We have Clearance, Clarence!


You’re 'instrument rated', that’s great.  You can fly approaches on a nice day with a safety pilot, outstanding. Now, when was the last time you actually picked up a clearance in the system?  And don't call me Shirley!

You’ll start out at the ramp and rejoice in the glory of the Southern California Tower Enroute Control (TEC) system, which allows you to pick up IFR clearances without having to file a flight plan in advance. That’s perfect for today’s exercise and allows you to get on with the copying some truly horrific full route clearances. Oops, I mean...you’ve got this, champ.

Pen at the ready, get ready to hone your CRAFT as you copy 3 IFR clearances back to back. If you didn’t just recognize that as the World Class Pun that it was then you might be more rusty than you even realize.

Will you feel the warm, reaffirming rush that comes with hearing “readback correct?” Or, if the aforementioned pun is still a mystery, then it might be spirit-crushing silence followed by a long, drawn out sigh from the controller.

Either way, it’s going to be interesting! Just think, picking up 3 clearances in a rented airplane with an instructor on board could run you $600 or more. Isn’t simulation great?

We’re parked at Burbank airport at an FBO just west of taxiway Bravo. Let’s pick up a clearance to Santa Monica (SMO)! It’ll be fun. I can help you with this one, the published preferred route is VNY095R to DARTS. That’s the Van Nuys 095 radial to DARTS, then direct.

With clearance #1 under our belt, let’s pick up a clearance John Wayne (SNA). I just flew this last week and I think the first part was V186 BAYJY, another airway, then it finished up at Seal Beach (SLI).

Two down, one to go! Santa Barbara (SBA) is the final destination for clearance #3. I have no earthly idea what the route will be. In an exercise in sheer optimism, I would just file direct and then see what the controller gives me when she’s done laughing.

Pre-brief and Fly More!

Arrive well briefed for this flight and get extra sim time.  Access and review the materials here.