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Getting IFR Clearance at a Non-Towered Airport

Source:, Featuring John Krug

Subscriber Question:

"What is the best way to receive an IFR clearance when departing from a non towered airport?" - Joe M.


"The first step is to consult the Airport Facility Directory (A/FD) for the airport. Procedures will be different depending upon the equipment installed at each airport. The communications section of the AF/D will list the radio frequencies and phone numbers available at each airport.

Many airports have a Remote Communications Outlet (RCO). This is a radio transceiver connected to a FSS or TRACON via landline. The pilot can request the clearance directly from the specialist over the radio.

Other airports may require the pilot to call FSS on a phone line. The FSS specialist will relay the clearance from the TRACON or Center.

A good source is to call and check with the locals, if you are not familiar with the airport. Call the FBO or local flight school and ask what method they use. Sometimes they know, for example, that even if there is no RCO, you can reach a nearby ATC Facility while still on the ground."

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