Sun, Jan 23, 2011
What To Do When No Departure Procedure Is Issued With
Some confusion exists as to what a pilot is supposed to do when
a "Cleared as Filed" clearance is issued by ATC from an airport,
but no Departure Procedure (DP) is assigned in the clearance. ATC
at some airports may not issue a Departure Procedure as part of the
However, the pilot is expected to determine a way to safely
depart the airport and join the enroute structure defined in the
ATC clearance (or flight plan if "cleared as filed"). One way to
accomplish this-and normally the safest way in IMC-is to fly the
appropriate published Departure Procedure. If a textual DP has been
established for the airport, it will be found in the front of the
U.S. Terminal Procedures Publication under Take-Off Minimums And
(Obstacle) Departure Procedures.
If there is more than one Departure Procedure, the pilot should
fly the one most appropriate to the route of flight. Absent
specific departure instructions from ATC, the pilot may also elect
to "climb on course," but only if he/she has determined that
adequate terrain and/or obstruction clearance can be maintained
until reaching the minimum IFR altitude (MIA), or minimum enroute
Weather conditions permitting, a pilot may request a "VFR climb"
for the initial portion of the flight. While this will often
expedite your departure clearance, note that this provision applies
only to the vertical aspect of the ATC IFR clearance. The pilot is
expected to follow the ground track as assigned, overflying the
fixes or airways stated in the clearance. A "VFR climb" is not
permission to deviate from the cleared route.
As part of your IFR preflight planning always familiarize
yourself with the airport written and graphic departure procedures.
You may not always be assigned one by ATC but you are expected to
determine a safe departure method-a published DP is one way to
Following a published DP is also appropriate if you depart VFR
expecting to pick up an IFR clearance en route, especially at night
when terrain features, such as mountains, are not clearly visible -
just remember to stay VFR until you have your IFR clearance.
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