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

“Fly Runway Heading”

I have noticed continued confusion among IFR pilots about the instruction to “fly runway heading” during an instrument departure. Many pilots, drawing on their primary training, think they should apply appropriate drift correction to maintain the track of the extended runway centerline. But that’s not what the instruction means or what ATC expects.

First, from the Pilot/Controller Glossary, note the definition of Runway Heading:

RUNWAY HEADING− The magnetic direction that corresponds with the runway centerline extended, not the painted runway number. When cleared to “fly or maintain runway heading,” pilots are expected to fly or maintain the heading that corresponds with the extended centerline of the departure runway. Drift correction shall not be applied; e.g., Runway 4, actual magnetic heading of the runway centerline 044, fly 044.

The same guidance is described in the Instrument Procedures Handbook:

Additionally, when required, departure instructions specify the actual heading to be flown after takeoff, as is the case in figure 2-34 under the departure route description, “Climb via heading 112 degrees…” Some existing procedures specify, “Climb runway heading.” Over time, both of these departure instructions will be updated to read, “Climb heading 112 degrees….” Runway Heading is the magnetic direction that corresponds with the runway centerline extended (charted on the AIRPORT DIAGRAM), not the numbers painted on the runway. Pilots cleared to “fly or maintain runway heading” are expected to fly or maintain the published heading that corresponds with the extended centerline of the departure runway (until otherwise instructed by ATC), and are not to apply drift correction; e.g. RWY 11, actual magnetic heading of the runway centerline 112.2 degrees, “fly heading 112 degrees.” In the event of parallel departures this prevents a loss of separation caused by only one aircraft applying a wind drift. (1-42)

Under VFR, however, you should correct drift to remain over the extended centerline of the runway while on the departure leg, unless you are directed to “fly runway heading.” See, for example, the Airplane Flying Handbook (p. 5-6):

The climb with a wind correction angle should be continued to follow a ground track aligned with the runway direction. However, because the force of a crosswind may vary markedly within a few hundred feet of the ground, frequent checks of actual ground track should be made, and the wind correction adjusted as necessary.

The AFH also calls out drift correction in the “common errors” portion of that section:

Inadequate drift correction after lift-off.

The private pilot and commercial pilot ACS also note this requirement. For example, see PA.IV.A.S13 in IV. Takeoffs, Landings, and Go-Arounds of the private pilot ACS:

Maintain directional control and proper wind drift correction throughout takeoff and climb.

Under IFR, the rationale for flying runway heading and not flying a track (when cleared to “fly runway heading” or “fly heading xxx”) is suggested in the Instrument Procedures Handbook section cited earlier, viz.:

…In the event of parallel departures this prevents a loss of separation caused by only one aircraft applying a wind drift.