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IFR clearance question (and traffic avoidance, IFR OCAS, etc)

Even though I had my IFR rating for a while I still feel like a beginner.
Yesterday I was IFR from ESSF to EKAH. I filled IFR for the complete route.
After takeoff I called Sweden control. After a bit of trouble getting in contact they basically said “Climb FL90, is that your finale level?”.
Then after a while I was transferred to Kronoberg tower. I told them I was climbing FL90. They then said “cleared to cross TMA”.
I then requested FL120 and was cleared for that and returned to Sweden control as this altitude in Sweden is generally class C.
I never discussed the lateral route with anybody – before getting vectored to the ILS. Usually I get something like “cleared to EKAH FL90”
When crossing a Danger area near Halmstad I asked if it was ok to cross. The answer was something like “yes – you are IFR”
I thought that I needed a clearance to some point or destination. Has this something to do with part of the route being in uncontrolled airspace?
https://www.autorouter.aero/track/24774QrgC

pmh
www.ekbr.dk, Denmark

Yes, there is no clearance in uncontrolled airspace, clearances can only be issued for controlled airspace like the TMA. ATC cannot tell you what to do while in uncontrolled airspace. In Germany (which has very little uncontrolled airspace) they use the terminology “advise/recommend heading 120” because Germans insist on being told where to fly to

So I assume that when entering the controlled airspace in the climb to FL120 the controller should/could have given me a clearance for the route to be flown. Should I at that point have asked for a clearance enroute?

pmh
www.ekbr.dk, Denmark

I would turn it round. If you are cleared into controlled airspace, your clearance may or may not include a routing or level restriction. If it doesn’t, you are cleared to “free range”. You can then zig zag around doing barrel rolls of you wish (and indeed people do.)

You were cleared to a level. My guess is that there was nothing within 100nm of you at that level and they really didn’t much care what you did. You are obliged to stay at the level, and there was probably also an expectation that you would proceed towards destination, and that if you had done something very different they would have been more proactive.

Once you are cleared through Class C airspace under IFR it is indeed their responsibility to worry about Prohibited, Restricted and Danger areas and military activity. You can just relax.

EGKB Biggin Hill

Off topic, but I’m going to ESSF next week. Anything I need to know?

EKRK

pmh: Did you explicitly ask for your ATC clearance at first contact with control?

Have many times flown out of places like Ærø IFR with a properly filed flight plan and just asked Copenhagen Control for my ATC clearance.
If you are in doubt about being on an IFR plan just ask them.

Last Edited by Michael_J at 07 Jul 13:33
EKRK, Denmark

I did ask them to confirm I was IFR, but not for the specific clearance. I think next time I will ask them for the clearance when entering the controlled airspace.

ESSF is a very nice place. Call ahead to to Evert – see their web page. I think they have a track day with cars next week, but can’t remember exact date. They have unleaded hjelmco fuel. 100 Sek will give you all the landings you want. Ask Evert if you need a simple place to stay.

pmh
www.ekbr.dk, Denmark

There is however an issue with the ICAO Lost Comms procedure.

In CAS, you are entitled to it.

OCAS, you are de facto not entitled to it because you are supposed to remain OCAS (because when OCAS you don’t have a clearance to enter/re-enter CAS) so how the hell are you going to land in IMC (i.e. from an IAP) if all the ones in range are in CAS?

Administrator
Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

pmh wrote:

I thought that I needed a clearance to some point or destination. Has this something to do with part of the route being in uncontrolled airspace?

This indeed quite odd. You should have gotten a complete IFR clearance on first contact with Sweden control. (Sorry, achimha, but you were wrong, that pmh was flying in uncontrolled airspace had nothing to do with it.)

However, from the point of view of ATC you are already “in the system”. The route clearance is basically to confirm to you that this is the case. You are supposed to get the clearance at first contact with ATC, but an enroute ATC unit may not always realise that it is your first contact. (Or they may be confused…) This has happened to me a few times when something is out of the ordinary. E.g. if you are redirected to another ATC unit to get the clearance.

What you should do at first contact is to be clear that you are opening an IFR flight plan. Swedish ATC has a standardised phraseology for that (not ICAO standard as far as I know): “ACTIVATING (flight rules) FLIGHT PLAN, DEPARTED (departure airport) (time) TO (destination airport)”. If you say this on first contact, you are 90% certain to get a clearance in return. If not, saying “STANDING BY FOR CLEARANCE” will do the trick.

And again, that you happen to fly in class G airspace at the time is irrelevant. Sweden has a seamless system for IFR traffic in all airspace classes.

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden

Peter wrote:

There is however an issue with the ICAO Lost Comms procedure.

In CAS, you are entitled to it.

OCAS, you are de facto not entitled to it because you are supposed to remain OCAS (because when OCAS you don’t have a clearance to enter/re-enter CAS) so how the hell are you going to land in IMC (i.e. from an IAP) if all the ones in range are in CAS?

The lost comm procedures don’t say anything about clearances — they only talk about the “current flight plan”. So as long as your flight plan is activated, it doesn’t matter if you actually have a clearance or not.

Well maybe not in the UK. The UK is unique in that you lose your clearance if you enter uncontrolled airspace. That is not the case in other countries with IFR in class G. The clearance is valid up to the clearance limit. (Of course, your clearance will not be valid in class G, but it is not lost and will take effect again the moment you enter controlled airspace.)

ESKC (Uppsala/Sundbro), Sweden
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