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Instrument Flying Handbook
The Air Traffic Control System
Control Sequence

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Instrument Flying
Handbook

Preface

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Human Factors
Chapter 2. Aerodynamic Factors
Chapter 3. Flight Instruments
Chapter 4. Section I
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Flying
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 4. Section II
Airplane Attitude Instrument
Flying
Using an Electronic Flight
Display

Chapter 5. Section I
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using Analog Instrumentation
Chapter 5. Section II
Airplane Basic
Flight Maneuvers
Using an Electronic Flight
Display

Chapter 6. Helicopter
Attitude Instrument Flying

Chapter 7. Navigation Systems
Chapter 8. The National
Airspace System

Chapter 9. The Air Traffic
Control System

Chapter 10. IFR Flight
Chapter 11. Emergency
Operations

7. ARTCC: After departing the departure controller's
airspace, aircraft is handed off to Center, who
coordinates the flight while en route. Pilots may
be in contact with multiple ARTCC facilities; they
coordinate the hand-offs,

8. EFAS/HIWAS: Coordinate with ATC before
leaving their frequency to obtain in-flight weather
information.

9. ATIS: Coordinate with ATC before leaving their
frequency to obtain ATIS information,

10. Approach Control: Center hands off to approach
control where pilots receive additional information
and clearances.

11. Tower: Once cleared for the approach, pilots are
instructed to contact tower control; the flight plan is
canceled by the tower controller upon landing.

A typical IFR flight, with departure and arrival at airports
without operating control towers, would use the ATC
facilities and services in the following sequence:

1. AFSS: Obtain a weather briefing for departure,
destination, and alternate airports, and en route
conditions, and then file a flight plan by calling
1–800-WX-BRIEF. Provide the latitude/longitude
description for small airports to ensure that Center is
able to locate departure and arrival locations.

2. AFSS or UNICOM: ATC clearances can be filed and
received on the UNICOM frequency if the licensee
has made arrangements with the controlling ARTCC;
otherwise, file with AFSS via telephone. Be sure all
preflight preparations are complete before filing. The
clearance includes a clearance void time. Pilots must
be airborne prior to the void time.

3, ARTCC: After takeoff, establish contact with Center.
During the flight, pilots may be in contact with
multiple ARTCC facilities: ATC coordinates the hand-
offs.

4. EFAS/HIWAS: Coordinate with ATC before
leaving their frequency to obtain in-flight weather
information.

5. Approach control: Center hands off to approach
control where pilots receive additional information and
clearances. If a landing under visual meteorological
conditions (VMC) is possible, pilots may cancel their
IFR clearance before landing.

Letters of Agreement (LOA)
The ATC system is indeed a system, and very little happens
by chance. As a flight progresses, controllers in adjoining
sectors or adjoining Centers coordinate it's handling by
telephone or by computer. Where there is a boundary between
the airspace controlled by different facilities, the location and
altitude for hand-off is determined by Letters of Agreement
(LOA) negotiated between the two facility managers. This
information is not available to pilots in any Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) publication. For this reason, it is good
practice to note on the en route chart the points at which hand-
offs occur. Each time a flight is handed-off to a different
facility, the controller knows the altitude and location, this
was part of the hand-off procedure.

 

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