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Obstruction Clearance

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Apr 23, 2005
ATC gives you this clearance: "Maintain your own terrain obstruction clearance through 3k."

The ceiling is at 2500ft msl. With this clearance can you enter the clouds at 2500ft?

ATC called the flight school and asked this... So we're guessing it's because their radar goes out 35nm and they can give you radar services but you need to be 3k for them to see you...
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They may be able to see you, but for whatever reason, they are not accepting responsibility for your terrain separation and obstacle clearance until that altitude. It may be that the minimum vectoring altitude in that sector is at three thousand, you don't know.

If the ceiling is at 2,500, are you able to maintain your own separation from terrain? How about other traffic that might be descending down to your location? What are you going to do if you enter the cloud at 2,500 and experience a radio failure?
probably because 3K is the MVA for that area. You have to maintain clearance from obstructions using your OROCA, MSA, or SID/DP

probably something else to be added but thats my thoughts on it...
I believe so. I was given this twice. Once when I was a student pilot (with a CFI) training and once while with a student doing some IMC time.

We were "cleared to ___ via ___ maintain ___ maintain own obstruction clearance through __ proceed direct ___ then on course.". So...it was an IFR clearance, but we had to not hit anything through ___ feet. Probably an MVA thing.


The other question is...are you in controlled airspace. Yes, you're talking to someone but are you in class G? If so, then you can go through the clouds all you want
No person may operate an aircraft in controlled airspace under IFR unless that person has—
(a) Filed an IFR flight plan; and
(b) Received an appropriate ATC clearance.
The statement "maintain your own terrain..." is a legal one. It's a release. It's ATC telling you that they are not responsible, and that you are. It also puts the burden on you...you must be able to maintain your own terrain and obstacle separation.

Not enough information has been provided to answer your question. Have you received your clearance, yet? If ATC won't clear you until getting you on radar and radar-identifying/accepting responsibility, and you're in controlled airspace, then no, you can't enter the cloud. If ATC has cleared you, then you can maintain your own terrain by means of IFR routing/methedology, or visually.

You said that ATC debated something with you. What was the debate, and what was ATC's point?

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