Of course, when we're living right, the sun shines, the engines hum, ATC clears
us direct to our destination on initial climb and the woman behind the FBO counter at our destination turns out to be the just-divorced head of our high school's cheerleading squad.
One last frequent point of confusion: When ATC clears
you for the approach, they instruct you to "report procedure turn inbound." When is that exactly?
At that point, ATC clears
you to an initial approach fix and to enter the "Self Controlled Area" (SCA).
you for the straight-in ILS approach as published.
If ATC clears
a pilot to the airport, the airport becomes the clearance limit.
When ATC clears
you direct THUMM as above, they are responsible for obstacle clearance along the way.
They'll preface it with "ATC clears
..." as an indicator that FSS is just the middle man giving you the clearance on behalf of ATC.
If at 4000 feet in the hold and ATC clears
you for the approach, a simple statement that you could get to 2700 feet by WOKPU and continue straight in might get you an amended clearance, or at least a clarification.
When ATC clears
you for an approach, you're automatically authorized to execute the missed approach procedure without further clearance (unless it's a practice approach conducted under VFR).
A typical scenario is where ATC clears
you to a lower altitude than you would prefer, or conversely, keeps you higher than you need for a comfortable descent.
ATC will say, "Comanche Eight Seven Papa is cleared to ..." while Flight Service will say, "ATC clears
Comanche Eight Seven Papa to ..."
It happens all the time: You're 15 miles out with ATC prodding you to "Report field in sight." You pick up the beacon and ATC clears
you for the visual.