4-2-1 Section 2. Clearances

4-2-1 Clearance Items

 Issue the following clearance items, as appropriate, in the order listed below:
  a. Aircraft identification.
  b. Clearance limit.

{New-98-8 Revised August 13, 1998. Was "Departure procedure or SID/FMSP."}
  c. Instrument departure procedure (DP).
  d. Route of flight including PDR/PDAR/PAR when applied.
  e. Altitude data in the order flown.
  f. MACH Number, if applicable
  g. USAF: When issuing a clearance to an airborne aircraft containing an altitude assignment, do not include more than one of the following in the same transmission:

   1. Frequency change.
   2. Transponder change.
   3. Heading.
   4. Altimeter setting.
   5. Traffic information containing an altitude.

  h. Holding instructions.
  i. Any special information.
  j. Frequency and beacon code information.

FAAO 7110.65, IFR-VFR and VFR-IFR Flights, paragraph 4-2-8.
FAAO 7110.65, Altitude Information, paragraph 4-5-7.

4-2-2 Clearance Prefix

 a. Prefix a clearance, information, or a request for information which will be relayed to an aircraft through a non-ATC facility by stating "A-T-C clears," "A-T-C advises," or "A-T-C requests."
 b. Flight service stations shall prefix a clearance with the appropriate phrase: "ATC clears," "ATC advises," etc.

4-2-3 Delivery Instructions

 Issue specific clearance delivery instructions, if appropriate.

4-2-4 Clearance Relay

 Relay clearances verbatim.

FAAO 7110.65, Communications Failure, paragraph 10-4-4.

4-2-5 Route or Altitude Amendments

 a. Amend route of flight in a previously issued clearance by one of the following:
  1. State which portion of the route is being amended and then state the amendment.

{New-98-3 Revised February 26, 1998}

  CHANGE (portion of route) TO READ (new portion of route).

  2. State the amendment to the route and then state that the rest of the route is unchanged.

{New-98-3 Revised February 26, 1998}

  (Amendment to route), REST OF ROUTE UNCHANGED.

{New-98-3 Revised February 26, 1998}

  3. Issue a clearance "direct" to a point on the previously issued route.

{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}


{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}

  Clearances authorizing "direct" to a point on a previously issued route do not require the phrase "rest of route
  unchanged." However, it must be understood where the previously cleared route is resumed. When necessary,
  "rest of route unchanged" may be used to clarify routing.

{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}

  4. Issue the entire route by stating the amendment.

(Cessna 21A has been cleared to the Airville airport via V41 Delta VOR V174 Alfa VOR, direct Airville airport, maintain 9000. After takeoff, the aircraft is rerouted via V41 Frank intersection, V71 Delta VOR, V174 Alfa VOR. The controller issues one of the following as an amended clearance:)
[1] "Cessna Two One Alfa change Victor Forty-one Delta to read Victor Forty-one Frank, Victor Seventy-one Delta."
[2] "Cessna Two One Alfa cleared via Victor forty-one Frank, Victor Seventy-one Delta, rest of route unchanged."
[3] "Cessna Two One Alfa cleared via Victor Forty-one Frank, Victor Seventy-one Delta, Victor One Seventy-four Alfa V-O-R, direct Airville airport, maintain niner thousand."

 b. When route or altitude in a previously issued clearance is amended, restate all applicable altitude restrictions.

(A departing aircraft is cleared to cross Ollis intersection at or above 3,000; Gordonsville VOR at or above 12,000; maintain FL 200. Shortly after departure the altitude to be maintained is changed to FL 240. Because altitude restrictions remain in effect, the controller issues an amended clearance as follows:)
"Amend altitude. Cross Ollis intersection at or above three thousand; cross Gordonsville V-O-R at or above one two thousand; maintain flight level two four zero."
(Shortly after departure, altitude restrictions are no longer applicable, the controller issues an amended clearance as follows:)
"Climb and maintain flight level two four zero."

{New-98-8 Revised August 13, 1998. "DP" was "SID/FMSP"}

  Restating previously issued altitude to "maintain" is an amended clearance. If altitude to "maintain" is changed or
  restated, whether prior to departure or while airborne, and previously issued altitude restrictions are omitted,
  altitude restrictions are canceled, including DP altitude restrictions if any.

 c. Issue an amended clearance if a speed restriction is declined because it cannot be complied with concurrently with a previously issued altitude restriction.

(An aircraft is cleared to cross Gordonsville VOR at 11,000. Shortly thereafter he is cleared to reduce his airspeed to 300 knots. The pilot informs the controller he is unable to comply with both clearances simultaneously. The controller issues and amended clearance as follows:)

 "Cross Gordonsville VOR at one one thousand. Then, reduce speed to three zero zero."

The phrase "do the best you can" or comparable phrases are not valid substitutes for an amended clearance with altitude or speed restrictions.

FAAO 7110.65, Operational Requests, paragraph 2-1-18.
FAAO 7110.65, Section 6. Vectoring, Methods, paragraph 5-6-2.
FAAO 7110.65, Section 7. Speed Adjustment, Methods, paragraph 5-7-2.

{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}

 d. Air traffic control specialists should avoid route and/or altitude changes for aircraft participating in the National Route Program (NRP) and that are displaying "NRP" in the remarks section of their flight plan.

{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}

  Air traffic control specialists retain the latitude necessary to tactically resolve conflicts. Every effort should be made
  to ensure the aircraft is returned to the original filed flight plan/altitude as soon as conditions warrant.

{New-98-3 Added February 26, 1998}

  FAAO 7110.65, Operational Priority, paragraph 2-1-4.
  FAAO 7110.65, National Route Program (NRP) Information, paragraph 2-2-15.
  FAAO 7110.65, En Route Data Entries, paragraph 2-3-2.
  FAAO 7210.3, Chapter 17, Section 17, National Route Program.

4-2-6 Through Clearances

 You may clear an aircraft through intermediate stops.

CLEARED THROUGH (airport) TO (fix).

4-2-7 ALTRV Clearance

 Use the phrase "via approved altitude reservation flight plan," if the aircraft will operate in an approved ALTRV.


An ALTRV normally includes the departure, climb, cruise, and arrival phases of flight up to and including holding pattern or point/time at which ATC provides separation between aircraft.

FAAO 7110.65, Abbreviated Departure Clearance, paragraph 4-3-3.

4-2-8 IFR-VFR and VFR-IFR Flights

 a. Clear an aircraft planning IFR operations for the initial part of flight and VFR for the latter part to the fix at which the IFR part ends.
 b. Treat an aircraft planning VFR for the initial part of flight and IFR for the latter part as a VFR departure. Issue a clearance to this aircraft when it requests IFR clearance approaching the fix where it proposes to start IFR operations. The phraseology CLEARED TO (destination) AIRPORT AS FILED may be used with abbreviated departure clearance procedures.

FAAO 7110.65, Abbreviated Departure Clearance, paragraph 4-3-3.
 c. When an aircraft changes from VFR to IFR, the controller shall assign a beacon code to Mode-C equipped aircraft that will allow MSAW alarms.
 d. When a VFR aircraft, operating below the minimum altitude for IFR operations, requests an IFR clearance and you are aware that the pilot is unable to climb in VFR conditions to the minimum IFR altitude:

  1. Before issuing a clearance, ask if the pilot is able to maintain terrain and obstruction clearance during a climb to the minimum IFR altitude.

Pilots of pop-up aircraft are responsible for terrain and obstacle clearance until reaching minimum instrument altitude (MIA) or minimum en route altitude (MEA). Pilot compliance with an approved FAA procedure or an ATC instruction transfers that responsibility to the FAA; therefore, do not assign (or imply) specific course guidance that will (or could) be in effect below MIA or MEA.

"November eight seven six, are you able to provide your own terrain and obstruction clearance between your present altitude and six thousand feet?"
  2. If the pilot is able to maintain terrain and obstruction separation, issue the appropriate clearance as prescribed in  paragraphs 4-2-1, Clearance Items,  and paragraph 4-5-6, Minimum En Route Altitudes.
  3. If unable to maintain terrain and obstruction separation, instruct the pilot to maintain VFR and to state intentions.
  4. If appropriate, apply the provisions of paragraphs 10-2-7, 10-2-8, or 10-2-9 as necessary.

4-2-9 Clearance Items

 The following guidelines shall be utilized to facilitate the processing of airfile aircraft:
 a. Ensure the aircraft is within your area of jurisdiction unless otherwise coordinated.
 b. Obtain necessary information needed to provide IFR service.
 c. Issue clearance to destination, short range clearance, or an instruction to the pilot to contact a FSS or AFSS if the flight plan cannot be processed.

These procedures do not imply that the processing of airfiles has priority over another ATC duty to be performed.

FAAO 7110.65, Recording Information, paragraph 2-2-1