Air Traffic Controller Discussion With a Global Perspective
By Ian Niblo 823150
#517735 Hi all,

I've booked a slot in the Toronto Real Ops event this weekend but don't really know how to do the whole departure thing. I've always flown from controlled airports and never booked an event in advance so when I take off I already have my clearance and squawk code.

What's the procedure for flying out of an uncontrolled airport on a pre-booked flight? Obviously I'll need to file on the day but what do I do about clearance, squawk codes and initial climb?

Thanks all,

By Trevor Hannant 1240481
#517737 If there's no control at your chosen departure field, then you would simply tune into UNICOM and, if there's other traffic there that may be affected by your movements, state your intentions at each of the following points:

- push back
- taxi
- departure

In terms of the three items you've mentioned:

Clearance: You won't receive clearance without active ATC, You would assume clearance in that case and if there's any issues with your chosen routing when you do come under active en route control, they'll advise or give alternate instructions in order to keep you right

Squawk Code: Squawk 2000, the relevant code for uncontrolled IFR traffic in Canada (if still current?)

Initial Climb: Follow the relevant SID limits then using online tools, if the airspace around you is clear, continue your climb to cruise level making sure that you're not going to conflict with other climbing/cruising traffic. If there is traffic around, state your climb intentions on UNICOM so others are aware
By Ian Niblo 823150
#517738 Many thanks Trevor!


By Robert Shearman Jr 1155655
#517742 Just to clarify, that's for an airport that is in a non-staffed ATC area. For a non-towered field in a staffed area, you'd call the overlying Approach controller if there's one online reasonably close by (the exact boundaries of TRACONS aren't really published anywhere useful to pilots, so you have to do a bit of guessing and trial/error), or, the overlying Center controller if Approach isn't on or doesn't handle that field. That controller will issue your clearance and then will have you return to 122.8 to depart, and you'll be instructed to "call airborne" (either at a specific altitude, a specific point, or just generally around when you'd ordinarily be handed from Tower to Departure).

Your clearance will be same as usual except it most likely will include at the end a "release valid until" time. Read that back as part of your clearance.

Once you take off (making any position reports local to the airport on 122.8 as appropriate/applicable), you'd then switch back to that controller's frequency to check in with your altitude passing and target altitude, be radar-identified, and proceed from there as you would any other IFR flight.

Not sure which scenario you were asking about, so, there you have both appropriate responses.
By Ian Niblo 823150
#517762 Many thanks to you both for two excellent replies!