On April 3, 2014, the FAA changed ATC phraseology and procedures associated with Standard Instrument Departure (SID) clearances. The new key phrase is “climb via,” which is closely related to the long-standing “descend via” phraseology used in Standard Terminal Arrival (STAR) clearances. Misunderstanding of the new “climb via” SID phraseology has caused the filing of numerous pilot deviation reports. Some of these deviations resulted in less than standard aircraft separation. It is the pilot-in-command’s responsibility to ensure compliance with an ATC clearance. For “climb via” clearances, remember the following:
Top Altitude: Prior to takeoff, pilots must identify the appropriate initial altitude to maintain as described on the SID chart or assigned by ATC. This altitude should not be confused with altitude restrictions or expected final altitude.
Correct phraseology is imperative. Comply with proper “climb via” phraseology on initial climb-out radio transmissions to ATC. Phrases such as “on the” or “climbing on” a procedure are not appropriate and can create confusion and additional ATC workload to verify the clearance that was issued to the pilot by the previous controller.
Pilots are required to respond to climb or descend via clearances by repeating the “climb/descend via” clearance verbatim. Abbreviated readbacks can result in controllers repeating instructions until pilots give verbatim readback of the clearance.
When subsequently changing frequency, pilots must advise ATC on initial contact of current altitude, “climbing via/descending via” with the procedure name, and runway transitions, if assigned.
If assigned an altitude or speed not contained on the procedure, advise ATC of restrictions issued by a previous controller.
For more information, visit the sites below:
FAA Video Tutorial: Climb/Descend Via at http://www.faa.gov/tv/?mediaid=507
FAA Notices to Airmen: Climb/Descend Via and Speed Adjustment Clearances (PDF) at www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/notices/2014-6-26/GEN14000.cfm
Contact Stephen J. Lloyd, FAA ATO, Director of