IFR clearance readback etiquette

IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby rezaf » Thu Jan 02, 2020 2:57 pm

Here's a scenario. I request my clearance and the ATC gives me a full reroute, including some VORs and intersections not in my original route that I don't know their name and spelling. I scribble down what I think it might be spelled like. What should the very next action be?

1) Say "standby, Cessna 123AB". Then go through the SID/Enroute chart, make sure what I wrote down makes sense (e.g. I hear and write down "bertha", turns out it's intersection BETHA), then after 1-2 minutes call ATC again and do the readback.
2) Immediately reply with the readback, with whatever I jotted down, and if they say read back correct, then open the chart and see what this new route is. If I have mangled it, they will correct me.
3) Do the read back immediately with whatever I have written, and ask them in the same call to spell the navaids and intersection names I'm not sure about (or pronounce them as "missing").

Also, one more question, is it advisable to ask them to "SPEAK SLOWER" (which is an official request in the AIM) in the first call, or do the first call without it and if I didn't get it down correct the first time, ask them to say again slowly?
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:10 pm

I'd go with #2 to the extent possible, or #3 where required.

There is no circumstance that I can think of where it would be reasonable to ask them to repeat the entire clearance again. You know the clearance is going to contain a clearance limit, route, altitude(s), dep frequency and transponder. Keep up with the routing as much as possible, copying down the parts that you can get. You should ALWAYS be able to copy the altitude, frequency and transponder, even if that means going back to the route to continue copying the pieces that you weren't able to write down in time (assuming you can still remember them). Then, just ask for the portions of the route that you need again.

As a controller, I have nearly unlimited patience for pilots who need PORTIONS of the route read again.

However, if a pilot requests an IFR clearance, I issue the clearance at a reasonable pace, then they say, "uhhhhh, yeah we weren't ready, can we get that again?" or "sorry I got lost on the route, I need the WHOLE THING again?" then I have a lot less sympathy. Pilots should be ready to START copying a clearance any time after they request it. Otherwise...why request it? Also, it's a huge issue if a pilot gives up while copying a clearance and puts down the pencil, throwing in the towel on the whole clearance just because they missed a part of the route. Not getting SOME of the route is fine....but ignoring all the easy bits (that could've been copied somewhere along the way shows, at best, a lack of understanding of the importance of radio bandwidth, or worse, a lack of respect for everyone's time.
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby rezaf » Thu Jan 02, 2020 3:17 pm

Thanks Keith! This is exactly what I wanted to know.

(Also, I'm finding your IFR workshop videos very helpful. Thanks for your hard work in both setting up PilotEdge, and the workshop videos.)
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby uncertifiedpilot » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:28 am

But, as the pilot, when I receive a full re-route, shouldn't I reply with 'stand-by for read back' and verify first I understand (and can fly) the re-route? As reading back the clearance implies I understand the route I'll be flying?
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby Keith Smith » Thu Jan 09, 2020 6:50 am

Not really, you can always request a re-route after the readback (prior to taxi for example) if there is an operational reason that you can't accept the route, such as not being able to meet the SID climb gradient, for example. As for 'understanding' the route, that's typically not an issue. If you wrote it down and were able to read it back correctly, then there's no reason to think that you wouldn't be able to open an enroute chart and/or departure procedure and be able to use that information to program your navigation system.

I've gotten full route clearances from NY approach while on the ground at Lincoln Park on the phonee many times in the past...I always just read it back and then deal with it after the fact. I can't imagine telling the person on the phone to standby while I whip out an enroute chart to look through the route. Finish the transaction, the controller moves on to the next aircraft, then you take all the time you need to review the route.
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby uncertifiedpilot » Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:39 am

Thank you!
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby Scott Medeiros » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:58 pm

One thing I do in preparing to copy clearance (as well as holding instructions), is to jot down a sort of template so that I can essentially fill in the blanks as ATC gives my clearance. For example, let's say we're flying from KPSP-KSFO. Knowing all clearances come in CRAFT format, I'll write on my kneeboard " KSFO ,___________ , climb ____ , expect FL____ , 1__.__ , ____ "

Now, before I even call clearance I'll put out the departure procedures and see PSP has either the Cathedral or Thermal DPs. This will help if you don't quite understand ATC and maybe thought they said "Cathy Draws" Departure, oh that must be Cathedral.

For holding it's basically the same idea, with my template looking like... "Hold N,E,S,W ______ (AP), <-- -->, EFC____"
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Re: IFR clearance readback etiquette

Postby frantzy » Sat Apr 04, 2020 8:29 am

Scott Medeiros wrote:One thing I do in preparing to copy clearance (as well as holding instructions), is to jot down a sort of template so that I can essentially fill in the blanks as ATC gives my clearance. For example, let's say we're flying from KPSP-KSFO. Knowing all clearances come in CRAFT format, I'll write on my kneeboard " KSFO ,___________ , climb ____ , expect FL____ , 1__.__ , ____ "

Now, before I even call clearance I'll put out the departure procedures and see PSP has either the Cathedral or Thermal DPs. This will help if you don't quite understand ATC and maybe thought they said "Cathy Draws" Departure, oh that must be Cathedral.

For holding it's basically the same idea, with my template looking like... "Hold N,E,S,W ______ (AP), <-- -->, EFC____"


I prepare like Scott does and on a structured pad I pre-write the clearance elements I expect, then circle them when confirmed. Like this:

BA6DD1DF-7F31-48F4-8934-9F28FEDBAD8D.jpeg
Before
BA6DD1DF-7F31-48F4-8934-9F28FEDBAD8D.jpeg (297.9 KiB) Viewed 769 times


C1D9D600-F9E9-4FD4-99D3-CDBD28FA88CE.jpeg
After
C1D9D600-F9E9-4FD4-99D3-CDBD28FA88CE.jpeg (352.61 KiB) Viewed 769 times


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