flight following - q's and any tips?

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omgwereallgoingtodie
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flight following - q's and any tips?

#1 Post by omgwereallgoingtodie » Thu May 01, 2014 5:50 pm

reposting this from flight training as per suggestion

Student pilot - be kind ;)

First time using flight following last weekend. It went fairly smoothly (from my point of view) flying out of CYTZ onto CYKF and then CYTB before heading back to CYTZ
I was curious as to how it works from an ATC point of view. I was expecting to be asked to squawk Ident at some point but Terminal seemed to know who I was and where I was going as soon as I gave them my call sign, even when I was only using flight following for some portions ( I didn't use it at all between YKF and YTB for example), so it wasn't like I'd been handed over from a tower or something.
Is this because I'd filed a flight plan?
what info gets passed on to Terminal?

I'm sorry if these are stupid questions but I'm trying to get my head around how it all works, in the hope that a degree of understanding will help me not annoy people too much in the future.
Given this aim , any tips for not annoying the nice people offering this service?
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FenderManDan
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#2 Post by FenderManDan » Thu May 01, 2014 6:56 pm

I use TO terminal service often since I am based in YKZ. Flight following is something terminal does not have to provide to VFR however those guys are nice and you get it almost always.

FF is kind of IFR-ry thing but is nice to have since they do provide warnings on targets around you, you will not get IFR protection, so ATC will warn you but not necessarily for all of them. You have to have your eyes open and head on the swivel in the terminal area.

ATC has your flight plan and they expect you to popup on the way back and get passed around from sector to sector. IFR LO chart has sector frequencies. When you exit and re-enter radar services area you might get another transponder code.

Sometimes it gets so busy that listening to radio drives me nuts so I just shut it off and fly scud until I have to talk yo YKZ tower. If you are on FF, they will tell you "target 2500 feet 11 o'clock heading eastbound not confirmed [or not talking to me]". That is me :wink:

edit: tip (give em just a quick, "hi" when passed from one sector to another. They don't like congested frequencies by people asking for conflicting traffic)
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#3 Post by photofly » Thu May 01, 2014 10:24 pm

ATC has your flight plan
Actually if it's a VFR flight plan, they don't. Nobody even looks at a VFR flight plan until after your ETA.

ATC does have the information that you provided on the radio when you first asked for flight following though, which might include your destination.
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RunwayWindAltimer
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#4 Post by RunwayWindAltimer » Fri May 02, 2014 1:39 pm

Tower and IFR controllers don't have any flight plan information on VFR flights in the Toronto region (most of Ontario, excluding Ottawa).
This is how the process goes: when you are given a squawk code by a tower, your flight information is entered in a system that syncs with the radar database. That's how the IFR controller knows who you are and where you're going; attached to your tag on radar is your point of departure and landing.
You have probably noticed that when you are being identified in the air you are asked for your destination (and sometimes point of departure). This is so that the info can be added to your radar tag and other controllers won't have to ask again. The next controller you talk to will assume the destination info is correct, so if you had a change of plans and want something else just let atc know.

That's a simplified explanation, if you want to see how it works I suggest popping in for a visit at your local tower. I'm at YKZ and we don't mind having people in for a tour when it's not busy.
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jdawg
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#5 Post by jdawg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:36 am

I'm so new too flying I still have that new car smell. After 100hrs of flight time I fianally used flight follow but couldn't keep up with the frequencies. After I contact centre do they automatically follow or is it on me to continue too contact them?
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#6 Post by kevenv » Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:06 pm

jdawg wrote:I'm so new too flying I still have that new car smell. After 100hrs of flight time I fianally used flight follow but couldn't keep up with the frequencies. After I contact centre do they automatically follow or is it on me to continue too contact them?
If Centre tells you to contact another frequency, you are still being provided flight following. If they cancel it you will hear "radar service terminated".
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#7 Post by jdawg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:46 pm

So does that mean even if I can't find the centres freq for the area I'm in, after initial contact, do they still follow if I can't contact them?
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#8 Post by photofly » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:11 pm

You will be told when to change frequency and what the new frequency is, at the appropriate time.
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#9 Post by photofly » Sun Aug 28, 2016 7:13 pm

jdawg wrote:So does that mean even if I can't find the centres freq for the area I'm in, after initial contact, do they still follow if I can't contact them?
If you fail to check in with the new controller when told to, he or she can't pass you traffic information, which is the whole point of a radar service.
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Lloyd YWG FIC
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#10 Post by Lloyd YWG FIC » Sun Sep 04, 2016 2:53 pm

photofly wrote:
ATC has your flight plan
Actually if it's a VFR flight plan, they don't. Nobody even looks at a VFR flight plan until after your ETA.

ATC does have the information that you provided on the radio when you first asked for flight following though, which might include your destination.
I've been retired over a year so things might have changed but we sent VFR plans into the system and assigned a code if the aircraft was going to be entering terminal airspace. Can't say what other FIRs do/did.
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#11 Post by ahramin » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:01 pm

Lloyd YWG FIC wrote:
photofly wrote:
ATC has your flight plan
Actually if it's a VFR flight plan, they don't. Nobody even looks at a VFR flight plan until after your ETA.

ATC does have the information that you provided on the radio when you first asked for flight following though, which might include your destination.
I've been retired over a year so things might have changed but we sent VFR plans into the system and assigned a code if the aircraft was going to be entering terminal airspace. Can't say what other FIRs do/did.
My understanding is the machine that assigns the code is the one that puts the information into the ATC system, same as if you call them up without a code. So having a VFR flight plan doesn't mean ATC will know anything, it's having the code.
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#12 Post by Lloyd YWG FIC » Sun Sep 04, 2016 7:26 pm

My understanding is the machine that assigns the code is the one that puts the information into the ATC system, same as if you call them up without a code. So having a VFR flight plan doesn't mean ATC will know anything, it's having the code.
A code can either be assigned by the ATC computer, or the FSS taking the plan. Once it is sent in to the ATC system, everyone has access to the information and the aircraft will show up on the radar tagged appropriately. Done it hundreds if not thousands of times. But you are correct in that not all VFR plans are sent in to the Centres, just the ones that were going to transit terminal airspace. Even flights that didn't file a plan might still file what was called a "Class C notification" and they were assigned a code as well. The FSS determined which VFR plans are 'sent in' and which ones are not based on the route of flight.
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Re: flight following - q's and any tips?

#13 Post by photofly » Tue Sep 06, 2016 9:52 am

I have (occasionally) been assigned a code by FSS in Quebec, but never in Ontario, whether or not the flight was going near any terminal airspace.

Now that i think about it, the last time I was assigned a code by Quebec FIC it was unhelpful: when I later contacted ATC for a radar service 300nm away from the point of departure on my initial call the ATCO assumed that I had just departed on the flight, mistook my position by 300nn, and tried to refer me to a frequency that would have been appropriate at the point of departure.
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