Features

September 2019 Issue

Dude, Where’s My Clearance?

The FAA wants you to call ATC directly instead of Flight Service, and is publishing the phone numbers.

There are two basic ways to obtain an IFR clearance in the U.S. before departing a non-towered airport. One is to telephone Flight Service directly and get the clearance over the phone. Another is to use a remote communications outlet (RCO) to contact Flight Service or a ground communications outlet (GCO) to reach ATC over your aircraft’s communication radio. In both cases, of course, you’re likely to receive a clearance with a void time, since ATC can’t “see” you on radar until you’re airborne, and has to block off some portion of the airspace around your departure airport to ensure separation, at least until you’re in radar contact.

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