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Thread: Negotiating a Route with ATC

  1. #1

    Negotiating a Route with ATC

    Is there any way to access your ATC provided routing before contacting Ground/Clearance Delivery? On a recent flight, I was told that there would be a lengthy delay in getting my clearance due to the routing, then I was given a route that took me into weather requiring deviations that my filed route would have avoided. (Yes, I did look for recent or ATC-assigned routes in 800wxbrief, and my filed route took me away from the Bravo airspace)

    Perhaps I am missing something, but I don't see anything on the Lockheed Martin 800wxbrief site that allows you to see your assigned routing. Should I call the tower on the phone to get my clearance before I start the engine (or would they consider that a nuisance)? Should I call 800wxbrief to asked about the assigned routing? It just seems with the technology at our disposal, there should be an easy way of finding the ATC assigned route in advance, and, even better, to try to negotiate a route before starting the engines.

  2. #2

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    I seem to recall product where a pilot could access his flight plan before receiving an IFR clearance. I'll research that and get back.

    In the big picture, when it's not weather related, many times a route different from what was filed is due to constraints the facility issuing the clearance has little control over. Conflict with active military airspace, preferred routings, traffic saturation, LOA's between facilities. IOW's some routes are non-negotiable. The controller issuing the clearance may have little knowledge of why and even if he did is powerless to change it. Routings due to weather constraints are even less negotiable.

    For airborne aircraft, I've heard requested routing changes answered with a simple and blunt "no." No explanation, no sympathy, lol. How's that for negotiation? Can't change anything so don't ask type response. That's kinda the way I accept the situation when calling for a clearance and receive the dreaded "I've got a full route clearance for ya, advise ready to copy" response. I just make sure fuel on board is adequate and accept it for what it is.

    The majority of the time ATC is on the ball. They know everyone wants to get where they want to go on the most expeditious routing possible with minimal delay. If they can make it better, they'll offer suggestions on how to make that happen. That's just the way it works.
    Last edited by martymayes; 08-05-2016 at 06:18 AM.

  3. #3

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    I've had pretty good luck changing routes when the weather isn't too bad and ATC doesn't appear to be busy.

    i did get a chuckle coming home from OSH flying east over Lake Michigan. Another IFR aircraft was on the same published in the notam eastbound route and he was asking to change his IFR clearance to flying south down the coastline to Chicago because he didn't want to fly over the lake. The controller simply responded with an unable. Why this bozo filed over the lake to begin with just amazes me. Especially since the notam is very verbose on filing procedures out of OSH.
    --
    Bob Leffler
    RV-10 Flying
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  4. #4
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Your choices IFR through Chicagoland seem to be:

    Over the lake towards MKE.
    Inland via the KELSI intersection.

    I was coming in one time and had this exchange with C90:

    27K: Chicago, is there any altitude I can request that will avoid me having to go to KELSI
    C90: Let me check... (a minute passes)... nope.
    27K: OK, here's what we're going to do. I'm going to climb to 10,500, cancel IFR, and you'll give me FF to direct to Oshkosh.
    C90: We can do that, cancellation received, keep your current squawk.

    Another time after being handed off to a very busy approach sector I squeezed in on my initial callup:
    27K: Chicago Approach Navion 5327K, cancel IFR going up the lakeshore.
    C90: Excellent.

    Of course once you're out of the metro areas, usually controllers are pretty good. The NE can be pretty daunting. Routes, while fairly well known (but usually not published) are bizarre. I filed a clearance of V3 from the Boston burbs down to MRB (West Virginia). It looked pretty good as it went way west of the MY metro. The computer accepted it and I even got it back as my proposed route. On the ground I called CD and I get...

    27K cleared to CJR via.... um...well that's not going to work. Got your pencil ready? and then gave me a bunch of fixes to take me down the length of Long Island Sound, direct over JFK and then down V16 to the DC area and then direct over IAD (not AML which is the VOR mind you, IAD was in my clearance). Fortunately somewhere over southern NJ I was able to negotiate a better clearance through the DC area.

    Everywhere else, it's pretty much direct to destination if you're in radar coverage and have a GPS.

    The one time I arrived OSH IFR I was coming in about three days before the NOTAM turned on.

    27K: Milwaukee...it looks like Oshkosh is IFR. Can I get a clearance from you or do I need to go file with FSS?
    MKE: (sigh...yes he sighed over the air like ... "The EAA is starting already.") Are you rated and equipped?
    27K: Affirmative.
    MKE: Cleared direct Oshkosh, expect the VOR 9 approach.
    27K: How about the RNAV 9 approach?
    MKE: OK, expect the RNAV 9 approach.

  5. #5
    Mayhemxpc's Avatar
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    I am not exactly sure the mechanics behind it, but If you file using Foreflight, you should get email updates about your plan and routing. The first message will tell you that the plan has been acknowledged by ATC. Sometime between then and your expected departure time you should get another email with your expected routing. That message will also ask if you want the routing loaded onto the map in Foreflight.
    Chris Mayer
    N424AF
    www.o2cricket.com

  6. #6
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mayhemxpc View Post
    I am not exactly sure the mechanics behind it, but If you file using Foreflight, you should get email updates about your plan and routing. The first message will tell you that the plan has been acknowledged by ATC. Sometime between then and your expected departure time you should get another email with your expected routing. That message will also ask if you want the routing loaded onto the map in Foreflight.
    The confirmation of expected route is usually fairly accurate, but sometimes it's just not. I filed pretty much OWD V3 MRB CJR. DUATS took it. I got the confirmation as I had filed it. When I called CD for my clearance. I get...

    NAVION 5732K is Cleared to the ... wait that's not going to work...got your pencil ready?

  7. #7

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    If you file your flight plan with www.fltplan.com they will give you your assigned routing and they also have options to select the routes that have been recently given by ATC so you can see what to reasonably expect. When you file your flight plan, you have to wait about 10 minutes or so for it to go through the ATC process and then your flight plan routing will show up. At that time you can receive a text message will have your routing on it.

  8. #8
    FlyingRon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gellisdds View Post
    If you file your flight plan with www.fltplan.com they will give you your assigned routing
    No, they will feed back a route which usually will be the same as your assigned routing. It's not foolproof.

  9. #9
    Mayhemxpc's Avatar
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    Backing up Ron's observation, there have been times I filed, got the routing emailed to me and then, when I called HEF ground for clearance, told that they did not have a plan in on file for me. (Two occasions.) Then there was a time or two when I was cleared as filed and then, when I reported ready at the runway was told, "Stand by for amended routing." An amendment that lasted only until shortly after contact with Potomac Approach one time, and then after the next hand off, when more direct routings were issued.

    424AF, why do you have (such and such) routing? (Me) no idea, it is what I was given. (Them) OK. Climb to 9 thousand. Cleared ESL and then direct.
    Chris Mayer
    N424AF
    www.o2cricket.com

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