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Posted: Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:59 pm
by Sven
Great riff on flight following. I fly on the edge of the hornet's nest north of SFO but rarely in the nest. The controllers can talk very fast and, at times, not be in the mood to talk with a bug smasher. That kept me from using flight following for longer than I should have. It can be very intimidating. What I did to overcome this was to read a book by ASA called Say Again - Please. It's a great book and refresher. But what really helped me was a book of ATC scripts from a book called Radio Communications Made Easy. I've included a link below. I just fill out a script I know I'll be using and that helps me keep my transmissions quick and complete. Talking to my local controllers inside the Delta is second nature. But ATC flight following can be intimidating, especially when there are no breaks between conversations and instructions.

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Wed Mar 22, 2017 6:46 pm
by SkiandflyUtah
I use flight following on longer cross-countries and also stay in touch with KSLC approach when traversing the busier Salt Lake City valley; however, there are some significant limitations, due to our topography, that result in being one of those sporadic users.

Heading to Oskosh or to other flat-lander areas it works fine but it's not always available here due to the mountains. For example, weather permitting I'm heading towards Las Vegas next week. On flights heading that way I've had ATC drop me due to poor radar coverage in northern/central UT even when I'm at 12,500 msl. My option is to go higher to an elevation that works for ATC assuming I've got the portable O2 working, if not, I'll squawk 1200 but still monitor the appropriate ATC frequency to maintain at least some awareness of other traffic and/or turbulence reports en-route. On my upcoming flight I may not be on Flight Following all the way but I sure will be as I drop into the congested KLAS/Lake Mead area en-route to Henderson.

Although strictly a VFR pilot I refer to IFR charts via iPad & Foreflight for the frequencies or just use the handy Nearest function on my 430W GPS for the appropriate ATC.

So anyway, my point is that some of the respondents to the survey may have legitimate reasons for indicating they don't always use Flight Following other than reluctance or unfamiliarity.

Couple thoughts on the Woof Podcasts

Posted: Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:07 pm
by donwmack
The converting of Drone pilots to full scale. The examples given were from RC pilots who fly planes. Those folks have been doing that since RC was around. I am willing to bet a box of dog bones that the multirotor pilots will not upscale to full-size planes, at least until there are full-size multirotor available.

On getting flight following. Much like the SF post. I am in Chicago and could rarely get it so I rarely ask anymore.

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Sat Mar 25, 2017 1:41 pm
by MartySantic
Would love to see an article on Flight Following in Aviation Safety. In fact, will subscribe today and look forward to the article. Thanks, Jeb.

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 10:52 pm
by C5Guy
I use flight following for any flight more than approximatly 20 miles. Any shorter than that, it just doesn't make sense.

The basics of VFR flight following are not very complex. However, based on personal experience (and other posts on this thread) it is obvious to me a one-size-fits-all approach is inadequate. Topography, airspace layout, time of day, pilot proficiency (can you fly precise headings and altitudes in the given weather conditions ?), autopilot, and even the number of radios in your panel (with a second radio you can hang on to flight following a little longer while monitoring the destination airport frequency on the #2 radio) can influence how and if you obtain flight following. There can be a lot more to this than making a radio call and getting a squawk. I understand why some pilots might feel uncomfortable squeezing the mic and getting a terse reply from ATC that everyone within 50 miles gets a chuckle out of.

But the safety enhancements of VFR flight following should trump your ego. Talk to an instructor or experienced local pilot about your local airspace. If you are unfamiliar with the nuances of the airspace you are flying through, it is normal to make a mistake or two. Learn from them. Most of the time ATC will be understanding and helpful. After a few times, you'll have the experience (and confidence) to figure it out.

Blue skies,


Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Mon Mar 27, 2017 10:21 am
by jarheadpilot82
I was thinking about the discussion on flight following as I drove home from my latest flight last night. One of the big questions that came up was, “Where can I find the frequency I need?”

I have an app on my iPhone called FlyQ Pocket by Seattle Avionics. It comes in both iOS and Android formats -

It uses the internal GPS from my phone and gives me basic information for every airport that I get near. For instance as I sit in my house I see that Athens Ben Epps Airport is 13.1 nm away and the Approach frequency is 132.47. If I was flying near there, I could call them up on the Approach frequency and give them my VFR position and I will bet that they could give me the Center frequency pretty quickly. The point is that you don’t even have to fly with a full blown EFB to get that info in your hand almost immediately. Did I mention the airline pilot’s favorite word? Free.

This is not an endorsement of that software over others. I am sure that there are other software programs and apps that do the same for the same price. It just happens to be the one that I have.

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 6:37 am
by AirportDude
I would recommend getting your hands on a copy of the regional Chart Supplement (formerly known as the Airport Facility Directory (AFD)). Your local FBO should have a copy on hand, and they get updated every 56 days. Once the new update comes out, the FBO usually just tosses the old ones -- you can get them without having to pay anything.

With very few exceptions, the frequency data does not change, nor does most of the other pertinent data of all the included airports. As long as you mark both the front and back covers in big, bold letters "EXPIRED, FOR REFERENCE ONLY" the local FAA Ramp Check examiner can't legally ding you for having an expired chart/supplement in your airplane. He/she may give you a little on-the-spot lecture about having updated info, but as long as they know you're using reference data that doesn't change like field elevation, coordinates, basic runway layout, etc., you aren't in violation of using outdated info.

Now, if your "REFERENCE" chart supp is tattered and dated from 1999, you might want to consider a more current copy!!

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:42 pm
by jackhodgson
What a great thread here on flight following. Thank you everyone who has contributed.

// Jack

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 3:54 am
by hmng
jarheadpilot82 wrote:
I have an app on my iPhone called FlyQ Pocket by Seattle Avionics. It comes in both iOS and Android formats -

Just a heads up, seems to be US only. Anybody knows of an European equivalent?


Henrique Gomes

Re: "WOOF" UCAP424

Posted: Wed Mar 29, 2017 1:19 pm
by Scofreyjet
Flying out of a class delta airport underlying Boston's class bravo airspace, I typically use flight following for every flight. Unless you are heading due west, you will be circumnavigating the Boston bravo which means you will be over-flying one or more class Deltas, often with only 500 feet between the top that airspace and the bottom of the bravo. With numerous aircraft following roughly the same path (in both directions) in the same 500 feet of altitude, ATC really does want to know who you are and where you're going. I've never been refused advisories in this area.

That can change however once I get far enough south to be talking to Cape (Cod) Approach. They seem to have fewer controllers covering more space, and on a busy summer day with lots of commercial and private traffic, they will sometimes decline - typically just when the air is swarming with fellow bug-smashers! Ah, well...