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9 Shortcuts Every Pilot Wants

Pilots love taking shortcuts. How many of these have you gotten?

1) Vectors To The Final Approach Fix

There's nothing worse than flying a 30 mile downwind once you've passed your destination. ATC giving you vectors right to the final approach fix is always a good feeling.

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2) "Right And Left" Deviations Approved

When you're picking your way around thunderstorms and buildups, getting a broad "right or left deviations approved" call from ATC takes away a lot of stress. You no longer have to limit yourself to a degree increment on either side of your flight path and can find the best way around conflicting weather.

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3) Delete The Speed Restrictions

Arrival procedures can slow you down hundreds of miles from your destination. Deleting speed restrictions will let you fly fast.

4) Descend And Maintain vs. Descend Via

If you have multiple crossing restrictions ahead and ATC gives you just one altitude to descend to, that lightens your workload immensely.

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5) Alternate Missed Approach - Runway Heading

Flying a long, complex missed approach procedure isn't ever ideal. See if you can get an alternate missed approach approved for runway heading with a simple altitude assignment.

6) Cleared For Takeoff On-Course

Tired of flying runway heading forever? Getting cleared on course right away speeds things up significantly.

7) Cleared Direct To Your Destination

If you're flying to a destination late at night, you might get lucky with a "direct to your destination" clearance.

Live from the Flight Deck

8) "Change To Runway 27L"

Ok, for those of you who have flown into Chicago O'Hare, you know what I'm talking about. Runway 27R is on the northernmost side of the airport and taxiing can easily take 30 minutes from touchdown to parking. Getting a 27L clearance will have you exit the runway almost right into your gate.

9) Climb And Maintain XXX (Your Final Altitude)

How many times have you found yourself climbing in 1,000-foot increments all the way to cruising altitude. It's pretty nice when you get your final altitude right off the bat.

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What's another shortcut you love to get? Tell us in the comments below!


Thinking about becoming a pilot? Get started with Lift Academy, and find out what it takes to start your aviation career here.


Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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