Enroute ATC: Traffic and Radar Handoffs

If your IFR training was like mine, you spent a lot of time taking radar vectors to instrument approaches using approach control service. Less time was spent working with enroute center controllers.


Communicating with an enroute controller at an air route traffic control center (ARTCC) is its own special skill. In today’s show, we’ll look at ARTCC communication during traffic avoidance vectors and during radar handoffs.

Show Notes and Resources:

AIM 5−3−1. ARTCC Communications

2. An ARTCC is divided into sectors. Each sector is handled by one or a team of controllers and has its own sector discrete frequency. As a flight progresses from one sector to another, the pilot is requested to change to the appropriate sector discrete frequency.

Notice how the following statement in the AIM has no requirement to repeat the numbers of an assigned radio frequency.

AIM 4−2−3. Contact Procedures

d. Acknowledgement of Frequency Changes.

1. When advised by ATC to change frequencies, acknowledge the instruction. If you select the new frequency without an acknowledgement, the controller’s workload is increased because there is no way of knowing whether you received the instruction or have had radio communications failure.

More info about: Radio Mastery for IFR Pilots Everything you need to know to talk to Air Traffic Control while flying IFR

Trying to decide which radio headset to buy? Check out my Headset Buyer’s Guide at ATCcommunication.com.

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