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

IFR
Wind 240/6
KDTW 151853Z 24006KT 2SM -SN BR BKN005 BKN025 OVC040 01/00 A2951 RMK AO2 SFC VIS 2 1/2 SLP996 P0001 T00110000

KCLE

IFR
Wind 190/9
KCLE 151851Z 19009KT 2 1/2SM -SNRA BR BKN007 OVC012 01/00 A2953 RMK AO2 SNB42 SLP022 P0004 T00110000

KPIT

VFR
Wind 250/12
KPIT 151851Z 25012G19KT 9SM -RA BKN045 OVC060 06/M02 A2956 RMK AO2 RAB31 SLP023 P0000 T00561017

KBUF

VFR
Wind 110/12
KBUF 151854Z 11012KT 10SM FEW070 BKN130 BKN170 OVC220 06/M01 A2962 RMK AO2 SLP036 T00611011 $

KCAK

LIFR
Wind 190/8
KCAK 151851Z 19008KT 1/2SM R23/2800V4000FT -SN BR VV002 01/M01 A2955 RMK AO2 SFC VIS 3/4 RAE32 SLP017 P0008 T00111006

KFNT

LIFR
Wind 200/6
KFNT 151853Z 20006KT 3SM UP BR OVC004 02/01 A2948 RMK AO2 UPE1756B17E27B53SNB1756E17B27E53 SLP988 P0002 T00220006

KLAN

LIFR
Wind 250/4
KLAN 151853Z 25004KT 1 1/4SM R28L/4500VP6000FT -SN BR OVC003 01/01 A2948 RMK AO2 SLP991 P0003 T00060006

KROC

VFR
Wind 140/12
KROC 151854Z 14012G18KT 10SM FEW120 BKN150 OVC200 06/00 A2969 RMK AO2 SLP061 T00610000

KTOL

IFR
Wind 230/7
KTOL 151852Z 23007KT 10SM BKN007 OVC012 03/01 A2952 RMK AO2 SLP001 T00330011

CYQG

LIFR
Wind 220/8
CYQG 151857Z AUTO 22008KT 3SM -SN OVC004 01/00 A2950 RMK SLP999

KAGC

VFR
Wind 160/8
KAGC 151853Z 16008KT 10SM OVC055 07/M01 A2953 RMK AO2 SLP011 T00721011

KARB

IFR
Wind 250/3
KARB 151853Z 25003KT 4SM BR BKN005 BKN026 OVC034 01/01 A2949 RMK AO2 SNE49 SLP992 P0001 T00110006 $

KBKL

MVFR
Wind 190/13
KBKL 151853Z 19013KT 7SM -RA BKN014 OVC020 04/02 A2954 RMK AO2 SLP005 P0003 T00440017

KBVI

VFR
Wind 180/8
KBVI 151855Z AUTO 18008KT 10SM SCT044 BKN055 OVC070 07/M02 A2954 RMK AO2 T00661020

KCGF

VFR
Wind 120/8
KCGF 151055Z AUTO 12008KT 10SM CLR 04/M03 A2960 RMK AO2 T00401031

KCKB

VFR
Wind 250/13
KCKB 151853Z 25013KT 10SM -RA FEW016 BKN048 OVC070 04/01 A2961 RMK AO2 WSHFT 1750 RAE1758B16 PRESRR SLP031 P0000 T00440011

KDET

IFR
Wind 220/5
KDET 151853Z 22005KT 3SM -SN BR OVC005 01/00 A2949 RMK AO2 RAE00SNB00 CIG 003V008 SLP992 P0003 T00110000

KERI

VFR
Wind 150/15
KERI 151851Z 15015G29KT 10SM OVC100 08/M02 A2953 RMK AO2 PK WND 13029/1842 SLP002 T00831017

KHLG

MVFR
Wind 220/7
KHLG 151853Z 22007KT 4SM RA BR SCT006 BKN022 OVC030 02/01 A2958 RMK AO2 SLP026 P0005 T00220006

KIAG

VFR
Wind 120/9
KIAG 151853Z 12009KT 10SM CLR 06/M01 A2961 RMK AO2 SLP039 T00561006

KJST

MVFR
Wind 140/14
KJST 151854Z AUTO 14014G24KT 7SM OVC016 03/M02 A2957 RMK AO2 PK WND 16029/1823 SLP030 T00281017

KJXN

IFR
Wind 210/3
KJXN 151856Z 21003KT 10SM BKN005 OVC015 01/00 A2948 RMK AO2 SNE46 CIG 003V009 SLP991 P0001 T00110000

KLBE

VFR
Wind Calm
KLBE 151055Z AUTO 00000G10KT 10SM CLR 05/M05 A2970 RMK AO2

KMBS

IFR
Wind 60/4
KMBS 151853Z COR 06004KT 1 1/2SM DZ BR OVC005 02/01 A2948 RMK AO2 UPB47SNE17 SLP989 P0000 T00170006 $

KMFD

IFR
Wind 210/8
KMFD 151852Z 21008KT 9SM OVC008 02/01 A2953 RMK AO2 CIG 005V010 SLP009 T00220011

KMGW

MVFR
Wind 250/6
KMGW 151853Z 25006G23KT 4SM -RA BR BKN031 OVC050 06/M01 A2958 RMK AO2 RAB42 SLP024 P0000 T00611011

KMTC

IFR
Wind 160/8
KMTC 151856Z 16008KT 4SM -RA BR BKN006 OVC012 02/02 A2948 RMK AO2A SLP992 P0002 T00200020 $

KPTK

LIFR
Wind 210/5
KPTK 151853Z 21005KT 1SM R09R/P6000FT -SN BR OVC004 01/M01 A2946 RMK AO2 SLP982 P0001 T00061006

KYIP

MVFR
Wind 230/4
KYIP 151849Z 23004KT 4SM -SN FEW004 BKN033 OVC044 02/M01 A2950 RMK AO2 SLP991 P0004 T00221006

KYNG

VFR
Wind 170/9
KYNG 151851Z 17009G16KT 10SM BKN048 OVC065 08/M04 A2952 RMK AO2 SLP000 T00781039

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.