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Departure Procedures

included in the ATC clearance. ATC requires a climb gradi-
ent of 310 FPNM to 4000, however, this ATC climb
gradient may be amended or canceled.


Climb gradients may be specified only to an

altitude/fix, above which the normal gradient applies.


“Minimum climb 340 FPNM to ALPHA.” The pilot climbs
at least 340 FPNM to ALPHA, then at least 200 FPNM to


Some DPs established solely for obstacle

avoidance require a climb in visual conditions to

cross the airport or an on−airport NAVAID in a speci-

fied direction, at or above a specified altitude. These

procedures are called Visual Climb Over the Airport



“Climb in visual conditions so as to cross the McElory Air-
port southbound, at or above 6000, then climb via
Keemmling radial zero three three to Keemmling VOR-


Who is responsible for obstacle clearance? DPs

are designed so that adherence to the procedure by the

pilot will ensure obstacle protection. Additionally:


Obstacle clearance responsibility also rests

with the pilot when he/she chooses to climb in visual

conditions in lieu of flying a DP and/or depart under

increased takeoff minima rather than fly the climb

gradient. Standard takeoff minima are one statute

mile for aircraft having two engines or less and one−

half statute mile for aircraft having more than two

engines. Specified ceiling and visibility minima

(VCOA or increased takeoff minima) will allow visu-

al avoidance of obstacles until the pilot enters the

standard obstacle protection area. Obstacle avoid-

ance is not guaranteed if the pilot maneuvers farther

from the airport than the specified visibility minimum

prior to reaching the specified altitude. DPs may also

contain what are called Low Close in Obstacles.

These obstacles are less than 200 feet above the de-

parture end of runway elevation and within one NM

of the runway end, and do not require increased take-

off minimums. These obstacles are identified on the

SID chart or in the Take−off Minimums and (Ob-

stacle) Departure Procedures section of the U. S.

Terminal Procedure booklet. These obstacles are es-

pecially critical to aircraft that do not lift off until

close to the departure end of the runway or which

climb at the minimum rate. Pilots should also consid-

er drift following lift−off to ensure sufficient

clearance from these obstacles. That segment of the

procedure that requires the pilot to see and avoid ob-

stacles ends when the aircraft crosses the specified

point at the required altitude. In all cases continued

obstacle clearance is based on having climbed a mini-

mum of 200 feet per nautical mile to the specified

point and then continuing to climb at least 200 foot

per nautical mile during the departure until reaching

the minimum enroute altitude, unless specified other-



ATC may assume responsibility for obstacle

clearance by vectoring the aircraft prior to reaching

the minimum vectoring altitude by using a Diverse

Vector Area (DVA). The DVA has been assessed for

departures which do not follow a specific ground

track. ATC may also vector an aircraft off a previous-

ly assigned DP. In all cases, the 200 FPNM climb

gradient is assumed and obstacle clearance is not pro-

vided by ATC until the controller begins to provide

navigational guidance in the form of radar vectors.


When used by the controller during departure, the term
“radar contact” should not be interpreted as relieving pi-
lots of their responsibility to maintain appropriate terrain
and obstruction clearance which may include flying the ob-
stacle DP.


Pilots must preplan to determine if the aircraft

can meet the climb gradient (expressed in feet per

nautical mile) required by the departure procedure,

and be aware that flying at a higher than anticipated

ground speed increases the climb rate requirement in

feet per minute. Higher than standard climb gradients

are specified by a note on the departure procedure

chart for graphic DPs, or in the Take−Off Minimums

and (Obstacle) Departure Procedures section of the

U.S. Terminal Procedures booklet for textual ODPs.

The required climb gradient, or higher, must be main-

tained to the specified altitude or fix, then the

standard climb gradient of 200 ft/NM can be re-

sumed. A table for the conversion of climb gradient

(feet per nautical mile) to climb rate (feet per minute),

at a given ground speed, is included on the inside of

the back cover of the U.S. Terminal Procedures book-



Where are DPs located? DPs will be listed by

airport in the IFR Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle)

Departure Procedures Section, Section L, of the Ter-

minal Procedures Publications (TPPs). If the DP is

textual, it will be described in TPP Section LSIDs

and complex ODPs will be published graphically and

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