Author Topic: Introduction to Controlling: Clearance Delivery and its Concepts!  (Read 1118 times)

AsharK | EAS-5500

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Hey Guys! It's AsharK and today we are gonna be talking about clearances! Most people might not know this but, the clearance for an aircraft is the most important part of their flight. It sets up the whole flight and one tiny mistake in the clearance, can affect the center controller on top. Today we will be going over most things that a clearance delivery needs to know, such as call-signs, outlines, SIDS, etc.

First, Lets talk about your call-sign (this includes all positions when controlling). In your callsign, you want your airport's 3 letter identifier (excluding the 'K') unless you are controlling outside of the US. In which case, you want to use your airport's 4 letter ICAO code. The airport code comes first, before the position.

Position Codes:

- Clearance Delivery = DEL
- Ground = GND
- Tower = TWR
- Departure = DEP
- Approach = APP
- Center = CTR

If you are controlling a radar position (DEP, APP, CTR), another way to make your callsign (the better way) is to use IDs based on the TRACON or ARTCC your controlling in. So for example, since I know that KORD is in the Chicago Tracon (C90), I would search up the Tracon IDs and find the callsign for the position I am controlling. So instead of using (ORD_APP) as shown above, I would use (CHI_APP). Now it can get more specific depending on the approach sector I would be controlling. BUT, in FSX, that is really unnecessary and you will probably never have a second APP controller, controlling with you at the same time. So instead of (ORD_DEP), If you were a departure controller, you would use (CHI_DEP). Now there is one more thing when your using these Tracon IDs. It would technically mean that you are controlling ALL the airports within the 40 - 50 miles. Now you probably won't get much traffic at those airports other then the main airport your controlling (in this case: KORD) but if there was a aircraft at those airports, you would have to control them too. So generally if you don't want to deal with all those airports, just do (ORD_APP) or (ORD_DEP).

The same information above, stands for CTR expect instead of using Tracon IDs, you would use the the ARTCC ID. SO it would be something like (ZAU_CTR). Considering that the airport you want to control is within that ARTCC. All this information above does not stand for tower positions (DEL, GND, TWR). It is only used for RADAR Positions (DEP, APP, CTR.) You would not do CHI_DEL, you would do ORD_DEL.

Alright! Next, We will be talking about SIDS and STARS.  A SID is a "Standard Instrument Departure" and a STAR is a "Standard Terminal Arrival Route." Now as a DEL, GND and / or TWR controller, you do not need to worry about a STAR. Only Radar Positions need to understand STARS. But, to just put it out there, both SIDS and STARS are basically just a set of a whole bunch of way-points that an aircraft flies either after departure or on arrival. There are two types of SIDS (that I have found), one, which is literally a set of way-points that you fly after departure and second, a SID with just 1 or maybe 2 way-points that you are vectored to after departure. All SIDS have some type of altitude setup. Some may give you an altitude, some may let you assign the aircraft your own altitude. Now just to warn anyone who may controlling on FSX particularly, most pilots do not what SIDs are and how to fly them, etc. This being on FSX, you probably just don't want to use a SID but if you do wish to use SIDs and you are working DEL,  you need to know how the SID works and you need to know the altitudes and altitude restrictions on that particular SID for that particular airport.

Now, there are many ways that you can give a clearance. It all depends on the pilot's intentions and abilities. Route, SID, Altitude, Squawk code, etc etc. Before we go into the 2 main outlines, I want to talk about CRAFT! Many of you may have heard of this term but I just want to go over it one more time.

C = Clearance
R = Route
A = Altitude
F = Frequency
T = Transponder Code

CRAFT, is the general format when making a clearance for an aircraft. It really is amazing to have such a perfect word match what you need. So let me show you how CRAFT would look as a clearance.

Cleared to <AIRPORT> via <SID>, Expect Radar Vector's <WAYPOINT> then as filed. Climb via SID, top altitude <INITIAL ALT>, expect <CRUISE ALT> 10 minutes after Departure. Departure is on <FREQUENCY>, Squawk <CODE>

Now lets break this down:

"Cleared to <AIRPORT>" - This is the C of CRAFT. You want to change <AIRPORT> to the destination airport of the aircraft.

"via <SID>" - After changing <SID> to the name of the SID that your using. This means that the aircraft has to fly that SID after departure. This is the R on CRAFT.

"Expect Radar Vector's <WAYPOINT>" - means that the aircraft should expect vectors to that way-point on the SID, from the departure controller after departure. This is also apart of the R on CRAFT.

"then as filed." - means that the aircraft will fly its filed route after they get vectors the <WAYPOINT>. This part really varies and it can be different. If you had to give a aircraft a whole new route (Remember FlightAware from the last post?) then you would have to read that whole route to the aircraft, in this section and the aircraft would have to read back the whole route. I will go more in depth, in a later section. This is also apart of the R in CRAFT.

"Climb via SID, top altitude <INITIAL ALT>" - This means that if there was a SID being used, then the aircraft has to open up his own chart of the SID and climb to the <INITIAL ALT> as shown on the SID. So if you look on the BANNG TWO DEPARTURE shown above, between BANNG and LUCKK, you have to be between 2700 and 10000. That is an altitude restriction. So when an aircraft Climbs Via SID, they must follow those altitude restrictions on the SIDS. This is one part of the A from CRAFT.

"expect <CRUISE ALT> 10 minutes after Departure" - This means that the aircraft should expect to be cleared to their cruise altitude about 10 minutes after departure, from the departure controller. This is the second part of A from CRAFT.

"Departure is on <FREQUENCY>" - Changing <FREQUENCY> to the departure controllers frequency, this is a quick note for the aircraft, if they don't already know it. This is the F from CRAFT.

"Squawk <CODE>" -  This is the squawk code that you assigned the aircraft.  When assigning an aircraft a code, I prefer to keep IFR and VFR codes seperate. For me, IFR codes would be 3001 - 3777 and VFR would be 5101 - 5177 but that's just my own preference. As long as the code does not end with double zeros (00), as those would be considered non discrete squawk codes, you can use whatever codes you like. This is the final part of CRAFT, the T.

This format above would be used with SID's that have one way-point and the aircraft needs to be vectored to that way-point. This next format would be used for aircraft flying a SID such as the BARMY 3 Departure at Charlotte/Douglas International (KCLT). If you look at this next picture, this departure has 3 different transitions. The NUTZE Transition, the DURHAM Transition and the TAR RIVER Transition.

So instead of using the format explained earlier, you would use something like this:

Cleared to <AIRPORT> via <SID>, <Transition NAME> Transition, then as filed. Climb via SID, top altitude <INITIAL ALT>, expect <CRUISE ALT> 10 minutes after Departure. Departure is on <FREQUENCY>, Squawk <CODE>

If you look at the outline above, instead of using "Radar Vector's <WAYPOINT>", you would use "<Transition NAME> Transition." So if we were using the BARMY Three Departure and a aircraft filed the NUTZE Transition, you would say, "Cleared to <AIRPORT> via BARMY 3 Departure, NUTZE Transition, then as filed."

One more thing, if you are working with an aircraft that flies DIRECT (most aircraft on FSX do) and / or you were not using a SID, you would remove the "via <SID>" and "Climb via <SID>" and just give the aircraft a reasonable initial altitude. Now if the aircraft was flying direct and you are using a SID, depending on the type of SID, if it was a radar vector SID, you could still give him the SID but only if you are also working departures and / or you coordinate with a departure controller. He could just fly direct after you vector him to the way-point closest to his direction of flight. If the SID is a transition SID then he will not be able to fly the SID and you would just give him a reasonable initial altitude. I know it's somewhat impossible on FSX (especially on our public teamspeak) but try not to generally have pilots fly direct. It's just something that is not done. All aircraft should be flying a route unless they are VFR.

Now when you work with VFR aircraft, you need to understand your airspace (as explained in the first post). A VFR aircraft does not need to file a flight plan with you. Usually if the aircraft does not file a flight plan, you want to make him a flight plan and give him a squawk, etc. There are three different types of clearances for VFR depending on your airspace and the aircraft's intentions. If you have an aircraft wanting to do pattern work and you are in a class charlie airspace (or below), your clearance would be something like:


That is it. Literally. Now if you are working in a class bravo environment, ALL VFR aircraft are treated like IFR aircraft! That is because a class bravo airspace is a very busy airspace and because of that, ALL VFR aircraft need a clearance into and out of the class bravo airspace. So if I was working at Chicago Ohare and i needed to give a VFR pattern work clearance, it would be something like:

<CALLSIGN>, Cleared into the Chicago Class Bravo Airspace, Squawk <CODE>

That's literally it when dealing with aircraft wanting to do pattern work. The pattern Altitude will always be (In the US), 1000 feet above airport elevation. YOU DO NOT NEED TO KNOW THAT! You should know the pattern altitude but you do not need to know it. You will not be giving a altitude to an aircraft in a pattern work clearance. (Unless of course that aircraft wants to do IFR pattern work in which case, just figure the altitude out with a radar controller or use the altitude on a SID) The pilot should already know it himself but then again, if your controlling on FSX, most people do not know that and you should spread the information out.

Now if the aircraft is requesting a VFR departure to any direction or to an airport, he should be giving you a cruise altitude (Make sure the cruise altitude is correct for the direction of flight). The aircraft does not need to give you an destination airport. A VFR clearance in a Class Charlie or below would be something like:

<CALLSIGN>, Cleared VFR at or below <altitude>, Squawk <CODE>

For a class bravo airspace (KORD):

<CALLSIGN>, cleared into the Chicago Class Bravo Airspace, Maintain VFR at or below <altitude>, Squawk <CODE>

Now to figure out the <ALTITUDE> in the 2 outlines above ^, you should open up SkyVector (first forum post), search the airport you are controlling at, find the floor altitude of the first shelf around the airport.

So the floor altitude is 1900. If you subtract 100 from that altitude, you will have 1800 and that is the altitude you would give the pilot in the clearance. This is to make sure that the aircraft does not enter the Class Bravo Airspace (starting at 1900). The reason why you still say "cleared into the Chicago class bravo airspace" is because the first 5 - 7 miles around the airport, tower's airspace, is apart of the class bravo airspace. But after those 5 miles, the aircraft should not be going higher then the floor altitude without contacting departure.

All VFR aircraft within a class bravo airspace will receive flight following. But those VFR aircraft from Class Charlie (and lower) airspace do not need flight follow. So if you are working with a radar controller or you are a radar controller, you should be asking the aircraft if they want flight follow and you should be informing the radar controller of their decision. If they want flight follow, the TWR controller will give them to the RADAR controller after departure. Otherwise, if they do NOT want flight following, the TWR controller should be sending them to unicom, 5- 7 miles out from the airport.

Finally. Last, but not least, ALL aircraft need to read-back their clearances. Now if there is nothing wrong will the clearance. You didn't make any changes to their altitude, route, etc then they only need to read-back the Squawk Code. But if you did make a change and they don't read the part that has changed, back then you have to correct them. You will also have to correct them when they read-back something wrong. They have to read-back the correction.

<CALLSIGN>, readback incorrect, <CORRECTION>

Example: AAL123, readback incorrect, top altitude 5000, squawk 3112

Now once they correctly read-back their clearance, you have to acknowledge their read-back. Considering that this all is based on the US, this would be your outline:

<CALLSIGN>, readback correct, Push and Start at your own Discretion, Contact (GND/ME) when ready to taxi. Expect Runway # for departure. (Information LETTER current / Altimeter #)

If you are currently also the GND controller then you would pick "ME" from the "(GND/ME)" If there is another GND controller and your only doing DEL then you would pick "GND" from the "(GND/ME)" If you are currently using the ATIS (I don't recommend when controlling on FSX) then you would pick "Information LETTER current" instead of the Altimeter and you would change out "LETTER" to the current ATIS LETTER, such as Alpha or November. If you are not using the ATIS then you would say "Altimeter #" and change out "#" to the current Altimeter.

That's it for today guys! One last thing, this might sound really really hard and to me, clearance delivery is one of the hardest positions but once you practice this and understand all this information, it is much easier then you think! Please please please come and try to find me on the EasternHops Public Teamspeak ( if you have any questions and if I am online, I will be glad to help! Thanks a lot if you got through all this and I will be seeing you all, next time! Good Day!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2018, 01:39:40 PM by AsharK EAS-5589 »