Approach plates include frequencies in the order that pilots will require them, reading from left to right.

The example below from McClellan-Palomar’s ILS or localizer/DME approach to runway 24 is a fair representative. On the far right hand side just above the overhead view is the clearance delivery frequency of 134.85.

Talking to clearance delivery prior to departure is common, but when would a pilot talk to clearance delivery on arrival? What is the purpose of including this frequency on the approach plate?


  • $\begingroup$ Related question (but no answer) $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 21 '16 at 9:46

The FAA Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide: Terminal Procedure Publications in section “Bottom Briefing Strip (Communications Information),” page 15 in the revision effective 29 March 2018, explains:

The communications briefing strip contains communication information when available, in separate boxes, listed from left to right in the order that they would be used during arrival …

  • Clearance Delivery (CLNC DEL) frequencies; where a Control Tower does not exist or is part-time, a remoted CLNC DEL may be listed …

Relevant to the briefing strip in the question, this section adds

Note: Part-time operations will be annotated with a star. Check Chart Supplement for times of operation.

According to the Chart Supplement for McClellan-Palomar, the tower is indeed part time.

AIRPORT REMARKS: Attended 1500–0600Z‡ …

    TOWER 118.6 (1500–0600Z‡)

Other use cases when having the clearance delivery on the approach plate is convenient are obtaining a new clearance during a brief stop and closing an IFR flight plan through clearance delivery, either local or remote, when the tower is closed.

  • $\begingroup$ This answer seems like it would make sense, but fails in practice: The combined tower/TRACON where I work is open part-time. When my facility is closed, Center takes over our main Approach frequency, and using that frequency they have communications to-the-ground at the primary airport. They do not monitor the Clearance Delivery frequency that we use during the day. But that frequency is still listed on the approach plates. ("It's so you can get a new clearance when doing a full-stop taxi-back" would still make sense though... if the ground controller is okay with you switching...) $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Oct 25 at 21:19

An airman can close an IFR flight plan at airports without continuously operating towers using the clearance delivery frequency.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I don't think the first reason makes any sense. Requesting clearance for next flight on approach would violate sterile cockpit rules, would accept clearance before the crew reviewed the flight plan, and quick turn still means 40 minutes for a short-range, maybe 30 for regional, so well enough time to get the departure (filing is done by dispatch). $\endgroup$
    – Jan Hudec
    Aug 9 '19 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ Jan, correct, and thanks for the clarification. I've edited my answer. $\endgroup$ Feb 10 '20 at 21:36
  • $\begingroup$ @Jan Hudec, I guess it depends on your company's definition of sterile cockpit, but communicating with ATC regarding your flight clearance would not meet most definitions I am familiar with. The intent is to reduce or eliminate non-flight related conversation between pilots during critical phases of flight. $\endgroup$ Feb 10 '20 at 21:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I think Greg Bacon’s answer is most correct. Closing your flight plan with Clearance Delivery when the tower is closed would help keep the Approach frequency from getting congested. Although, I can see a small, single-pilot certified aircraft utilizing their second pilot to receive further clearance for their next leg by isolating Com 1 & 2. Or, maybe to change their plans while in the hold after a missed approach. Could this be done when Approach is too bogged down and FSS is unavailable or the frequency unknown? $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Feb 10 '20 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ This is not universally true. Where I work, an airman can close an IFR flight plan when my facility is closed by using the Approach frequency. And yet, the daytime-use Clearance Delivery frequency appears on the approach plates. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Oct 25 at 21:20

If the aircraft is making a multi-hopped journey, then they will need a new clearance after they land.

In that case they may begin talking to clearance delivery before they land or while they are taxiing.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ They could look as well at the next SID or AP map they will need anyway? $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Mar 21 '16 at 19:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Granted, I don't have even a PPL so I'm no expert, but I'd hope my pilots are focused on this landing, not the next take off! Turn around times at the gate are never that short (at normal, US airports, anyway). $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Mar 21 '16 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ If you're departing at minimums, you may need to come around for a landing, so its probably a good idea to have handy the approach plate of the departure airport. NB: I don't know anyone who does this. $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Mar 21 '16 at 20:05
  • $\begingroup$ @FreeMan You are assuming all aircraft are commercial carriers. Also, the idea that both pilots need to be "focused on landing" is not really correct. One of the main points of having a co-pilot is so that you can multitask. In general, the captain does the flying and the first officer does the planning, so it would not be unusual for the first officer to be working on the next leg of the journey while the aircraft is approaching. Also, after you land you sometimes you taxi around a lot and the next clearance will be needed so you may as well start working on it. $\endgroup$ Mar 21 '16 at 20:20
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @rbp: don't know anyone who departs at minimums, or don't know anyone who has the approach to their departure airport handy? :) $\endgroup$
    – egid
    Mar 21 '16 at 20:49

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