airworthy
Posts: 752
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 7:05 am

Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:32 am

I haven't used Flight Following in a while and I think I've forgotten soem of the rules.

You can only get flight following from Class B, C, or TRSAs right?

Also, how do you request Flight Following if you don't have a destination and you only want to go around the practice area?

Also, can somebody give an example of a flight following request?
 
JBirdAV8r
Posts: 3454
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:44 am

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:47 am

Airworthy,

You can get VFR flight following from any controlled airspace (not just terminal airspace), provided that the controller is not too busy with IFR traffic. So if you're flying on a cross country, all you have to do is dial up the nearest center frequency, give them your position, and request flight following.

The best way to get flight following in the practice area is to request VFR flight advisories. Here's an example.

Me: Anytown Approach, Cessna 1234E.
Them: Cessna 1234E, Anytown Approach.
Me: Cessna 34E is 7 miles southwest of the Commonville airport, 3,500', maneuvering. Request VFR flight advisories.
Them: Cessna 34E, roger. Squawk 0413 and ident.
Me: 0413, ident, Cessna 34E.

Simple as pie...and always a good idea. Just be sure you don't stop scanning your environment and using ATC as a crutch...sometimes they can't readily or reliably find primary targets (such as ultralights, non-transponder-equipped aircraft, etc)
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
HAL
Posts: 1741
Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 6:50 am

You can only get flight following from Class B, C, or TRSAs right?

You can get flight following anyplace there is radar coverage. Just call the controlling facility (Tower, approach, center) and request flight following. Remember though that you must be transponder equipped, and keep a listen on the radio for their advisories.

Also, how do you request Flight Following if you don't have a destination and you only want to go around the practice area? Also, can somebody give an example of a flight following request?

When you request flight following just tell them what you want to do. i.e. "AAA Aproach, Cessna 12345 requesting flight following for flight in local practice area" or "Approach, Cessna 12345 just off XXX requesting flight following to YYY" or "Seattle center, Cessna 12345 over ZZZ VOR, 8500 feet, requesting flight following to AAA".

If you have any other questions, let me know.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
Guest

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:25 am

Good advice. Remember - just tell them who you are, where you are (including your altitude), and what you want. This format works pretty well any time you need to talk to ATC.

Flight following can be a real lifesaver and I believe that it's one of those benefits that's often not used enough. In the event of a "problem" ATC can get the troops out looking for you much quicker if they're following your flight. Otherwise, if you only file a flight plan, someone will eventually get around to initiating a search for you some period of time after your ETA has passed and you have failed to close your flight plan.

Let's say that you lose your engine 60 minutes into a 4 hour flight - it's going to take another 3 hours before they're even going to start wondering where you're at and at least 4 hours or so before someone gets serious about looking for you. And even then, they still have to find you. Did you stay on your filed route or did you take a shortcut or two? Did you call Flight Service with some position reports so that in the event of a search they can limit the search area as much as possible? Are you willing to bet your life that your ELT will be operational after you've come to a stop? With flight following the chances are much greater that they'll be able to pinpoint your position and start the search in a timely manor - frequently, they can get the ball in motion while you're still in the air.

As has been mentioned, there will be times when ATC won't be able to accommodate your flight following request. That's not really a problem, just continue to monitor their frequency. If you have a problem you can simply give them a call - using the phrase "Mayday" - you'll surely get their full attention at that point. I had to do that once after I had an engine failure in a Cessna 172. ATC had been too busy for flight following, but call "Mayday" and you'll get their full and undivided attention - I promise.

Finally, using flight following will get you used to hearing ATC communications and the phraseology ATC uses with the IFR aircraft around you. When (If) you go for your instrument rating, having that experience will be helpful.

Jetguy
 
Contact_tower
Posts: 534
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RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:28 am

" 60 minutes into a 4 hour flight - it's going to take another 3 hours before they're even going to start wondering where you're at and at least 4 hours or so before someone gets serious about looking for you"

Just curious: We have 30min after ETA, then it's all out search. Do the US have more relaxed rules.?
 
Guest

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 7:59 am

"...Just curious: We have 30min after ETA, then it's all out search. Do the US have more relaxed rules?

Our rules aren't necessarily any more relaxed, it's just that it takes time to get the search aircraft into the air once the decision has been made. Does Norwegian SAR really get aircraft into the air 30 minutes after an ETA elapses or do they just "get serious about looking for you"?

Jetguy
 
Contact_tower
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RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 9:00 am

The latter, scramble time for the Sea King SAR helos are 15 mins during the daytime, and 60 at night. (Will reduce to 15 with a rule change shortly).
Usually, the RCC will scramble a helo rather early in the game to be on the safe side, let's say within 10 minutes after +30. (Get the crew to the helo, and when they are ready, they might be able to give a more narrow search area)
I dont't think the RCC even have the right to scrable before +30 minutes anyway, since this is buffer to allow for headwinds bad weather etc.

And as detection goes, the searches i have participated in /initiated we usually narrow the field a lot before we hit +30min. (Allert all parties, CRC's, operators, aero clubs, AF Sqn.) We don't have to, but a few heads up calls have given great results. (Eliminate all the known sources for the aircraft beeing late)

But I have to agree that obtaining a flight following or FIS service does give us a much greater chance of finding a aircraft in distress. This is really useful in areas with poor/no radar caverage in lower IFR altitudes, which we have a lot of where I work (mountainous terrain)
 
jhooper
Posts: 5560
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2001 8:27 pm

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 12:35 pm

Here's another point. If you've failed to file a flight plan altogether, it could be hours or more before you're found.

As a member of the CAP, we routinely get called out to find ELTs that are going off. First of all, it takes two passes of the sarsat (two passes might take up to 3 hours) before a mission will even be created. Then it might be an extra hour or two before the volunteer crews can be alerted, arrive at the airport, recieve a briefing, fill out paperwork, preflight the airplane, and finally launch after you. 97% of our missions are wasted effort (i.e. non-distress accidental set-offs). If you've filed a flight plan and we know somebody is missing, the search will be treated much more seriously and you'll get help faster. In short, file a flight plan.
Last year 1,944 New Yorkers saw something and said something.
 
JBirdAV8r
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2001 4:44 am

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 2:58 pm

In short, file a flight plan.

But, for Pete's sake, please close it when you're done!!!
I got my head checked--by a jumbo jet
 
USAFHummer
Posts: 10261
Joined: Thu May 18, 2000 12:22 pm

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:28 pm

Just curious...way back as a PPL student, me and my instructor were on a long dual cross country of three legs and it slipped both of our minds to close or cancel the flight plan of the second leg at the appropriate times(and never activated the third leg flight plan)...so when we got back to our airport my cell rings and its my mom, telling me that she received a phone call from the FSS that served the area of that second leg asking about us since we didnt close...once I got home I gave the FSS a ring and everything was settled ok, with just a stern "don't do it again" but my question is...is this fact recorded somewheres in like some kind of "permanent record", or is it one of those "forgive and forget" things?

Greg
Chief A.net college football stadium self-pic guru
 
flightsimfreak
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RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:29 pm

Just to be a nitpickey arsehole, you don't have to have a transponder to get flight following... Just radar identified... Which could be circling or turns to identify your target.
 
HAL
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Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2002 1:38 am

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 3:49 pm

Just to be a nitpickey arsehole, you don't have to have a transponder to get flight following... Just radar identified... Which could be circling or turns to identify your target.

True, but in a long-ago discussion on the subject with one of our pilots who used to be an air traffic controller, he said that without a transponder, the odds of the controller accepting your flight following request is only a little better than United ditching their jets for used turboprops.

It can be done, but it is a major hassle for ATC, and for the most part they won't do it without a transponder.

HAL
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
 
SUPRAZACHAIR
Posts: 474
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2004 3:27 pm

RE: Flight Following Questions

Mon Apr 05, 2004 4:17 pm

I would never do any x-country w/o flight following. Always good to have an extra set of eyes, but more importantly they're always with you if you have any problems. If you have an emergency, if you want a class bravo transition, if you want an IFR clearence to climb above the clouds for VFR on top, its just a great convenient thing to have. Plus its cool talking on the same frequency as the big boys Big grin. Flight Following, never leave home without it.
 
airworthy
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RE: Flight Following Questions

Tue Apr 06, 2004 7:44 am

Thanks for the help. Can you call up center for flight following also?
 
Guest

RE: Flight Following Questions

Tue Apr 06, 2004 8:26 am

"Can you call up center for flight following also?"

Yes, you can - that's been the point of several of the posts on this thread. Workload permitting the local departure controllers will coordinate a hand off. If you're departing from an airport without departure/approach control simply give the center a call. I'm assuming that you don't have a set of IFR charts with you when you travel, but not a problem. In the flight planning room of nearly every FBO you'll find a copy of Acuk U Kwik (spelling?). Check in on of the appendices, you'll find a listing of VOR with their information such as lat/long, frequency, etc. Included in that block of information are the appropriate high and low altitude ARTCC Center frequencies. Just give them a call using the format that I gave in my first post on this thread. If they happen to be busy, just try again with the next frequency down the road.

Jetguy
 
airworthy
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Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 7:05 am

RE: Flight Following Questions

Tue Apr 06, 2004 10:53 am

Ok, thanks, and Center is different from "Radio" right?

I was just wondering about the different ways I can ask for flight following because I live right next to CLE Class B. Sometimes they are busy and I was wondering if I can call a different frequency.
 
Guest

RE: Flight Following Questions

Tue Apr 06, 2004 11:28 am

"Radio" is Flight Service, "Center" is Air Route Traffic Control Center - the guys with the radar that control IFR traffic. Like I said, if Approach or Departure is to busy just get a hold of Cleveland Center once you get out of CLE's airspace. You can get the frequency from either an IFR Enroute - Low chart or for the back of an Acuk U Kwik.

Jetguy

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