IFR Clearances


IFR clearances are issued by ATC at both controlled and uncontrolled airports. Depending on the type of ATC services available, pilots may obtain their clearance through clearance delivery or ground control. 

Pilots departing uncontrolled airports have several options for obtaining an IFR clearance. A common practice, if VFR conditions allow, is to depart the airport under VFR and obtain a clearance airborne with the corresponding ATC facility for your sector. You must remember not to operate under IFR until proper clearance is received. If meteorological conditions do not allow for a VFR departure, clearance can be obtained via VFH radio through designated frequencies. Such frequencies can be found on the airport Charts Supplement specific page and are designated as either Remote Communication Outlets (RCOs) or Ground Communication Outlets (GCOs). Both are unstaffed, remotely controlled, ground/ground communications facilities. An RCO is for use either on the ground or airborne, while a GCO is for use only while the aircraft is on the ground.

IFR clearances from uncontrolled airports contain clearance-void times. Void times are treated as clearance expiration times. Taking off beyond a clearance-void time results in a departure without proper clearance. It is imperative to notify ATC if one is unable to depart by the provided void time and have it adjusted accordingly. 

Equally important, is closing an IFR flight plan. This process happens automatically without pilot intervention at controlled airports. Uncontrolled airports require pilots to cancel IFR on their own, either after landing or with ATC airborne. Failure to close an IFR flight plan may initiate search and rescue operations if the pilot cannot be contacted.

Radio communications are a critical link in the ATC system. Instrument-rated pilots have additional responsibilities when filing an IFR flight plan. ATC expects all operators to comply with all responsibilities to ensure safe aircraft separation within the national airspace system. 

SOURCEAero Crew News, October 2023
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Sergio Sovero was born and raised in Lima, Peru, and currently serves as Captain for Delta Air Lines. At the age of 17, he moved to the United States to attend Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) in Daytona Beach, Florida. Sergio obtained a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Science in 2017, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He served as a flight instructor at ERAU, while assuming several leadership roles within the Flight Department. These included: Flight Supervisor, Quality Assurance Instructor, and Assistant Training Manager. He also developed additional training material, in support of furthering the curriculum and improving the quality of instruction. Such involvement led to his recognition as “Flight Instructor of the Month” and “Excellence in Quality of Instruction” awards. Sovero holds a Gold Seal CFI, AGI and IGI ratings. Upon meeting the minimum requirements, he joined Republic Airways, where he participated as a Pilot Recruiter and Interviewer. Joining Delta Air Lines at 23 years old, he holds A-320, B-737, B-757/767, DC-9 & ERJ-170 type ratings. Sergio is an active member of the ERAU Prescott Aerospace Advisory Board (AAB). As such, he provides unique perspectives to the College of Aviation regarding curriculum development. In response to his special interest in sustainable practices, Sergio is pursuing a Master of Science in Aviation and Aerospace Sustainability (MSAS), with a Human Factors Specialization, and is passionate about mentoring the next generation of professional pilots. He resides in Atlanta, loves traveling, and frequently visits his hometown of Lima.


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