Uncontrolled Airport Departures

Uncontrolled Airport Departures – When aircraft are departing from an uncontrolled airport, a Pilot has two choices: To Depart VFR or IFR. VFR pilots are not obligated to contact ATC at an uncontrolled airport, for this reason, we will detail only the IFR procedures.

IFR or VFR Pilots flying in the Arctic Control Area (ACA) or the Northern Control Area (NCA) whose flight plan will be below FL270, and FL230 respectively are under no obligation to contact ATC for clearance.

IFR or VFR Pilots flying in the Southern Domestic Airspace whose flight plan is in class G airspace and starts and ends at a class G airport, are under no obligation to contact ATC for clearance.

Failing the above, the pilot has two options; obtain clearance on the ground before airborne or contact ATC once airborne and before entering controlled airspace.

An IFR departure, from an uncontrolled airport, is similar to a controlled airport with a few exceptions. ATC may only have one IFR aircraft cleared to depart or arrive at an uncontrolled airport at any one time. Therefore a pilot should not call for clearance, before being ready to taxi.

As the airport is uncontrolled, ATC will request from the pilot, the departure runway planned for, and the estimated time of departure similar to the following:

“KBA204, what runway and how long before you are ready for departure?”

This information is necessary for planning purposes and is used to issue a clearance with an expiry time. ATC will issue a clearance similar to the following:

“KBA204, cleared to Yellowknife, off runway 06, climb on course. Maintain FL250. Squawk 5217. Report this frequency airborne. Clearance is valid now, cancelled if not airborne by 2245z.”

Upon a correct readback from the pilot, ATC responds with the current time and a request for the pilot to initiate a frequency change back to Unicom similar to what follows:

“KBA204, readback is correct. The time is now 2238z. You can go back to Unicom 122.80.”