Flight (non) Service Stations...

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by EdFred, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    ...or Forgot Staffing Specialists
    ...or Frequency Stays Silent
    ...or F-ing Sucky Service

    So I'm heading home from Peroia, and I get to about 12 west of the Peotone VOR, the weather forecast was botched as usual for the midwest, and I called up Kankakee Radio on 122.2 and then 122.05 (or whatever the other frequency is) while listening on the VOR, for about 10-12 minutes while I circled waiting for them to respond so I could air file an IFR plan

    Finally I said screw it and called up Chicago Center and got a clearance to get through about 15-20 miles of scuz. While in the scuz I got ice...nope, not on the wings...engine started losing power, and I started checking the mixture, the throttle, and finally yanked on the carb heat...ah, there we go. Broke out of the scuz on the other side and everything was fine.

    So are FSS not monitoring frequencies anymore?
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  2. bbchien

    bbchien Final Approach

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    They're well.........erratic. I just go to flight watch.
     
  3. jesse

    jesse Administrator Management Council Member

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    Same. I go to flightwatch no matter where I'm at. I get the same information and I'm not fumbling through a bunch of frequencies.
     
  4. chucky

    chucky Line Up and Wait

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    Can you file a flight plan with flight watch?
     
  5. Ted DuPuis

    Ted DuPuis Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It depends on where you are. I've actually gotten good response from [whoever] radio provided I'm in the right area, and have air-filed flight plans that way. But I try to do it on the frequencies where two-way communication is on one frequency.
     
  6. HPNPilot1200

    HPNPilot1200 En-Route

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    Last time I tried I couldn't. Flight Watch told me to contact FSS on a local frequency since EFAS apparently does not file flight plans.
     
  7. ScottM

    ScottM Taxi to Parking

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    Ditto.

    It seems about 30% of time you will not get an answer from FSS while airborne. FW is almost 100%
     
  8. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    That's fine, but I could see the weather...

    ...so it really wouldn't have helped me out.
     
  9. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

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    The last time I tried to get FSS on the radio around here I thought my radio was broken. No response whatsoever. But I knew the radio worked, I had spoken with OLM tower and after giving up on FSS had no trouble with SEA approach to get flight following. So much for opening my flight plan.
     
  10. alaskaflyer

    alaskaflyer Final Approach

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    I can always get FSS on the radio?

    Oh, wait...


    ;)
     
  11. sba55

    sba55 En-Route

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    Don't know, but I just file them with ATC directly in the air. But I guess we have outstanding ATC in this area; maybe this wouldn't be so easy in other parts of the country.
     
  12. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    In the past, I've had ATC tell me to contact FSS and file it.
     
  13. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    On my Long XC LAS-AUG-LAS, Flight Watch told me, it was not their job to open or close flight plans.. let alone accept and over the air filing.

    And I had about 4 airports on the whole trip where FSS could not be reached on any of the local frequencies.. so ground filing did not help to activate a VFR flight plan after departure.

    Now.. if when we file we could just get an authentication code and activate VFR flight plans via text message with the code.

    Same for closing the flight plan at the other end. But at least I was on the ground and could use my cell phone or the FBO phone to call and cancel VFR.
     
  14. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    Depending on location, traffic activity (controller busy), and length of the fllight plan. ATC does not have to accept an air file. They can and will direct you to FSS.
     
  15. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    You can activate a VFR flight plan using a cell phone. Just do it before engine start or before wheels up, and give them the time you expect to be airborne as the effective time. That's pretty much the only way to do it from VLL now since the Detroit RCO is OTS. I once had a briefer tell me he couldn't give me an assumed departure time in the future, but that was one briefer, and it was a long time ago.
     
  16. Tristar

    Tristar Pattern Altitude

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    I can get FSS about 3/4 of the time. They're a bit slow. It sometimes feels like I'm calling a grandpa. It takes him a while to put on his slippers and walk to his old fashion 2 way radio or he's passed out watching the weather channel and you don't get a response anyways. It'd be a lot easier if Tower or departure could open them. (I'm referring to teaching students VFR flight plans)
     
  17. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    Thats' true.. a "pre dated" departure time to activate the VFR flight plan would have someone come looking for me in the smoking hole at the end of the runway after the expiration of a 3.5hr duration flight.

    Better than not looking for me at all because I did not get a chance to make a radio call after departure before the crap hit the fan, or the fan quit.

    I even had to ask ARTCC to extend my VFR ETA with FSS so they would not look for me. Headwinds were stronger than expected and I would be more than 30 min late. ARTCC said "we don't normally do this".. but I told them that FSS nor Flight Watch would answer up on any of the frequencies, and if I did not contact them to extend the ETA. FSS would be starting a communications search real soon.
     
  18. ajstoner21

    ajstoner21 Cleared for Takeoff

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    I have had trouble reaching some FSS as well, but I would only file with ATC as a last resort. Unless its a really dead day in the air, it kind of wastes valuable frequency time. I was taught this is not really recommended unless its an emergency due to potential frequency congestion issues.
     
  19. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well, my filing consisted of "12 West of Peotone, 3000. I'd like 3000, Peotone, Keeler, and I'm slant Golf, 7DS"
    He asked final destination, and gave me direct Knox, direct Hastings. It took no more airtime than asking for and receiving a vector/avoidance for weather.

    They didn't ask for, and I didn't offer the 14 other pieces of information.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2010
  20. sba55

    sba55 En-Route

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    Well, to each his own. Saying one should only file with ATC in an emergency (what kind of emergency would require me to file?) is probably a bit over the top. I agree that you obviously should only do it when traffic on frequency is reasonably light.

    But like Ed said, it's often not even necessary to file much. A simple "request IFR present position direct KABC, FL210, type AB123" often works.


    -Felix
     
  21. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I hope you aren't already at FL210 when you request that. :D
     
  22. sba55

    sba55 En-Route

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    :goofy:
     
  23. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    He shoots, he scores! :cornut:
     
  24. vontresc

    vontresc En-Route

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    Well maybe he got one of them VFR really on top clearances :)
     
  25. taters

    taters Pattern Altitude

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    I have seen some flightwatch freqs that dont operate at night, so watch out for that.
     
  26. pilot_dude

    pilot_dude En-Route

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    The last 2 times I tried contacting a FSS all I heard were crickets. :(
     
  27. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    Well.. at least the crickets knew how to key the mic... :wink2:
     
  28. BillTIZ

    BillTIZ En-Route

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    On an airfile.. they did ask me if "the information" was on file.. other than the basic Who, What, How High, and Where are you going information.

    Yes.. The VFR side of Lockheed has it. That was good enough for ATC. :thumbsup:
     
  29. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    When I've airfiled with ATC its usually just equipment code and where are you going. Just enough to fill their strip. When I've airfiled with FSS, it's every bit of info.
     
  30. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Um... Like, say, all of them?

    AIM 7-1-5: