Contacting departure

Hello i have a question for atc, when do you have to say as an example "RYR3125, contact Departure on [135.80].’’? Thanks!

I think once the plane is off the ground at 1500 AGL… Not sure though.


Thank you! :)

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Once the airplane is airborne and you know they are leaving your airspace you can have them contact departure. No passing altitude really required. You could wait til 1500Agl when the aircraft is somewhat established on the climb out.

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To be honest, it’s more what @Thunder said. In real life it depends on each airport’s procedure, but handoff comes normally either shortly after takeoff or even with the departure clearance (e.g. contact departure on … when airborne).

As you can’t say when airborne in IF I would wait with the handoff till the aircraft is actually in the air.

Disclaimer: Info taken from video documentaries about real flight, unfortunately not from my own experience.


The IFATC manual states that you can approve a frequency change as soon as they’re airborne, if you know that they’ll be leaving the airspace. However, I generally wait until they’re at a good altitude, so that they don’t feel the need to leave my frequency the moment they’re wheels up.


I usually do it once they leave the localizer

Its a bit late imo because tower has no control over aircraft (radar vectors) intervering with other traffic i would hand them over at about 1,000 ft AGL as departure frequency would do what they do to separate aircraft

Everyone does it differently, there’s no set altitude.

But it really shouldn’t be done as you can slip a sheet of paper in between the gear and the runway, unless you’re handing directly to departure, and even then, waiting half a second to make sure they’re not going to do something which requires intervention isn’t going to kill anyone.

It is frustrating as a pilot, honestly, to have to respond to a freq change with my main gear still on the ground, as I’d rather concentrate on getting airborne properly.

On the flip side, pilots: there is no reason to request a freq change of tower at this point in the flight. One, they don’t want you on their frequency any longer than you want to be there, so it’s coming, I promise. Two, just worry about getting your plane in the air. There’s no reason it could possibly matter whether you can switch frequencies at 50 feet AAL.

(BTW, if we are going to go the IRL route, the same stipulations as always have to be made.

The departures in RWA are flying a predictable path and are being handed directly to departure, which already either has plans for them or knows exactly what they’re going to do.

No controller at Hartsfield IRL has to worry whether or not the plane departing 27R is going to suddenly swing directly north across the departure on 26L.

The situations aren’t comparable.)


Here is the FAA’s stance on it. Notice it’s a should which means it’s a recommended procedure but not required.

Thanks, will take it on board

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