Calling ATC for an IFR Clearance

The weather was barely VFR at Chehalis, WA (KCLS) for this night takeoff, so I called Seattle Center on the phone to get my IFR clearance and release for a flight back to Boeing Field (KBFI).

In 2019, FAA finished publishing ATC telephone numbers in the Chart Supplement, so you can get an IFR a clearance (or cancel IFR) directly with ATC, not via FSS, when operating at a non-towered airport or when a tower is closed.

You can listen to this process at the beginning of the video below and then follow along as I fly the ILS RWY 14R at Boeing Field (KBFI).

The audio panel/intercom in the A36 Bonanza supports a Bluetooth connection to my phone, so I’m able to speak and hear through my headset during phone calls. That feature makes it especially easy to contact ATC, in this case Seattle Center.

ATC Phone Numbers Now in ForeFlight

On June 20, 2019, FAA began publishing telephone numbers that pilots can use to call ATC for IFR clearances and cancelations (see FAA Completes ATC Phone Number Plan). The numbers appear in the airport listings in the Chart Supplement.

Leidos FSS has posted ARTCC clearance/cancelation phone numbers on its website, here.

If you use ForeFlight, you can also find those ATC numbers in the airport listings. As the screen capture below shows, the information is on the Frequencies tab. The number will be either to an approach control facility or an enroute traffic control center, depending on which facility controls the airspace overlying the airport.

ATC Phones_ForeFlight.jpg

ATC_ForeFlight_002

FAA Completes ATC Phone Number Plan

The February 25, 2019 issue of FAAST Blast includes the following item about FAA’s plan to publish ATC telephone numbers in the Chart Supplement. You can read more details and see examples at earlier entries here at BruceAir:

Leidos FSS has posted ARTCC clearance/cancelation phone numbers on its website, here.

FAA Completes Clearance Relay Initiative

Flight Service will complete the Clearance Relay initiative on June 20 when it publishes the remaining phone numbers for pilots to obtain IFR clearances at public- and private-use airports, from either the overlying Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) Flight Data Units, or an approach control facility. As part of modernization efforts to streamline service delivery and increase efficiency, pilots now call directly to obtain or cancel an IFR clearance, reducing the risk of potential errors.

Last year, Flight Service formalized a process already in place by publishing phone numbers for 30 approach controls covering 667 public use airports, providing pilots direct contact with the controlling facility. Last fall, another 26 approach control facilities covering 226 public-use and 3,000 private-use airports had numbers published in the Chart Supplement, US and subscriber files.

Leidos Flight Service will provide pilots with the name of the facility to contact or the correct phone number to obtain or cancel an IFR clearance. Pilots may continue to request clearances via radio from air traffic control or Flight Service.

You can find the phone numbers for clearance delivery in the remarks section of the entry for each airport in the Chart Supplement, US. This initiative does not affect pilots requesting clearances from Flight Service over Remote Communications Outlets (RCO), Ground Communication Outlets (GCO), or from locations in Alaska. For more information, visit https://go.usa.gov/x5wsR.

Update on ATC Phone Numbers and IFR Clearances

FAA continues to publish ATC telephone numbers for pilots who need to get an IFR clearance or close an IFR flight plan at non-towered airports (background here at BruceAir).

Leidos FSS has posted ARTCC clearance/cancelation phone numbers on its website, here.

Note that FAA is testing a system that would allow pilots to receive ATC clearances on mobile devices. For more information, see this article at AOPA.

An FAA representative briefed (full presentation here) the April 25-26, 2018 meeting of the Aeronautical Charting Forum (complete meeting minutes here).

Highlights:

  • Chart Supplement (A/FD) entries for 656 airports have been updated with clearance delivery phone numbers.
  • 25 additional approach control facilities will participate in the program; the Chart Supplement entries for over 200 additional airports will be updated to include a clearance delivery phone number.
  • For all other uncontrolled airports without a GCO or radio outlet linking them to ATC or Flight Service, pilots will be able to obtain a clearance by calling the overlying ARTCC.

The September 2018 update to the AIM will include the following paragraph:

5-2-3. TAXI CLEARANCE
a. Pilots departing on an IFR flight plan should consult the Chart Supplement US airport/facility directory to determine the frequency or telephone number to use to contact clearance delivery. On initial contact pilots should advise the flight is IFR and state the destination airport.

Update on ATC Phone Numbers for IFR Clearances/Cancellations

At the October 2017 meeting of the Aeronautical Charting Forum, the FAA provided an update (PDF) on its efforts to provide direct telephone numbers to ATC facilities so that pilots can receive IFR clearances and cancel IFR at non-towered airports directly with ATC rather than relay those notifications through FSS or other means.

The presentation notes that:

  • ATC phone numbers for 656 airports have been entered into the national airport database and published in the Chart Supplement.
  • Over 200 additional airports will have their Chart Supplement entries updated to include a clearance delivery phone number.
  • For all other uncontrolled airports without a GCO or radio outlet linking them to ATC or Flight Service, pilots will be able to obtain a clearance by calling the overlying ARTCC through a published phone number to that Center’s Flight Data Unit (FDU).

KTTD-AFD_07DEC2017.jpg

An update to AIM 5-2-3 Taxi Clearance is also in the works. The proposed language would read as follows:

a. Pilots departing on an IFR flight plan should consult the Chart Supplement US airport/facility directory to determine the frequency or telephone number to use to contact clearance delivery. On initial contact pilots should advise the flight is IFR and state the destination airport.

b. Air traffic facilities providing clearance delivery services via telephone will have their telephone number published in the communication remarks section of that airport’s directory entry. This same remarks section may also contain a telephone number to use for cancellation of an IFR flight plan after landing. Pilots are encouraged to use these telephone numbers at uncontrolled airports when they are published. Pilots may also contact Flight Service’s dedicated clearance delivery hotline (1-888-766-8267).

FAA also plans to move telephone relay of IFR clearance from FSS to ATC:

Preliminary agreement has been reached with Air Traffic and the Bargaining Units to move the telephone relay of all remaining IFR Clearance functions from Flight Service over to Air Traffic.

ATC Telephone Numbers for IFR Clearances

The FAA has announced that it will publish telephone numbers for some ATC facilities that provide IFR clearances and cancellations of IFR flight plans via the phone in the Chart Supplement (formerly known as the A/FD). FAA planned to begin implementation of the change on October 1, 2016 and complete the process by June 30, 2017.

For an update on the plans to publish ATC phone numbers, see the latest information here.

The basic information was provided in a recommendation document (ACF-CG RD 16-020309) at the Aeronautical Charting Forum, which reads in part:

Subject: Publication of approach control phone numbers for purposes of Clearance
Delivery and/or IFR flight plan cancellation.

Background/Discussion: In accordance with the Administrator’s NAS Efficient Streamlined Services Initiative Air Traffic, Flight Service, and NATCA have agreed that air traffic facilities currently providing clearances to pilots via telephone (informally) will have their numbers published in the appropriate Chart Supplement, US. These same facilities will have the option to have a separate phone line installed for IFR flight plan cancellations, which will also be published. The attached Policy Decision Memorandum identifies the affected 32 Air Traffic facilities and reflects approval by VP System Operations, VP Air Traffic Services, and VP Technical Operations. Also attached are the Scoping Document Workgroup Agreement, Safety Risk Management Document, and Implementation Plan.

Recommendations: Publish the approach control phone numbers for Clearance Delivery and/or IFR flight plan cancellation in the Chart Supplement US, for example:

For CLNC DEL CTC BOSTON APCH (603) 594-5551

And, when available, for those facilities with the IFR cancellation line

To CANCEL IFR CTC BOSTON APCH (603) 594-5552

The official FAA memoranda that describe the details are attached to the recommendation documented linked above.

The list of TRACONs and towers (subject to revision) that will issue clearances directly to pilots via telephone includes:

  1. A90 -Boston
  2. C90 – Chicago
  3. Dl O -Dallas-Fort Worth
  4. D21 – Detroit
  5. F 11 – Central Florida
  6. 190 – Houston
  7. L30 – Las Vegas
  8. M03 – Memphis
  9. N90 -New York
  10. NCT -Northem California
  11. P80 – Portland
  12. R90 – Omaha
  13. S46 – Seattle
  14. S56 – Salt Lake
  15. T75 – Louis
  16. U90 -Tucson
  17. Y90 – Yankee
  18. ABE – Allentown, PA
  19. AUS -Austin, TX
  20. AVP – Scranton, PA
  21. ENA -Nashville, TN
  22. CLT – Charlotte,NC
  23. CRP – Corpus Christie, TX
  24. DAB -Daytona, FL
  25. IND – Indianapolis, IN
  26. MCI -Kansas City, MO
  27. MDT -Harrisburg, PA
  28. MSY -New Orleans, LA
  29. ORF -Norfolk, VA
  30. PHL – Philadelphia, PA
  31. SAT – San Antonia, TX
  32. PCT – Potomac, VA