Briefing
Welcome to ZOB

Welcome to the Virtual Cleveland ARTCC, one of the 20 contigious ARTCCs represented in VATUSA; alongside the Pacific Control Facility. We are the smallest en-route facility by area (89,000 Mi.2) but contain a great wealth of traffic as we provide sequencing to six adjacent ARTCCs and the Toronto FIR. At the Cleveland ARTCC we hold three Class Bravo airspaces which include: Detroit (KDTW), Cleveland (KCLE), and Pittsburgh (KPIT).

We recommend that you check out our next chapter of the briefing to review some great options for departing and arriving within the Cleveland ARTCC. Our controllers appreciate any amount of traffic, and we personally invite you to fly out of our popular hubs, or not so-popular smaller controlled or uncontrolled fields.


Airport Overview


Above you will find a map that contains markers that indicate all of the controlled airports that the Cleveland ARTCC offers within our airspace boundary. Each airport is signified by their Class of Airspace, and a key and amount relevant to the map can be found below:

  • Class Bravo Field (3)
  • Class Charlie Field (6)
  • Class Delta Field (21)

Our most popular airport at the Cleveland ARTCC by numbers is Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport; followed by Cleveland-Hopkins, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo Niagara airports. There are several TRACON facilities, and two RAPCON facilities in which the Cleveland ARTCC encompasses. There is a good quantity of fields to choose from within the Cleveland ARTCC airspace.


Airport Weather

KDTW

MVFR
Wind 320/10
KDTW 161553Z 32010KT 10SM OVC020 06/01 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP128 T00610011

KCLE

MVFR
Wind 320/12
KCLE 161551Z 32012KT 10SM OVC026 06/01 A2987 RMK AO2 SLP135 T00610006

KPIT

MVFR
Wind 270/9
KPIT 161551Z 27009KT 8SM -RA SCT010 OVC015 06/03 A2984 RMK AO2 DZE03RAB03 SLP118 P0001 T00560033

KBUF

MVFR
Wind 260/8
KBUF 161554Z 26008KT 10SM OVC019 06/02 A2973 RMK AO2 SLP073 T00610017 $

KCAK

MVFR
Wind 350/7
KCAK 161551Z 35007KT 10SM BKN015 OVC029 06/03 A2986 RMK AO2 SLP119 T00610028

KFNT

MVFR
Wind 300/12
KFNT 161553Z 30012G19KT 10SM OVC018 06/01 A2991 RMK AO2 SLP133 T00560011

KLAN

MVFR
Wind 310/11
KLAN 161553Z 31011KT 10SM OVC019 06/02 A2993 RMK AO2 SLP140 T00610017

KROC

MVFR
Wind 300/14
KROC 161554Z 30014G22KT 9SM -RA SCT011 OVC019 05/03 A2969 RMK AO2 SLP061 P0001 T00500033

KTOL

MVFR
Wind 280/11
KTOL 161552Z 28011G17KT 10SM OVC024 09/01 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP133 T00890011

CYQG

MVFR
Wind 310/13
CYQG 161500Z AUTO 31013G19KT 9SM OVC022 06/01 A2989 RMK SLP126

KAGC

MVFR
Wind Calm
KAGC 161553Z 4SM -RA BR OVC020 06/03 A2983 RMK AO2 RAE1456B25 SLP110 P0001 T00560033

KARB

MVFR
Wind 310/10
KARB 161553Z 31010KT 10SM OVC017 06/01 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP130 T00560011

KBKL

VFR
Wind 290/13
KBKL 161553Z 29013KT 10SM FEW018 OVC031 07/02 A2988 RMK AO2 SLP120 T00670022

KBVI

MVFR
Wind 290/8
KBVI 161555Z AUTO 29008G17KT 10SM SCT009 OVC018 05/03 A2984 RMK AO2 T00510031

KCGF

IFR
Wind 320/7
KCGF 160955Z AUTO 32007G15KT 7SM -DZ OVC007 04/03 A2986 RMK AO2 P0001 T00440035

KCKB

MVFR
Wind 290/8
KCKB 161553Z 29008KT 10SM OVC025 07/01 A2988 RMK AO2 SLP118 T00720011

KDET

MVFR
Wind 300/7
KDET 161553Z 30007KT 10SM OVC020 07/01 A2988 RMK AO2 SLP121 T00720011

KERI

MVFR
Wind 280/9
KERI 161551Z 28009G18KT 10SM BKN013 OVC020 06/02 A2982 RMK AO2 SLP103 T00560017

KHLG

MVFR
Wind 280/10
KHLG 161553Z 28010G18KT 10SM OVC018 06/02 A2986 RMK AO2 SLP122 T00610017

KIAG

MVFR
Wind 300/15
KIAG 161553Z 30015KT 10SM OVC022 06/02 A2973 RMK AO2 SLP077 T00610022

KJST

IFR
Wind 290/15
KJST 161554Z AUTO 29015G21KT 3SM RA BR OVC006 03/01 A2975 RMK AO2 PK WND 28027/1458 RAB1457 CIG 004V009 SLP094 P0003 T00280011

KJXN

MVFR
Wind 290/7
KJXN 161556Z 29007KT 260V330 10SM OVC020 07/01 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP138 T00670006

KLBE

MVFR
Wind 230/7
KLBE 160955Z AUTO 23007G13KT 6SM -RA OVC014 04/03 A2982 RMK AO2

KMBS

MVFR
Wind 320/12
KMBS 161553Z 32012KT 10SM OVC023 08/01 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP130 T00780011

KMFD

MVFR
Wind 260/8
KMFD 161552Z 26008KT 10SM OVC019 07/02 A2989 RMK AO2 SLP128 T00670017

KMGW

MVFR
Wind 0/5
KMGW 161553Z VRB05KT 10SM BKN023 OVC035 07/01 A2988 RMK AO2 SLP122 T00670011

KMTC

MVFR
Wind 290/11
KMTC 161556Z 29011KT 10SM OVC019 06/03 A2986 RMK AO2A SLP120 T00610034

KPTK

MVFR
Wind 310/14
KPTK 161553Z 31014KT 10SM OVC016 05/01 A2987 RMK AO2 SLP121 T00500006 $

KYIP

MVFR
Wind 300/11
KYIP 161553Z AUTO 30011KT 10SM OVC018 08/01 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP127 T00780011

KYNG

MVFR
Wind 300/8
KYNG 161551Z 30008KT 10SM BKN014 OVC027 04/01 A2984 RMK AO2 SLP112 T00440006 $

Center Splits


Low Splits
Above you will find a map detailing our commonly-used maximum Low-Center Splits. (more sectors may be open on discretion of the TMU/CiC) There are rare scenarios where we use all of these splits with extremely high-density traffic. The primary Low Center sector is ZOB 04. This sector takes control of all of the airspace when no High Sectors are present. When High-Sector splits are present; all Low-Center sectors have an airspace from SFC-FL235. If you are departing through a field; the Low-Center sectors will be responsible for your climbs, or any arrivals into fields via STARs, and descents through the flight level transition altitude into TRACON airspace.

Whenever ZOB 20 sector split is offline: ZOB 04 is responsible for extending their airspace to encompass the Sector 20 airspace. Likewise, whenever ZOB 75 sector split is offline: ZOB 33 is responsible for extending their airspace to encompass the Sector 75 airspace. All low splits are based off of ZOB 04 and ZOB 55; in a west/east split respectively, and extends through the rank of priority. The priority of controllers opening up Low-Sector splits are as followed:
  1. ZOB 04 (All Primary)
  2. ZOB 55
  3. ZOB 12 (from Z04)
  4. ZOB 33 (from Z55)
  5. ZOB 20 (from Z12)
  6. ZOB 75 (from Z75)



High Splits
Above you will find a map detailing our commonly-used maximum High-Center Splits. (more sectors may be open on discretion of the TMU/CiC) The scenarios where all high sector splits are utilized is usually in home, or adjacent ARTCC/FIR events where en-route support form the Cleveland ARTCC is required. The primary High Center sector is ZOB 48. This sector takes control of all of the high center airspace when no other sectors are present. The high-center sectors primarily control all descending, and climbing airspace through FL235-FL600 (or FL375 when ZOB 45 is activated); as well as all traffic inbound or outbound through our neighboring airspaces.

Whenever ZOB 27 sector split is offline: ZOB 48 is responsible for extending their airspace to encompass the Sector 27 airspace. Whenever ZOB 77 sector split is offline: ZOB 66 is responsible for extending their airspace to encompass the Sector 77 airspace. All high splits are based off of ZOB 48 and ZOB 66; in a west/east split respectively, and extends through the rank of priority. The priority of controllers opening up High-Sector splits are as followed:
  1. ZOB 48 (High Primary)
  2. ZOB 66
  3. ZOB 27 (from Z48)
  4. ZOB 77 (from Z66)

Clearances

When departing out of the Cleveland ARTCC airspace there is a variety of airports that are available to you. After you have read our Overview section of the Briefing you will have known that there are four main fields:

  • Detroit-Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (KDTW)
  • Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (KCLE)
  • Pittsburgh International Airport (KPIT)
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport (KBUF)
Each of our four main fields support both verbal, and PDC (Pre-Departure Clearance) which are available for aircraft either by choice, or in heavy traffic situations. For verbal clearances you are required to readback your squawk code at minimum, and for amendments to the route, altitude, etc. you are required to readback the amended segment of your plan, and the squawk code. For PDCs you are required to initially contact the controller handling ground/ramp movements with your assigned SID (Standard Instrument Departure), squawk code, and current ATIS information.

If you are departing out of one of our four main fields you will be most likely be assigned an available Standard Instrument Departure. Planning ahead is key in high-traffic situations and we recommend you use tools such as SimBrief or FlightAware to plan your routes, or our facility Routing page for preferred routing in our local airspace.

An example of a Pre-Departure-Clearance at Detroit with an RNAV SID can be seen below:
**PRE-DEPARTURE CLEARANCE START** | 2322 Z | CALLSIGN: AAL1236 | EQUIP: B738/L | DEP: KDTW | ARR: KMCO | SQUAWK: 4332 | APPROVED ROUTE: CLVIN2 STAZE VXV ATL YUESS OTK PIGLT6 | FINAL ALT: 34000 | ALTITUDE RESTRICTIONS: CLIMB VIA SID | DEP FREQ: 126.220 PLAN RUNWAY $1 FOR DEPARTURE. CONTACT Metro Ground ON FREQ 121.800 FOR TAXI WITH ASSIGNED SID, SQUAWK CODE, AND CURRENT ATIS CODE ONLY. IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR ARE UNABLE TO ACCEPT ANY ASSIGNMENT, CONTACT ATC ON FREQUENCY 120.650 | **PRE-DEPARTURE CLEARANCE END**
When spawning in at a gate you should always run through your checklists as expeditiously as possible, and request your clearance prior to pushing back from your terminal. Prior to requesting your IFR clearance: you should tune in to the ATIS frequency for your airport, or get your METARs through the internet or EFBs. When you have the current weather you shall contact the controller handling IFR clearances, and call in with your callsign, ATIS information or weather confirmation, and your intentions to pick up your IFR clearance. (and/or request for Pre-Departure Clearance)
NOTE: You should never pushback if you will end up in the movement area (taxiways) without approval from the controller handling ground movements at your specific airport.


Pushback & Taxi

When you are ready for push and start you either are advised that push is approved at pilot's discretion, or to call for push and start. If your push has already been approved you may push at your discretion and call ready for taxi. If you are required to call for push and start approval: you must contact the controller handling ground/ramp movements, and advise you a ready for push and start. The controller handling ground/ramp movements shall give you a direction to face, or for your tail to turn towards, and approval to push onto a movement area, or a crowded ramp in heavy-traffic density scenarios.

When you are ready to taxi to the runway for departure: you shall advise the controller handling ground movements that you are ready for taxi instructions, and advise that you have the weather or ATIS information. Your instructions will include a combination of taxiways, and possibly runway crossings. If you are told to hold short of a runway you shall read these instructions lastly, and include the taxiway you are holding short of the runway. Your controller will verbally hand you off to local control once nearing or reaching the runway.

Descent

Once entering our en-route environment (refer to Overview) at the Cleveland ARTCC you will be issued a set of instructions by one of our center sectors for a variety of descent instructions into your arrival field. The following are examples of descent clearances into our four main fields:

  • DTW: "... Descend Via the FERRL# arrival, the Metro Altimeter 30.01."
  • CLE: "... Descend Via the ROKNN# arrival, the Cleveland Altimeter 29.98, Cleveland Landing South."
  • PIT: "... Cross CUTTA at and maintain 10,000, the Pittsburgh Altimeter 29.97, Pittsburgh Landing West."
  • BUF: "... Descend and Maintain 10,000, the Buffalo Altimeter 30.03, Buffalo Landing Runway 23."
Above are several examples of different descent clearances that can be issued by the en-route controllers who have authority of the center sectors. Both Detroit Metro (DTW) and Cleveland (CLE) have RNAV Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARs) that are utilized by pilots for their descents via Optimized Profile Descent (OPD) that are described in both the chart, and through the Flight Management Computer (FMC). Aircraft on the OPDs will most likely, if not always be issued a "...descend via..." clearance which instructs the pilot to follow the defined altitude and speed restrictions until further notice. Aircraft on OPDs may likely be descended while on the RNAV STAR; which cancels the altitude restrictions, and is known as a "hard" altitude as depicted on the chart, but still requires that you fly the lateral portion of the arrival until otherwise vectored off this profile.
NOTE: Speed restrictions on STARs are absolutely mandatory unless authorized by ATC.
Aircraft descending into Pittsburgh (PIT), Buffalo (BUF) or several of the other controlled or uncontrolled fields, you will be issued a different variety of other crossing restrictions, hard descents, or step-descents to set you up for your approach. If you are issued a crossing restriction you must meet the altitude at or before arriving at the fix laterally.
NOTE: You are not cleared to descend until ATC issues a clearance to either "descend via" a STAR, crossing restrictions, or other methods.
Regardless of whether or not you are on a STAR: you will be issued an altimeter for your arrival field, and any other information that is vital to your approach.


Approach

Upon entering the TRACON environment, or you are approaching your destination you will be issued an approach to expect. Below are examples of different types of approaches that may or may not be supported at your destination field.

  • Instrument Landing System (ILS) *
  • RNAV (GPS/RNP)) *
  • Localizer (LOC)
  • VOR
  • Visual *
One or more of these examples are available at most controlled fields in the Cleveland ARTCC, and will be assigned upon entering or nearing the approach phase of your flight. You will be most likely vectored, or depending on your approach's descriptions: cleared to a fix/waypoint, and restrictions to cross the fix/waypoint at a certain altitude to join your approach. Once you are cleared for an approach you may presume the approach based off the charts, or your FMC's approach description, or based off visual reference per a "Visual Approach". When nearing the runway you will be given clearance to land, and if required: your distance from traffic arriving on the runway, or advisory of traffic departing the field.

If absolutely required and safety is at risk: you may be issued a go-around, or missed approach, and you will be issued instructions to climb out of the field, and vectored away from the field, or you will be advised to fly the missed approach procedure as filed for your specific approach which is described on the approach chart.
* These approaches will be utilized more frequently than others, and will be more openly available. Other approaches are available upon request and chart availability.