29 votes
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When is an aircraft cleared to land?

Usually, the clearance is given when the runway is clear of traffic or, at least in Europe, when two conditions are met: Reduced Runway Separations is in use and the criteria for issuing the landing ...
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  • 15.5k
22 votes
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Do seaplanes need to get clearance for takeoff?

If the seaplane is operating from a land airport with a control tower AND a water runway, yes. Or, if the seaplane is operating from a Tower controlled water-only aerodrome, such as the one along ...
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  • 103k
19 votes
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Why was this helicopter denied entry to Class B airspace?

According to the post at LiveATC, Newark was closed, apparently due to smoke in the tower. With the airport closed, nobody could be granted clearance to take off or land. Outside of declaring an ...
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  • 6,004
17 votes

Do military aircraft overflying other countries' airspace require special clearance?

In general, a diplomatic clearance is required for overflight of military aircraft over other countries. The aircraft are considered state aircraft and prior clearance has to be obtained through ...
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  • 98.3k
17 votes
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When is the descent clearance requested from ATC?

Whether there are any formal policies for when to request descent will depend on the airline. However, I doubt formal procedures are established, since it should be pretty obvious to pilots when to ...
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16 votes
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What is the correct phraseology for changing the runway of a landing clearance?

The phraseology was slightly incorrect, this is from the FAA's ATC Orders (section 3-10-5): 3−10−5. LANDING CLEARANCE a. When issuing a clearance to land, first state the runway number followed ...
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  • 70.2k
16 votes

Does "Cross [FIX] at 250 knots" mean I have to maintain 250 knots after the fix?

If I, as the ATC, give the instruction Cross [FIX] at 250 knots the expectation is that you will: At a distance from the fix adjust your speed to be at 250 knots ...
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  • 1,234
15 votes

What does “to the numbers” mean in landing clearance?

Typically it's phrased as "direct to the numbers" and means you should proceed in a straight line from your present position to where the runway numbers are painted on the pavement. This instruction ...
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  • 4,551
14 votes

Do seaplanes need to get clearance for takeoff?

No, seaplanes generally don't need clearance to take off unless they are operating from a controlled seaplane base. There are two types of airports controlled (towered) and uncontrolled (self announce)...
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  • 95.9k
12 votes

When is an aircraft cleared to land?

Also, in the USA, landing clearance can be given to multiple aircraft at once for the same runway- eg. "JetBlue 1203, number two following an Airbus A320 on a two mile final, wind 260 at 8, runway 22 ...
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  • 494
12 votes
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Why wasn't Solar Impulse 2 cleared for takeoff?

Interesting question. The ATC orders mention only two reasons that controllers have to say "at your own risk": The pilot "insists" on using a closed or unsafe runway (3-3-2) A helicopter takeoff or ...
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  • 70.2k
11 votes

Is it bad form to call "ready to depart" when you know you won't be cleared yet?

Informing the controller that you are ready to depart and requesting a takeoff clearance aren't the same thing. It isn't bad form to inform the controller when you're ready for the next phase; if the ...
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11 votes
Accepted

Does a request for a Pop-Up IFR clearance constitute filing a flight plan?

I think Porcupine911 nailed the first question perfectly with the reference to JO 7110.65W: A "pop-up" IFR clearance counts as filing an IFR flight plan. ATC considers it an "airfiled" flight plan (...
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  • 67.2k
10 votes

What are the procedures for flying supersonic over international waters?

As a non-commercial civilian, the high seas (international waters) do not exempt you from the local governing rules: the civilian FIR boundaries meet over water, and there is no free-play gap in ...
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  • 119k
9 votes
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How do I know if an arrival procedure (STAR) clearance includes altitudes?

In the U.S., the phrase "Descend via the (arrival)" means that you are cleared to the altitudes as published. Without that phrase, simply cleared for the ___ arrival, then your clearance is the fixes,...
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  • 41.5k
9 votes

When is an aircraft cleared to land?

In addition to @SentryRaven's answer, remember that telescopic compression makes that separation seem much smaller than it actually is. Those aircraft are minutes apart, not seconds, the correct ...
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  • 14.9k
9 votes
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How late can a landing clearance be given?

Short answer: for visual approaches, it is not yet set in EASA regulations, but a draft recommends that the landing clearance be issued somewhere from downwind to short final (dashed line in the ...
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  • 119k
8 votes
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Which FAR/AIM addresses Shortest Turn to Assigned Heading vs Runway Traffic Pattern?

The most important point is that if any ATC instruction isn't clear then you should just ask them to repeat or clarify it. Having said that, turning in the shorter direction is stated in the FAA's ...
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  • 70.2k
8 votes
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Which clearances are issued by ATC without the pilot requesting them?

No clearance is issued without the pilot requesting it. But a request is not just something you do on the radio. The interesting questions here is: how do pilots request something? The most common ...
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7 votes

When is an aircraft cleared to land?

FAA has the following rulings: (a) Category I aircraft landing behind Category I or II- 3,000 feet. (b) Category II aircraft landing behind Category I or II- 4,500 feet. (c) When either ...
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  • 29.1k
7 votes

Is it bad form to call "ready to depart" when you know you won't be cleared yet?

From an ATC perspective - no, reporting ready for departure is not bad form, quite the opposite! The sooner we know you are ready, the sooner we can start planning other traffic to accommodate your ...
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7 votes
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Can a non-IFR rated pilot accept an IFR clearance, provided the operation occurs in VMC only?

Operating as PIC under IFR always requires an instrument rating and currency, regardless of flight conditions. 14 CFR 61.3(e) requires the rating, and there's no exception for VFR conditions: (e) ...
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  • 70.2k
7 votes

When can I proceed inbound in a hold in lieu of a procedure turn when cleared for the approach?

You don't need to do a full turn around the holding pattern, you can just cross the IAF and proceed inbound. This is from the AIM 5-4-9(a)(5): The holding pattern maneuver is completed when the ...
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  • 70.2k
7 votes

Does "Cross [FIX] at 250 knots" mean I have to maintain 250 knots after the fix?

There can be reasonable disagreement on how the specific phraseology ("cross [FIX] at 250 knots") in the question should be interpreted with respect to what speed the pilot is or is not ...
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  • 16.7k
6 votes
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When has a pilot legally accepted an ATC clearance or instruction?

I would try to not over complicate this issue. There are three conditions a clearance/instruction can have: Transmitted/Received Accepted Rejected If ATC provides a clearance/instruction, but has ...
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6 votes

Is it bad form to call "ready to depart" when you know you won't be cleared yet?

I see a contradiction in your question. In my experience, you do not receive an instruction to "Line Up and Wait" until after you call "Ready to Go". Once lined up and waiting, you should be doing ...
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  • 28.3k
6 votes

Do military aircraft overflying other countries' airspace require special clearance?

In switzerland, every aircraft is monitored by the air traffic control. However, if the plane flies without a transponder, it's an unknown aircraft for the ATC-Radar and the military will take the ...
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  • 3,687
6 votes

Which clearances are issued by ATC without the pilot requesting them?

ATC "clearance" is only used in specific situations: A route clearance - pilots request this when ready Takeoff clearance - pilots assumed to be ready unless they say otherwise Approach clearance - ...
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  • 69.7k
6 votes
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What is the 'Downstream Clearance?'

The definition you quote is pretty clear to me. But let me try to explain some of the background to help you understand it. An ATC clearance always contains a clearance limit, which is the point to ...
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5 votes
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What are ATC's considerations when they instruct to intercept final approach course instead of simply clearing for approach?

The main reasons I will instruct a pilot to intercept and follow the localiser instead of clearing him for the ILS are separation and minimum safe altitudes. In a busy approach environment, it is ...
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