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Departure Procedures

taking the aircraft off a previously assigned nonradar

route, the pilot will be advised briefly what the vector

is to achieve. Thereafter, radar service will be

provided until the aircraft has been reestablished

“on-course” using an appropriate navigation aid and

the pilot has been advised of the aircraft’s position or

a handoff is made to another radar controller with

further surveillance capabilities.

c. Controllers will inform pilots of the departure

control frequencies and, if appropriate, the transpon-

der code before takeoff. Pilots must ensure their

transponder is adjusted to the “on” or normal

operating position as soon as practical and remain on

during all operations unless otherwise requested to

change to “standby” by ATC. Pilots should not

change to the departure control frequency until

requested. Controllers may omit the departure control

frequency if a DP has or will be assigned and the

departure control frequency is published on the DP.

5−2−9. Instrument Departure Procedures

(DP) − Obstacle Departure Procedures

(ODP), Standard Instrument Departures

(SID), and Diverse Vector Areas (DVA) 

a. Instrument departure procedures are pre-

planned instrument flight rule (IFR) procedures

which provide obstruction clearance from the

terminal area to the appropriate en route structure.

There are two types of DPs, Obstacle Departure

Procedures (ODP), printed either textually or

graphically, and Standard Instrument Departures

(SID), always printed graphically. All DPs, either

textual or graphic may be designed using either

conventional or RNAV criteria. RNAV procedures

will have RNAV printed in the title; for exam-


provide obstruction clearance via the least onerous

route from the terminal area to the appropriate en

route structure. ODPs are recommended for

obstruction clearance and may be flown without ATC

clearance unless an alternate departure procedure

(SID or radar vector) has been specifically assigned

by ATC. Graphic ODPs will have (OBSTACLE)

printed in the procedure title; for example, GEYSR



dard Instrument Departures are air traffic control

(ATC) procedures printed for pilot/controller use in

graphic form to provide obstruction clearance and a

transition from the terminal area to the appropriate en

route structure. SIDs are primarily designed for

system enhancement and to reduce pilot/controller

workload. ATC clearance must be received prior to

flying a SID. All DPs provide the pilot with a way to

depart the airport and transition to the en route

structure safely.

b. A Diverse Vector Area (DVA) is an area in

which ATC may provide random radar vectors during

an uninterrupted climb from the departure runway

until above the MVA/MIA, established in accordance

with the TERPS criteria for diverse departures. The

DVA provides obstacle and terrain  avoidance in lieu

of taking off from the runway under IFR using an


c. Pilots operating under 14 CFR Part 91 are

strongly encouraged to file and fly a DP at night,

during marginal Visual Meteorological Conditions

(VMC) and Instrument Meteorological Conditions

(IMC), when one is available. The following

paragraphs will provide an overview of the DP

program, why DPs are developed, what criteria are

used, where to find them, how they are to be flown,

and finally pilot and ATC responsibilities.

d. Why are DPs necessary? The primary reason is

to provide obstacle clearance protection information

to pilots. A secondary reason, at busier airports, is to

increase efficiency and reduce communications and

departure delays through the use of SIDs. When an

instrument approach is initially developed for an

airport, the need for DPs is assessed. The procedure

designer conducts an obstacle analysis to support

departure operations. If an aircraft may turn in any

direction from a runway within the limits of the

assessment area (see paragraph 5−2−9e3) and remain

clear of obstacles, that runway passes what is called

a diverse departure assessment and no ODP will be

published. A SID may be published if needed for air

traffic control purposes. However, if an obstacle

penetrates what is called the 40:1 obstacle

identification surface, then the procedure designer

chooses whether to:

1. Establish a steeper than normal climb

gradient; or

2. Establish a steeper than normal climb

gradient with an alternative that increases takeoff

minima to allow the pilot to visually remain clear of

the obstacle(s); or


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