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Author Topic: Pilot's Discretion  (Read 22539 times)

Offline RonR

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Pilot's Discretion
« on: March 01, 2013, 06:23:39 PM »
Now here's something I was never really sure about.  You're flying at, say, FL350 and are given the following clearance:

"Descend pilot's discretion to FL240"

Obviously, the pilot chooses when he wants to start to descend, the question is: is the pilot required to let ATC know when he starts the descent?  Or can he start the descent without saying anything?  I would think that the pilot would have to let ATC know; I'm just wondering if that's right or not.  Thanks!

Ron



Offline Jason

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2013, 12:11:17 AM »
Now here's something I was never really sure about.  You're flying at, say, FL350 and are given the following clearance:

"Descend pilot's discretion to FL240"

Obviously, the pilot chooses when he wants to start to descend, the question is: is the pilot required to let ATC know when he starts the descent?  Or can he start the descent without saying anything?  I would think that the pilot would have to let ATC know; I'm just wondering if that's right or not.  Thanks!

Ron

AIM 5-3-3 states that the pilot should, at all times, report "when vacating any previously assigned altitude or flight level for a newly assigned altitude or flight level."

Offline RonR

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2013, 09:29:04 AM »
OK, thanks.

Offline davolijj

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 12:49:23 PM »
I'd say I see that section of the AIM followed by pilots about 50% of the time.

Offline sykocus

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 09:51:34 PM »
Quote
"a. The following reports should be made to
ATC or FSS facilities without a specific ATC
request:
1. At all times.
(a) When vacating any previously assigned
altitude or flight level"

In FAA orders "should" is not the same as "shall". Shall indicates a requirement. Should is not a requirement, however it is highly recommend.

Incidentally the AIM itself isn't an order nor is it regulatory. It's informational, but it is based on regulations. That's a whole other discussion however.

Quote
d. This publication, while not regulatory, provides
information which reflects examples of operating
techniques and procedures which may be requirements
in other federal publications or regulations. It
is made available solely to assist pilots in executing
their responsibilities required by other publications.

Offline InterpreDemon

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #5 on: March 07, 2013, 08:40:59 PM »
I guess it is at the pilot's discretion to decide when "should" means "shall"...

Offline StuSEL

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Re: Pilot's Discretion
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2013, 03:27:54 PM »
Just report it. There are a million things that could happen between the time you're issued the PD descent and the time you actually start descending that could create a situation whereby reporting could be the difference between you making it to your destination and not. It's the safest choice and takes all of 2 seconds.