I-4 Rating



Fly from John Wayne (KSNA) to a destination specified by ATC using the appropriate TEC route.

Learning objectives

  • understand the mandatory nature of TEC routing
  • understand that Socal TEC routes for a given city pair are often specific to the configuration of a dependent (separate) airport
  • understand how to locate appropriate TEC routes for flights within Socal
  • understand that, at any given time, there is only ONE correct TEC route published for a given aircraft type and dependent airport configuration (ie, LAX being in west vs east operations)

Flying the Rating

To successfully complete this rating you must accomplish the following tasks:

  • Inform ATC on initial contact at KSNA that you are performing the I-4 Rating and request a destination for the purpose of the test
  • Locate and file the appropriate preferred route (in this case, a TEC route) for the flight between KSNA and the ATC-specified destination
  • Copy IFR clearance to the ATC-specified destination via voice and without the use of datalink (DCL)
  • Conduct IFR flight from KSNA to the specified destination
  • Shoot a visual approach at the destination if weather permits. (Note: if custom weather is used, do not set weather to IMC if the real world weather would’ve permitted a visual approach)
  • Meet the I Ratings Practical Test Standards

Rating Description

Pilot will fly IFR from KSNA to a destination of the controller’s choice, filing an IFR flight plan using the preferred routing. This ensures the pilot is able to refer to the published TEC routes correctly. Weather permitting, the pilot will conduct a visual approach at the destination airport.

While an IFR clearance for a TEC route within Socal can normally be picked up without filing, the goal of this exercise is to have the controller nominate a destination, and have the pilot successfully locate the corresponding TEC route.

Use The FAA Preferred Route Database, MyFlightRoute.com, or the TEC section of the FAA Chart Supplement to locate the applicable route and altitude for your type of aircraft. Use caution if using route planning tools which do NOT show the ‘notes’ for a given TEC route which often reveal configuration-specific information. For example, ForeFlight and FlightAware will not specifically reveal if a given TEC route is piston/turboprop/turbojet specific, nor will they reveal if a route is specific to a dependent airport runway configuration.

One way of seeing if you’re on the right track is to check the TEC route for KSNA-KBUR (the flight from the previous rating) and verify that you’re coming up with the same route that was actually published for the I-3 rating.

When you file your IFR flight plan, feel free to use the TEC route ID as the route of flight (ie. CSTN1, CSTN2, etc), rather than entering the entire route.

Note: while several candidate TEC routes might appear between a given city pair, only ONE route will be valid for your aircraft type and specific runway configurations. For example, while several piston routes might be listed for a flight from SNA to SBA, one of them has a note which says it’s only valid for instances where LAX is running in ‘east ops’ (ie, the eastern-facing runways are in use). MyFlightRoute is helpful as it shows the dependent airport runway configurations (ie, the current configuration at LAX) when displaying candidate TEC routes that are configuration-dependent.

Visual Approaches

Up until now, you have been flying ILS approaches into the destination airports. If the weather permits on this rating, request a visual approach instead. ATC will vector you to a point where you can visually identify the airport. Once you report the field in sight, you will be cleared for the visual approach. From this point on, lateral and vertical navigation is at your discretion and you should proceed towards the airport when you’re able. Remain clear of clouds (you don’t need VFR cloud clearances, just don’t go into the clouds) and then swap to the tower once directed by ATC. Note: you can also be cleared for a visual approach following another aircraft to the airport, even if you don’t yet have the field in sight.

Required Materials

  • KSNA Airport Diagram
  • Low enroute chart (skyvector.com)
  • Airport diagram and instrument approach plates for the destination airport

Related Materials

PilotEdge Workshop: IFR Flight Planning and TEC Routes