What does "cleared for the option" mean?

What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby flyvento » Mon Apr 08, 2019 4:25 pm

I was doing pattern work earlier today at KFUL. On my last "lap", the controller cleared me for the option, at which point I replied "cleared or the option". I proceeded to a full stop landing and taxied off the runway. At that time the controller told me I needed to let him know if my intention was to do a full stop vs anything else.

It was my understanding that "cleared for the option" meant I was cleared for pretty much any and all options, including a full stop. Am I wrong? Am I missing something? Should I have not replied with "cleared for the option" and just replied "cleared to land" to hint at the fact that I was going for a full stop?

Thanks in advance for your replies!
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Re: What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby bbuckley » Mon Apr 08, 2019 6:43 pm

I’ll go out on a limb here... “Cleared for the option” means you are cleared for the option you choose... a full stop is one of them. If it went down as you say, then you did nothing wrong. You could have executed a full stop, stop and go, touch and go, or low approach. It might be nice to “advise” this will be a full stop but in my experience it’s not required. Let’s see what PE says...
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Re: What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:57 pm

Controller was incorrect. Option absolutely includes a full stop landing.
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Re: What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby tobyrice01 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:34 pm

Keith is correct (as always) in saying that the "option" includes a "full stop."

However, I believe that the controller from your flight may have intended to imply that you "should" (as in, not required, but highly recommend) advise ATC as soon as possible of your intentions, should you make a "full stop" landing out of the option clearance.

This comes from the FAA 7110.65X 3–8–1 under the first note:

1. The “Cleared for the Option” procedure will permit an
instructor pilot/flight examiner/pilot the option to make a
touch-and-go, low approach, missed approach, stop-
and-go, or full stop landing. This procedure will only be
used at those locations with an operational control tower
and will be subject to ATC approval. After ATC approval
of the option, the pilot should inform ATC as soon as
possible of any delay on the runway during their
stop-and-go or full stop landing.


I hope that sheds some light! Maybe the controller was trying to remind you that it's nice to let ATC know if you're doing a full-stop. It could be up for interpretation, but it seems like a good, safe practice either way.
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Re: What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby Keith Smith » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:59 pm

The bolded clause doesn't really apply in this case as we're not talking about any amount of unusual delay on the runway during the full stop. If you are cleared for the option and you opt to make a full stop, then so long as you exit in a normal fashion, then you haven't met the criteria of that clause, therefore no additional report is required by the pilot.
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Re: What does "cleared for the option" mean?

Postby tobyrice01 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:14 pm

Good point, quite true. I initially interpreted that to mean otherwise, but I see what it actually means. I think we can take away from this that not all safe practices are necessarily regulatory in nature. Though it's not required, it is a good idea to report your intentions so the controller can plan ahead easier.
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