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The 5 Types Of Landing Clearances, And What You Can Do With Each One

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When ATC clears you, do you know exactly what you can do?

1) "Cleared to land"

"Cleared to land" is what you typically hear from the tower. When you're cleared to land, it means you're authorized to use the entire landing length of the runway, and you should disregard any holding position markings located on the runway. But remember, you can't take off again unless ATC gives you a takeoff clearance.

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2) "Cleared to land, hold short of XX"

When ATC clears you to land, and tells you to hold short of an intersecting runway, you have two options after you touch down. First, you can exit the runway prior to the hold short line. Second, you can stop on the runway, prior the hold position markings.

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3) "Cleared touch-and-go"

When you're "cleared touch-and-go", you can touch down and take off again, without stopping or exiting the runway.

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4) "Cleared stop-and-go"

If you need a few seconds to reconfigure the airplane and prepare for your next takeoff, or if you're getting night current, stop-and-go is what you'll need. When you're "cleared stop-and-go", you can touch down, bring your aircraft to a complete stop, and take off again without exiting the runway.

You don't want to rush yourself on a stop-an-go, but you do want to keep in mind that tower might have an aircraft behind you that's landing. Don't spend too much time on the runway and turn your landing into a "camp-and-go".

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5) "Cleared for the option"

If you're looking for the most choices you can get from a tower controller, than the option is for you. When you're "cleared for the option", you can pretty much do it all. ATC authorizes you for a touch-and-go, stop-and-go, low approach, missed approach, or a full stop landing.

When would you use this? It's useful in training, especially if you're not sure what maneuver you're going to need (If you grease your landing, you might call it quits. But if you have a rough landing, you might want to try another one.)

When ATC gives you the option, keep in mind that you should tell them your intentions as soon as you can, so they can plan on how to handle the traffic around you.

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Colin Cutler

Colin is a Boldmethod co-founder, pilot and graphic artist. He's been a flight instructor at the University of North Dakota, an airline pilot on the CRJ-200, and has directed development of numerous commercial and military training systems. You can reach him at colin@boldmethod.com.

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