Flight Following Question...

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
So this is probably a stupid question, but I'm asking anyway....

Let's say you are on a long XC (3+ hours) with FF. 20 minutes into the flight, they cancel the FF and have you squawk 1200. You drive along for another 30 minutes or so, and want to re-request flight following but are now outside the previous controller's airspace. Whom do you contact and what freq do you use? Let's say you are in Houston center's airspace, but unsure of the freq? I am sure when I see the answer, I will be kicking myself in the butt. :)
 

unclenobby

Well-Known Member
- It can be on your sectional (contact XYZ app on XXX freq within 20 NM of XYZ etc). I also think they give you the sectors in the A/FD. If you get the wrong sector they will just tell you the correct one.
- If you have instrument plates (airport plan, approach, or departure) then the appropriate approach/departure freq for each airport is on there.
- If really stuck get on a local common frequency of an nearby untowered field, or class D twr, and ask them who they usually dial up to get flight following.
 

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
I didn't think about the AFD, I'll have to look in there. The biggest reason is that out in TX there is LOTS of land without class B/C/D airports so getting a hold of an approach controller can be difficult at times. It would be cool if they incorporated that database into the GPS stuff...hell, I guess it MIGHT be there, just haven't seen it!
 

unclenobby

Well-Known Member
I just looked at a G530 manual and that info is on there - the airport info/frequency page no less (I have the freqs on my plates so never use that feature)
 

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
I just looked at a G530 manual and that info is on there - the airport info/frequency page no less (I have the freqs on my plates so never use that feature)
How about that. Guess will need to look at my Garmin 396 and see if it's there. Thanks mang!!!
 

KC Jake

Well-Known Member
How about that. Guess will need to look at my Garmin 396 and see if it's there. Thanks mang!!!
It's there on a 296. I've used it. When you're flying along, just look at the nearest airport's information. The center frequency should be there.
 

scooter2525

Very well Member
Can't you call up a FSS in the area too? What about calling up 122.0/122.2?

Been too long sense I have done one of those CC things VFR...
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
The easiest way (absent a cool GPS) to find the appropriate center freq is on the IFR low altitude enroute charts. They're in the little blue boxes with the name of the center and the frequency.

Of course it's better to just coordinate for flight following all the way to destination. That way, they'll enter you in the system essentially as if you were IFR and hand you off from approach to center to approach, etc.
 

Matt13C

Well-Known Member
The easiest way (absent a cool GPS) to find the appropriate center freq is on the IFR low altitude enroute charts. They're in the little blue boxes with the name of the center and the frequency.

Of course it's better to just coordinate for flight following all the way to destination. That way, they'll enter you in the system essentially as if you were IFR and hand you off from approach to center to approach, etc.
How do you do that? Put it on your VFR flight plan?

I have requested it from ground at a class D and was told to call approach after takeoff. They wouldn't hand me off.
 

PilotChip

Air Traffic Controller
Of course it's better to just coordinate for flight following all the way to destination. That way, they'll enter you in the system essentially as if you were IFR and hand you off from approach to center to approach, etc.
NOT ESSENTIALLY! and NOT IFR!

Yes, most of the time you should get FF for the majority of your route and you will be in "the [VFR] system."

If you pre-coordinate a VFR FF on the ground it doesn't mean you are guaranteed it for ANY portion of your route in the least! much less the entire route.

Be careful and pre-plan to know where your airspaces are because the last thing you want is a busy sector to drop you and then you bounce along unknowingly into a class C or worse.

Tip: Don't bank on FF!
 

splash

your social justice comic center
Not on your flight plan. On your initial call to approach when asking for flight following after tower hands you off say, "I would like flight following to ???" If you are at the end of their radar coverage area and they tell you squawk 1200 just simply request to continue flight following. They should give you the freq and you may have to climb higher so they can pick you up on the radar.

Ground control is way to soon to request flight following! Request it only to approach during the initial call up. Don't wait to request FF just as you are out of their radar coverage area and telling you to squawk 1200.
 

Alpha Lima

New Member
At my facility we usually put in VFR flight plans for overflights but center doesn't always want them. Heres a chart of the area here. If your going towards the Boise area ZLC/Boise will take you, but if your heading SW towards Twin Falls and below 10,000-12,000ish (airliners run the airway into BOI at 13,000) but above 7,000 (the top of our airspace in that area) on the airway they just dont want to talk to you since your too low to really conflict with their traffic and the next terminal facility is Twin Falls approach, but there is a gap. Same with flights south of Mountain Home AFB, if the MOAs are hot you either get to talk to the MRU controlling it at the time or if there is none then we just terminate you. If the MOAs are cold, center wont bother with you if you are low outside our class E.

I try and usually ask them if they want to talk to whoever it is but i'd say 70% time its just "Terminate him"

In short, the centers are probably busier with higher traffic since VFR flight following is considered "Workload Permitting". If you want ask for the freq of the next facility
 

whysoserial

New Member
Ground control is way to soon to request flight following! Request it only to approach during the initial call up.
Not always. Some class D's will set you up with it ahead of time (SAC for example). Sometimes it's on the atis and sometimes you just need to request it.

At my facility (class C) everyone get's a squawk and departure instructions, obviously. Some request FF after the fact too so we put a little note on their strip which will save them the 1200 speech. However if their destination is out of our airspace (tracons) and we know their cruise altitude and type (which we get from clearance/ground) you will most always get FF without make that specific request. Don't underestimate ground...they can do more than you think sometimes :)
 

ATCtexas

Well-Known Member
Ground control is way to soon to request flight following!
I disagree. I work in Class C and being I have to give a VFR aircraft a squawk anyway, I would much rather give it to them while working ground than working approach and having to do it then. It sucks having to enter the info on approach when its busy, ground isn't going to have that problem.
 

germb747

Well-Known Member
NOT ESSENTIALLY! and NOT IFR!
I didn't mean to imply it's an IFR operation; obviously it's not. I'm just saying that in my experience dealing with controllers in Texas (where the OP is from), they've been really good about hooking me up with flight following all the way to destination if I ask for that. Every now and then they'll have to terminate and I'll have to do the song and dance again with the next controller, but usually not. That was my experience flying GA in the 1994-2004 timeframe; I haven't been able to fly much GA since then.
 

PilotChip

Air Traffic Controller
Good explanation. sometimes i just need to stand on my tip toes and shout something!

Just clarifying that your vfr ff flight plan does not have to remain in the system and pass from sector to sector; so pilots shouldn't expect 100% continuance. That's all.
 

jdlilfan

Well-Known Member
I have asked our local controllers about this stuff and they explained it out pretty well to me. Here is how it works at my airport in Indiana. The radar controller (or local) can do it two different ways. First off is to just issue a local VFR code. These are typically codes that start with a "0" and are randomly determined by the radar site (ARTS in my case). Typically when transitioning to another sector say from louisville app to evansville app the system will not handoff a VFR code (at least that is the way it was explained to me). So you typically get "leaving my area of radar coverage suggest app on xxx.xx for further flight following". Or you may get the handoff but then the next controller gives you new code.

The other way is if they input your information into the center computer. I am not exactly sure what information the controllers have to input but it basically sends a strip to all associated controlling agencies along your route, much the same as when you file IFR and the information is sent through. The center computer also processes a "normal" random code such as "5371" rather than a code that starts with zero. This allows all of the radars along the route to typically accept the handoff. Also this allows that data to be sent to commercial sites such as flightaware.

However even if the data gets uploaded into the center computer some neighboring Apps or ARTCCs wont except the handoff due to radar coverage (typically the aircraft is below), traffic/ congestion, controller workload, or for whatever else... Also the controllers said to ask for flight following if available on a ground freq or clearance delivery. Typically the approach position is busy enough that they wont have time to get your plan into the system. I have only had one problem with this and that was at a small contract tower and they told me to call the approach for that sector on the way outbound.
 

Alpha Lima

New Member
Pretty much correct, for example here our local code block is 0400 so 0401-0477 and Boise has 0300 but they have a few reserved for the Lifeflight choppers. IE Lifeflight77 always has 0377 Lifeflight76 has 0376 so its easy to pick them out of the crowd. As far as GA we put them on a local code initially, which can be handed off to another facility but they have to re assign a code so we get ours back. If they are passing through well put in a vfr flight plan in the NAS which just needs callsign, type, and destination, it spits out the NAS code and voila your new code about 30 seconds after you got assigned the local one. This also lets us just flash the data tag to the next sector/facility instead of calling which takes alot longer to coordinate then clicking on the aircraft and letting them take the flash. Really the only time you get terminated out here is if center is to busy to take you or your to low for their radar coverage.
 

splash

your social justice comic center
Guys, thanks for the correction. It does seem easier for ground to pass on the ff tag all the way up the ladder. I need to get into this habit.
 
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