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Is there an instrument departure procedure or minimum performance gradient in the absence of a published standard instrument departure (SID)?

Departing under instrument flight rules (IFR) in the United States airports sometimes have a SID procedure or alternate take-off minimums which must be observed in order to provide terrain and obstacle clearance.

If there is no SID or alternate take-off minimum published, is there a standard departure procedure to be used in the absence of other procedures? Is there a climb performance gradient which is assumed that provides clearance under such a departure?

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Yes, the required obstacle clearance is based on this minimum performance:

  • Cross the departure end of the runway (DER) at at least 35ft AGL (that's above the DER, not above the airport reference elevation)
  • Climb to 400ft above the DER before turning
  • Maintain a climb of at least 200ft per nautical mile (FPNM) until reaching minimum IFR altitude

The minimum IFR altitude is 1000ft above obstacles, or 2000ft in mountainous areas.

This is explained in detail in Chapter 1 of the FAA Instrument Procedures Handbook (starting on page 1-14). The FAA carries out an assessment to see if the airport needs a specific procedure (ODP or SID) and if it doesn't then the standard clearance performance above applies:

If an aircraft may turn in any direction from a runway within the limits of the assessment area and remain clear of obstacles that runway passes what is called a diverse departure assessment, and no ODP is published.

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