Menu Sign In Contact FAQ
Banner
Welcome to our forums

IFR Departure at a German AFIS airfield (Donaueschingen EDTD)

I’m still new to the IFR world, and will soon do my first IFR departure from an uncontrolled (AFIS) airfield, namely Donaueschingen EDTD in Germany. I am trying to play it through in my head but am a bit unsure.

The airfield has a “Türmer”, i.e. a someone manning the radio but he is not an ATC. Also, it has RNAV SIDs.

Airspace structure around EDTD:
- SFC to 1000 ft agl: class G with RMZ
- 1000ft agl to FL 100: class E

If I want to e.g. fly the MOPA3N SID, the plate says the following (among other things): “contact ZURICH Arrival immediately after takeoff”, “Below 5000’ no contact with ZURICH Arrival”, “Departures entering controlled airspace when passing 1000’ AGL”. Not sure how to parse all this information:
Seems like I should contact asap, but it is impossible until 5000’ due to radio coverage? Why is the 1000’ CAS information relevant? I mean from a pilot’s perspective, while I am not connected to ATC yet, how is Class E different from Class G?

I also am wondering the following things:

- Clearance: I am guessing EDTD INFO will coordinate this for me and pass it along. So it will be just like any IFR flight from a towered airport, just that I am not connected to a real controller?

- Voice: while still connected with EDTD INFO, it would be “VFR style”, e.g. “HB-XXX, lining up RWY 36, departing IFR to the north climbing out on RWY heading”? I am also guessing that I should stay on EDTD INFO until 5000 ft, because cannot connect to ZURICH Arrival before that anyway.

- Minimums: this is what I am wondering the most. What is the logic here? Is it the same as any towered airport or different due to airspace structure/not being connected to controller?

  1. RVR: per plate, it seems I can start with 400/500 RVR on RWY 18, and 1200m RVR RWY 36. So no VFR minimums applicable, correct?
  2. ceiling: as per Jeppesen plate 10-9, RWY 18 has no ceiling and RWY 36 has 400’ ceiling. This means I can take off directly into the clouds on RWY 18 and I can take off as long as I have ceiling of 400’ agl or higher on RWY 36? The fact that I am still in Class G airspace shouldn’t matter because if it is IMC, I cannot collide with VFR traffic and IFR traffic is separated by clearance (time separation)? And between 1000’ and 5000’, if IMC, other IFR traffic will be separated from me since I am visible on SSR, and due to clearance? If VMC, I will avoid proactively by “see and avoid”, only difference is that obviously there is no traffic information from ATC?

I just feels so strange to fly IFR IMC below 5000’ while not being connected to ATC yet.

Last Edited by HBadger at 05 Jun 12:37
Switzerland

I must admit I was a bit puzzled with same questions when departing from EDTD so I chose to file “Z” plan and fly first portion VFR and then get clearance on IFR pick-up. I guess it’s defined like that because it’s allowed to fly IFR in uncontrolled airspace in Germany. But even with “I” plan I would do the same, flying RNAV SID and then getting clearance ASAP. I’m sure others will give you better explanations and answers.

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

Yeah if weather is good you can play the “Z card”. But what if it isn’t?

Why would you fly the SID and “get clearance asap”? I thought you would already get the clearance on the ground?

Curious to hear from the German pilots here, they must be experts with these scenarios :)

Switzerland

I have no idea about German IFR procedures, but can you not get a clearance over the phone while still on the ground like here in the US?

From what I understand , the AFIS will relay to you a clearance which you will follow in class G then E, but non-radio until 5000 ft (or when you will get them).
Zurich info can certainly be reached below 5000 ft in this area, for Zurich radar I don’t know.

The distinct minima for 18 and 36 may come from the hill that is next to the final to 18. So departing 36, you would be better seeing the hill. Departing 18 is downhill and completely void of obstacles IIRC.

Many Swiss pilots here should know more, Mooney Driver among them.

Seems like I should contact asap, but it is impossible until 5000’ due to radio coverage?

I think the idea is that there is no sense of remaining on the AFIS frequency, therefore they want you with radar as soon as possible, even though radio contact cannot be guaranteed. The 5000 feet coverage normally means, that if at that altitude, you still cannot reach radar, you either tuned the wrong frequency or lost your radio. So it is more a hint to not be confused if you cannot reach them and also don’t expect to be able to leave the SID below 5000 feet. And also it could be possible that upon hear ATC before they can hear you.

Why is the 1000’ CAS information relevant?

Maybe because in Germany at least according to the BAF and LBA understanding outside of controlled airspace IFR is only possible on a procedure like the SID you fly. And also to make you aware of possible VFR traffic minima, as in G they can fly clear of clouds, no ceiling required.

I mean from a pilot’s perspective, while I am not connected to ATC yet, how is Class E different from Class G?

As stated above, it is different for the other traffic participants. What is interesting and puzzles me is: If you switch to radar while still in the RMZ, but they have no coverage, do you formally fulfill the requirements of the RMZ?

So it will be just like any IFR flight from a towered airport, just that I am not connected to a real controller?

Yes, technically on non DFS airfields, the clearance is also just relayed to you.

while still connected with EDTD INFO, it would be “VFR style”, e.g. “HB-XXX, lining up RWY 36, departing IFR to the north climbing out on RWY heading”?

The only thing I don’t know about is, whether AFIS needs a release from the controller and could therefore ask you to delay your departure, anybody ever experienced that?

I am also guessing that I should stay on EDTD INFO until 5000 ft, because cannot connect to ZURICH Arrival before that anyway.

As I mentioned above, I would maybe stay with Info until 1000AGL, or when it suits me to change frequency, but not until 5000ft MSL, otherwise it would be specified (check EDVK for instance, where it reads contact Langen passing 2500ft).

Minimums: this is what I am wondering the most. What is the logic here? Is it the same as any towered airport or different due to airspace structure/not being connected to controller?

Do you mean departure minimums? I thought they are only dependent on airport equipment and procedure design, not on airspace type.

So no VFR minimums applicable, correct?

If you are departing on an IFR plan with an IFR clearance, that’s correct.

I think the other questions have been answered before.

I just feels so strange to fly IFR IMC below 5000’ while not being connected to ATC yet

I know, after doing my whole PPL, NFQ and IFR in Germany and now fly in the US, I was feeling the same, but the procedures ensure that everything works. Keep in mind, that even though ATC might be responsible for terrain clearance, it is you who is hitting the mountain. Therefore this peace of mind and split responsibilities can easily lead you in feeling safe, when you are not.

P19 EDFE EDVE EDDS

HBadger wrote:

while I am not connected to ATC yet, how is Class E different from Class G?

You can’t get clearance to fly (IFR or VFR) in class G and you can’t fly IFR in class E without an IFR clearance (but you could get that without an RT contact)

HBadger wrote:

I just feels so strange to fly IFR IMC below 5000’ while not being connected to ATC yet.

That airspace shape is more bonker than you think, if you have no class E IFR clearance before departure, you will be flying IMC bellow 1000ft which does not work as you need to be above your MSA to comply with IFR, so you can’t “just fly there IFR”, still you can depart, climb and stay at 1000ft pending on getting an airborne clearance

At 5000ft you should be speaking to the class E owner (assuming you did not speak to them before getting to 1000ft as you should, their assumption would be you were just VFR as you entered class E and now looking to switch IFR inside, in VMC it should not be an issue, in IMC it can’t happen )

Last Edited by Ibra at 05 Jun 18:21
ESSEX, United Kingdom

Wow, a lot of good input, thanks so much guys especially TobiBS, I learned a lot today.

TobiBS wrote:

What is interesting and puzzles me is: If you switch to radar while still in the RMZ, but they have no coverage, do you formally fulfill the requirements of the RMZ?

I guess that is details now… the RMZ in EDTD is so tiny in the grand scheme of things. You definitely would be outside of RMZ before being able to receive radar. But then again it might be different for other airports.

TobiBS wrote:

Minimums: this is what I am wondering the most. What is the logic here? Is it the same as any towered airport or different due to airspace structure/not being connected to controller?

Do you mean departure minimums? I thought they are only dependent on airport equipment and procedure design, not on airspace type.

Yes, I mean departure minimums. What I was trying to get at is whether I am even allowed to fly into clouds immediately after departure (min ceilings 0ft / 400ft) while still in class G airspace. See my later questions, but it’s answered now :)

TobiBS wrote:

I just feels so strange to fly IFR IMC below 5000’ while not being connected to ATC yet

I know, after doing my whole PPL, NFQ and IFR in Germany and now fly in the US, I was feeling the same, but the procedures ensure that everything works.

…and since there is no TWR/Radar, the separation from other IFR traffic is by spacing in time, e.g. an expiring departure clearance, correct?

TobiBS wrote:

Keep in mind, that even though ATC might be responsible for terrain clearance, it is you who is hitting the mountain. Therefore this peace of mind and split responsibilities can easily lead you in feeling safe, when you are not.

Yes, I think that’s a very good point. Makes me wonder if and when I should use synthetic vision as a “double check”. Aircraft has it, but my CFII was of the opinion that it is just a distraction, and basically would only be useful for emergencies. Number one priority is of course monitoring that the FD/AP flies the SID according to the specs.

Last Edited by HBadger at 05 Jun 18:33
Switzerland

Ibra wrote:

That airspace shape is more bonker than you think, if you have no class E IFR clearance before departure, you will be flying IMC bellow 1000ft which does not work as you need to be above your MSA to comply with IFR, so you can’t “just fly there IFR”, still you can depart, climb and stay at 1000ft pending on getting an airborne clearance

At 5000ft you should be speaking to the class E owner (assuming you did not speak to them before getting to 1000ft as you should, their assumption would be you were just VFR as you entered class E and now looking to switch IFR inside, in VMC it should not be an issue, in IMC it can’t happen )

It is not really bonkers and is actually very similar to a departure from a non-controlled airfield in the US. AFIS obtains and passes on the clearance from the relevant approach sector controller which means one is cleared to fly the SID and enter controlled airspace. Given radio coverage restrictions, the approach controller in this case is not contactable until passing 5,000ft. This does happen at different airports around the world and this is where the lost comm procedure comes in, i.e. fly your clearance and try to contact the approach frequency, otherwise switch back to the prior frequency and inform them. You were given a squawk and clearance on departure and the approach controller will have you on his/her scope.

Here is a similar situation with respect to radio coverage at Kassel-Calden which is a towered airport in this case:

One should note that even a tower controller (not too dissimilar from ATIS) normally has to coordinate with the approach controller and release aircraft for departure accordingly. Some towers will have a standing LOA with the approach controller but I have been to airports where the tower controller told me that he needed to coordinate the clearance with the approach sector and/or hold me for release before takeoff. Tower controllers strictly speaking have control only over their runway environment and relevant control zone, the non-CTR controlled airspace around it (whether it be A, B, C, D or E) is controlled by the approach controller.

EGTF, EGLK, United Kingdom

If you depart with an IFR clerance ready you just fly it untill it expires or you get your RT contact (same as when changing to next frequency)

I was refering to the case where you depart without any IFR clerance (say no AFIS/ATC or out of hours and you are in class G anyway) hoping to get one once airborn, on that airspace structure it will be tricky, especially if it is IMC bellow 5000ft or IMC bellow 1000ft depending if you depart VFR or IFR…

ESSEX, United Kingdom
16 Posts
Sign in to add your message

Back to Top