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4 Answers

What does it mean when the ground says “expect flight level XXX”?

Asked by: 3436 views Student Pilot

Something I heard while listening to LiveATC

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4 Answers



  1. Brendan Dowd on Apr 24, 2012

    it means to expect to climb to any altitude starting at 18,000 all the way up to 60,000. Any of the altitudes in those areas are Flight level 230 for 23,000 feet etc. All of those are also established on the standard pressure altitude setting of 29.92″.
     

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  2. Micah on Apr 24, 2012

    This is either informational or is part of the clearance. If it’s informational, it suggests that the flight level is not the same as what was filed or that for some reason the final clearance was uncertain. If it was presented as “climb, maintain one-zero-thousand, expect flight level two-three-zero in one-zero minutes” then this is part of the clearance. An IFR clearance will provide the current clearance (which includes heading, route, altitude and frequency) and also the next expected clearance to provide for direction and organization in the case of a loss of communication. If the pilot(s) had lost communication with ATC, they know to maintain the current altitude (10,000 ft in the example) until the “expect” time (10 minutes in this case) had expired, at which time the pilot would climb to the next cleared altitude (all the while trying to re-establish communication with ATC). 

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  3. Matthew Waugh on Apr 24, 2012

    It’s part of the basic IFR lost communication strategy. Selection of an altitude in the event of lost communication is based on a number of factors but “the flight level you were told to expect” is one of them.
    It’s useful for jets – because stooging around at 10,000 feet burns Jet A like it come out of the ground, whereas in the flight levels fuel flows drop to more manageable levels.

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  4. Brian on Apr 27, 2012

    “because stooging around”

    Is this official phraseology?

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