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6/17/21 

AIM 

clearance if necessary; and once the aircraft reports 
reaching VFR-on-top, reclears the aircraft to 
maintain VFR-on-top. 

3. 

Before issuing clearance, ascertain that the 

aircraft is not in or will not enter Class A airspace. 

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14.  Instrument Departures 

a.  Pilot. 

1. 

Prior to departure considers the type of terrain 

and other obstructions on or in the vicinity of the 
departure airport. 

2. 

Determines if obstruction avoidance can be 

maintained visually or that the departure procedure 
should be followed. 

3. 

Determines whether an obstacle departure 

procedure (ODP) and/or DP is available for 
obstruction avoidance. One option may be a Visual 
Climb Over Airport (VCOA). Pilots must advise 
ATC as early as possible of the intent to fly the VCOA 
prior to departure. 

4. 

At airports where IAPs have not been 

published, hence no published departure procedure, 
determines what action will be necessary and takes 
such action that will assure a safe departure. 

b.  Controller. 

1. 

At locations with airport traffic control 

service, when necessary, specifies direction of 
takeoff, turn, or initial heading to be flown after 
takeoff, consistent with published departure proce-
dures (DP) or diverse vector areas (DVA), where 
applicable. 

2. 

At locations without airport traffic control 

service but within Class E surface area when 
necessary to specify direction of takeoff, turn, or 
initial heading to be flown, obtains pilot’s concur-
rence that the procedure will allow the pilot to comply 
with local traffic patterns, terrain, and obstruction 
avoidance. 

3. 

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. 

4. 

Includes established departure procedures as 

part of the ATC clearance when pilot compliance is 
necessary to ensure separation. 

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15.  Minimum Fuel Advisory 

a.  Pilot. 

1. 

Advise ATC of your minimum fuel status 

when your fuel supply has reached a state where, 
upon reaching destination, you cannot accept any 
undue delay. 

2. 

Be aware this is not an emergency situation, 

but merely an advisory that indicates an emergency 
situation is possible should any undue delay occur. 

3. 

On initial contact the term “minimum fuel” 

should be used after stating call sign. 

EXAMPLE

 

Salt Lake Approach, United 621, “minimum fuel.” 

4. 

Be aware a minimum fuel advisory does not 

imply a need for traffic priority. 

5. 

If the remaining usable fuel supply suggests 

the need for traffic priority to ensure a safe landing, 
you should declare an emergency due to low fuel and 
report fuel remaining in minutes. 

REFERENCE

 

Pilot/Controller Glossary Term

 Fuel Remaining. 

b.  Controller. 

1. 

When an aircraft declares a state of minimum 

fuel, relay this information to the facility to whom 
control jurisdiction is transferred. 

2. 

Be alert for any occurrence which might 

delay the aircraft. 

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16.  RNAV and RNP Operations 

a.  Pilot. 

1. 

If unable to comply with the requirements of 

an RNAV or RNP procedure, pilots must advise air 
traffic control as soon as possible. For example, 
“N1234, failure of GPS system, unable RNAV, 
request amended clearance.” 

2. 

Pilots are not authorized to fly a published 

RNAV or RNP procedure (instrument approach, 
departure, or arrival procedure) unless it is retrievable 
by the procedure name from the current aircraft 
navigation database and conforms to the charted 
procedure. The system must be able to retrieve the 

Pilot/Controller Roles and Responsibilities 

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