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Here is a good usenet article I found that gives a little bit of info for those of you sweating about writing a clearance. 
From: Phil Fernandez (philf@xymox.palo-alto.ca.us)
Subject: Re: Mnemonic devices 

View: Complete Thread (8 articles) 
Original Format
Newsgroups: rec.aviation.student, rec.aviation.ifr
Date: 1993-02-24 23:15:47 PST 
In article <1993Feb23.194927.26782@news.eng.convex.com> writes:
>I got taught this one by my instructor because I always have to fly
>out of the Las Vegas TCA and has come in handy when reading back VFR
>clearances to clearance delivery.
>C - Clearance; usually "cleared out of the TCA"
>R - Radial; heading to turn to initially
>A - Altitude;
>F - Frequency; initial departure freq (with you... :-) )
>T - Transponder; 
>I write this on my kneeboard and as the contoller speed reads the info
>I write the info down and then can read back with a minimum of
>This works for me.  Anybody have a better one?

I'm sorry, but I seem to be missing the point of this discussion.
It never occured to me that I needed any sort of mnemonic to remember
the parts of a clearance.  By about the third time I'd copied a
clearance, the format of the C-R-A-F-T sequence was entirely burned
into my head -- before that, actually, from listening to clearances
for others on the radio.

Moreover, the controller is reading the info to you after all, so I
don't understand why you need a mnemonic or letters written down the
page beside which you write the info.  This is a genuine question, not
a flame:  what is the purpose or benefit of the mnemonic?

For me, the important issue in copying and reading clearances was
learning a convenient "shorthand" for copying the information so that
I could keep up with a big-tower speed-read clearance.

For example:

>Clearance: Mooney 5632J, cleared to the Santa Barbara airport, right
turn 060 degrees within one mile of the airport, radar vectors San
Jose, Direct Salinas, Victor 25 Paso Robles, then as filed, climb
and maintain 3000, expect 7000 in 5 minutes, contact departure on
121.3, squak 0321.

I'd copy this as:

CL SBA A, rt 060 1mi, RV SJC D SNS V25 PRB AF

The "CL" is a worthless habit -- I write that before the controller
starts reading my clearance.  I use the abbreviation for my clearance
limit, if I know it (which is usually the case), and A for airport or
V if it's a VOR.  RV for Radar Vectors, D for Direct (actually a
little D symbol with an arrow through it).  I use the abbreviations
for the VORs enroute, AF for As Filed, etc.  If I don't know the
abbreviation, I just scribble the name or a made-up abbreviation that
I'll remember.  If I have to use some made-up abbreviation, I go back
as soon as the controller finishes reading and fix up anything that I
might have difficulty remembering.

For altitudes, I'll use the form <initial>,<final>-<time>, dropping
three zeros from the altitudes.

I'd read this back as, "Mooney 5632J cleared to the Santa Barbara
airport, right 060 within 1 mile, vectors San Jose, direct Salinas,
Victor 25 Paso Robles, then as filed, three-thousand, seven-thousand
in five, 121.3, 0321."  The point here is that the controller too
remembers the format of a clearance, and doesn't need extra words like
"expect higher", "Climb and maintain," etc.  This can help on a busy
clearance delivery freq.

mooney n5632j