Flight Following

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by Owen Becker, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Owen Becker

    Owen Becker Filing Flight Plan

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    Request Flight Following with NorCal approach on cruising altitude. Notice I should begin my decent for the airport. Do I have to request to descend or notify ATC of decent to airport (VFR)?
     
  2. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Line Up and Wait

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    Technically no, but sometimes this is a judgement call. If you're on FF, you've given them your destination so they expect you to descend as you approach.

    However, if the airport or airspace is busy, it can be a good idea to give them a brief heads up.
     
  3. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    You don't have to unless they tell you to let them know before vacating that altitude. However, I always tell them when I'm about to start my VFR descent just to keep then in the know. They usually respond with "roger".
     
  4. Shawn

    Shawn En-Route

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    This one is near and dear to my heat...

    The AIM states pilots should advise ATC of altitude changes:

    AIM 4-1-15 b. 2. "Pilots should also inform the controller when changing VFR cruising altitude"

    Note it says "should and not "must" and "inform" not "request"

    If your call requires any response other than "thank you" or "roger" from ATC, you have made a request, not advised.

    "Norcal, Skylane 12345, starting VFR decent into Podunk". Done
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  5. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    I do it out of courtesy. I realize they are trying to keep separation of the little dots on the screen and one doing something unexpected could complicate things.
     
  6. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    Bingo. If they've told you to maintain altitude or to tell them before vacating you have to tell them otherwise you should tell them and I think it's basic courtesy.

    Sent from my SM-J737T using Tapatalk
     
  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    This.

    I figure if they are going to do me a favor and assist me with traffic advisories and keep a general eye out for me, the least I can do is let them know what I am doing.

    Note: let them know what I am doing, not ask permission (unless, of course, they tell me to).
     
  8. Half Fast

    Half Fast Final Approach

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    No, you don't have to, but why wouldn't you? You'll need to let them know when you're leaving their frequency anyway.

    When approaching the airport, I advise that I'm about to start my descent and I ask if they see any other inbound traffic or folks in the pattern. Then I advise that I'm switching to the airport CTAF.

    It's a good idea to tell them whenever you're changing altitudes, as they may have traffic at the new altitude and want to advise both of you. When I need to change course and direction due to cloud cover, for example, I let them know what I'm doing. Their radar can see things in the clouds that I can't. Furthermore, seeing my track suddenly change course and start dropping could cause concern if they don't know what I'm doing.
     
  9. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    If ATC gives you an altitude, or says notify before vacation. Then I am 99% sure you are required too notify before changing altitude.
    To be fair, I have only had this request when talking to military controllers, or anywhere between NYC and DC tracon areas.

    Tim
     
  10. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why only 99% sure you have to obey an AC instruction?
     
  11. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Damn, I have to let ATC know when I'm going on vacation now!!!
     
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  12. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    Cause I did not have time to find the regulations :D
    And without knowing the correct regulations, there is always the chance I do not remember it correctly.

    Tim
     
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  13. tspear

    tspear Pattern Altitude

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    lol, that is what I get for typing it out fast. Before vacating altitude....
     
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