Is this a legal IFR clearance?


Is the following a legal clearance from Van Nuys, CA (KVNY) to Santa Ynez, CA (KIZA)? Only question is about the routing, not the altitudes or other parts of the clearance.

“Cleared to the Santa Ynez Airport via the Canoga 8 Departure, Fillmore Transition, Fillmore, Direct.”

Fillmore VOR (FIM) is not an IAF for any procedure at the airport, nor do any of the approaches have feeder routes from Fillmore. If it is legal, what does ATC expect you to fly after Fillmore?


What’s the problem? This is a perfectly legal clearance and very typical. The clearance doesn’t have to send you to an IAF. ATC expects you to fly the SID to FIM and then proceed directly to KIZA. It’s up to you to tell the controller what approach you need to an uncontrolled airport, so they have no particular reason to send you to a specific IAF or feeder.


If you don’t lose comm there is no problem. However, IFR clearances must be based on the expectation that you will lose comm. So after FIM where do you go if you can’t talk to ATC? Direct the airport at 6000’ does you no good.


Direct to the airport is fine, especially if it’s VFR. Besides, who says a clearance has to assume a lost comm? 91.185©(3)(ii) spells out this issue:

 (ii) If the clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.


It is a typical sloppy clearance. Yes 99% of the time it wouldn’t matter but ATC clearances need to assume IMC conditions.

What was actually filed by the crew? :question:
The Crew should have filed to RZS, GVO, MQO or a waypoint the is on the procedure they intend to use for the approach. If the crew filed with a fix that takes them to an approach then they shouldn’t have accepted direct to the Airport after FIM, however if it is VFR and the crew is certain it will stay VFR, accepting the clearance is no problem.

If the crew filed KVNY Direct then they were lazy and rightfully got a lazy clearance. We have such a pilot friendly ATC and airport system that we get take these little things for granted & that is also why a lot of American crews get in trouble outside of the country.


I’ll second that.

One thing about the NJA crews I train; when I give them a clearance like that, they’ll ask me what they should expect after FIM. It’s a little thing, but it shows you that they’re thinking ahead.


<<<What was actually filed by the crew?>>>

“The crew” filed for FIM - EMUXY (IAF for a GPS approach at the airport) - Direct, but received the clearance in the original post before airborne.

I guess my question is this: If you lose comm in IFR conditions and do not find VFR conditions, what should you do after getting to FIM? Can you legally fly direct to any IAF, hold till your ETA and continue the approach? If thats the case how do you ensure terrain separation since you would possibly be off airway and do not know the MVA or MOCA?


You shouldn’t accept the clearance unless it is 100% VMC. I would tell ATC I need clearance to a waypoint or VOR that clearly transitions to an approach. Also minimum altitudes for Direct & RNAV routing is clearly outlined in the FAR’s (different for Mtn and flat areas) and it is the crews responsibility to know the MVA, MOCA & MSA.


There is nothing wrong with that clearance.

You never need to file to an IAF. How would anyone ever fly into airports like KDEN. :open_mouth:

A lot of the time I file direct from one airport to another. Just follow the lost comm procedures like trafly stated earlier.


Ok, one more time…
As I posted before, after FIM fly direct to the airport and then proceed to the correct IAF for the approach you would be using. Again:

If the clearance limit is not a fix from which an approach begins, leave the clearance limit at the expect-further-clearance time if one has been received, or if none has been received, upon arrival over the clearance limit, and proceed to a fix from which an approach begins and commence descent or descent and approach as close as possible to the estimated time of arrival as calculated from the filed or amended (with ATC) estimated time en route.

In this case, the destination airport is your clearance limit. If it is VFR you proceed with a visual approach. If not, proceed as outlined above. Terrain and obstruction clearance are up to you. Better get out those charts!

And I agree, It is a poor clearance, but it’s often what you get and some controllers have to REALLY be pressed on the issue to get clarification.


So I have answers from “Don’t accept that clearance unless it is 100% VMC,” to “There is nothing wrong with that clearance.”

So if I understand correctly, you should fly from FIM - Direct the airport using GPS, then to any IAF and complete the approach.

What if you don’t have GPS and can’t go directly to the airport? FIM then ???


This is really a very common for a clearance and I see NOTHING wrong with it.

When you filed, ATC knows what you are capable of doing(/G /A etc.) After FIM he cleared you direct, that means direct to the airport. If for some reason you are not able to go direct simply tell the controller and he will give you something different.

You don’t have to worry about anything until you get the weather and what approaches they are doing at KIZA. Most likely you will get radar vectors onto the approach. If that is not the case ATC will ask you what approach you would like and clear you to a fix on that approach when you get closer.

If you get to KIZA and for some reason have not been cleared for an approach, you are not allowed to fly to an IAF unless using the lost comm procedure.

Hope this helps.


Plus…in the event of lost comm/comm failure, one may elect to exercise emergency action/authority.

From the AIM:

6-4-1. Two-way Radio Communications Failure

a. It is virtually impossible to provide regulations and procedures applicable to all possible situations associated with two-way radio communications failure. During two-way radio communications failure, when confronted by a situation not covered in the regulation, pilots are expected to exercise good judgment in whatever action they elect to take. Should the situation so dictate they should not be reluctant to use the emergency action contained in 14 CFR Section 91.3(b).

b. Whether two-way communications failure constitutes an emergency depends on the circumstances, and in any event, it is a determination made by the pilot. 14 CFR Section 91.3(b) authorizes a pilot to deviate from any rule in Subparts A and B to the extent required to meet an emergency.

c. In the event of two-way radio communications failure, ATC service will be provided on the basis that the pilot is operating in accordance with 14 CFR Section 91.185. A pilot experiencing two-way communications failure should (unless emergency authority is exercised) comply with 14 CFR Section 91.185

And paragraph c. brings us back full circle to trafly’s point.


OK, I’ll bite. I’ll make the assumption (yikes!) that CL45 is a relatively new instrument pilot and is here looking for some guidance (big mistake!).
I think 185Driver is being a bit overly cautious in saying not to accept the clearance unless it’s 100% vmc, but that’s his call as the pilot in command and a very conservative and good choice. Conservative keeps people alive, and we like our pilot friends alive. I wouldn’t have a problem accepting that clearance unless the weather was low at the destination, close to minimums for the highest approach at the airport. As PIC it’s up to you to make the call. It can’t hurt to file to a waypoint that is an IAF and make sure that your clearance reflects what you filed. At the very least, if you lost comms, it would save you a little bit of time and aggrivation by putting you at the right place to start your approach.


Very good. First time posting on this or any other “message board” for that matter. I appreciate the feedback and opinions from all.


Yes, for this flight and most operations in the USA, it is very, very conservative. I fly alot of overseas, mountainous nonradar environment that needs to be conducted conservatively and tend to always apply the same when home or abroad. :slight_smile:

Our ATC services are simple, friendly, very :exclamation: good here and taken a bit for granted.


Where does one get MVA? I didn’t think that was available to pilots (only to ATC)?

MOCA / OROCA and MSA’s are on the charts, I don’t know of any source for MVA’s other then asking on the air.


Allen Lives… :wink:


MVA charts ar published by Jeppesen or the local governments for the following; Belgium, Bosnia/Herze, Botswana, Czech, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Egypt, France, Germany, UK, Ukraine, Turkey, Slovenia, Oman, Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Spain & maybe a few more.


Ok, thanks,

You kinda caught me off guard and said it was the responsibility of the crew member to know the MVA. I just wanted to be sure I wasn’t missing a resource (which I still assume there is none) for the kind of flying I do in the US of A…