Pilot's Tip of the Week

Obstacle Departure Procedure

Featuring Bob Nardiello - view profile

Subscriber Question:

"I would like to know if Obstacle Departure Procedures are required or not in IMC? I know they are recommended, but have heard differing stories if they are required."
- Austin G.

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"Obstacle departure procedures (ODPs) are not assigned by ATC unless absolutely necessary to achieve aircraft separation. It is the pilot's responsibility to determine if there is an ODP published for that specific airport.

Obstacle departure procedureIf a Part 91 pilot is not given a clearance containing an ODP, a standard instrument departure (SID), or radar vectors and an ODP exists, compliance with such a procedure is the pilot's choice. If he/she chooses not to use the ODP, that pilot must be operating under visual meteorological conditions (VMC), which permits the avoidance of obstacles during the departure.

The pilot may be assigned an alternate procedure or route by air traffic control. If this clearance seems at odds with the published ODP, question ATC. Otherwise, execute the clearance without delay.

It is important to be aware of the obstacle departure procedures, since the loss of communications with ATC may require you to go it alone. In this case, you could revert to the obstacle departure procedure to save your bacon."

Next week's tip: Cross-control stalls

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