Atc question: pickup clearance in air or call.

Discussion in 'Cleared for the Approach' started by Piper18O, Oct 12, 2019.

  1. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    I commonly depart IFR from a non-towered airport. I can reach approach control or Center easily shortly after takeoff. My question is does ATC prefer I call them on the ground for the clearance by phone or do they prefer that i pick up my IFR clearance Airborne. Also, if it's a severe clear VFR day or does it really matter to them? Obviously if it's IFR at the airport you would always call. How severe does the weather conditions play into their preferences? There is no remote radio communication available at the airport.
     
  2. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    It really doesn't matter.
    At my airport, I can't reach them on the ground, so I have to either get a void time from the FSS or remain VFR off the ground. I can reach them about 700 AGL.
    It's really a question about what you are comfortable with. If you take off into marginal VFR conditions, it is your responsibility to remain VFR. All this while trying to write a clearance.
    A short answer to your question is this, what are you most comfortable with?

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  3. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    If it is ifr I always call. If I have a good bit of distance along the Route with plenty of cloud clearance for VFR I would prefer to take off and pick up my clearance in the air. That usually saves me 10 or 15 minutes. I don't have a problem writing a clearance in the air, most of the time it is as filed. Once I called approach after takeoff and identified my N number and he immediately came back to me without any prompting and said, "are you looking for your IFR to Sugarland?" That was pretty cool. My question really centers around is it a pain for a atc to give me a clearance in the air and would they prefer me to call on the ground.
     
  4. mwagg737

    mwagg737 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Gotcha...

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  5. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Doesn’t matter at all. As long as you can maintain VFR until ATC issues you an IFR clearance, than you’re fine and dandy.
     
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  6. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Depends on where you’re located. If I tried to pick up my clearance in the air in Long Island, I’d get laughed at. At a non towered airport surrounded by nothing, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.
     
  7. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    I've chatted with many controllers on this. Provided you're not in incredibly busy airspace where airtime for a clearance is an issue, it doesn't really matter to them. I personally find it easier to pick it up airborne. One thing that I do from my airport (because I can't take off without a squawk code) is get my clearance by telephone on the ground but advise the controller that I intend to depart VFR and pick up the clearance in the air. That way I can get the route before departure but not get hung up with clearance void times (we're right below the approach path to DCA so it's an issue) and waiting for a release.
     
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  8. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    As long as you pick it up before you hit the clouds, alls good.

    I prefer to pick it up in the air as its usually faster block time.
     
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  9. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    I would not have thought of that method. Does that give you a vfr clearance into Bravo, for example and then the rest of your route? At what point does it transition into an ifr clearance, and do they change routing on you? Do they tell you to maintain vfr until...a fix, or further instruction?
     
  10. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    Regardless, I guess it isn't quite as big of a deal calling it in as it used to be. If I am near Wichita, I will usually get the clearance in the air if weather allows. I just don't have the confidence that it will go as smoothly near Dallas, Houston, or KC. (the areas I fly out of the most) I still remember the days when you called on a landline in the fbo, then went out started up the plane, taxied to the runway and did a run-up, all before you took off. At least now we can have a Bluetooth connection to our cell phone through the headset and can be sitting at the end of the runway ready for take off. I remember the old days and trying to "hurry without hurrying" to make your void time, and wishing I would have told them a different takeoff time.
     
  11. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    There are places where something like that has become a formalized procedure and given a name. You find them in the Chart Supplement. In the Southwest US there are two. The Cozy One VFR Departure at Aspen, KASE and the Soledad Departure at Montgomery, KMYF. There are others. They are found in Special Notices in SECTION 3: NOTICES. The two above are on pages 435 and 436. What you do is get your Clearance like usual. Then, when you’re ready to depart you request and get the ‘special’ procedure which says Maintain VFR. Like the two above in the Southwest US, your IFR Clearance becomes ‘active’ when they give you a hard altitude assignment. Last time I looked at all the Supplements there were about 10 or so around the Country.
     
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  12. Brad Z

    Brad Z En-Route

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    It's not a bravo clearance, but I'm located inside the Washington DC FRZ so I need a squawk code before taking off. I can usually get one if I need it, but usually they'll give me my IFR clearance once I'm radar identified and out of the way of conflicting IFR traffic. I'll know I'm IFR when they say "cleared to..." in the air.
     
  13. flyingron

    flyingron Ejection Handle Pulled

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    For a while, my airport was in ZTL controlled airspace. I don't know where the remote for the local sector is but I can easily raise it on the ground. When the rejiggered the CLT class B, we're now in CLT's airspace. I can't reach them on the ground. I tried (and ZTL was willing) to get ZTL to relay me a clearance but no go. Trying to phone them doesn't work much better. I usually just put SVH as my departure point and call ZTL as soon as I'm clear of the ground. I'm usually in their airspace by the time they answer.
     
  14. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

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    The exception to this is if you have an EDCT / call for release programs are in effect. Then you really need to get it on the ground. Not a problem generally for light Ga pilots unless you’re going into bigger airports or jet routes...


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  15. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Yep, a number of places will do the same thing (or something similar). You can get the clearance and depart VFR - and then get the release in the air.

    Last place I got that was near Memphis where approach had someone inbound and asked if I'd rather wait for a release or whether I'd prefer to get the clearance, depart VFR, and get the release once clear of the sanitized airspace for the arrival.
     
  16. Captain

    Captain Final Approach

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    I’ve done it many times, but I don’t like it. In a P-180 I want to get into the flight levels relatively quickly and not get stuck at 17,500 waiting for ATC to have enough time / space to work me in. Launching VFR I’m just going on blind faith it’ll work out. With that said, it’s always worked out. Worse case I’ve flown 50 or 60 miles to get somewhere that’ll get me into the system.
     
  17. N1120A

    N1120A Line Up and Wait

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    One thing to consider is that USUALLY non towered airports are in less crowded IFR airspace, and more commonly have pilots departing VFR and picking up their clearance in the air, so the controlling facility is more prepared to handle airborne clearances. 99% of my flights are to towered airports, and 99% of those flights depart when tower is open (I'll arrive after hours more often), so I don't usually have to worry about airborne clearances. Still, if the field and surrounding area allows me to remain comfortably VFR, considering both safety and airspace, then I'll just get a pick up in the air.
     
  18. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Many fields around here have remote comm frequencies that hook you up with ATC. Those work great, if you are ready you can generally get your clearance, and be off the ground quickly. I also read somewhere that the FAA is trying to publish phone numbers to ATC controllers in as many airports as possible at airports that don't have remote radio capability. I like getting it done on the ground if I can, but YMMV.
     
  19. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    This was implemented last spring, Those numbers are in the AFD, or U.S. Chart Supplements book as it is called now.
     
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  20. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    My understanding is it is a work in progress with more and more being added, but maybe not. Either way, it's a good way to do it.
     
  21. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    I prefer picking up my Clearance on the ground. Saves me the dreaded in air “we have an amendment to your clearance...”
    With a 430w it can take a bit of time to get box programmed and amendments can suck. Especially if they give you victor routes- then have to bust out the foreflight or maps to look up waypoints to program for the airway. Easy way to get task saturated my CFI during training would watch me plan routes I’d never get and pick up in air to watch me flail when they amended me to see how’d I handle it and show how easy you can get behind
     
  22. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    If it's not busy airspace and you can maintain VFR while your clearance is retrieved, air-pickup is easy and gets you going sooner. It helps if you fly toward your first expected IFR fix, even if that is not along your direct route. If the weather interferes with maintaining safe VFR, then get a void time on the ground so you don't get stuck scud running or inadvertent VFR into IMC.
     
  23. Piper18O

    Piper18O Pre-Flight

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    Yea, I got that. If it is VFR and you have auto pilot, it isn't so bad. If you don't have auto pilot, you are in unfamiliar busy Florida airspace you have never been in before, the new clearance is totally foreign to you, you only have a vfr gps, along with a single vor radio with glideslope, and your new clearance has multiple intersections you will have to identify, you have no moving map or tablet for assistance in identifying those intersections, you have to pull out the paper charts and try to find everything, and the sun is about to set and the only one with you is your wife who refuses to touch the yoke and has no knowledge of flying, than it can be a real pain, especially when one wing has a lot more fuel in it and you can't take your hand off of the yoke for more than a couple of seconds.
    I realize that is being awfully specific, but that nearly exact circumstance happened to me. I remember feeling so all alone. By the time I got it all figured out it was almost dark. It wasn't the way I wanted to end my third leg on a day trip of flying more than a thousand miles in a Piper Cherokee.
     
  24. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Cleared for Takeoff

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  25. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Interesting. Only two posts which even attempt to answer the question, and none from a controller.
     
  26. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    I hear ya, but the only urgent thing you have to do with the GPS box on a reroute, after copying the amended clearance, is put in the next fix or activate the next fix or leg. There should normally be plenty of time to add or delete additional fixes on your amended route once squared away and navigating to the immediate fix. Pencil and paper and an incremental approach to nav config will keep a single pilot from getting too saturated.
     
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  27. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm in flyover country, and only pick up my clearance on the ground if uncontrolled field and if I can't maintain VFR prior to getting my clearance. (ceilings below 015) Have yet to get an amended. Only time I get amended clearance is when leaving the northeast or Chicago.
     
  28. DGlaeser

    DGlaeser Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In the Detroit area, a letter was sent to uncontrolled airports asking that IFR clearances be picked up by phone on the ground and not in the air to avoid cluttering the frequency.
    In the air, they will not issue an in-air clearance below their lowest vectoring altitude, so trying to scud run VFR while picking up a clearance is not allowed.
    Getting your clearance by phone is a whole lot easier and safer - and they are providing the phone numbers on the clearance delivery section of ForeFlight (and probably all other EFB’s)
     
  29. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    This is why I was thinking that controllers prefer it on the ground instead of in the air.
     
  30. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was in that area a few months ago. The memo was posted and it was easy peasy. The only strange part (not relevant to this discussion) was the part of the clearance telling me to fly the ODP. It was strange because the only ODP was to a different runway.
     
  31. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Airport??
     
  32. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Grosse Ile.
     
  33. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    I guess you wanted to depart 17 or 22. What did you do?
     
  34. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If i were taking off into the clouds, I would have called back for clarification. But since it was visual conditions and was inapplicable to both the runway and my direction of travel, I played the odds and chalked it up to an error by the controller.

    For those curious but not looking, the ODP is for runways 4 and 35. Basically fly runway heading to a certain altitude before turning west. It's to avoid some tall towers northwest of the airport. My takeoff was to the south and continuing in that direction.
     
  35. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    You can always call your local friendly ATC and see what they prefer, or if they don't care. Syracuse is pretty laid back. The one advantage of air pickup from an uncontrolled field if you can maintain VFR is that ATC doesn't have to block off airspace during your void time. And of course you get on your way faster.
     
  36. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    I’m with ya

    plenty of controlifers here.

    My uniformed opinion is. If you can launch VFR and have time built in to get in the system that is the way to go

    similar. I like Flight Following established on the ground. But in air is good too
     
  37. ahypnoz

    ahypnoz Pre-takeoff checklist

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    At a pilot controlled airport, called clearance delivery on the ground for my IFR clearance, I was told to report when I was number one. Called right back, but had to wait 8-10 minuets to be released. Had created a VFR log jam. 4 planes were behind me in line while I waited for my release. Felt really bad that everyone had to wait for me. Thought I probably should’ve picked up my IFR clearance in the air. It was severe clear VFR.

    What should I have done?
     
  38. BrianNC

    BrianNC Pattern Altitude

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    Severe clear as a courtesy to everyone else I would have just picked it up in the air.
     
  39. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I’ve issued a bunch of clearances off non-towered fields on the ground and the air. The air pickups were easier for the simple fact it’s the quickest way to get an IFR aircraft into the system. Get radar, confirm their route doesn’t conflict with other IFRs, issue the clearance. The ground clearance takes longer to issue and you have to sterilize the field from other IFRs until they depart.

    Having said that, I really didn’t care either way. When it’s not busy, either method works fine. When it’s busy, either method puts an additional aircraft into an already crowded airspace.
     
  40. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    What airport? What runway? What airplane? What was the weather?