Flight following on short flight?

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

  1. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    There’s no right answer. Get FF if you want to. Don’t get FF if you don’t want to. You’re PIC. You do what you think is best for the safe outcome of the flight.
     
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  2. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And that’s exactly what I told pilots when I did ATC. I didn’t care if they called me or not. It’s like asking if they should file IFR or go VFR. You’re PIC, do what you want. It made little difference in my job and I got paid the same either way.
     
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  3. Shoomp

    Shoomp Filing Flight Plan

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    In the SF Bay Area I try to get FF. I was up one day where Oakland Center was dealing with somebody who was flying too close to the ceiling and it was affecting an IFR Coast Guard flight. That somebody wasn’t in communication. If that were me I’d much rather be alerted. Coast guard was vectored around the traffic, then popped out and saw the traffic from a safe distance. Coast guard confirmed the traffic was flying too close to the clouds. I would guess the guy had ADS-out.
     
  4. MacFlier

    MacFlier Pre-takeoff checklist

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    That's what Fort Worth center controllers told us during a visit last year: they'd rather be talking to you and knowing your intentions than not.
    In my brief PPL life so far, I have only once been refused FF.
     
  5. Ed Sokol

    Ed Sokol Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I actually had the opportunity to take a tour of the TRACON facility by Miramar (San Diego). During the discussions with all who attended, The Rep stated that they prefer you to contact them. Does not matter if its a short flight to the practice area or 20 min. to breakfast hop or what ever. They encourage it.
     
  6. Tusayan

    Tusayan Pre-Flight

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    Mode C traffic is visible via ADS-B In, the difference is that it’s relayed by a ground station, not received direct from that traffic. That means there is a delay relative to getting the data directly. The same is true whether or not you are within the veil, as long as you are receiving data from a ground station, and coverage is good across the US once you climb a bit. I’ve found ADS-B In to be quite useful since well before 2020 ‘Out’ regs came into play.

    I think only a small fraction of VFR traffic uses FF, and particularly in dense traffic areas I think ATC would be completely swamped if many more VFR aircraft attempted to do so. I see FF as a tactical tool to be used when it is helpful to me in enhancing my safety or convenience, and avoided most of the time otherwise - particularly as I find radio chatter in my headset and maintaining continuous contact with the ground annoying. For example (on topic) I occasionally use FF to get a short cut home on weekends when some local Class B areas are not in heavy use. You may do otherwise, I don’t care - I have zero interest in what other pilots may choose as long as they work within the regulations and hopefully enjoy their flying.

    @Velocity173, thanks for your professionalism in doing the job. My expectation of ATC as well paid Federal employees is that they earn their living under the conditions the system presents them. Their preference in whether I talk to them is irrelevant to me as they work for us, as requested by us, within the real world system as defined by airspace regulation and PIC discretion.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2020
  7. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    I’m not saying they’re grumpy... I’m just saying they’re really busy.
     
  8. woodchucker

    woodchucker Cleared for Takeoff

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    My CFII is a controller... I will ask about this. But I can tell you that when we are on training flights my cfii stays with controllers when possible.
     
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  9. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The weather was barely good enough for my short flight to the airport I'll be doing my checkride at. Picked up FF as soon as I took off and all was well for half of the flight at which time ATC told me to squak VFR and change frequencies. I'm guessing it was due to my altitude of 2000 ft. They tend to lose you at that altitude with the mountains around here. ADS-B in was good to have but I had to learn how to set it up so it didn't saturate my phone with crap so far away it wasn't a factor. One the return trip I called up ATC twice to request FF with no response. The closest thing I got was when she was talking to an aircraft with a very similar tail number and she clearly said she was not talking to me by using my tail number. Oh well, it was an uneventful flight which is the way I like it. Clouds were a little lower than I wanted but workable and I got to practice landings at my checkride location. :)
     
  10. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yep. Rob was at our club's big safety meeting last week and said the same.
     
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  11. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Cleared for Takeoff

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    I believe it varies, based on lots of variables, too numerous to accurately list in their entirety.

    On a weekend flight from Deer Valley to Goodyear airport (DVT to GYR)? Decline. I'll be leaving one airport's Class-D, and entering another's soon enough, and Luke Tower is normally closed on weekends. I'd literally be talking to Phx/Biltmore just barely enough to get a "radar contact" from them.

    How about a short flight from Deer Valley to Sedona? Only 45 mins in the air. Heck yeah! It crosses some serious terrain, and I'd rather be talking and identified than not. There's always plenty of traffic at nearly the same altitudes, and S&R is enhanced if the mill quits. That's also on the edge of warranting a VFR flight plan for me (but I don't want to stir that pot. We just finished that one recently enough).

    How about from Fullerton to Avalon? Wanna do that one without talking to anyone? It's definitely a short trip.
     
  12. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach

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    This is a split call for me. If the departure airport can arrange it on the ground I do it every time. But, if I need to pick it up in the air for 30 min flight, that would mean I'd be on with them for maybe 15 mins? Easier to just monitor the freq and not tie up the radio.

    YMMV

    Quoting @Rgbeard -How about from Fullerton to Avalon? Wanna do that one without talking to anyone? It's definitely a short trip.

    Fullerton arranges it on the ground. Avalon does not.
     
  13. chemgeek

    chemgeek Cleared for Takeoff

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    There is no harm in using flight following, even for a short flight. I think it is advisable if you are transiting above, below, or near class C airspace, even if you are not REQUIRED to be in contact with ATC. It is courteous to help ATC route traffic around you by letting them know where you are going. If ATC is too busy, well...you tried to be helpful. I've never had an issue working with ATC at Syracuse, but then it's often pretty sleepy.
     
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  14. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Constructive feedback, lol. It's entirely dependent on where you are in the country and the conditions surrounding the flight. Is this a 30 minute flight from Class E to Class E in the TX panhandle to the OK panhandle? Or transiting the VFR corridor in a Class B? Day or night? Busy Saturday morning, or Wednesday at 7pm? Sometimes there just isn't much reason to call up FF in order to make a 30 minute flight from the boonies to somewhere else in the boonies. Other times, it's a prudent choice and should almost be required. Weigh the variables and your penchant for any risk, then decide if FF is a desire.
     
  15. Will Kumley

    Will Kumley Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The flight I was referring to is class E to Class E outside of a busy Class B but still inside the Mode C veil. There are a couple of MOA's and even restricted areas nearby but my flight path doesn't touch them. I flew the route this past weekend on what was forecast as the first real VFR day in a while for the area so the airspace was busy at both the departure and arrival airports. FF was good as I headed North and they were more than willing to assist with traffic advisories. When I left the airport to head back south I made my initial radio call with my N number and stated I had a VFR request twice. Both times, I got zero response. The controller finally acknowledged me in a roundabout way. Both my plane and another plane shared the same number with a different letter at the end. Maybe the controller didn't want to get us confused, maybe she was busy, I'm not sure but she only used my full N number to stated she was not talking to me and she was talking to the other guy. I flew the remaining 20 minutes back to my home airport with no incident, kept an eye out the windows, and monitored the ADS-in data on my phone. As chemgeek said, I tried.
     
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  16. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    If I leave the pattern I request FF...for any flight.

    Easy peasy and I will always take a second set of eyes. Have yet to ever receive a vector that I had a problem with.

    That habit was reinforced after a SoCal Tracon tour and seeing first hand all the issues 1200 targets cause that would be easily rectified if ATC was talking to them and knew their intentions. System works MUCH better when everyone works together vs Sky Cowboys that are unpredictable.
     
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  17. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    DVT-GYR is practically tower to tower FF. I'd tell DVT on the ground and they'll probably coordinate you with GYR and Luke, if needed. That's how it works when you fly BUR-SMO (granted, that's Class C to Class D, but still). I moved a plane from SEE to MYF the other day and got a coordinated hand off, which is super helpful in busy airspace.

    Yeah, and anyone who doesn't get FF to AVX is a nut. SCT is desperate for people to be on frequency there, because several approaches and departures go right through that corridor. Easy thing is that you just switch back from CTAF to whatever frequency you flew in on.
     
  18. MBDiagMan

    MBDiagMan En-Route

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    I’m in the boonies, so on 40 mile flights to nearby airports I don’t bother, but anything farther than that I call em up once over the nearby VOR.
     
  19. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait

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    I never do, I would have to climb pretty high for the center to see me, so not practical...
     
  20. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    You seem to operate in a flight school rental culture bubble. Widen your horizons.
     
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  21. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Never seen that anywhere out west in any Bravo or Charlie. Not even California or Vegas.

    Be specific about the metro and maybe folks will agree. A few are like that. Not the majority.
     
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  22. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    Not at all the case everywhere. SoCal for example explicitly WANTS to be talking to as much traffic as they can and has a active program to educate more CFI's to teach their students about the benefits of using FF. As they told me, they would much rather be taking and know a pilots intentions vs not talking because they can NOT assume anything about what you might or might not do.

    One controller told me the most stressful part of his job is watching two 1200 targets at the same altitude converging and watching and hoping they both come out on the other side since he is not talking to either.
     
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  23. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    I own 2 airplanes. Am I "operating in a bubble?"

    Several practice areas in SCT's airspace are very, very close to approach and departure corridors for very busy air carrier and GA airports. I regularly get vectored off V23 because there are 1200s doing maneuvers almost directly on the airway. It is absurd. There is a reason the outreach guy from SCT hammers home to get FF.
     
  24. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You shouldn’t be getting vectored off V23 for VFR traffic. If those VFRs got FF, they shouldn’t be getting restrictions to stay clear of IFR traffic either. There’s no separation for IFR vs VFR in that airspace. That’s the problem with today’s controllers. They’re using FF as a way of using IFR priority over VFR. That’s incorrect. They need to issue a traffic calls as their order states and allow the pilot decide the course of action.
     
  25. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    That's the point. Those guys aren't talking to ATC. If they were, they'd be getting vectored.
     
  26. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    And that’s the problem that I have. If someone is out doing FF, they’re not there to get vectored around. A vector for them in airspace that doesn’t require separation, should only be upon pilot request. ATC wants these guys to come up their freq so they can restrict VFR aircraft to stay clear of their IFRs. That’s an incorrect application. There is no priority of IFR over VFR. The correct application is to issue a traffic call and let the pilots decide a course of action. If a pilot can’t determine they need to request a vector based on a traffic call, then that’s a weak PIC.
     
  27. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Except they do have IFR separation requirements, so they have to issue vectors if visual separation is not an option.
     
  28. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Only in Class B, C or TRSA is there sep with IFR vs VFR. If you’re flying along V23 in E, there’s no prescribed separation between you and the VFR. It’s a traffic call.
     
  29. dans2992

    dans2992 En-Route

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    Phoenix. Last Sunday. Approaching from the north looking for a transition.

    Not the controller’s fault, he was buried, but just saying it happens.
     
  30. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    PHX is known for that a bit. Especially that side when DVT is busy and PHX is landing east/west.
     
  31. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yeah, they need to sort something out. That said, as I mentioned recently on some thread, I noticed them giving pretty good services to VFR aircraft in that area recently. Might have been that controller - he was excellent.
     
  32. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    They have it sorted for IFRs. ;) Too much training traffic to sort it for VFR.

    It’s not uncommon for DVT to be working 30 aircraft.

    And there’s mass training all over Ye Olde Valley of the Sun. Busy and lots of student pilots with and without instructors.

    It’s a bit of a zoo.
     
  33. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    World's busiest airspace doesn't have issues giving flight following.
     
  34. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Is that ORD these days?

    Don’t try during OSH. ;-)
     
  35. N1120A

    N1120A Cleared for Takeoff

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    It's SCT all the time ;-).
     
  36. SoCal RV Flyer

    SoCal RV Flyer En-Route

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    It does happen...and like Dan, I don't fault the controllers.

    ADS-B is a wonderful thing when you can't/don't get FF. Also, knowing the common routes/descent profiles of jets helps a lot. Like the 737s coming into Ontario from the north...they typically cross the mountains between Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear, then make a big sweeping descending right turn to line up for final. So if I'm heading east to, say, Phoenix, I'll stay lower and between the mountains and the 10 till I get out to Redlands or so.
     
  37. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Short trip in an unfamiliar area yes. Short trip where most of my hours accumulated, nope.