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"Climb via the SID"

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Well-known member
Jul 22, 2005
Got a question for the ATC folks. I'm doing more domestic flying these days and with the recent introduction of "climb via the SID" in virtually every clearance, are departure controllers aware of what that means to me as a pilot? I have departed recently a number of times from a Southern California airport on a SID with a climb via clearance. There is a speed and altitude constraint at 8000ft however when switched to SOCAL by tower the controller each time has said "climb and maintain 1-5 thousand feet." Each time I have asked if that is an unrestricted climb with varying results. The last guy actually said "well duh......yeahhhhh climb to 1-5 thousand." In the rest of the world where the climb/descend via concept has been in effect for a very long time, the controller will almost always specify if you need to comply with a constraint if he issues a clearance above it. In the US they seem to get the concept for a STAR but I have very mixed and mostly opposite results for a SID. Any thoughts?
This has been a major headache for everyone.. As pilots we are VERY in tune with respect to altitude clearances.. This shift has been a major one, and wasn't communicated clearly.. I think that ATC get's aggravated when we clarify the clearance with them.. There are a lot of possible scenarios with climb via sids, all of which are easy to "booger up"..

My understanding is "climb via sid" means climb to the top altitude on the sid, and comply with speed/altitude restrictions along the way.. "Climb and maintain 15 thousand" = Climb to 15K, disregard altitude restrictions on the way up, but comply with published speeds..
You're correct. "Climb to 1-5 thousand" removes all altitude crossing restrictions, you are required to adhere to any airspeed restrictions.

"Climb via" is both, as published.
Be careful about Canada though. If you fly up there, they will tell you to descend or climb after giving a climb (descend) via and they will expect you to meet all the restrictions.
In Japan the altitude restriction is automatically cancelled unless they tell you to "comply with restrictions" when giving a new altitude. In China, we are told that when given a new altitude to disregard any published altitude. Those have come from meetings the company has had with the Chinese ATC's.

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