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Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by SkyHog, Dec 29, 2017.
The FAA officially sanctioned it when "VFR" was made an acceptable entry in the altitude field.
Can you point to a document that says to select “IFR” on the flight plan for a VFR flight, aside from a SFRA flightplan? Just because you can doesn’t mean it’s universally sanctioned.
It’s the FAA. Maybe the better question is to ask where it’s prohibited since that is how the regs are written.
The interpretation letter is a bit damning admittedly. I guess the secret is to not do anything stupid and it will work.
Yes it does.
I'm confident the interpretation letter was written by someone with no experience in flight plan processing.
Have you tried what I recommended back in post 38 to see if your past VFR flight following flights show up?
"Do you have "Position-Only Flights" selected under your account settings in FlightAware? It is option 6. If not select it and your VFR flights will probably show up."
Actually one of the attorneys was an active pilot, not sure about the other. Additionally, they would have collaborated with both Air Traffic staff level folks (who would have been a 2152) as well as flight standards (who are generally 1825s). So yes, folks with flight plan experience would have collaborated on the response.
Didn't notice anyone offering this.. I think ADS-B is your answer. No need to do anything, just take off and they've got ya.
The letter suggests otherwise.
I do. But even if that does work it requires you to login. It doesn’t make it so that my wife can track it.
He specified flight plan processing experience. I understand that you are field dependent and must believe that actions are approved. Make sure that you understand what is written when you go about seeking approval.
Not sure what you’re implying, but legal interpretations are not written in a vacuum. The people who are responsible for the policy provide input (if they don’t write the first draft of the interp in its entirety) to the attorneys who prepare the letter for the chief counsel’s signature.
Either way, I get that you and Steven disagree with the interp. Heck, in principle I do too, but that doesn’t change what was written. Like I said, do what you choose to do at your own risk; 999 times out of 1,000 you’ll be fine. As an instructor, I don’t teach or recommend procedures to others that I can’t trace back to statute, regulation, policy, or guidance.
Ironically, Leidos files just about 50% of my VFR flights using an IFR flight plan. Of course, I’m based inside the DC FRZ, so it’s a required procedure and I don’t have a choice if I want to take off.
As a Center Controller, I wouldn't do this. If a flight plan doesn't have a "hard altitude" request, the flight plan will not process at a Center, so whats the point? Why not just file IFR? We do not get VFR departure strips for aircraft in our Departure list. In KC Center we do work aircraft to the ground but if you pop off an airport with a flight following request, we do not know whether or not you filed a flight plan. You would still have to give us you type,destination, and VFR altitude anyway. We do not simply "open" your flight plan, that is Flight Service's job. I personally file IFR everywhere and if it's nice out, I'll just cancel IFR and continue with FF. I mainly do this in unfamiliar areas when I'm not sure about airspace, MOAs and Restricted areas.
You are very naive on legal opinions. They range all the way from good to illegal. As for risk with the method there is absolutely zero risk for me. I won’t accept a clearance when calling for flight following. You obviously can not grasp that is the only thing one has to be the least bit careful with and it really doesn’t require much care. So don’t try to utilize handy features in the system that are there for your benefit because some lawyer wrote a letter. Your loss and your student’s loss.
My apologies. I didn't realize you were an expert on FAA legal interpretations. I look forward to learning more from you.
There's not really a point to it. The purpose of a VFR flight plan is to provide a basis for search and rescue operations that can be continuous from the moments before you depart to the moments after you land. If you file IFR with a VFR altitude, you're not getting any better search-and-rescue coverage than you would get through basic radar service (radar flight following / radar traffic advisories / etc.). ATC will not note your departure time until well after you've departed, and they will close out the plan when you are most likely to need it to be open (ie. descending into an area of poor radar coverage, landing at a non-towered, unattended airport at night, etc.).
As a final point, one of the other reasons people have sought to do this is to shorten the amount of time it takes to initiate radar flight following. I am of the opinion that if the controller has to play "20 questions" to start providing flight following that the pilot is not making an understandable request. For example, the guy who says "Fort Worth Center, November 123 requesting flight following" is going to be subject to "20 questions" as the controller must work to determine his position, type, destination, and requested altitude. We don't need these pilots filing IFR flight plans.
Apology accepted. I will expect better behavior on your part in the future.
Again, this has nothing to do with VFR flight plans. This has everything to do with getting into the NAS more easily and repeatably. I have no problem getting flight following, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually show up on tools that use the NAS to track you.
As to the 20 questions - “Center, N123 requesting flight following to Podunk Municipal, and I have a strip already” should assuage that one, no?
I phrase it: “there should be a strip” - all the normal timing rules on having a flight plan in the system apply. I believe the timing is the plan is available from 30 minutes before specified departure time to 2 hours after departure time.
The controller may be uncertain what you want, thinking you're on an IFR flight plan because you have a "IFR strip" in the system. The controller might even begin issuing you a clearance if your route is on the strip. So he may end up asking a series of questions until he figures out all you want is to remain VFR and get flight following. You'd get a quicker result IMO by just calling up the controller and request flight following and not filing an IFR flight plan (I realize you're checking the VFR). I don't see the advantage by having a "strip" in the system. And like I said, may cause the controller to be confused for a minute or two until understanding your intentions.
Then again some day you might get a controller who gets concerned about your "gaming" the system and it gets elevated to an inspector at your FSDO. Then what? IOW you're taking a risk for a potential violation. Like I said, all that's needed is to call up the controller on frequency and request flight following.
Yup the strip prints out automatically 30 minutes prior but can be "strip request" earlier if need be.
And like I said, that doesn’t work.
I've been flying for 43+ years and it's always worked. But go ahead and risk it. Your call.
Seems like a lot of work that could end up in confusion. I’d just get a GPS tracker and app if you want to see your track.
That's not it Clark. @SkyHog brought it up and wanted opinions so I gave mine. Yours is different, and that's ok too.
@SkyHog -- Are your planes ADS-B equipped? If so, you'll see them on Flight Aware.
Just get a GPS tracker or ADSB (two birds with one stone there) if seeing your track on FA/FR24 is so important. Or just go IFR. The filling IFR for VFR "method" creates unnecessary confusion.
Wow. Did you have a super early version of flightaware back in 1977? That’s pretty cool! If you retained screenshots, you might have a pretty cool scrapbook to use.
Oh wait, you’re talking about getting flight following, which I’ve already said doesn’t scratch the itch I’m trying to scratch not have I ever had a problem getting it.
I’m not yet, unfortunately. But interestingly, about 6 years or so ago, even without ADSB I had better luck getting flightaware to show my tracks on flight following (like 75% or more of my flights were shown).
Not sure what changed, but I’m trying to get similar results again.
I may have to do that. I can’t file IFR and fly IFR unfortunately since I’m not rated.
You don't have to be a smart ass about it. You asked for opinions, I gave mine.
Sorry - I’m getting frustrated at the number of times it’s been insinuated or outright stated that “flight following is easy” or “a VFR flight plan is different from flight following” despite the repetitive explanations that this is a specific need - not S&R, not to get Flight Following, but to be tracked in FlightAware or similar.
FWIW, I’ve actually never been denied flight following, even from super busy controllers. I’ve also never been denied a bravo clearance when requested nor have I ever had a hard time working with ATC. The only hard time I’ve ever experienced has been with a VFR flight plan and getting it closed (even once, after calling and closing still having S&R activities launches, which made me think they closed someone else flight plan).
The FAA really should not separate VFR Flight Plans from IFR Flight Plans, because they COULD and SHOULD work the same way. After all, an IFR flight plan would initiate S&R if the plane went down, right? Anyway, that’s a different topic. For this one - I need to get the track into the NAS.
I'll add that on our non-ads-b plane I see about 90% of the home drome flights where FF was coordinated on the ground. I think my in-air requests in the RV (different base airport) run closer to 60%. It's gotta be something "they" are doing when they give you a code.
I understand the need to have your wife or pick-up driver or whomever know when to go get ya. I think it has improved over the time I've been flying.
In fairness, I usually text her when I’m about 20 minutes out. But that’s not always reliable. Between both id probably incread the odds to near 100%
Once again, SPOT. Yes, there's an annual fee. But it offers everything you're asking for without playing games with ATC or relying on Flightaware.
You don’t have to be a dumbass about it. Your opinion has gone both ways in this thread.
I will definitely look into SPOT. Last time I checked it was stupidly expensive but it’s been a few years now, so it may have gotten more reasonable lately.
No it hasn't. I did say IF I were working as a controller it wouldn't bother me. But I also said I don't see the need for it, could be in for a violation however unlikely, and I never heard of anyone doing that before it was brought up in this thread. Just because you've done it and don't see the potential pitfalls that's on you. But if you think it makes me a dumbass, so be it as apparently you know what's best and know it all, in your mind.
It's still stupidly expensive for the annual fee, ($200) altho the gadget itself is fairly cheap.($75)