not-flight-following etiquette

Discussion in 'Change to my Frequency...' started by GeorgeC, Apr 19, 2016.

  1. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    For additional situational awareness, I sometimes monitor the various approach frequencies along my route of flight, without being on flight following. Occasionally, I will hear the controller advise another pilot of VFR traffic, and that traffic is me.

    A question for the controllers: at this point, what is the best course of action?
     
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  2. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    {NOT a controller}...I don't fully understand the question......best course of action for who? you've already decided not to be on FF, you heard the call for traffic, ATC has you on their radar. I guess you 'could' call them up and say 'hey I'm that traffic', but I have to imagine they have many specs on their radar that aren't on FF. "For a additional situational awareness", get on FF. since u didn't, just watch out for traffic. what am I missing?
     
  3. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    To what end?
     
  4. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'd say if you don't plan on changing your course or altitude to conflict with the traffic, then just keep trucking along. No point in chiming in to ATC that the traffic is you. They've give them your heading and indicated altitude. Only thing you could really provide is type. That's not all that important.
     
  5. EppyGA

    EppyGA Touchdown! Greaser!

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    How do you know it's you?
     
  6. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    So he hears ATC give his heading and indicated altitude to that other aircraft. How does he know if there's a conflict without knowing the altitude of that other aircraft?
     
  7. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Well if he'd been monitoring the freq like he said, then he'd know. Probably know the direction of flight as well.
     
  8. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    A hopefully clarifying example: I'm flying along on an airway at a VFR altitude appropriate for my direction of flight. I hear a jump plane on frequency. ATC points me out to the jump plane. I spot the jump plane, he's opposite direction, level, below me. Would it be helpful for me to say "n12345 has the traffic in sight, no factor"?
     
  9. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    No.
     
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  10. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    {again, NOT a controller} I can't imagine that would be helpful. now they have to figure out who u are, since you're not on FF, why you're reporting traffic in sight when no one told YOU anything about traffic.....seems more of a distraction for all than to just keep the traffic in sight and mozy on.
     
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  11. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Switch to cannons, that close.
     
  12. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Why don't you just participate if you're so concerned about it? Just tooling along monitoring their frequency doesn't really help you if you're not the traffic they're issuing. And you may think you have the "big picture" but you probably don't. Never have understood why pilots don't take advantage of something that is cheap insurance against a conflict, and might be very helpful if you had a problem or an emergency. But that's me.
     
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  13. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Thank you.
     
  14. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Don't kibitz. You're either in the game or you're not
     
  15. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Because it interrupts my music.
     
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  16. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Well I can understand that! ;)
     
  17. StinkBug

    StinkBug Cleared for Takeoff

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    If you're already listening in, I don't understand why you wouldn't participate. It adds virtually no effort for you, gets you traffic advisories and makes airspace issues virtually non-existent. It just doesn't make any sense.
     
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  18. Timbeck2

    Timbeck2 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Ron already took my answer - no but here's why: Nobody knows who you are because you aren't radar identified. Sure you can SAY "N12345 has the traffic in sight..." but it doesn't mean anything unless you've been radar identified, your mode C is verified and are talking to ATC. So as the others have said, either play or sit on the bench and say nothing.
     
  19. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Can we amend the recommendation to keep on listening, but say nothing? He can dip his toes in the water and get some potentially useful information without jumping in.

    But yes, if you're not actively in the system (FF or IFR) than you shouldn't be talking en-route, except FSS,
     
  20. upstateny

    upstateny Line Up and Wait

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    My experience is that he will give the other aircraft your heading with "type and altitude unknown" unless you've checked in and confirmed your altitude with him.
     
  21. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    My experience is to state the observed altitude as unverified.
     
  22. wilkersk

    wilkersk Pattern Altitude

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    If you're routinely flying in a area where there is/are airports(s) with multiple instrument approaches and departure procedures, take a look at the approach/DP plates and see how your route/altitudes might cause conflict with IFR traffic. You might come up with ways to avoid conflicts without going out of your way. That's good etiquette right there!
     
  23. airdale

    airdale Pattern Altitude

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    I am a believer in FF but for various reasons I have occasionally done what the OP is doing and once or twice have heard myself called as traffic. (Sometimes it is obvious, but hardly always.)

    What I have done is to hit ident, then say something like "Approach, Bugsmasher N12345, I think we're your traffic and just hit Ident." Usually, the answer is simply "Thank you, say intentions." and I tell the nice man where we're going and if we plan an altitude change in the near future. Right, wrong, or indifferent I don't know but it seems to be a reasonable way to handle the situation.
     
  24. upstateny

    upstateny Line Up and Wait

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    Hmmm. I wonder if it's a regional thing or a change in procedure that went un-noticed?
     
  25. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    If the non radar identified traffic isn't displaying any altitude at all, then yes, "altitude unknown." If the non radar identified traffic is displaying mode C, then "altitude indicates...."
     
  26. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    Not a regional thing and not a recent change.

    FAA Order JO 7110.65W Air Traffic Control

    2−1−21. TRAFFIC ADVISORIES

    Unless an aircraft is operating within Class A airspace
    or omission is requested by the pilot, issue traffic
    advisories to all aircraft (IFR or VFR) on your
    frequency when, in your judgment, their proximity
    may diminish to less than the applicable separation
    minima. Where no separation minima applies, such
    as for VFR aircraft outside of Class B/Class C
    airspace, or a TRSA, issue traffic advisories to those
    aircraft on your frequency when in your judgment
    their proximity warrants it. Provide this service as
    follows:

    c. For aircraft displaying Mode C, not radar
    identified, issue indicated altitude.

    EXAMPLE−
    “Traffic, one o’clock, six miles, eastbound, altitude
    indicates six thousand five hundred.”
     
  27. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    So, assuming I'm being a good VFR pilot, on an airway, at an appropriate altitude, am I reducing controller workload by not being on FF, or am I increasing controller workload by being an unidentified flib that you can't talk to?
     
  28. mscard88

    mscard88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Both. You're not just trolling now are you? :confused:
     
  29. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I pretty much always get flight following. If the controller can't handle the workload, he'll decline to provide VFR services when permissible.
    I don't think you're doing ATC or your fellow pilot any favors by being a "type unknown, altitude unverified." I've heard ATC calling me as traffic while I was waiting to make my call. "Navion 5327K 8 north of Orange County at 4500. Request flight following to SVH at 4500. I believe I'm the traffic you just called to that King Air."
     
  30. roncachamp

    roncachamp Final Approach

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    You're reducing it. Why would you be concerned about controller workload?
     
  31. Non Compos Mentis

    Non Compos Mentis Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Not long ago I was outside a busy tower's airspace where the controller gave a couple traffic warnings to a Cessna, who didn't see me. I could see him, so I called tower "I'm the traffic at 2500 and have the Cessna in sight"

    Tower thanked me for listening in letting her know I could see and avoid.

    After two or three calls, and they still didn't see me, why not let them know I'm aware? One less issue for a busy controller.
     
  32. Velocity173

    Velocity173 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    You're reducing it because they don't have to write a strip or type you into the system. They only have to issue a traffic call on you and not for both aircraft. They don't have to hand you off to the next controller. Don't have to provide various safety alerts or weather information.

    So yeah, by not calling, their work is reduced. Don't let that be a reason not to call though. It's their job to provide you FF. If they can't provide it due to their traffic volume, they'll tell you.

    I used to enjoy providing the service. Especially before all this GPS crap took the fun out of ATC. Nothing like getting a pilot that doesn't have a clue where they're at and one vector gets them to their destination.:)
     
  33. kkoran

    kkoran Cleared for Takeoff

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    AIM, Para 4-1-20

     
  34. upstateny

    upstateny Line Up and Wait

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    Thank you. I learn something new every day.
     
  35. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Okay, but let the controller ask for the ident if he wants one. If you want to pipe up and let the controller know who you are and you think you were the traffic called out, that's fine and probably welcome, but I wouldn't hit ident without being asked to do so.
     
  36. bobmrg

    bobmrg En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I'm always amazed by the number of pilots who pass up estabished practices in order to "reduce controller workload." Subject to correction by roncachamp, my understanding is that controller pay grade is based in part on traffic count, so by not participating in FF you are taking dollars out of the controller's pocket. Controllers get paid to handle traffic; you are traffic.

    Bob Gardner
     
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  37. James331

    James331 Ejection Handle Pulled

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    If you're going to bother to listen, why not just get flight following too?

    Only times I don't bother when I'm VFR, is when I'm very low level and I know they can't pick me up, not really much traffic in remote areas at 1k AGL and below, unless you got floats you got zero outs, water or trees, not many traffic conflicts, that said I don't bother listening to approach.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2016
  38. Harold Rutila

    Harold Rutila Pre-takeoff checklist

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    If your aircraft is frequently the subject of traffic advisories being issued to other aircraft, common sense would dictate that you should probably be participating in flight following. I love music, but not enough to risk hitting other traffic, especially when it's preventable, in part, by participating in flight following. I would invest in a different music playback system before I opted out of a potentially life saving service that I pay for when I fill up my gas tanks.

    Keep in mind there are many more pilots like you who are not participating in flight following. If two non-participating aircraft are about to collide, no traffic alert will be heard on the radio.

    And no random IDENTing!
     
  39. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    I'm good. Seems I'm the only one crazy enough to fly over Lake Michigan in a single. There's no traffic to call out!
     
  40. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I'm not instrument rated, but most of the approaches I've looked at up here in the flatlands surrounding the DC/Philly/NY bravos seem to commence at 3-4k. These days, I'm up at 6-8k, so hopefully I'm out of their way. In any case, aside from heeding the big blue airplanes on the TAC, I'm happy to let the controllers worry about the IFR traffic.

    I do wonder about the mean cruise altitude for VFR piston GA. I assume higher means fewer planes?

    It's more curiosity than concern.