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I suggest you call the tower (or whatever facility issued it) and ask what
that clearance meant.
"John Harper" wrote in message
Thanks for all the answers. This was runway 21 at SMO, heading
out over to the ocean. No DP, but standard procedure is RH
to intercept LAX315 (the coastline), then 270, vecs to VTU.
I don't THINK I misheard (although memory is a fickle thing) because
I heard him say exactly the same thing to the following departure as well.
The idea that I should climb to 6000 THEN Direct VTU would make
sense except that turning Direct would actually vector me slightly
AWAY from the terrain.
I was at 3000 which is high enough to not bump into any terrain locally
but certainly not IFR en-route clearance (the highest peak in the
ridge is about 2700 from memory).
Guess next time I'll ask.
"John Harper" wrote in message
Got an odd clearance the other day, on climbout from Santa Monica
(IFR but in perfect VMC): "climb and maintain 6000 when direct
Ventura". I took this to mean that someone would later clear
me direct VTU, whereupon I would climb. However I never got
such a clearance, and later an evidently nervous controller called
me, cleared me to 6000', and asked me if I had the terrain in
sight (which I did, but it was getting close for IFR though not
I wonder what this clearance really meant? Did it mean "when ABLE
direct", i.e. when I could receive the VOR (which I couldn't
initially although I was filed /G anyway)? Or did someone just
forget to give me the subsequent clearance?
Absolutely he does. A controller never says to proceed direct when
able, when the "when able" part means that you have to know when you are
above the terrain. When able direct always means navigation. When you
are receiving the relavant station you may go directly to it.
It sounds like you're saying the controller cannot say "direct when able,"
then you say the controller can say "direct when able" with regards to nav
In the case of Santa Monica Runway 21, even though the guy was probably
pretty low when told he could proceed direct to Ventura, terrain was not a
factor. The terrain is well to the north, and northwest. The MVA is 1500
where the clearance was likely issued. A direct track to VTU doesn't get
into a higher MVA area for quite a ways, well beyond what a nominal climb
rate would overcome. The highest MVA, way down the road, is 4,000 (with a
little 4,100 area) and the pilot was cleared to 6,000.
So, he could have been at say, 1,200 and not yet able to receive VTU. Once
he did though, his slight right turn to proceed direct would not have
created a terrain clearance issue for the departure controller.
This is exactly the situation I described. Airplane is on a vector that
will get it pretty close to his on course heading. When he receives the
station he goes directly to it.
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