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 310/15
KDTW 240453Z 31015G20KT 10SM BKN020 OVC025 08/03 A3007 RMK AO2 SLP182 T00780033 402560078 $

KCLE

MVFR
Wind 300/8
KCLE 240451Z 30008KT 5SM -RA BR BKN010 OVC022 11/09 A3000 RMK AO2 RAB05 SLP173 P0013 T01060094 402560106

KPIT

MVFR
Wind 290/5
KPIT 240451Z 29005KT 4SM TSRA BR SCT035CB BKN050 OVC075 17/17 A2993 RMK AO2 TSB29 SLP134 OCNL LTGICCG N TS N MOV NE P0025 T01720167 402560128 $

KBUF

MVFR
Wind 230/14
KBUF 240454Z 23014G20KT 10SM BKN017 OVC025 17/14 A2984 RMK AO2 SLP101 T01720144 402720128 $

KCAK

IFR
Wind 320/13
KCAK 240451Z 32013G23KT 6SM -RA BR BKN005 OVC013 13/11 A2998 RMK AO2 PK WND 33027/0421 RAB30 SLP147 P0000 T01280106 402610128

KFNT

MVFR
Wind 320/14
KFNT 240453Z AUTO 32014KT 10SM -RA OVC024 07/01 A3009 RMK AO2 RAB0356E04B33 SLP190 P0000 T00670011 402390067

KLAN

VFR
Wind 310/11
KLAN 240453Z 31011KT 10SM FEW017 04/01 A3013 RMK AO2 SLP205 T00390011 402110039

KROC

VFR
Wind 220/10
KROC 240454Z 22010KT 10SM FEW027 BKN110 17/16 A2984 RMK AO2 RAE36 SLP105 P0006 T01670156 402670117 $

KTOL

MVFR
Wind 310/8
KTOL 240452Z 31008KT 10SM BKN022 OVC028 09/04 A3008 RMK AO2 SLP184 T00940039 402720094

CYQG

MVFR
Wind 320/12
CYQG 240450Z AUTO 32012G18KT 9SM BKN024 OVC031 09/05 A3006 RMK SLP179

KAGC

VFR
Wind 310/5
KAGC 240453Z 31005KT 10SM FEW035 SCT045 BKN055 19/14 A2993 RMK AO2 SLP133 T01890144 402610144

KARB

MVFR
Wind 340/9
KARB 240453Z AUTO 34009G20KT 10SM OVC023 07/02 A3008 RMK AO2 PK WND 32026/0428 SLP186 T00670017 402500067

KBKL

MVFR
Wind 320/20
KBKL 240453Z AUTO 32020KT 3SM RA BKN011 OVC020 12/09 A3001 RMK AO2 PK WND 32028/0434 RAB08 SLP159 P0014 T01170089 402670117

KBVI

MVFR
Wind 240/4
KBVI 240455Z AUTO 24004KT 10SM -VCTSRA SCT023 BKN030 OVC110 18/16 A2994 RMK AO2 T01800160

KCGF

IFR
Wind 300/11
KCGF 240455Z AUTO 30011G20KT 4SM RA BR BKN006 OVC010 10/10 A3003 RMK AO2 LTG DSNT S P0006 T01030096

KCKB

VFR
Wind Calm
KCKB 240453Z 00000KT 10SM SCT070 BKN090 16/13 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP137 T01560128 402670106

KDET

MVFR
Wind 320/9
KDET 240453Z 32009G21KT 10SM BKN024 OVC031 08/03 A3006 RMK AO2 SLP177 T00830033 402560083

KERI

IFR
Wind 310/11
KERI 240451Z AUTO 31011G19KT 4SM -RA BR OVC006 13/11 A2995 RMK AO2 WSHFT 0404 RAB05 SLP138 P0002 T01280111 402830128 $

KHLG

MVFR
Wind 260/8
KHLG 240453Z AUTO 26008G18KT 5SM VCTS -RA BR FEW020 BKN038 OVC090 18/16 A2996 RMK AO2 RAB36 SLP139 P0017 T01780156 402560167

KIAG

MVFR
Wind 310/21
KIAG 240453Z AUTO 31021G27KT 5SM -RA BR OVC013 12/11 A2985 RMK AO2 PK WND 31030/0437 WSHFT 0428 RAB09E19B36 SLP108 P0003 T01220106 402610078

KJST

VFR
Wind 190/7
KJST 240454Z AUTO 19007KT 10SM FEW050 SCT070 17/12 A2998 RMK AO2 SLP138 T01720122 402440144

KJXN

MVFR
Wind 320/8
KJXN 240456Z 32008KT 10SM BKN019 OVC026 06/01 A3011 RMK AO2 SLP195 T00560011 402280056

KLBE

VFR
Wind 210/5
KLBE 240455Z AUTO 21005KT 10SM BKN095 17/14 A2994 RMK AO2

KMBS

VFR
Wind 310/13
KMBS 240453Z 31013KT 10SM CLR 04/M01 A3010 RMK AO2 SLP194 T00441011 402000044

KMFD

IFR
Wind 300/10
KMFD 240452Z AUTO 30010G15KT 3SM -RA BR OVC006 10/10 A3003 RMK AO2 RAE0357B42 SLP165 P0001 T01000100 402560100 $

KMGW

VFR
Wind 190/3
KMGW 240453Z AUTO 19003KT 10SM FEW100 19/12 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP139 T01940122 402720133

KMTC

MVFR
Wind 310/9
KMTC 240456Z AUTO 31009KT 10SM BKN022 BKN027 OVC100 08/05 A3004 RMK AO2 SLP177 T00790054 402520079 $

KPTK

MVFR
Wind 300/10
KPTK 240453Z AUTO 30010KT 10SM SCT019 BKN024 06/02 A3005 RMK AO2 PK WND 30026/0434 SLP177 T00560017 402440056

KYIP

MVFR
Wind 300/17
KYIP 240453Z 30017G23KT 10SM OVC024 08/02 A3008 RMK AO2 PK WND 31026/0425 SLP182 T00830022 402720083

KYNG

MVFR
Wind 300/20
KYNG 240451Z 30020G25KT 10SM SCT005 OVC013 16/13 A2995 RMK AO2 RAE49 SLP135 P0000 T01560128 402610156 $

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, 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 means that you still need to fly the lateral portion of the arrival, but not to descend via the vertical 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.