Ask A Military Controller

blwfl180

Junior Member
Jun 18, 2008
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San Diego
I Previously working at a fighter base, and it was always, "Rwy XX, wind 230@05, cleared for takeoff, change to departure.

Why would you say, "Change to departure" first? Before handing someone off you wouldn't say, "Contact Columbia Approach 126.5" followed by "Traffic twelve o'clock 5 miles....." As soon as you say change to dep, that pilot is going to push the freq toggle switch and assume he's cleared for takeoff.
That is a requirement for a single piloted military high performance aircraft. The reason is because you don't want the pilot trying to change frequencies during such a critical phase of flight, particularly student pilots. If you have traffic, you should have resolved that before clearing them for takeoff.
 

JoshATC

Epic Member
Jun 27, 2010
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That is a requirement for a single piloted military high performance aircraft. The reason is because you don't want the pilot trying to change frequencies during such a critical phase of flight, particularly student pilots. If you have traffic, you should have resolved that before clearing them for takeoff.
He's not stating that you DON'T have to say it. He's just explaining the reason of the ORDER in which you say it.
 

djmerge1

Newcomer
Apr 9, 2013
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Morón AB, Spain
I think answering the question the correct phraseology would be wind, runway, clearance, and change to departure for FAST aircraft. As for other aircraft I think number 3 explains why/when you would say the phraseology first. Here is what the 7110.65 has to say...

2. Inform all departing IFR military turboprop/turbojet aircraft (except transport and cargo types) to change to departure control frequency. If the local controller has departure frequency override, transmit urgent instructions on this frequency. If the override capability does not exist, transmit urgent instructions on the emergency
frequency.

PHRASEOLOGY−CHANGE TO DEPARTURE.

3. USAF. USAF control towers are authorized to inform all departing IFR military transport/cargo type aircraft operating in formation flight to change to departure control frequency before takeoff.

b. After takeoff.

1. When the aircraft is about 1/2 mile beyond the runway end, instruct civil aircraft, and military transport, and cargo types to contact departure control, provided further communication with you is not required.

2. Do not request departing military turboprop/ turbojet aircraft (except transport and cargo types) to make radio frequency or radar beacon changes before the aircraft reaches 2,500 feet above the surface.
 

Toptrump04

Senior Member
Mar 4, 2011
191
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Jacksonville, FL
We always said "change to departure" first at KNIP with these single pilot fighters. I understand that this doesn't necessarily make sense, but lets remember that pilots don't hear a damn word you say after "cleared for takeoff," so best to switch 'em first before approach blows up your shoutline.
 

m.bridge07

Newcomer
Aug 6, 2013
3
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Northern NV
I don't live in the fighter a/c world anymore but I in fact I all ways did it at the beginning of my transmission. That was just the way I did it as a personal technique. Yes I've heard this arguement before, if you tell him to change... he'll change (right then.) We would be living in fantasy world if the a/c really just instantly changed without you completing your transmission and without a pilot response.
Per the 7110.65 change to departure comes before the clearance. A pilot won't switch with out the clearance.
 

njbadapple

Rookie
Feb 19, 2013
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A pilot shouldn't switch with out the clearance.
Fixed that for ya. Not going to dig for a reference at the moment, but I'm nearly positive it's yet another grey area (doesn't specify.) Whether you say it at the beginning or end of your transmission is your decision. If the pilot wants to kick frequencies once he hears 'change approved' that's his prerogative and, in turn, OUR problem. Make it easy on yourself, and say what's important then give the switch.
 

Usm4r1n3

Trusted Member
Sep 26, 2013
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The mission designator S means submarine hunter.
True, but as far as being on land the FAST acronym was for aircraft that were non transport or cargo type, it does account for anti submarine, but it was also for the SR71/U2. Not just the S-3.
 

dhawton

Trusted Member
Feb 8, 2015
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True, but as far as being on land the FAST acronym was for aircraft that were non transport or cargo type, it does account for anti submarine, but it was also for the SR71/U2. Not just the S-3.
If you read up on the history of the SR71 the S is a modifier of R to be space plane so should have been RS. During a speech to the people, the president at the time switched the R and S calling it SR71 and it was changed and stayed that way. But S is still submarine hunter with the exception of SR to be space plane reconnaissance.
 

SA_Indian

Junior Member
Jan 31, 2011
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USA
Getting technical on this FAST thing. It wasn't in the book, it was a teaching tool that simplified the matter. Not all cases are covered. The fact is many R aircraft fall into this category because they are derived from A or F frames, but some aircraft don't, like the SH 60 or the T39.
 

NovemberEcho

Epic Member
Dec 8, 2010
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Getting technical on this FAST thing. It wasn't in the book, it was a teaching tool that simplified the matter. Not all cases are covered. The fact is many R aircraft fall into this category because they are derived from A or F frames, but some aircraft don't, like the SH 60 or the T39.
Actually the SH-60 is used for ASW operations and fits perfectly into the designation, and the T-39 was also primarily used for training. So I'm not sure where you are coming from? I've also been drinking, so I may not know where I'm coming from.
 

dhawton

Trusted Member
Feb 8, 2015
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Getting technical on this FAST thing. It wasn't in the book, it was a teaching tool that simplified the matter. Not all cases are covered. The fact is many R aircraft fall into this category because they are derived from A or F frames, but some aircraft don't, like the SH 60 or the T39.
SH = Submarine Hunter, Helicopter
T = Trainer

They fit in with the mission designators.
 

SA_Indian

Junior Member
Jan 31, 2011
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USA
End of service t39 was not a trainer, it was OSA which was replaced by the C35 in USMC service. And a SH 60 is a helicopter with two pilots and does not fit the profile. Neither aircraft required change to departure in T/O clearance.
 

dhawton

Trusted Member
Feb 8, 2015
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End of service t39 was not a trainer, it was OSA which was replaced by the C35 in USMC service. And a SH 60 is a helicopter with two pilots and does not fit the profile. Neither aircraft required change to departure in T/O clearance.
T39 was definitely a trainer. We used them at NPA as nothing but trainers for NFOs.