November 2010 Issue

Non-Radar IFR

Once you’re off the beaten path, ATC can’t see you or provide the services—like obstacle clearance—we’ve taken for granted. They’re now your responsibility.

November 12345, you’re cleared from the Backwoods Airport to the Backwoods NDB, then hold as published. Climb and maintain 3000 feet, squawk 2012. Report airborne on frequency 125.1. Clearance void if not off by two-zero past the hour; time now zero-five past the hour. Expect further clearance at two-five past the hour." Fly IFR from non-towered, out-of-the-way airport, and you’ll eventually get a short-range clearance like the one above. It’s a clearance to a nearby fix with a time window (until the "void time") allowing you to enter controlled airspace without conflicting with other IFR airplanes. Since ATC can’t see you on radar yet and won’t know exactly when you’ll enter controlled airspace from that non-towered field, they’ll keep a small area clear for you until the void time

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