Flight following on short flight?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Will Kumley, Feb 8, 2020.

  1. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If you’re flight plan shows 20-30 minutes between airports do you use FF? The path is frequently used by other aircraft so you’ll normally see 1 or 2 aircraft along the route but not much more. My question really is due to the idea that once I get FF started I’m only a couple minutes from the destination. I’m comfortable talking to ATC and see benefits of FF, using it any time I’m on longer flights. But I also know I’ll likely have minimal time with them on such a short flight.
     
  2. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Sure, why not? Maybe there isn't much to gain but there's also nothing to lose. I take it that there's radar coverage along the route and there may be some IFR traffic around?
     
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  3. GMascelli

    GMascelli En-Route

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    At the very least I always monitor the ATC sector that I'm passing through. I usually file but on occasion just pick up flight following. However, on some days when I'm making a breakfast hop less then thirty minuets I'll just monitor, it's good to just enjoy the view and the quiet.
     
  4. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route

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    Do it. You never know what might happen and it is nice to have a friendly voice on the other end of the radio. The number of other airplanes flying the same route is irrelevant.

    Bob
     
  5. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Anytime you leave the vicinity of your airport, you should be in communication with ATC. Absolutely no reason not to be.
     
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  6. murphey

    murphey Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Yup....I live under Class B and depending on winds, big stuff is often above me coming or going. Plus lots of our little traffic.
     
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  7. 455 Bravo Uniform

    455 Bravo Uniform En-Route

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    The benefit is much greater than the cost. I would (and do).
     
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  8. James331

    James331 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    If I can get it long enough to be useful without having to climb artificially high
     
  9. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    I do. I mostly fly out of airports in busy airspace. It's the shorter flights where the most traffic is where I can benefit more from Traffic Advisories.
     
  10. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    What's IFR got to do with it? Traffic is traffic.
     
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  11. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    No FF here. Just pilots making position reports on 122.9..:rolleyes: I would use it if available.
     
  12. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Reason: not wanting to listen to a bunch of chatter when just bombing around in Class E.
     
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  13. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    30 minutes is what, about 50 miles depending on what you are driving? If you can get radar coverage at your preferred cruise altitude why not?
     
  14. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Lame reason.
     
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  15. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

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    Seems like a good enough reason to me.
     
  16. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Absolutely. And ATC wants you talking to them.

    IFR traffic can often be faster, less maneuverable and potentially a wake issue.

    Chatter is good.
     
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  17. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    How much chatter could there be. No different to what we do in SE AK with pilot position reports on 122.9
     
  18. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    We request flight following every time we go out to the practice area and students are taught to do the same. There’s no excuse for anyone not to get flight following as far as I can see. It’s free insurance - use it!
     
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  19. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Quite often, they actually don’t. Around major metro areas, they’ll possibly either tell you to go away, call back later, or dump you 20 miles from your destination.

    Sometimes, if they do take you, it sounds begrudging.

    Not blaming them - they’re likely busy with a lot of other stuff, but it is what it is.
     
  20. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's false. Go to any meeting with facility reps and see what they say.
     
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  21. bkspero

    bkspero Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I, too, get FF on even short flights as I fly in congested airspace and recognize that no matter how visually vigilant I am, it is too easy to miss traffic or have traffic miss me. Having ATC help, and being able to help them, makes, I think, for a materially safer flight.

    That said, the constant radio chatter does get in the way of conversations with passengers. But ignoring it by tuning out just masks the symptom and makes me less safe. Monitoring ATC is an intermediate option, but the few times I tried that I gave up once ATC started giving other planes call outs of me. I decided that things would be better in aggregate if I participated and we all knew what each other was doing.
     
  22. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Even in the world's busiest airspace, I never have trouble carrying on a conversation. It just requires an understanding that you may get interrupted.
     
  23. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    I've been dropped a few times. Cruising along at 9500MSL, ATC interrupts my tunes and says "Frequency change approved, squawk VFR, have a nice day." I be like, "wha?" and they say "Too busy. Try again with the sector after next." I've been tempted to get a pop-up IFR but with my luck they'd just put me in a hold or vector me to nowhere.
     
  24. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    My reason is that I don't want to get vectored all around when I could just fly more direct under the B.
     
  25. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    In my experience, ATC doesn't really vector me in class E unless there's a really good reason. The times I have been vectored in class E, it was much appreciated.
     
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  26. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Concur.
     
  27. Cogito

    Cogito Pre-takeoff checklist

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    You're correct, that's what the facility reps say. Last time I flew to a meeting with SoCal Tracon controllers I was dropped by SoCal due to workload saturation.

    That said, one of my favorite podcast, "Opposing Bases" is by two air traffic controllers, who are also rated pilots, they consistently say they'd rather have their radar targets talking with them.
     
  28. Lindberg

    Lindberg En-Route

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    I'm my experience, it happens a bunch under the shelf.
     
  29. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    get flight following if you want it. don't get it if you don't want it.
     
  30. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's too simple. Let's make it more difficult.
     
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  31. Jsalter

    Jsalter Filing Flight Plan

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    Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. I'll get it for 10 min flights to adjacent airports since it's crazy busy with B C and D layers of airspace. Out it the sticks? Yeah, I'd do it for 30 min, maybe not 10 though.
     
  32. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    er, uh, get flight following while talking into a speech jammer?
     
  33. Matthew Rogers

    Matthew Rogers Line Up and Wait

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    Well, I live 60 miles N of NYC and just recently tried to get FF on a short XC flight where the controllers just told me to wait and never got back to me, even with a repeat call. So it certainly happens.

    Another time I was enroute to Fishers Island with a field Flight Plan, code, and FF and about to make a planned entry into a Presidential TFR. They were busy and told other VFR that they didn’t have time. The controller dropped me cold (squawk VRF) 30 seconds from entering the TFR. Had to call up another facility immediately and tell them I was on a flight plan to an airport inside the TFR and NY APP just dropped me at the worst possible time.
     
  34. Sinistar

    Sinistar En-Route

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    Plenty of answers.

    I have a question - are you at an airport where you can get Flight Following on the ground before departure? That can simplify things a bit if the hop is short and the controllers are busy.
     
  35. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    My experience too. Hard to get a radio call in edgewise with SoCal sometimes, and I'm flying VFR so I'm a secondary consideration. I will persist in engaging ATC if I'm flying across the basin, say, from Ontario to Camarillo. So much big iron/bizjet traffic crisscrossing the airspace from Burbank, Van Nuys, LAX. Long Beach, etc.
     
  36. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's why I don't, when I don't.
     
  37. Busflyer

    Busflyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    No. Silence is good.
     
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  38. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    We always go thru this silly debate of oh, controllers want you to call. Or, no plenty of times they can’t work me because they’re too busy.

    To say that controllers universally want us to call them for FF is ridiculous. They say that to develop a good relationship with the local flying community and it pads their annual traffic count. That’s it. It’s not easier on them. By not calling, that’s one less strip to write on, that’s one less ID to type into the computer, it’s one less traffic call. Now from a safety point is it safer to call? Yes, but it’s not easier for the controller. And yes, plenty of times we all have been terminated early or not offered the service due to traffic.

    So, if you want to call, then call. If you just want to enjoy the silence and not call, by all means do that. It’s your right and hopefully the airspace will never become so restrictive that we get forced into a service that we don’t want.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2020
  39. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    On short flights like the one I’m going to do next week (FRG-OXC), I usually don’t. By the time I call them up and get in the system, I’m going to terminate in like 5-10 minutes so it’s not worth it for me.
     
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  40. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wow, lots of answers and it seems like it really depends on who ya ask. My theory was similar to Jordane93 but I guess worst case scenario I ask for FF then they tell me they are too busy for such a short hop. On a positive note, the majority of the flight is inside the mode c veil so I can see traffic on my phone via the stratus the flight school just installed to be compliant with ADS-B. However, I also know there can be military traffic and not all military aircraft have ads-b installed yet so there is that.