1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Picking up an IFR clearance.....

Discussion in 'Air Traffic Control' started by cfii2007, Aug 20, 2007.

  1. cfii2007

    cfii2007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    0
    If departing while the tower is closed, how do I pick up an IFR clearance, assuming I've filed with FSS?
  2. mtsu_av8er

    mtsu_av8er Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2002
    Messages:
    13,693
    Likes Received:
    153
    Really, it doesn't matter if you filed with FSS or DUAT/DUATS. They all go to the same place.

    That being said, check the AFD to see if the airport has a GCO or an RCO to a local APP/DEP facility, an ARTCC or a FSS. If so, you can simply use the radio to retrieve your clearance.

    If none of the above are available, you can call Flight Service on the phone and have them relay the clearance to you, with a release time and a clearance void time. So, make sure you're ready to start up and launch!

    If the weather is good enough for you to depart VFR and the airspace permits, you can also depart and simply contact the ATC facility in the air for your clearance. NOTE: If you use this method, make sure that you can maintain VFR conditions AND maintain your own terrain an obstruction clearance long enough for you to establish communication with ATC, be positively identified on radar, and receive a clearance.
  3. surreal1221

    surreal1221 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    18,013
    Likes Received:
    818
  4. cfii2007

    cfii2007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks...I knew you could call and obtain over the phone, just wasn't sure if it was with FSS or the local tower.
  5. xpanterica

    xpanterica New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    I've always just called the Tracon here in SoCal to get the clearance and void times from them directly.
  6. cfii2007

    cfii2007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Any idea where to get the phone number?
  7. xpanterica

    xpanterica New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    When filing with the FSS, they'd offer up the Tracon's 800 number. I wouldn't be surprised to find it in an AFD.
  8. cfii2007

    cfii2007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks.....the AFD lists a bunch of TRACON and ARTCC numbers, not sure which to pick.
  9. ctab5060X

    ctab5060X Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 25, 2007
    Messages:
    4,012
    Likes Received:
    381
    This is where I truly loved my cell phone! Can't tell you the nights I couldn't get Center on the ground and had to call for a clearance after the FBO was closed. Fortunately for me, I flew out of a VERY dead airport with a somewhat long taxi (depending on the winds) and could stick my cell phone under my headset and pick up my clearance while sitting number one ready to go. This worked especially well in colder weather when I had to let the engines warm for a bit.

    :yeahthat: Especially the last part in red...just remember that some places can not get you on radar right away. Case in point is the airport I used to fly out of. Had to be at least 2000 ft before Center could pick me up on radar and issue the clearance. Then again, I have called them right off the deck and been asked if I could maintain my own obstruction clearance through 2000 ft. Replied yes and they issued my clearance as "leaving 2000, cleared to XYZ..."
  10. Chewie von Nubbins

    Chewie von Nubbins New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2007
    Messages:
    949
    Likes Received:
    0
    Man, even 1-800-wx-brief will work for getting your clearance. It is supposed to be the "new" clearing house for everything related to FSS. I had to use it once. VERY fresh IR ticket here. :D
  11. TurdBird

    TurdBird Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,559
    Likes Received:
    216
    Yes as long as you don't mind waiting 20-30mins before you actually get someone. At least here in FL it's like that. :banghead:
  12. PurduePilot

    PurduePilot New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2000
    Messages:
    1,306
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm with you on that! I was flying from Indy to Nantucket in a PA32 during the week of July 23rd. Every time I called to either file a flight plan, get my clearance, or call for a standard weather briefing I could count on a 30-40 minute wait time.

    Since we stopped at many uncontrolled fields along the way (and the wx was IFR the whole time) this got really frustrating.

    I also have nightmare stories from the ATC side of things too, but that's for another time.

    After this experience, I can see how this can morph into a safety issue. Some people don't have an hour at a clip to wait on hold to pick up their clearance and will blast off and hit something in the clouds trying to pick it up from an already overworked ATCer.

    The longest I think I waited to pick up a clearance was close to two hours! I called 1-800-WX-BRIEF to pick it up -- waited close to 40 minutes for a briefer who transfered me (to pick up a clearance from Indy - BUF), where I had to wait on hold again for another 40 minutes for someone to pick up. I found out that this person was in Denver, so he put me on hold again to call IND Center for my clearance so that was another 20 minutes.

    I can't tell you how pissed I was after this ordeal. FSS has really gone downhill and no one cares.
  13. FlySmiley

    FlySmiley New Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2005
    Messages:
    175
    Likes Received:
    0
    Class E at the surface and there will be a way to get in touch with ATC on the ground (approach freq, or ground freq, rco, gco, etc.)

    Class G at the surface and it can be a pain - go VFR if possible and grab it in the air

    The trick for FSS: with the new system say "briefer", then when prompted for location say "any".. you will get the first unoccupied FSS specialist in country.
  14. surreal1221

    surreal1221 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2006
    Messages:
    18,013
    Likes Received:
    818
    Tried that about three weeks ago.

    Got someone in Texas, and needed an IFR clearance out of my home airport (within ZTL's airspace). Well guess what, after 20 mins on hold, I was told that they are now transfering me to a Macon FSS specialist. . .go figure.

    Unfortunately, it was OVC003, so had to get that clearance, lol.
  15. ATCT

    ATCT New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2007
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    0
    All I can say is write your congressman/senators. Also write the FAA.

    The govt really dropped the ball on that one. I hate calling FSS now. I have stories from work regarding em but Im not sure if I can say those. Personally, I dont trust Lockheed, any of the people working there and I wouldnt bet my life on a clearance from them. Thats just my personal opinion.

    ATCT
  16. cfii2007

    cfii2007 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,980
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the info...we have a tower nearby that we can reach on the ground for clearances.
  17. Runway_Sweeper

    Runway_Sweeper Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    Messages:
    30
    Likes Received:
    0
    Not sure who actually looks at the collected complaints but the FAA has set up a Flight Service Complaint Hotline:

    Snippet from AOPA article:

    "the FAA has activated a toll-free "flight service comment line" (888/FLT-SRVC or 888/358-7782) for pilots to comment on service they receive from the Lockheed Martin flight service station (FSS) system, operated under contract with the FAA."

    The FAA has an email address for complaints as well:

    9-AWA-ATO-SYSOPS-FS@faa.gov

    Happy Dialing!:)
  18. ElyJs

    ElyJs New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    0
    I like to pickup my IFR clearances in the air whenever conditions permit. My understanding was when you pick up the clearance from the ground they need to clear a certain amount of space around the airport for your departure. If you pick up the clearance in the air then the controller has less airspace to clear for a shorter period of time. Comments?

    -Jason
  19. sixoneseven

    sixoneseven Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    224
    Likes Received:
    26
    Are you a Pilot?

Share This Page