IFR take off from small unmanned dirt strip - when to call the center controller

When taking off (IFR) from small, remote dirt strips with only center coverage, should I call for clearance before taking off or get airborne and then contact the center controller? Sometimes I find that the controllers cannot hear me properly whilst on the ground.

Two things to consider, Yes you are IFR so should contact advise ATC above you that you are departing. Secondly, it depends greatly on what classification of air space you are in on the ground and the steps above you. In the USA they have Class G and E that may affect an uncontrolled Landing zone. There are some excellent web pages on what you need as IFR in various classes of air space.

So in short depends whether you are IFR or VFR, and then whether you are in a class of airspace.

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#Lateral - Is FSEconomy still active? I spent countless hours on small dirt strips. Precipiation, crosswinds, too low / too slow, too high and fast … wonderful training.


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In the US, so long as the weather is good enough to comply with VFR requirements, you may depart non-towered airfields under VFR without talking to the overlying ATC facility. Once you’ve got enough altitude to reach the controller you can pick up your clearance. I did this all the time in the real world and do it often on VATSIM because it’s way more fun than just going to the same ol’ big ol’ towered airports all the time.

If the weather isn’t good enough to maintain VFR before picking up your clearance, well, in the real world you’d call the overlying ATC facility by phone or FSS. Since there’s no phone or FSS option on VATSIM, I’d probably send a PM to see if the controller has a frequency that’s closer to your airport so they can hear you. Or you could try to relay through an aircraft that is already airborne. That’s something I’d like to see done on VATSIM some day.


I use OnAir company to create “jobs” and send me to places I otherwise would never have thought of. Perfect for the Kodiak.

Thank you for the reply. Yes I thought this might be the case because I know it to be true in real life. I just wasn’t sure if it was allowed on Vatsim.

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Indeed it is and I’d love it if more pilots did the same.