected route segment being flown, including the protected airspace of that route segment.

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  2. Mark Kolber on Jun 14, 2016

    If along the route there is a loss of radar coverage, ATC will advise, “radar contact lost”.

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