Can we talk about VFR flight following?

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

  1. RDUPilot

    RDUPilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
    Messages:
    188
    Location:
    Morrisville, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RDUPilot
    i am eating cereal, so i cant hear or understand what my wife is bitchin about.... crunch, crunch...:p
     
    mscard88 and FlySince9 like this.
  2. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Huntersville, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jerry
    somebody has to keep the dial tone humming and the data flowing....
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  3. FlySince9

    FlySince9 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,989
    Location:
    Huntersville, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Jerry
    Et tu e-man?
     
  4. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    7,656
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    One that at least gives me t-giving off. But mind you, they are no doubt the biggest A-holes around fo sho.
     
  5. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 En-Route

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2015
    Messages:
    3,597
    Location:
    Vail, Arizona
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Timbeck2
    I'm not roncachamp but I can tell you that it is a couple of extra key strokes when your flight information is entered into the computer, which will spit out a squawk code not assigned to the non FF, VFR guys. If the tower can't do it themselves, they know who can.
     
    Velocity173 likes this.
  6. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,076
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    What is required is the tower be willing to do so and the radar facility that will provide the service be willing to accept it.

    Back before the SFRA in DC, for example, HEF tower would try to arrange flight following with Dulles Approach, but Dulles Approach really didn't want to do it that way. Instead HEF would just give you the frequency change to IAD as soon as you took off.

    It never hurts to ask, but be prepared for them to tell you to call approach. THey're usually pretty willing to give the frequency with their negative reply.
     
  7. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    4,339
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    I might just be acting like a dog with a bone on this... but LOA strikes me as the term used to enable a towered airport to set it up on the ground.

    I know 4 airports in the DFW area that ALWAYS do it. I assume that's because they CAN. I know that New Braunfels and Spirit (KSUS) never do it. I assume that's because they CAN'T.

    It's not a workload issue when you're sitting still talking to CD or the Ground Controller.
     
  8. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    8,511
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Only reason I would think they can't would be they either don't have a flight data computer or they don't have the manning. Both would be highly unlikely. My brother worked a contract tower once that had no flight data computer but the thing was a portable tower. As far as manning, if they're operating with local and ground combined, they might not have time to type a VFR in. It only takes maybe 30 secs though. If the overlying approach has an LOA restricting the tower from typing in a VFR, that would be completely unnecessary. If approach sees the strip and for some reason (traffic), can't provide FF, chuck the strip and notify the aircraft on initial contact. Simple.

    I would think the primary reason of notifying CD/GD in the AIM example for VFR traffic advisories, would be that the request is coordinated with departure/center. Best way to coordinate a VFR requesting advisories is to type into the computer. The whole automation over non automation thing. So really, can't think of a legit reason not to type it in in the tower. We used to do it all the time.
     
  9. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    4,339
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    So I sent a note to ZFW Tours <zfwtours@gmail.com>. This is the email of the DFW controllers who conduct the "Operation Raincheck" program at DFW. They are very much in favor of Flight Following for VFR flights in this area.

    Here's the reply:

    Flight following, being a VFR operation, will be different depending on the airspace around the airport. If it's a Bravo, there will be an LOA between the tower and the radar facility. If it's a C or other congested airspace, they may have a procedure in place.

    Around DFW, not all of our towers have a direct 'flight data' connection to the radar/TRACON/center computers. The ones that don't would have to verbally coordinate the flight following, which is going to be rare from my experience. They'll just advise you to contact departure or center with that request since the tower doesn't have radar themselves or the data connection. The towers around that do have data and radar, DTO for example now has this, will ask for your destination and they'll enter a short-hand flightplan into the system for everyone to see and it will give them a beacon code to assign you. You'll now just be handed off to departure and be in the system already.

    So basically, it's going to be different at each airport depending on their equipment. Any tower should have the ability to coordinate flight following, but if they don't have radar they're basically just making the initial call to departure with your information for you.

    So, @Clark1961 - there is an LOA as I initially suspected, and it is equipment dependent as to whether they CAN or WILL do it.

    [Not that you'll accept the clarification]
     
    mscard88 and Van Johnston like this.
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    42,665
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    The crack up of the thread is, practically, the pilot has no way to know what the tower facility can or can’t do until they’ve flown there and asked.

    So you call CD and ask and they either coordinate or they can’t.

    Knowing it’s about LOAs and equipment is completely useless information, sitting in a cockpit on the ramp.
     
    mscard88 likes this.
  11. eman1200

    eman1200 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    7,656
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    eman1200
    maybe, but being a big boy pilot and knowing what your options are ahead of time (the correct app/dept freq to call) should be the point of the thread.
     
  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    4,339
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    The discussion became WILL or WON'T. Not CAN or CAN'T. My OPINION is they always will if they CAN and never will if they CAN'T.

    SGOTI said it was Will or Won't and I contended that position.
     
  13. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    42,665
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    In flight you call the published frequency on the chart and they bounce you to whoever’s really working the sector. On the ground you call CD or ground if no CD and ask. It’s really that simple.

    You don’t need to know jack about their LOAs or equipment. That’s their part of the game.

    KAPA CAN coordinate a squawk code with DEN TRACON for VFR flights, but rarely DOES. I know that for a fact from talking to them. Workload at both ends is a factor not covered by your theory. It’s a lot easier for KAPA to put you on a heading to the usual LOA’d handoff point and give you “Contact departure”. They DO appreciate you telling them you WANT Flight Following though, because they’ll give you that “contact departure” as early as they can while often still inside the Delta. IFR, of course, they’ll get on the landline and get the code.
     
    wrbix likes this.
  14. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2012
    Messages:
    8,511
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Velocity173
    Well, I've said it before, ATC practices aren't standardized everywhere you go and never will be. The AIM, even the .65 are just the basics. Every facility has a thick book of waivers, LOAs, SOPs etc, that modify the rules. Then you have facilities that have equipment that could be from the 60s or present day. Just the way it is.
     
  15. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    4,339
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    So you are illustrating an equipment difference between your airport and others. Seems to support my "Can vs Will" which was exemplified by the tracon dude.
     
  16. cowman

    cowman En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    3,109
    Location:
    Danger Zone
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cowman
    So a note on FF callup and the "with request" thing...

    I used to always do that as it's what my instructor had done. Then one day I tried it and had a very upset sounding controller in Rockford, IL tell me to not waste his time with "with request" and just say the request. So from then on I just requested it, nobody has ever complained.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  17. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Final Approach PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    Messages:
    9,620
    Location:
    DXO124009
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Light and Sporty Guy
    Just because the FAA requires you do do it doesn't mean that it doesn't violate FAA regulations.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  18. WannFly

    WannFly Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2016
    Messages:
    2,089
    Location:
    KFAR
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    WannaFly
    I had a similar experience when my fl8ght went to SAR. Now I always add 15-20 mins to the plan as buffer

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
     
    CC268 likes this.
  19. RyanLikesFlying

    RyanLikesFlying Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    81
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanLikesFlying
    Hey all, appreciate the info on flight following AND the entertaining commentary that followed :)
     
  20. Ravioli

    Ravioli En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    4,339
    Location:
    Fort Worth
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pasta Man
    Once again, welcome aboard PoA. This is your Captain, SGOTI.
     
  21. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,393
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Within 100 miles of each other I have one tower that gets ****y if you call them up and let you know you are flying over their airspace, and another that treats you like you are in their airspace until you pass over it completely. Neither airport is very busy. At most, there are one or two airplanes in their airspace at a time, usually none.
     
  22. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    3,052
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Shawn
    I don't get this...If you are flying over and not through Tower's airspace and wish to talk to someone, why wouldn't you be taking to Approach/Tracon/Center that actually owns that airspace?

    That is like the pizza guy letting you know he is delivering a pizza to your neighbor...I might get pizzy too.
     
  23. Salty

    Salty Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    1,393
    Location:
    FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Salty
    Yeah, that's pretty much what the tower says that doesn't like it (I've never done it there myself, I just hear them ream others out about it)

    I do call the one up that likes it, partially because they like it, and partially because I often come very close to busting their airspace on approach to my airport. They don't have radar, and it just seems prudent to let them know not to route planes toward where I'm going to be. The first time I did it, I just called them up and told them where I was going and asked if they cared, and they said they appreciate the heads up, so I do it if I'm going to be flirting with their airspace.
     
  24. Hippike

    Hippike Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    May 22, 2017
    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    KSMO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hippike
    At my class D, I always get FF from GC and they give me a code and a freq for SoCal approach and tell me: 'advise tower you have FF'.
    After TO, when tower tells me to change freq, I call SoCal and they already know who I am and what I want. If I fly far, they may hand me off to another approach freq but they too have their eyes on me and from time to time give me directions where to turn to avoid the big guys and call out traffic. So far I have experienced only 1 traffic during my training that I saw first before SoCal would call it out. If I'm at the practice area and will descend to lower altitude for S-turns and such, I would tell them that they are going to lose me for a bit but I'll be back.
    One time I heard a guy in the air asking SoCal for traffic advisories in the practice area. That's another way to ask them to keep an eye on you.
     
  25. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    14,076
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    The entire country is not California. Some ATC has very good practice area procedures (LYH is a prime example around here). Others have no clue what you're talking about.
     
    denverpilot likes this.
  26. RyanLikesFlying

    RyanLikesFlying Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2017
    Messages:
    81
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    RyanLikesFlying
    Just an update on my flight following questions. I left my home airport on Tuesday (N52- south of Charlotte and under the Bravo). Requested FF to Asheville from CLT departure and they were very accommodating.

    Leaving Asheville I requested FF from ground controller when requesting taxi and they coordinated. By the time I was with tower I had a sqwauk and AVL departure sent my own my way with Center.

    Fairly easy process and I’ll be using it much more often. Great discussion!
     
    wrbix likes this.
  27. SkyHog

    SkyHog Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,275
    Location:
    Castle Rock, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Everything Offends Me
    Kapa gave me a squawk on the ground a few times when I was based there a few months ago. Always for southbound departures if that matters.
     
  28. denverpilot

    denverpilot Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2009
    Messages:
    42,665
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    DenverPilot
    Yeah whatever magic has to happen for a tower to be able to do it, they can. Just depends on traffic load for whether you’ll get it VFR. The IFRs all get it of course.
     
  29. Sundancer

    Sundancer Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2015
    Messages:
    1,804
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Sundog
    If not IFR, I don't use flight following; the silence is bliss . . .