Do you use flight following when flying VFR?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Salty, Feb 19, 2020.

?

Which fits best?

Poll closed Mar 19, 2020.
  1. Every flight

    10.6%
  2. Any flight outside the pattern

    27.2%
  3. Only when going somewhere new or challenging (terrain, airspace, etc)

    17.9%
  4. Only on long flights

    31.1%
  5. Never

    13.2%
  1. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,760
    Location:
    FL

    Display name:
    Salty
  2. SixPapaCharlie

    SixPapaCharlie May the force be with you

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2013
    Messages:
    14,884

    Display name:
    6PC
  3. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    10,104
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Pretty much all the time unless it’s a short flight. Especially, in the practice area, it gets really busy so I’ll get FF.
     
  4. DFH65

    DFH65 Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    2,363

    Display name:
    DFH65
    Nope but generally flying planes with no electrical or no transponder. Having said that if I had a plane that was equipped and was going somewhere I probably would use it. Why not?

    Sometimes don't even use a radio. :eek:
     
    champ driver likes this.
  5. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2005
    Messages:
    3,320
    Location:
    Ocean City, MD

    Display name:
    GaryM
    I typically get FF, except on the short breakfast hop.
     
  6. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2013
    Messages:
    3,575

    Display name:
    Tom
    Only on cross country flights.
     
  7. chemgeek

    chemgeek Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2009
    Messages:
    2,458

    Display name:
    chemgeek
    Anything XC or transitioning over or below Class C, I'll use FF. Short hops, maybe not.
     
  8. RyanB

    RyanB Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2010
    Messages:
    13,644
    Location:
    Chattanooga, TN

    Display name:
    Ryan
    Yes, every time.
     
  9. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,760
    Location:
    FL

    Display name:
    Salty
    I'm now part of big brother, I'm running feeder sites for flight aware for both 1090 and UAT, and I noticed that almost all traffic including UAT traffic has a transponder code. It surprised me. I almost never use FF unless going on a long trip. That's what prompted the poll.
     
  10. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2013
    Messages:
    14,158

    Display name:
    eman1200
    sometimes. decision is made based on the situation. also filing IFR a lot now so FF has taken a back seat. short flights, especially with passengers, no FF. flying around just for the heck of it, no FF. getting thru airspace, FF. trafficky area, FF. just wanna be left alone, no FF. hard to answer the question. I get it when I want it and don't when I don't.
     
    woodchucker, forsonsinc and Justin M like this.
  11. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2016
    Messages:
    8,760
    Location:
    FL

    Display name:
    Salty
    I think “only when going somewhere new or challenging” fits that best.
     
  12. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2012
    Messages:
    9,532
    Location:
    Lincoln NE

    Display name:
    Brian
    rarely
     
  13. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,666
    Location:
    Danger Zone

    Display name:
    Cowman
    Almost always when going somewhere. Almost never doing local sightseeing/practice maneuver type stuff.
     
  14. Arrow76R

    Arrow76R Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2015
    Messages:
    326
    Location:
    Colorado Springs

    Display name:
    Arrow76r
    Always on cross country trips. Local ATC for close flights.
     
  15. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,061
    Location:
    Miami

    Display name:
    alfadog
    You get flight following in the practice area?
     
  16. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,061
    Location:
    Miami

    Display name:
    alfadog
    I always get it for cross-country trips. Because I'm too lazy to file VFR flight plans. And I always forget to close them. Well actually, I take that back. I'm in Miami and heading north (I'm just talking the Tri-County South Florida area here) you can go east along the coast or west over the Everglades. If I go west to avoid the Bravo, to be honest, I usually don't talk to anyone. Going east along the coast it's a lot of fun to talk to everybody.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
  17. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,061
    Location:
    Miami

    Display name:
    alfadog
    New York Approach I'm going to be doing a few touch and goes in the pattern at this little uncontrolled grass strip. I'd like flight following please.
     
  18. Tantalum

    Tantalum Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,730

    Display name:
    San_Diego_Pilot
    It's not as ridiculous as it sounds, if that little strip is under or near a C or B they'll appreciate knowing what the target they see on their radar near big, fast, busy traffic is doing and won't suddenly dart off through an approach or departure path and mess up their flow.. if they don't care to hear from you they'll just tell you accordingly

    Plus, even if you have 121.5 on speed dial, if the brown stuff hits the fan you'll be that much faster when it comes to the Communicate part of the emergency.. vs finding someone on 121.5, telling them where you are, etc

    Yes, ADSB mandate is out, but at least around SoCal the tracon guys don't actually see or use the data (according to the tour I was on not that long ago). ATC infrastructure is cold war era.
     
  19. Kevin Eggert

    Kevin Eggert Pre-Flight

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2020
    Messages:
    85

    Display name:
    Kevin
    I have never used flight following except during PPL training. A few years later, I am going on to my IFR and looking back, I believe it would have been good practice. I don't feel that I was an less safe flying cross country without it, but it is a valuable tool for those that want the extra level of security.
     
    Weekend Warrior likes this.
  20. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,061
    Location:
    Miami

    Display name:
    alfadog
    Perhaps but if I'm doing touch-and-goes out of Homestead X51, I don't think Miami approach wants to hear from me.
     
  21. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    28,464
    Location:
    Land of Savages

    Display name:
    steingar
    Nope. For the most part I see what they see. Don't see the value. Of course, the vast majority of my flights are over populated terrain. I would probably feel differently were I flying somewhere more remote.
     
  22. gsengle

    gsengle Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 9, 2016
    Messages:
    2,098

    Display name:
    Gsengle
    Always. Good to know someone is right there when an emergency happens. I’ve had one engine failure and 2 precautionary landings in singles now in 2500 hours of flying. My chance off airport of survival goes up if they are already on the way / looking as I descend...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    Tantalum likes this.
  23. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,127
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Display name:
    Shawn
    I only use FF any and every time I leave the pattern.

    ...allows me to be more heads down to focus more on my iPad and not worry about what is happening outside the plane. Its a lot more relaxing that way.
     
    benyflyguy, woodchucker and Schokie like this.
  24. jordane93

    jordane93 Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2013
    Messages:
    10,104
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    Display name:
    Jordan
    Yes
     
  25. alfadog

    alfadog Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    5,061
    Location:
    Miami

    Display name:
    alfadog
    No FF = one iPad only :-(
    FF = two or more!! More magenta lines = more fun!!
    Also allows you focus on the important things like running your multiple cameras.
     
    Shawn likes this.
  26. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 7, 2016
    Messages:
    6,654
    Location:
    Central Florida

    Display name:
    Half Fast
    Frequently, not always. My home drome is beneath the Orlando Bravo and there are multiple class D and E airports nearby, so sometimes there's quite a bit of traffic and I appreciate an extra set of eyes. That's particularly true when there's a low ceiling, or when I'm over a scattered layer or maneuvering around clouds.
     
  27. Stephen Shore

    Stephen Shore Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2017
    Messages:
    377
    Location:
    Longview, TX

    Display name:
    sshore
    One thing some pilots don't realize is that you do NOT have to be going somewhere to get FF. If you are just going to make a run to the lake for a sightseeing trip or just want to go eat breakfast somewhere but don't want to be burdened with having to fly a "route", you can STILL ask ATC for FF and they will be glad to help. Just call them up and say "I am making a sightseeing trip to the lake and then on to KXXX for breakfast and would like FF". At least in my part of the woods they are always happy to oblige me.

    And they really don't mind for practicing - just tell them the area you want to fly to and that you will be practicing slow flight, turns, etc. and they will work with you and watch out for you.

    I do it all the time. This is for NE Texas and the East Texas Regional Airport controllers.
     
  28. Morgan3820

    Morgan3820 En-Route

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2013
    Messages:
    3,017
    Location:
    New Bern, NC

    Display name:
    El Conquistador
    I am at a class D sandwiched between three airbases with fast movers so I am always talking to someone. So yes always FF.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    N1120A likes this.
  29. lancie00

    lancie00 Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    May 12, 2016
    Messages:
    864

    Display name:
    lancie00
    I normally don't if I stick around the home drome because we don't have radar coverage until about 5000 feet. If I'm going somewhere I normally file IFR but if it's a short trip and they can see me on radar, I'd definitely use FF.
     
  30. PaulS

    PaulS Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    11,769
    Location:
    New England

    Display name:
    PaulS
    I use flight following pretty much all the time. I fly out of a busy class D, that's under B shelf near other busy airports, can make it exciting sometimes. It's great to have another set of eyes, but you still have to watch out for yourself.

    It's really nice to be in contact with ATC when things aren't quite as expected. I was flying from Maine to home, took off, got FF, then the ceilings turned out to be lowering, I had planned one altitude and was forced lower in an area I wasn't prepared to fly lower in. So I called ATC, told them the ceiling was lower than I expected and I'd like a pop up ifr clearance, he asked me if I could get to the MVA altitude VFR, I could, so he gave me my clearance and I flew home in the clouds.
     
  31. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    4,127
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA

    Display name:
    Shawn
    Yeah, I never understood where the notion that FF is only for long cross country flights from A to B came form or you are somehow stuck to a rigid flight plan. You can still do anything you want VFR absent restrictions. ATC just wants to know what to expect from you if it is not direct to destination.

    Call once made to ATC: "NorCal, Skylane 345, gonna zip around the bay for some whale watching"..."Roger, thanks"

    During training maneuvers is one of the BEST times to get FF IMO since you are distracted by so many other things as you spin around.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
    N1120A likes this.
  32. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    20,751
    Location:
    Catawba, NC

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    When I was based at IAD I pretty much had to use it all the time. I got into the habit that if I'm going far enough to take the time to get radar identified, I use it.
     
  33. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Messages:
    1,934
    Location:
    Detroit-ish

    Display name:
    JoeSelch
    Generally only when operations in Class C or B airspace (or the occasional TRSA) are imminent.
     
  34. masloki

    masloki Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,005

    Display name:
    DD
    Still getting used to the kinder and gentler Chicago approach. Near KENW it is a mix of Chicago, Rockford and Milwaukee approach that just makes flight following a no for practice/training. Heading somewhere, sure.
     
  35. Justin M

    Justin M Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    605

    Display name:
    JM
    It varies, with PAX, maybe not. Alone most likely. Longer flight? Yeah. If I'm going to be landing a lot of different uncontrolled airports, then I don't get FF. However, a couple weekends ago, I was crossing 3 states alone, but flew without FF because I knew I'd be bouncing around altitudes. Monday, with flight following even though my family was riding along.
     
  36. pigpenracing

    pigpenracing En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2012
    Messages:
    2,696
    Location:
    Brenham Tx

    Display name:
    pigpen
    Never... I hate talking and listening.
    For me that takes the fun and freedom out of flying.
    I will never get my instrument rating. That flying isn't for me.
     
    LT4247 and RangeRider like this.
  37. simtech

    simtech En-Route

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2012
    Messages:
    2,935
    Location:
    mississippi

    Display name:
    Simtech
    Every cross country flight I get it. Keeps me in the game and never hurts to have someone else looking out for me.
     
  38. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2014
    Messages:
    3,446
    Location:
    Statesville NC

    Display name:
    Grum.Man
  39. Ravioli

    Ravioli Ejection Handle Pulled PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2014
    Messages:
    8,024
    Location:
    Somewhere else

    Display name:
    Unwanted Guest - Perma-ban Pending
    The requests I've made in the practice area is "traffic advisories" between x and y thousand feet. They are happy to help.
     
    woodchucker likes this.
  40. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    2,156
    Location:
    Huntsville AL

    Display name:
    cgrab
    I fly out of a Class C airport so always.