Option & Landing- The Clearance

Okay, here’s something that I feel needs a little clearing up…

After being PMed by a user regarding events at Birmingham recently, I’m here to clarify the difference between cleared to land and cleared for the option.

First off, if you’re cleared for the option, then report again for a full stop, you won’t get another clearance for landing- you’re already cleared for the option. Cleared for the option covers EVERYTHING- including a full landing/stop on the runway and taxiing back to the terminal. Heck, you can even flip your plane upside down and do a Top Gun maneuver over the runway if you feel like it.

Cleared to Land = Cleared to land/full stop
Cleared for the Option = Cleared to land/full stop, cleared to fly upside-down, spin over the runway at 300 knots, stall, do an epic wipeout, or whatever.

Believe it or not, in the early stages of my training, I too also thought that you had to reclear to land if someone recalled for landing. However, after talking to Tristan Hensley and Tyler Shelton, of whom are real life controllers, I can assure you that cleared for the option CAN cover a full landing- I cannot stress that enough. Hope that clears things up!

//Advanced Controller 2


So then what’s the point of cleared for the option

Cleared for the option allows you to do touch and goes, epic Top Gun stunts, or whatever you want to do, as I’ve outlined above. Cleared for landing only allows you to land. That’s all.


Next time I see you as a Tower controller, I’ll do the following:

Spin over the runway at 300kts
Do a Top Gun monuevre 
Stall the plane
"Do an epic wipeout"
And whatever I can think of :')

Oh I am coming.


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You were controlling me earlier today. I called inbound on the ILS after approach cleared me for it. You told me I was #2, following traffic on final. Then you cleared me for the option as #2. I was kind of surprised that I was cleared for the option but realized that it meant the same thing for me anyway.

“Cleared to land” is basically just a clarification call. When you’re cleared to land, landing is the only thing you’re allowed to do. However, when someone is in the pattern and I’ve cleared them for the option, and then they report their position with “full stop”, I usually clear them to land anyway. I know I technically don’t have to, but it’s really just meant to clarify that the guy is actually landing and will definitely not do a touch & go.


Basically. You just said “inbound on the ILS,” nothing else. I was a little curious, since you should know better to be more specific on your call, Sean! :P :P

Either way, cleared for the option still would’ve meant the same thing. Heck, we can all clear everyone for the option if we wanted to. I think it’s a good mix, but just letting people know that the option CAN include a full stop/landing is the important thing here. We all have a few different techniques of controlling, so no worries!


Actually I specifically remember tapping “landing” instead of “touch and go” when I was making the inbound call. When you tap “landing” it says

Birmingham Tower, FDS007, inbound on the ILS, runway 33.

When you tap “touch and go” it says

Birmingham Tower, FDS007, inbound on the ILS for touch and goes, runway 33

The phraseology might be a little off but I’m fairly certain there is no way to say

Birmingham Tower, FDS007, inbound for landing on the ILS, runway 33
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Josh, re-clearing for landing is a kind of acknowledgement that the controller has understood that you are going to make a full stop; and the traffic on no 2 may expect “maintain slowest practical speed” instruction. Since touch and go of no 1 traffic doesn’t warrant slowing down of traffic on no 2.

Fair enough. It does depend on the situation, though. Some people may choose to reclear, and some may not. The point being, cleared for the option does include a clearance for landing.


Really? I could have sworn that there was a full stop option included in there… Er, that does sound slightly unusual…


Full stop is entirely a landing and exit runway scenario. Stop and go would have to classify as the option, most likely in the touch and go section.

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We can check it right now if you want.

Oh, you’re probably mixing it up with “report position”? I could’ve said

FDS007 is on final, runway 33, full stop

but that still doesn’t have ILS included in it.

You are correct. I re-clear only when there is no 2 just behind. It’s a subtle indication to no 2 that he might needto slow down a bit.

So cleared for the option encompasses cleared for landing? If you are cleared for landing you cannot touch & go intentionally?

It sure does :)[quote=“Kevin_Potthast, post:16, topic:9351”]
If you are cleared for landing you cannot touch & go intentionally?

Also correct

Ok thank you very much. I have recently seen cleared for the option a lot and I’m not 100% what exactly I need to do.

Cleared for the option is given to aircraft who are completing some sort of pattern work. This gives the controller and pilot the same lingo that they both understand the intentions of what the pilot whats to do. OR if an aircraft is requesting touch and go, you will hear" cleared for the option, say intentions" or something like that. Which I as a pilot " requesting crosswind departure for continued outbound to (said airport or VOR).

Clear to land- means you are cleared to land and exit the runway. YOU MUST LAND FULLY, NO GO AROUNDS!

Edit: The intention clear to land is that it gives pilots and controllers the heads up that you are done and you will be “full stop” the term "going around is used for if you miss the approach during VFR decent, or there was a plane that inadvertently ended up on the runway and you may call it OR ATC will tell you to go around / make a midfield downwind pattern entry.

You can obviously go around if you need to.