SID and STAR altitude Question Help


New Member
So this should be pretty simple but for some reason everyone I fly with seems to have a different opinion so I'm asking the experts. It's a pretty basic question but for some reason every airline guy I know doesn't seem to know the official word and suggests just asking (I don't have a problem asking but I feel there is an official answer and would like to know what it is instead of asking every single time!!). Here goes:

If there is a published crossing altitude on a SID or STAR, does an ATC "climb and maintain" cancel that crossing altitude? Example is the Pomona 7 departure out of ONT, California. They issue the POM 7 and tell you to climb and maintain 140000 but there is a fix along the way that says at or below 7000. If you switch to departure and they now tell you to climb and maintain FL 230 does that make any difference to the crossing restriction. Also, if this were an RNAV departure would that make a difference vs. conventional " ground based"?

Seems simple enough but honestly there doesn't seem to be a clear answer in the minds of the guys I work with. Here's what I think the answer to be; ATC's "Climb and Maintain" will cancel all other ATC issued altitudes but not any altitudes listed on a "conventional SID/STAR" unless explicitly deleted. For RNAV there is a separate phraseology and and an alt. given by ATC will delete all the altitudes on the RNAV SID/STAR without needing to explicitly delete the altitudes. As for our POM 7 example, I would maintain 7000 at the fix unless that fix was explicitly deleted.

Thanks for Help. References to the correct answer would be helpful also!


Piece of Trash
IMO, an ATC instruction trumps any SID/STAR instructions. Now, if they tell you to "climb via" or "descend via" XXXX departure/arrival, you're responsible for the altitudes.

In the case of this departure, I'd still try to make the climb restrictions since ATC giving you a higher altitude. If they said "Climb and maintain 6000," then I'd go with the 6000 instead of the 7000. Since the altitude they assign is above 7000, I'd go on the safe side and make the restriction. It's probably for terrain, obstacle clearance or noise abatement.


New Member
f they tell you to "climb via"
I've never heard of the "climb via" language, only the "descend via" on a STAR. Have you actually received a "climb via" clearance on a SID? Neither the AIM nor the ATC Handbook contains examples of a "climb via" clearance, but they contain oodles of "descend via" examples. I'm skeptical the language is used.


New Member
In the example at the beginning of the thread referencing a standard SID, an ATC clearance to climb to an altitude above intermediate SID altitudes removes those restrictions. The confusion here is with the clearance you got on the ground. If you call clearance delivery and they issue you the POM 7, in this example, with a clearance altitude limit to 14,000 then you would be required to meet all intermediate altitude restrictions per the SID if departure control doesn't give you a new altitude clearance beyond the 14,000 clearance you got from clearance delivery. The answer to the question all depends on what the departure controller issues you.

Using the above numbers for example you take off with a clearance to 14,000. Tower hands you over to departure and you check in and all he says is "radar contract." You must comply with all SID altitude restrictions.

When tower hands you off to departure and the departure controller comes back with "radar contact, climb and maintain 15,000" then that clearance then removes all SID intermediate altitude restrictions UNLESS he says "climb and maintain 15,000 comply with restrictions."