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Old 07-06-2017, 06:48 AM   #1
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Default SID clearances with no altitude assignment

Hi,

Recently at a class B US airport departure clearances are being given with no altitude assignment at all. No "climb and maintain". No "climb via SID". No "top altitude". Just "cleared to XXX via XXXXX1 departure, departure freq 12X.XX, Squawk XXXX, expect runway XX". We are just expected to climb via SID without being told so.

Every other airport in the US I fly to still gives one of those altitude options, at least "climb via SID", even when assigned an RNAV SID.

ICAO standard is to include an altitude assignment of some kind in the departure clearance IIRC, but I haven't flown outside the US in some time, and it doesn't seem to be normal in the US. Have I missed something? Sadly my company doesn't really keep us up to date on all the latest ATC changes like most larger airlines do.

Thanks.

Last edited by LoneStarM1A; 07-06-2017 at 07:15 AM.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:22 AM   #2
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Did you query ATC on the initial altitude? What did they say? FAA JO 7110.65 contains the ATC clearance contents (policy, content and phraseology) for ATC personnel.

Each company (and/or union) normally has an ATC Rep. Have you contacted anyone? I would recommend filing an internal company safety report, ASAP if needed, and work it through the union. Also, your company could reach out to the POI, who would then coordinate with the Regional All Weather Ops/NextGen Branch Office (XXX-220) . The -220 folks have direct communication with ATC facilities within their Region of Responsibility. Hope this helps!
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:25 AM   #3
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Did you query ATC on the initial altitude? What did they say? FAA JO 7110.65 contains the ATC clearance contents (policy, content and phraseology) for ATC personnel.

Each company (and/or union) normally has an ATC Rep. Have you contacted anyone? I would recommend filing an internal company safety report, ASAP if needed, and work it through the union. Also, your company could reach out to the POI, who would then coordinate with the Regional All Weather Ops/NextGen Branch Office (XXX-220) . The -220 folks have direct communication with ATC facilities within their Region of Responsibility. Hope this helps!
The first time they did it, my F/O asked them something to the effect of "should we climb via SID?" to which the controller responded "We're not supposed to say that anymore". I haven't asked again lately but have been checking on with departure saying "leaving XXXX climbing XXXX" instead of the usual "climbing via XXXX1 departure", since there are no published crossing restrictions on these departures anyway, just a top altitude. Thanks for the suggestions on getting an answer.
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Old 07-06-2017, 07:34 AM   #4
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I didn't do an exhaustive search, but after sampling a few major airports I've operated out of recently, most US locations seem to publish an initial climb altitude on their SIDS. That's not good enough for you?

Guangzhou China and SEA don't, so they give you an initial climb altitude in your ATC clearance. Frankfurt, Paris, Ohare, EWR all publish altitudes on their SIDS. Absent anything else, I'd climb to the published altitude and expect higher with departure. I think you're making a problem where there isn't one.
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Old 07-06-2017, 10:23 AM   #5
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I didn't do an exhaustive search, but after sampling a few major airports I've operated out of recently, most US locations seem to publish an initial climb altitude on their SIDS. That's not good enough for you?

Guangzhou China and SEA don't, so they give you an initial climb altitude in your ATC clearance. Frankfurt, Paris, Ohare, EWR all publish altitudes on their SIDS. Absent anything else, I'd climb to the published altitude and expect higher with departure. I think you're making a problem where there isn't one.
I would agree to the last sentence. There is an altitude already that need not be repeated. Departure is not going to keep you at the lower altitude and will almost always give you 10 or 11 thousand right away. So, do not create a problem where there is none!
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Old 07-06-2017, 04:36 PM   #6
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Ok, fair enough, but they've issued clearances to include "climb via SID" for years and when one day they all of a sudden start omitting it (no revision to the SID chart), it makes one wonder if they've missed something important that could alter what they should be doing operationally. If the consensus is that it's nothing to be concerned about, I'll carry on.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:13 PM   #7
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I was just overseas, I think ICN. ATC said climb 310. I thought, no way that is the initial altitude. We called back, asking for the initial altitude. They said "climb via the SID to 6000." There was NO Top Altitude on this SID. I'm glad we asked for clarification.
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Old 07-06-2017, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneStarM1A View Post
The first time they did it, my F/O asked them something to the effect of "should we climb via SID?" to which the controller responded "We're not supposed to say that anymore". I haven't asked again lately but have been checking on with departure saying "leaving XXXX climbing XXXX" instead of the usual "climbing via XXXX1 departure", since there are no published crossing restrictions on these departures anyway, just a top altitude. Thanks for the suggestions on getting an answer.
If it's in the current JO, they are supposed to say it. It never hurts to ask, and if they ever get ****y, remember they work for you. If you want to hear it, ask.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:12 AM   #9
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You should get a clearance in Russia like, "cleared to destination, squawk 1234." Nothing more! Why? Well, in the old days, the navigator went to ops the day before or earlier, filed the route and it was approved by ATC and the political officer--done. Since the filing contained everything needed except the squawk, which was probably a secret until immediately before departure, no need for any route or altitude.

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Old 10-06-2017, 12:02 AM   #10
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This is CVG if anyone cares. They're still not issuing any sort of altitude, at least in their verbal clearances. I would be interested to know if they're including something in their ACARS PDC's, but I am not typically in an aircraft so equipped.
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