Get the Inititals!!!

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
So this is some fun. We were going to fly up north a little bit to visit family for Thanksgiving. Just before taxi out, I called up FSS to activate my flight plan for about :25 past the hour. So, I taxi out and have a maintenance issue. After some troubleshooting and playing the "what if" game, I decided to taxi back and cancel the flight. After a couple of minutes, I called FSS to cancel my flight plan which was at :35 past, about 10 minutes after it was to be activated. He said he didn't show me in the system but "would make a note that you are on the ground and didn't depart". So, fast forward a little bit...go out have some dinner, and other stuff and come home to message on the home phone and 2 missed messages on my cell (which I didn't have with me) from FSS. Yep, you know where this is going. After discussing what happened (they were very nice, I have to say) they said "no big deal, but we had started the SAR sequence". I was assured that the tapes are kept for 90 days in case this comes back later. About 10 minutes after talking to FSS, the AF SAR peeps from Florida called. So, the story was told again. So, the moral of the story, it's not a bad idea to get the initials from the briefer if there is any doubt as to the status of understanding (eg, "I don't show anything in the system"). I KNEW better when he mentioned "nothing in the system" and let my trusting self just about get me hemmed up.

That being said, can I expect anything else from this or not? I tend to think not, but if so, I guess I'll be calling AOPA legal eagles Friday.
 

sopdan

Well-Known Member
Did you by chance land in a different FSS zone from which you departed? I had a similar experience a few years back (pre-lockheed) in which I departed from an airport and opened up the plan with LAN FSS, the arrival airport was under GRB FSS... the phone from the FBO automatically went to LAN, and they said they closed it. Flew the next leg, and tower at the dest. told us that GRB was looking for us (based on leg #1). What else can you do?

Not a big deal, IMHO. You did what you were supposed to do and didn't break any regs from what I can tell. Hell, send in a NASA form for good measure... it won't hurt anything, and if that type of thing happens often enough, it might get addressed.
 

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
Did you by chance land in a different FSS zone from which you departed? I had a similar experience a few years back (pre-lockheed) in which I departed from an airport and opened up the plan with LAN FSS, the arrival airport was under GRB FSS... the phone from the FBO automatically went to LAN, and they said they closed it. Flew the next leg, and tower at the dest. told us that GRB was looking for us (based on leg #1). What else can you do?

Not a big deal, IMHO. You did what you were supposed to do and didn't break any regs from what I can tell. Hell, send in a NASA form for good measure... it won't hurt anything, and if that type of thing happens often enough, it might get addressed.
Although I didn't depart, one thing I did notice is that I always talk to the west Texas cell and when they called, they identified themselves from the east cell. I asked the briefer if that would make a difference and he said "no" that they both eventually go to Ft. Worth anyway.
 

troopernflight

Well-Known Member
That is a crappy feeling to see a couple of missed calls from flight service. Even though you closed your flight plan, you can't help but think of those horror stories of people having to reimburse the airforce $30,000 for search efforts. That's a good idea about the initials. I might start doing that if anything seems messed up.
 

New1in81

New Member
Getting the FSS guy's initials is pointless. In the first place, they aren't required to give you their initials, and they will often either decline or give you false ones, like "XX," which is an old generic login for the previous Model 1 computer system. The reason is that most missing flight plans are caused by pilot errors and FS21 errors, not errors by the specialist, and they don't want people complaining about them personally when it wasn't their fault.

Secondly, the initials will no longer identify a specific individual as they are unique only at the facility level. You would have to know where the person was physically located as there could be half a dozen people with the same initials in the system. Even if they identify themselves as "Columbia Radio" they could be anywhere in the US. Lockheed also discourages specialists from giving their location to obscure the fact that the person you are talking to could be 3000 miles away.

Finally, it doesn't matter. Every contact is automatically logged by the FS21 system with the specialists unique Windows NT logon. The logon is Lockheed proprietary information and you will never get that, but it doesn't matter. If you call to complain and just give the supervisor your aircraft number the system will display everyone you talked to in the last 30 days, positively identified by their unique login. So asking for initials doesn't give you any advantage.

One more point - the horror stories about people being billed for SAR are urban legends. No one has ever been billed. There are literally dozens if not scores of SAR actions conducted every day. 99.9% of all SAR actions are not due to an actual accident, but because someone didn't close their flight plan. If you were actually billed for this then virtually every pilot would personally know someone who had been charged.
 

Bandit_Driver

Gold Member
If you have the time and effort you can give feed back to Lockeed/Martin at the following site, then click on the pilot feedback form if you already have an account with them.

http://www.afss.com/

If you don't already have an account, good luck. I tried to create an account but, of course, it doesn't work. So I called WX brief and was transferred to the Washington Hub 703-724-4288 to tell them what is wrong. I talked to them for about 5 minutes and was told they knew about it and hopefully will have a new computer system installed in January or February of next year.

Great service Lockheed. :sarcasm:
 

bdhill1979

Gone West
If you have the time and effort you can give feed back to Lockeed/Martin at the following site, then click on the pilot feedback form if you already have an account with them.

http://www.afss.com/

If you don't already have an account, good luck. I tried to create an account but, of course, it doesn't work. So I called WX brief and was transferred to the Washington Hub 703-724-4288 to tell them what is wrong. I talked to them for about 5 minutes and was told they knew about it and hopefully will have a new computer system installed in January or February of next year.

Great service Lockheed. :sarcasm:
:yeahthat:

Every time I have made a report I got a call from a supervisor within 48 hours.
 

fisher37

Well-Known Member
I did that awhile back..forgot to close my flight plan...the funny thing is that I flew to the airport to take my written test for private...and got a call from FSS during my test...the administrator from the testing center got a call...the FBO where i rented the plane got a call...and my instructor got a call too...

I sure haven't forgot to close one since then..and i havent heard of any certificate action...so you should be good.
 

New1in81

New Member
I did that awhile back..forgot to close my flight plan...

I sure haven't forgot to close one since then..and i havent heard of any certificate action...so you should be good.
Failing to close a flight plan doesn't result in certificate action. I guarantee you there were at least 50 other people who forgot to close their flight plan that day. I personally started SAR on 7 aicraft during my shift yesterday, and that's just for one of 50+ sectors.
 

HeyEng

NAHB Doesn't Give a Crap
Getting the FSS guy's initials is pointless. In the first place, they aren't required to give you their initials, and they will often either decline or give you false ones, like "XX," which is an old generic login for the previous Model 1 computer system. The reason is that most missing flight plans are caused by pilot errors and FS21 errors, not errors by the specialist, and they don't want people complaining about them personally when it wasn't their fault.

Secondly, the initials will no longer identify a specific individual as they are unique only at the facility level. You would have to know where the person was physically located as there could be half a dozen people with the same initials in the system. Even if they identify themselves as "Columbia Radio" they could be anywhere in the US. Lockheed also discourages specialists from giving their location to obscure the fact that the person you are talking to could be 3000 miles away.

Finally, it doesn't matter. Every contact is automatically logged by the FS21 system with the specialists unique Windows NT logon. The logon is Lockheed proprietary information and you will never get that, but it doesn't matter. If you call to complain and just give the supervisor your aircraft number the system will display everyone you talked to in the last 30 days, positively identified by their unique login. So asking for initials doesn't give you any advantage.

One more point - the horror stories about people being billed for SAR are urban legends. No one has ever been billed. There are literally dozens if not scores of SAR actions conducted every day. 99.9% of all SAR actions are not due to an actual accident, but because someone didn't close their flight plan. If you were actually billed for this then virtually every pilot would personally know someone who had been charged.
That is good to know. The AF SAR guy asked if I got the initials of the briefer and being a former command post dork, I know that is standard practice in the AF. I am not concerned about being charged since I talked to the fools and told them where I was and that I didn't launch. One odd thing I did notice is that they didn't call my "optional arrival contact"...seems like they should have done that. Anyway, I tend to think that the guy just got the wrong tail number when I called to cancel...I am sure that NEVER happens! :)
 

New1in81

New Member
One odd thing I did notice is that they didn't call my "optional arrival contact"...seems like they should have done that.
In the old days we never liked to call the contact number until we'd looked everywhere else. The reason is that the number was either the FBO, which is useless, or the pilot's home number. Given the fact that 99.9% of overdue aircraft have NOT crashed, we didn't want to upset the pilots family unneccessarily.

Nowdays the number is usually the FBO (still useless) or a cellphone, so we are much more likely to call it. Also, half the roughly 900 FSS people are new hires, probably closer to 75% of the staff in the hubs where the SAR is done, and they don't know and don't care about such things. The book says call, they call. Independent judgement is not allowed.
 
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