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

VFR
Wind 170/4
KDTW 250953Z 17004KT 8SM -RA BKN045 BKN075 OVC120 05/02 A2996 RMK AO2 SLP151 P0000 T00500017

KCLE

VFR
Wind 190/11
KCLE 250951Z 19011G18KT 10SM BKN120 OVC200 07/00 A3000 RMK AO2 SLP178 T00720000

KPIT

VFR
Wind 170/4
KPIT 250951Z 17004KT 10SM FEW120 BKN180 04/M02 A3009 RMK AO2 SLP205 T00391022

KBUF

VFR
Wind 110/6
KBUF 250954Z 11006KT 10SM FEW050 BKN100 03/01 A3006 RMK AO2 SLP188 T00330006

KCAK

VFR
Wind 170/7
KCAK 250951Z 17007KT 10SM BKN110 05/00 A3005 RMK AO2 SLP182 T00500000

KFNT

VFR
Wind 170/4
KFNT 250953Z AUTO 17004KT 8SM -RA OVC035 05/03 A2994 RMK AO2 RAB43 SLP143 P0000 T00500028

KLAN

IFR
Wind 180/8
KLAN 250953Z 18008KT 2 1/2SM -RA BR FEW006 OVC019 04/03 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP141 P0002 T00390033

KROC

VFR
Wind 150/4
KROC 250954Z 15004KT 10SM OVC085 03/00 A3010 RMK AO2 SLP201 T00330000

KTOL

VFR
Wind 180/5
KTOL 250952Z 18005KT 10SM OVC040 06/01 A2995 RMK AO2 SLP146 T00610011 $

CYQG

VFR
Wind 150/4
CYQG 250904Z AUTO 15004KT 9SM OVC090 05/03 A2995 RMK SLP155

KAGC

VFR
Wind 160/8
KAGC 250953Z 16008KT 10SM CLR 04/M02 A3010 RMK AO2 SLP204 T00391017

KARB


Wind Calm
KARB 250953Z AUTO A2994 RMK AO2 SLPNO PWINO FZRANO $

KBKL

VFR
Wind 150/17
KBKL 250953Z 15017KT 10SM CLR 07/M01 A3000 RMK AO2 PK WND 16026/0931 SLP161 T00671011

KBVI

VFR
Wind 170/6
KBVI 250955Z AUTO 17006KT 10SM SCT120 05/M01 A3009 RMK AO2 T00451008

KCGF

VFR
Wind 170/13
KCGF 250955Z AUTO 17013G18KT 10SM SCT120 07/00 A3003 RMK AO2 T00681004

KCKB

VFR
Wind Calm
KCKB 250953Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 02/00 A3014 RMK AO2 SLP210 T00170000 TSNO

KDET

VFR
Wind 190/3
KDET 250953Z 19003KT 10SM FEW055 BKN080 OVC095 05/02 A2997 RMK AO2 SLP153 T00500022

KERI

VFR
Wind 170/14
KERI 250951Z AUTO 17014G21KT 10SM FEW050 07/M02 A3003 RMK AO2 SLP172 T00721022

KHLG

VFR
Wind 190/10
KHLG 250953Z AUTO 19010KT 10SM FEW120 07/M02 A3009 RMK AO2 SLP199 T00721022

KIAG

VFR
Wind 130/7
KIAG 250953Z AUTO 13007KT 10SM OVC080 03/00 A3005 RMK AO2 SLP190 T00280000

KJST

VFR
Wind 170/7
KJST 250954Z AUTO 17007KT 10SM CLR 03/M03 A3014 RMK AO2 SLP223 T00281028

KJXN

MVFR
Wind 140/5
KJXN 250956Z AUTO 14005KT 6SM -RA BR OVC023 04/02 A2993 RMK AO2 RAB54 SLP142 P0000 T00440022

KLBE

VFR
Wind Calm
KLBE 250955Z AUTO 00000KT 10SM CLR 03/M02 A3013 RMK AO2

KMBS

IFR
Wind 170/10
KMBS 250953Z 17010KT 2 1/2SM BR OVC022 03/02 A2993 RMK AO2 RAB10E34 SLP140 P0002 I1000 T00280017

KMFD

VFR
Wind 170/13
KMFD 250952Z AUTO 17013KT 10SM OVC100 07/01 A3001 RMK AO2 SLP170 T00670006 TSNO

KMGW

VFR
Wind 180/3
KMGW 250953Z AUTO 18003KT 10SM CLR 04/M01 A3015 RMK AO2 SLP215 T00391011

KMTC

VFR
Wind 150/4
KMTC 250956Z AUTO 15004KT 10SM BKN075 OVC095 05/05 A2995 RMK AO2 SLP151 T00500050 $

KPTK

VFR
Wind 150/4
KPTK 250953Z AUTO 15004KT 9SM OVC039 04/02 A2994 RMK AO2 SLP146 T00390017

KYIP

VFR
Wind 160/4
KYIP 250953Z 16004KT 10SM OVC039 06/03 A2996 RMK AO2 SLP148 T00560028

KYNG

VFR
Wind 160/8
KYNG 250951Z 16008KT 10SM BKN120 OVC250 06/M02 A3005 RMK AO2 SLP184 T00561022

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.