background image

6/17/21 

AIM 

2. 

Pilots who depart at or after their clearance void time 

are not afforded IFR separation and may be in violation of 
14 CFR Section 91.173 which requires that pilots receive 
an appropriate ATC clearance before operating IFR in 
controlled airspace. 

EXAMPLE

 

Clearance void if not off by (clearance void time) and, if 
required, if not off by (clearance void time) advise (facility) 
not later than (time) of intentions. 

2.  Hold for Release. 

ATC may issue “hold for 

release” instructions in a clearance to delay an 
aircraft’s departure for traffic management reasons 
(i.e., weather, traffic volume, etc.). When ATC states 
in the clearance, “hold for release,” the pilot may not 
depart utilizing that IFR clearance until a release time 
or additional instructions are issued by ATC. In 
addition, ATC will include departure delay informa-
tion in conjunction with “hold for release” 
instructions. The ATC instruction, “hold for release,” 
applies to the IFR clearance and does not prevent the 
pilot from departing under VFR. However, prior to 
takeoff the pilot should cancel the IFR flight plan and 
operate the transponder/ADS

B on the appropriate 

VFR code. An IFR clearance may not be available 
after departure. 

EXAMPLE

 

(Aircraft identification) cleared to (destination) airport as 
filed, maintain (altitude), and, if required (additional 
instructions or information), hold for release, expect (time 
in hours and/or minutes) departure delay. 

3.  Release Times. 

A “release time” is a 

departure restriction issued to a pilot by ATC, 
specifying the earliest time an aircraft may depart. 
ATC will use “release times” in conjunction with 
traffic management procedures and/or to separate a 
departing aircraft from other traffic. 

EXAMPLE

 

(Aircraft identification) released for departure at (time in 
hours and/or minutes). 

4. Expect Departure Clearance Time 

(EDCT). 

The EDCT is the runway release time 

assigned to an aircraft included in traffic management 
programs. Aircraft are expected to depart no earlier 
than 5 minutes before, and no later than 5 minutes 
after the EDCT. 

b. 

If practical, pilots departing uncontrolled 

airports should obtain IFR clearances prior to 
becoming airborne when two-way communications 
with the controlling ATC facility is available. 

5

2

8.  Departure Control 

a. 

Departure Control is an approach control 

function responsible for ensuring separation between 
departures. So as to expedite the handling of 
departures, Departure Control may suggest a takeoff 
direction other than that which may normally have 
been used under VFR handling. Many times it is 
preferred to offer the pilot a runway that will require 
the fewest turns after takeoff to place the pilot on 
course or selected departure route as quickly as 
possible. At many locations particular attention is 
paid to the use of preferential runways for local noise 
abatement programs, and route departures away from 
congested areas. 

b. 

Departure Control utilizing radar will normally 

clear aircraft out of the terminal area using DPs via 
radio navigation aids. 

1. 

When a departure is to be vectored 

immediately following takeoff, the pilot will be 
advised prior to takeoff of the initial heading to be 
flown but may not be advised of the purpose of the 
heading. When the initial heading will take the 
aircraft off an assigned procedure (for example, an 
RNAV SID with a published lateral path to a 
waypoint and crossing restrictions from the departure 
end of runway), the controller will assign an altitude 
to maintain with the initial heading and, if necessary, 
a speed to maintain. 

2. 

At some airports when a departure will fly an 

RNAV SID that begins at the runway, ATC may 
advise aircraft of the initial fix/waypoint on the 
RNAV route. The purpose of the advisory is to remind 
pilots to verify the correct procedure is programmed 
in the FMS before takeoff. Pilots must immediately 
advise ATC if a different RNAV SID is entered in the 
aircraft’s FMC. When this advisory is absent, pilots 
are still required to fly the assigned SID as published. 

EXAMPLE

 

Delta 345 RNAV to MPASS, Runway26L, cleared for 
takeoff. 

NOTE

 

1. 

The SID transition is not restated as it is contained in the 

ATC clearance. 

2. 

Aircraft cleared via RNAV SIDs designed to begin with 

a vector to the initial waypoint are assigned a heading be-
fore departure. 

3. 

Pilots operating in a radar environment are 

expected to associate departure headings or an RNAV 
departure advisory with vectors or the flight path to 

Departure Procedures 

5

2