In VFR flights from class C, I sometimes get resume own navigation, altitude your discretion after departure and sometimes just resume own navigation.

Does resume own navigation alone mean altitude your direction as well?


Let's assume scenario below for KSNA and to be more specific:

Pilot to Clearance Delivery: 529J with request

Clearance Delivery: 529J go ahead

Pilot to Clearance Delivery: 529J is Cessna 172/u west side parking, requesting El Toro departure to Chino with information Bravo

Clearance Delivery to Pilot: After Departure turn left heading 080, Maintain VFR at or below 2400, SoCal on 124.1, SQUAWK 0210

Pilot: reads back …

Pilot starts taxi then take off with proper radio communication with ground and tower. After departure Tower hands pilot over to SoCal.

Pilot to SoCal (initial call): SoCal 529J departed John Wayne, 1100 climbing, requesting 3000 to Chino

SoCal to pilot: 529J resume own navigation

Here is the confusion, sometime SoCal comes back with only resume own navigation. Does this mean pilot can climb to 3000 or altitude restriction for 2400 still valid?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ When you receive only the resume own navigation instruction, is that ever following an altitude instruction that would need to be cancelled? Altitude is always your discretion in VFR flight in class C unless otherwise instructed. $\endgroup$
    – J W
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 2:43
  • $\begingroup$ KSNA departure has altitude/heading restriction on departure. After departure Tower hands you over to SoCal Approach. SoCal issues the 'resume own navigation' sometimes follows by 'altitude your discretion' and sometime doesn't. $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 21:39

2 Answers 2


resome own navigation means any navigation instructions are no longer in effect and you may fly as you wish.

If an altitude restriction has been given, you must maintain that restriction until you hear "altitude your discretion."

If no altitude restriction had been given then you may of course change your altitude.

  • $\begingroup$ I added a scenario to my question. $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Mar 3, 2016 at 22:05

At this time, the definition of "resume own navigation" is very varied from group to group. ATC Controllers say that if there is an altitude restriction, they have to clear it. So safest thing to do is to ask for clarification if you had an altitude restriction/not told "altitude your discretion" that would continue into the "resume own navigation" exactly what you are doing now.


  • $\begingroup$ That's what I always do but I wanted to know if I am doing the right thing $\endgroup$
    – pmoubed
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @PMoubed Then you are doing the right thing then, under the current system. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 1:23
  • $\begingroup$ @PMoubed Also, you should put that into your question that you do do this. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 1:47

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