Can we talk about VFR flight following?

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by RyanLikesFlying, Nov 21, 2017.

  1. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Is it a FAA manned facility? Maybe a call to the tower chief to see why the controllers won't coordinate that for you. They should have a LOA (Letter of Agreement) with the radar facility outlining the procedures for flight following if they have it there.
     
  2. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    OK, read it wrong I reckon, sorry. Who is the FFA?
     
  3. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    I don't see where in the AIM to make a full call on initial call up for airborne, only request for FF while on the ground. For airborne, it gives one example "Miami Center, Baron Five Six Three Hotel, request VFR traffic advisories." Then it gives another version if radio reception is reasonably assured but still doesn't give everything needed for FF "Atlanta Center, Duke Four One Romeo, request VFR traffic advisories, Twenty Northwest Rome, seven thousand five hundred, over."

    Having talked to Atlanta Center on several occasions, I can tell you the odds of the controller getting everything on the second method, is slim. Perfect example of why full calls don't work most of the time was my flight out to FQD for lunch earlier this year. I'm cruising along with FF with Atlanta Center and a female student pilot flying a Skylane calls for FF with a full call up. As she's doing it, I'm saying to myself, he's not getting any of this, maybe your callsign. Sure enough, he calls her back with "Ok, I heard a Skylane calling for flight following, say again your callsign and request." Long transmission completely wasted because the controller was either busy on a landline or her call was blocked / talked over by someone else. Not more than 2 minutes after that, another perfect example occurred of why a full call doesn't work, but this was due to poor radio reception. A flight of 2 military aircraft called looking to pick up FF but their radios were scratchy. Sure enough, "Ok, calling with a call sign of one one, your radios are broken and unreadable say again."

    Personally I don't get burned up with people using full call ups on initial. I've just heard too many times where the controller doesn't get all, or in some cases, any of the information and the transmission just clogs the frequency. Are there controllers that can be on a landline, listen to an aircraft on the speaker, write on a strip while still talking to the other controller? Yep, but they're rare...especially these days.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
  4. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And even required by approach controls in a couple of areas (DC, Oakland).

    There's no requirement that someone have an instrument rating (or even a pilot certificate) to file flight plans.
     
  5. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    FFA is the Future Farmers of ‘Merica. I figgered an Alabama boy would know that.
     
  6. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Contract tower. They are pretty independent to say the least. A good group of controllers though.
     
  7. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I thought so but thought maybe you had it confused with the FAA. :D
     
  8. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The requirement of the rating to file is/was one of those chief counsel deals. Maybe they wanted to nail someone. Dunno.
     
  9. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well they can sorta look similar. Has the FAA ever sold blue-gold sausage?
     
  10. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Don't doubt that at all. But I still don't see why they don't help on FF. All they have to do is call the radar facility, and they usually do so on a direct landline, and coordinate it. They most likely have to call for releases for IFR flight plan airplanes on the same landline. Have you ever questioned 'why' they don't?
     
  11. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Feels like they have sometimes. :rofl::rofl::rofl:
     
  12. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Naw, I rarely ask ATC why. Good little soldier I am. I have asked if they really meant their instructions a few times and had ‘unable’ on the tip of my tongue once.

    Maybe they just don’t like me...
     
  13. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    Can't talk VFR guys filing IFR without bringing up the infamous Goodish Letter. :)

    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/com...fr-by-non-ifr-cert-pilot-j-goodish-pdf.29091/
     
  14. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

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    for the most part, yes. there are a few variations (like you might be told to call clearance instead of ground, etc) but yes, this pretty much sums it up.

    I WOULD like to add this. I have found there are TWO ways you can request to leave a controlled field....with FF and without. without would be something like "so-and-so ground, cokesnorter 123 ready to taxi for a VFR departure to the north". boom. you've just let them know you're departing their area and don't need anything else. WITH would be as discussed above, where you specifically say "would like flight following to the betty ford center...."
     
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  15. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Nawwww that can't be!
     
  16. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Line Up and Wait

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    I think it has something to do with their comm or computer connectivity. When I asked Stillwater ground if they could set up FF for me last time I was there (13 months ago), they said "sorry, we don't have the something-something to do that; you'll have to contact Kansas City center on 1xy.z"
     
  17. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    While "with request" may not be on 'official' lists of phraseology, it's a neighborly thing to do. It immediately identifies you to the controller as a new player. Yeah, they should know who they already got but it saves a few K of controller brain RAM making the comparison. Adding VFR to it, "with VFR request" is useful to. It allows the controller to prioritize immediately.

    EDIT: Now that I've scanned through the whole thread, see @denverpilot 's post #26 above if you haven't already
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2017
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  18. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Still escapes me. If a tower has to call departure control or the center for a release for an IFR airplane departing that tower's runway, they should be able to coordinate FF too.
     
  19. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Popping up 30 miles away and going farther away is likely to get the same result just about anywhere. Did you ever a look at the Charolette TAC? That would have told you that 120.05 or 124.0 would have been the freq for your initial call. It still would have probably got you a 'call center with your request'
     
  20. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    yea my home airport can't do FF on the ground (Class D under Phoenix Class B shelf) unfortunately. I call PHX approach to get FF.

    When I call this is what I say:

    Me: Phoenix Approach, Cherokee 101RM, VFR Request
    PHX APP: says something
    Me: 101RM 10 west Deer Valley request flight following to North Las Vegas at 6500

    Sometimes in their first call back to me they will say something like: state aircraft type, position, and destination. In that case I adjust what I say as needed.
     
  21. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    That's it. Flight following and VFR flight plan is not an either/or thing. If you care about being looked for sooner rather than later do both. The VFR flight plan protects you from ATC saying "go away, get off my frequency, I ain't got no time for no stinkin VFR's right now." Or you could just be getting out of Radar coverage. Flight following can get the SAR ball rolling a little earlier an narrows the 'search area.' "He quit talkin and the target fell off the scope right here." If you care about SAR, do both.
     
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  22. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    I had a really odd exchange with a guy at flight service a few weeks back. Really left a bad taste in my mouth lol. I was closing my flight plan and I was 15 minutes over my ETA on my flight plan (I thought you had an hour of buffer room?). I had meant to amend it in the air, but I was busy getting setup to fly through the Class B at Las Vegas and it could have taken 5 minutes or 20 minutes depending on what route I took through the Bravo. Anyways...so on the ground I call Flight Service and told him I wanted to close my flight plan for 101RM. I got like 45 seconds of silence (thought maybe he was busy doing something?) and said "you still there?". He goes, "well you gonna give me a tail number?!". I said, "uh yea I gave it to you first thing, but its 101RM". "Your flight plan was already closed." "How is it already closed I didn't close it?" "Oh you were 15 minutes over ETA we were about to send search and rescue out for you!". At this point I was like wtf...this is the most bizarre exchange I have had over the phone with one of these guys. So I proceeded to tell him that I should have amended it in flight, but I was busy with the LV Bravo. He went off on me about how I should have used an RCO, etc. I was kind of ****ed, so I said, "You know sir, I don't think there is a reason to be so rude." "Oh, I'm not being rude I'm just giving you the info." He said it in this really sarcastic voice. The guy was a real jerk about it.

    Anyways...that was my off topic and bizarre encounter with Flight Service. Hopefully never have an encounter like that again.
     
  23. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route

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    FTFY

    The towered airport must have an LOA (someone will correct me if that's not the correct document) that indicates how they will be pumping VFR traffic in to the airspace. For instance KFUL's instructions are for turn to the Southwest and 3000ft before being passed to regional.

    If I'm at an unfamiliar towered airport I ask ground if they can arrange flight following. If they do say no, they usually give me a freq to request it from after I'm done with the tower
     
  24. Clark1961

    Clark1961 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You didn’t fix it for me, you inserted your opinion on a matter. You admit that you don’t know the requirements for a delta to set up flight following. I have no specific knowledge of the whys and hows of flight following from a delta. That leaves me with the opinion that some deltas will set up flight following and some won’t.
     
  25. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Yea this actually sounds about right lol. I remember KDVT telling me something similar.
     
  26. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    He was an ass but he got your attention I bet. No doubt you'll update your flight progress in the future. It's 30 minutes past ETA that S&R begins.

    http://tfmlearning.fly.faa.gov/Publications/atpubs/FSS/fss0801.html
     
  27. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    Or just not use a flight plan at all and use flight following (lol I know that is a horrible answer). Okay yea I thought it was 30 minutes, but then I read an hour on the 1800wxbrief site, but maybe I was looking at the wrong thing. Next time I think I will just add another 15 minutes or so onto the flight time.

    One time in my PPL training I forgot to close my flight plan (I was with my instructor actually) and they called me. Guy was super nice, wasn't rude at all, so not sure why this guy was so rude.

    ForeFlight gives you the ability to amend in the air, but it seems kind of useless since a lot of places I fly over don't have cell service.
     
  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I think he really was just trying to get your attention. My recommendation though is to file a flight AND use FF. It benefits YOU, why would you not want that?
     
  29. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Yeah, it’s very load specific but in quieter times I’ve never had a controller miss anything in the full call.

    Part of that, I swear, is in tone of voice and professionalism, in that someone who sounds even the least bit non-confident seems to go on auto-ignore in controller’s heads. It’s a defense mechanism. Ha. “That aircraft is going to be a pain in my ***...”

    I use the long call up more than the “VFR request”. I rarely get the “say again” routine.

    Most of sounding “confident” is just tone of voice and pacing. Mimic what you hear on frequency as long as it hasn’t turned into rapid fire gibberish on a busy day, and you fit into the mental flow they have going on. And remove the raising inflections at the end of things that makes it sound like you’re asking the controller a question.

    That last part is nearly impossible to teach to someone. They just pick it up over time with practice.

    It happens in other similar jobs also, like public safety dispatch working with new officers or firefighters. You just sound like a newbie and you can’t help it for a while... everyone can hear that you’re searching for words, and that’s fine... nobody minds.

    But it can get you pushed to the back burner for a second to rattle off things quickly to someone who sounds like they’re on top of things better, because that removes those pressing things from the dispatcher or controller’s brain stack. Thus, “Skylane over X, say again...?” is all they remember when they get back to you, versus the subconscious feel that this other Skylane sounds like they know what they’re doing... “Skylane X, Squawk X, Denver altimeter 29.92, say destination...” because they don’t think it’ll take more than one more transmission to have you in the system and out of their hair other than being another target to monitor.
     
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  30. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    I guess it depends on where I am going. If I fly down south to Marana for instance, I will just pick up FF. Route of flight is along a major interstate, lots of airports along the way, flat terrain, flight time is less than an hour. In that case I guess I just don't see the need for a flight plan. My flight to Vegas though is over to remote terrain and FF is not an option unless I am above 8000' (in many cases the winds destroy my Cherokee's ground speed so I opt to stay lower). So in that case I will file a flight plan. Plus it is a relatively long flight.
     
  31. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Your choice.
     
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  32. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    I agree I just don't see the need to tie up the frequency with some long winded transmission right off the bat. If you say VFR request or VFR traffic advisories they know exactly what you want anyways. It hurts my ears when I hear someone tie up freq with PHX Approach for a solid 10 seconds with their life story.
     
  33. CC268

    CC268 En-Route

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    From what I have seen on here it seems like a lot folks do something similar. I'm building cross country time right now so I make a lot of short 60-70 mile flights after work. I guess I am just happy with FF in those cases. Plus I don't have a set plan. Sometimes I decide I want to go to Coolidge over Marana or Pinal or whatever. If I had to amend my flight plan every time I did that it would be a pain. just my opinion
     
  34. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach

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    My Dad retired out of FSS. Believe me, there are plenty of lazy azz, moody, inept people in the field. Heard him complain about coworkers through out my entire childhood. Nowadays my brother does ATC and I hear him complain about the same thing on the controller end! :D
     
  35. CC268

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    Lol well good to hear it wasn't just me. That is really too bad.
     
  36. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    What you’re hearing is what’s known as a drone.

    He’s reading what the computer says and spitting it out with no knowledge whatsoever of what you dealing with a Bravo or flying the aircraft in busy airspace is all about. He forgot about the conversation the instant you signed off with him.

    It ain’t the old FSS, it’s all computer driven now. Might as well have you talking to one of those computerized menus for the entire conversation nowadays for most of it.

    I wouldn’t worry about it, your story is pretty normal now. Perhaps sadly, but that’s water long under the LockMart/Leidos bridge.
     
  37. luvflyin

    luvflyin En-Route

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    Something you might consider on those long over hostile terrain flights is making VFR Position Reports to FSS. It narrows the search area if they have the record that you made it at least that far. Just giving a PIREP will accomplish the same thing.
     
  38. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm aware of that, but it's at odds with ESTABLISHED practice by ATC and PILOTS. The moron so much as admits that it's not a violation but a sign that the pilot intends to break the rules later. Poppycock.

    I'm going to have to start rattling cages.

    As I stated, some facilities, notably the DC SFRA/FRZ REQUIRE you to file VFR flight plans as IFR plans. They weren't the first. OAK was doing it a decade earlier.

    I still remember being in the first briefing for pilots authorized to fly in the FRZ (I was based at VKX on 9/11). Marty (I'm spazzing on his last name but he worked in ATC management at the time) was talking about all the extra effort it was going to take to get the plans from the Leesburg AFSS to the various DC approach controls (at the time, they had not all had been consolidated into PCT). I spoke to him at the end and asked why they wouldn't just put them in as IFR. He goes over to the head FSS guy and asks if they could put the plans in as IFR. The guy at the FSS says "Of course, we're going to put them in as IFR, how else would it work?"

    The further up the FAA management you go, the less you understand how things work apparently.
     
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  39. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

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    Sorry to say this, but I’ve attempted that a couple of years ago in the mountains.

    The AFSS folks are many states away in a soulless building with no idea what any of the standard reporting checkpoints in the mountains around here are anymore. You’d better plan on a very long back and forth with them, spelling common landmarks the old local FSS knew by heart. Or just giving them lat/long or radial/distance off of a navaid.

    Better yet, buy a SPOT tracker and forget about it.

    You could tell AFSS you were over the top of the Statue of Liberty and they’d ask you to spell it.
     
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  40. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    A bit misleading, it's a SFRA flight plan for VFR. You do check IFR on it but that's only to generate a transponder code.

    Ref: https://www.faasafety.gov/files/gslac/courses/content/55/707/SFRA Course Notes 111130.pdf


    There are several procedures that a pilot must follow to fly VFR in the SFRA.
    First, file a SFRA flight plan. Here's w
    hat you need to know about the SFRA flight
    plan before we go any further.
    The
    SFRA flight plan
    is a flight plan filed for the so
    le purpose of complying with the
    requirements for VFR operations into, out of, and through the SFRA.
    It is separate and distinct from a standard VFR flight plan
    It does not provide any ATC or search and rescue services.
    If you want ATC services or SAR protection, you must separately file a standard
    VFR flight plan

    There are also a few specific things you ne
    ed to know in order to file your SFRA
    flight plan via DUATS. This information is
    also useful to know when you are filing
    with an AFSS briefer.
    First, mark it as “IFR.” This step forc
    es ATC's computer to generate the discrete
    transponder code required fo
    r operating in the SFR