"The Clearance"

midlifeflyer

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I flew to Philadelphia the last week of November. This was from fairly early in the flight but I thought this 4-minute video would be interesting on its own. Kudos to the Washington Center controller for patience and taking the time to spell things out.

 
"Hang on ... I need another piece of paper ... I ran out! ;)
 
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Posts like this scare me away from pursuing an IFR rating.
Don't. First of all, most areas in the US don't have that level of complexity. Second, we have tools to deal with it - EFBs and human brains. Other than the length itself, there's nothing particularly difficult about the clearance and once you plug it in, it even makes sense.
But I think this is the real takeaway from my video: Listen to how relaxed both pilot and controller were. Experienced (assumption) jet pilot took down as much as he could on the first take and read it back. Didn't' pretend or try to fudge it. Controller's attitude was, essentially, "no problem; I know this was a bear to copy." It's not the end of the world or even a bump.
 
Not sure about others, but I do this. My 3 reroutes through New York...

View attachment 112888
LOL! Mine tend to look like that except I'm more horizontal than vertical for the route, and that I don't put CRAFT anywhere on the sheet. That's not part of my anti-mnemonic stance. CRAFT is actually useful as a learning tool and also for those who don't do it that often. But once you learn the sequence it teaches, I don't see the need for it.
 
Posts like this scare me away from pursuing an IFR rating.
Just depends on where you live. East coast? Happens all the time. Midwest? Almost never. Can't speak to the Pacific coast but the Mountain West I've never gotten a reroute either.
 
Don't. First of all, most areas in the US don't have that level of complexity. Second, we have tools to deal with it - EFBs and human brains. Other than the length itself, there's nothing particularly difficult about the clearance and once you plug it in, it even makes sense.
But I think this is the real takeaway from my video: Listen to how relaxed both pilot and controller were. Experienced (assumption) jet pilot took down as much as he could on the first take and read it back. Didn't' pretend or try to fudge it. Controller's attitude was, essentially, "no problem; I know this was a bear to copy." It's not the end of the world or even a bump.

Thank you for providing this context and advice. And for making the post. Very helpful and informative.
 
A couple of things that can make this easier on a long re-route.

If you miss a fix or airway, leave space and keep going. Once the controller finishes reading the re-route, ask him to repeat the part you missed, i.e. 'Say again the fix after [fix or airway]' or "Say again the routing between [fix1] and [fix2]". Once you have the complete route copied, then proceed with the full readback.

When reading back the route, it is not necessary for you to spell each fix phonetically or double-up with the fix name and spelling, i.e. "Spinner, Sierra, Papa, India". The controller has the route printed out/displayed in front of him, he isn't copying it down as you read it back. He can keep up with you on the readback. Since you've already verified anything that you were unsure of, read back the full wrote quickly, clearly, and efficiently.

Lastly, write it down. Don't try to program your RNAV as the controller is reading the routing. You'll get behind.
 
A couple of things that can make this easier on a long re-route.

If you miss a fix or airway, leave space and keep going. Once the controller finishes reading the re-route, ask him to repeat the part you missed, i.e. 'Say again the fix after [fix or airway]' or "Say again the routing between [fix1] and [fix2]". Once you have the complete route copied, then proceed with the full readback.

When reading back the route, it is not necessary for you to spell each fix phonetically or double-up with the fix name and spelling, i.e. "Spinner, Sierra, Papa, India". The controller has the route printed out/displayed in front of him, he isn't copying it down as you read it back. He can keep up with you on the readback. Since you've already verified anything that you were unsure of, read back the full wrote quickly, clearly, and efficiently.

Lastly, write it down. Don't try to program your RNAV as the controller is reading the routing. You'll get behind.
My impression was that he repeated the spelling to be sure he had it right. As it turns out, the controller corrected one of those.
 
My impression was that he repeated the spelling to be sure he had it right. As it turns out, the controller corrected one of those.
That was general advise, not specific to the video.

Still, he repeated the name of the fix then spelled the fix phonetically for each fix. My advise is to clarify any fixes you're unsure about before the full readback. If you do, there's no need to readback the name plus phonetic spelling for each fix.
 
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That was general advise, not specific to the video.

Still, he repeated the name of the fix then spelled the fix phonetically for each fix. My advise is to clarify any fixes you're unsure about before the full readback. If you do, there's no need to readback the name plus phonetic spelling for each fix.
Different strokes. And I think tiny ones. I'm not going to read back fixes I know, so maybe he was a little overboard. Then again, when he said "Victor 16" with a questioning lilt in his voice, my first thought was, "really? Must not head that way much." (V16 is basically the equivalent of an highly-used Interstate segment between RIC and JFK).

But I don't see any significant reason not to read back the letters/numbers of anything not familiar as a crosscheck during the readback by spelling out the unfamiliar as opposed to before it.
 
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In the north east this is the usual the more you fly in the system though the more you learn the routes that you are going to get. Have a friend that always file direct they gets frustrated with the “expect amendment”.
 
I'm not going to read back fixes I know, so maybe he was a little overboard.
My point is, don't struggle through a full readback if you have any uncertainties about it. Clarify the uncertainties first, then read back the full clearance efficiently after everything is clarified.
 
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I file either direct or the FF preferred route.

Then I go into Flight Aware after bit of time, and see what route that shows. If it is different, I "See In ForeFlight" then amend my flight plan for the new routing.

Then, most times I get cleared as filed. And push the FP from FF to my GTN, and away I go.
 
How the heck would you be expected to identify any of those fixes if the controller didn't spell them out? I feel like it's the phonetic version, rather than the spelling, that's redundant on the first read.
 
I spell the fixes if there is a PDR (preferred departure route) that the pilot didn't file for. If they filed for the fix, then I don't spell it out. However, I'm happy to spell all of them but if they're already familiar, it just wastes time. Clearance delivery is always a challenge to new controllers and every once in a while, I'll get one that throws me for a loop. Controllers hate the *FRC note as much a pilots.
 
How the heck would you be expected to identify any of those fixes if the controller didn't spell them out? I feel like it's the phonetic version, rather than the spelling, that's redundant on the first read.
There were actually two times it came up in the video. One was the PXT VOR. The pilot got the letters by called it the wrong name. That didn't need to be corrected because he said the letters correctly. The other was KEYED intersection where the pilot missed the second E. That needed the correction.
 
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Posts like this scare me away from pursuing an IFR rating.
Posts like that scare me away from flying. (And I am IFR rated). LOL

Flying from the ATL area I have three routes. 1 the one I file. 2 the one I get (which is usually the one I file) and 3 in the air after the first fix I ask to go direct and almost always get it.

But I have never gotten anything like that which was posted. Wow!
 
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Don't. First of all, most areas in the US don't have that level of complexity. Second, we have tools to deal with it - EFBs and human brains. Other than the length itself, there's nothing particularly difficult about the clearance and once you plug it in, it even makes sense.
But I think this is the real takeaway from my video: Listen to how relaxed both pilot and controller were. Experienced (assumption) jet pilot took down as much as he could on the first take and read it back. Didn't' pretend or try to fudge it. Controller's attitude was, essentially, "no problem; I know this was a bear to copy." It's not the end of the world or even a bump.

that was exactly my own impression. I'm not a pilot, but I imagine myself sweating bullets and feeling like an idiot for not being able to keep up. But those guys clearly realized this was complex, and needed to be right, and getting it right was more important than looking smart. I actually found that aspect of it encouraging.
 
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I knew this involve routing though NY. This happens to me when I fly through their airspace. My record is 4 reroutes (including before takeoff clearance) in about 20 minutes. Don't let them intimidate you, make them repeat it until you understand. My first experience going through there was with a jerk, but honestly, they have been pretty ok since, just stay calm and get what you need.
 
that was exactly my own impression. I'm not a pilot, but I imagine myself sweating bullets and feeling like an idiot for not being able to keep up. But those guys clearly realized this was complex, and needed to be right, and getting it right was more important than looking smart. I actually found that aspect of it encouraging.
I'm glad. If you want, you can watch me screw up a simple taxi clearance once I got to Philadelphia.

 
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Tedious. I have a work trip to PHL this month and was debating flying myself or not. Might just burn up some credit with United instead if it's gonna be like that :D

Unless you slowed down the audio, though, that seemed manageable. Not sure it needed the 2 whole minutes of airtime unless he flubbed it first time and got the hooked-on-phonics clearance as punishment :D
 
Tedious. I have a work trip to PHL this month and was debating flying myself or not. Might just burn up some credit with United instead if it's gonna be like that :D

Unless you slowed down the audio, though, that seemed manageable. Not sure it needed the 2 whole minutes of airtime unless he flubbed it first time and got the hooked-on-phonics clearance as punishment :D
You missed it. That was a reroute to someone and somewhere else. I was cleared and flew into PHL as filed with no reroute. Easy peasy.
 
Coming from the west, PHL area shouldn't be too bad. The funky routes tend to be going north/south where direct is over the NYC area.
 
ROA is always good for a laugh. Despite the lower MEAs they always clear me on the airway higher at one point (supposedly for radar coverage, but I'm really only going to be out of coverage for 10 minutes or so and I am on the airway). Then shortly thereafter this happens:

ROA: Navion 27K, we have a new route for you. Advise when ready to copy.
27K: 27K Ready
ROA: Navion 27K you're cleared to Culpeper via direct. Maintain 5000
27K: I had to write that down?

I still remember my first IFR XC (with the instructor along). I plan a route to the nearest VOR and then airways to our destination. Instructor thinks it's reasonable (he's not from the area). File it. Call for clearance. Get a completely different route back. Still, no problem. Takeoff, contact departure:

27K: Potomac Approach, Navion 5327K, 1500 climbing 4000.
PCT: Navion 27K Radar Contact. I have a new route for you, advise when ready to copy.
27K: Ready to copy.
PCT: <reads route>
27K: Hey! That's what I filed.
 
This seems like the test sometimes before they let u go up in the north east air. Single pilot the northeast is tough. Worst rerouting ever was after a controller told me he was hooking me up with a better route than filed to TEB. Next controller did not like it at all.
 
This seems like the test sometimes before they let u go up in the north east air. Single pilot the northeast is tough. Worst rerouting ever was after a controller told me he was hooking me up with a better route than filed to TEB. Next controller did not like it at all.
I've flown between North Carolina and Long Island a few times in addition to this Philadelphia flight. My only reroute was when I decided to file something different from the published preferred TEC route. It was accepted by the computer but CD changed it. No big deal. I was on the ground and I knew what to expect as soon as they said they had an amendment.

I'm still wish I knew what they filed. I have a feeling they filed Direct. Once they got to the Jet routes, I couldn't follow the clearance that well, but a lot of it sounded "normal" for the direction of flight. Turns out the bulk of it, SIE J121 BRIGS Q439 SARDI V139 RICED KEYED OXC is the published Preferred Route from the DC area to the destination.
 
Interesting tower enroute control. I have always just filed what foreflight recommended adjusting altitudes for winds/ice weather notams and tfrs etc all the things. Looked this up for my area and thanks for the tip

https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media...ht-training-magazine/instrument-tip-tec-route
They are used a bit differently, but I think we only have TEC routes in the northeast, SOCAL and NOCAL. These are areas where TRACONs abut all the way, and in the case of California, where one TRACON covers the whole area.

In addition to the Terminal Procedures Publication they can be searched at https://www.fly.faa.gov/rmt/nfdc_preferred_routes_database.jsp

Tip which applies to TEC and recently cleared routes in FF and other sources. If there is none for your route, try a larger airport along the route.
 
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So, I am flying KBDL to 0W3 (home) on Monday. File with Fore Flight. About an hour before scheduled departure, get the expected re-route. So, amend the plan with the new route.

Call clearance, get a new routing, that is not that different. Call ground, get told to call clearance. Asked why, a re-route. OK, clearance tells me they gave me a turbine routing, so needed to figure out a new one. After about 10 minutes, they come back and say, just fly what we gave you. OOOOKKKKAAAAAYYYYYY.

Then we pass LVZ and the controller gives me Direct LRP, Direct TRISH. Hmm, we are on V93 that is direct to LRP already. And LRP Direct TRISH is the same as LRP V499 TRISH that we already have.

NO idea why they gave us TRISH, which SW of 0W3. Then the try to re-route after LRP to direct BAL, which WAY out of the way, in the Class B and the SFRA. I mention this, and they give me direct to KITHE, which actually made some sense.

Oh, and meantime, we are 10 north of LRP still at 14,000. So about 43 NM straight line to destination at 165 KTAS and 12600 feet to lose. Good thing I have speed brakes. :D
 
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