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  #11  
Old 01-17-2008, 11:54 AM
Alex D Alex D is offline
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 114
Default VFR Flight Following

You are right that it falls under the time to provide it. As an Air Traffic controller I would say that if you feel that we are getting busy, is time to pay more attention outside the window like you did. I don't think it is a reason to stop using the service all together. One day if the government gets its way, it will cost money to get this great service.

ARTCC Controller
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  #12  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:02 PM
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Brantel Brantel is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Newport, TN
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alex D View Post
One day if the government gets its way, it will cost money to get this great service.

ARTCC Controller
It already does cost money to get this great service, everytime a gallon of avgas is paid for! Can't let this misconception that most people think we use the system for free go on for one second!

On a personal note, thanks for providing this service. My experiences have always been good relating to this. Like all things, you run into a jerk every now and then but for the most part, ATC has always been more than accomidating to me. Always know what your responsibilites are as PIC and all will be well.
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Last edited by Brantel : 01-17-2008 at 12:06 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:12 PM
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Ron Lee Ron Lee is offline
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 3,275
Default Mode C

A few years ago I was flying merrily along over my airport when my transponder was being repaired. I was below the altitude where it was needed (but close). As I turn northward I had a feeling and looking to the east are landing lights coming right at me. No doubt that it was a near-miss encounter with a CRJ. Why ATC has airlines come over my airport at 9000' is unknown to me. It is a recipe for a mid-air.
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:35 PM
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longranger longranger is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: 45G, Brighton, MI
Posts: 1,888
Default

I do look out the window, but it's nice to know that someone else is looking out too, all the time realizing that neither is foolproof, but both together will catch most of the conflicts. There are many more instances of approach or center calling traffic that I didn't see than me seeing traffic they didn't call. As far as increasing their workload goes, if they accept you for flight following, then they're not too busy. I also don't feel any less "free" when on flight following. If I change my mind about altitude or course, I just key up and let them know. Or if I want to maneuver or loiter, I just tell them that.

Also, I feel that simply having contact established is a bigger safety enhancement than traffic separation. If you need help NOW, someone out there knows where you are NOW. In July of '05 while under flight following with LA Center over the middle of the Mojave Desert at 7500', I had #5 exhaust valve part company with its stem and ventilate the piston. Almost simultaneous with hitting the NRST key on my 296, I keyed the mic and said "Cessna 3498C has a rough engine, diverting toward..." and read "Desert Center" off the top of the list of nearest airports displayed on the 296. I didn't have to mess around finding a frequency, establishing contact, or explain to them where I was. They simply gave me a bearing and distance to the airport, then asked if I wanted to declare an emergency. I arrived at the airport with over 5000' of altitude, so it turned out to be a non-emergency but it sure was nice to know that if the engine had not remained running, someone knew within a mile or two where I was.

Miles
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  #15  
Old 01-17-2008, 12:40 PM
David-aviator David-aviator is offline
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Chesterfield, Missouri
Posts: 4,514
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deven View Post
I wonder sometimes if the bigger iron becomes a bit overconfident in TCAS. We have a lot of ski traffic into uncontrolled airports around here and there are a number of times while reporting in and around these airports I get the response "I don't have you on TCAS". My RV is transponder equiped, but cubs, ag birds, and helicopters aren't. Awful easy these days to spend way too much time head down in the cockpit.
Over confident? Hardly. There isn't much to look at IMC. The system picks out the guys pushing VFR minimums, like cruising along at 4500' in and out of IMC just below a class B floor at 5000'. When TCAS goes off it shoots quite a load of adrenalin and you have no time to look around but must react to the RA immediately.

Yes, we do live in a see and be seen world but that's not good enough or we wouldn't have system like TCAS.
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2008, 01:10 PM
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Low n Slow Low n Slow is offline
 
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Location: Bay Area California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brayski98 View Post
?However, if I drop off the radar screen it would be nice to have someone notice right away instead of waiting for someone to notice I'm late.
Quote:
Originally Posted by McFly View Post
?Here is where I think flight following shines and this is purely my opinion. I have a 3 lb paper weight in my plane and it?s only purpose (again IMHO) is to satisfy a regulation. It?s called an ELT. When I am flying over large jagged rocks sticking out of the snow, I like hearing a voice on the other end ?just in case?.
This is the reason I use FF and as I use it primarily between congested areas I?ve always had great and friendly service.
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2008, 01:22 PM
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Geico266 Geico266 is offline
 
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Location: Huskerland, USA
Posts: 5,861
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The more we use ATC and keep their "numbers" up, the more ammo the FAA has to keep ATC staffed at current levels.
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2008, 02:32 PM
mansboat mansboat is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: San Pedro, CA
Posts: 16
Default I usually use flight following

I have found that most controllers do a decent job, a few are exceptionally helpful, and a few are jerks. I guess just like any other profession.

I usually use flight following. Part of the reason is traffic separation, part so that class C airspace is irrelevant, part so that in case something bad happens someone knows exactly where I am.

Exceptions are IFR flight (obviously) and short flights of an hour or less over familiar & non-hostile terrain during the day.

The last time I filed a VFR flight plan was the early 90s.

IMO, based on observation, most controllers would rather have you use the service so that they know what you are going to do, and have some modicum of control over you flight path. I think it makes their IFR separation task easier.
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2008, 05:30 PM
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w1curtis w1curtis is offline
 
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Location: Eastern, PA
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My primary reason to use VFR flight following is so that I do not have to duck under or climb over positive controlled airspace -class B, C and TRSA. Ofter however if VMC I purposely do not use flight following since they will vector you all over the place to make it easier for IFR/commercial traffic. Philadelphia and New York class B is notorious for this. Class Cs aren't too bad, but I do NOT expect that just because I'm on flight following that I don't have to worry about traffic.

I do have to say that since 9/11 controllers in general are much more willing to give flight following. Back in "the good old days" unless they were absolutely bored, the just snapped "unable VFR advisories at this time."
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  #20  
Old 01-17-2008, 06:28 PM
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Sticky1 Sticky1 is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: NY
Posts: 323
Default Hummmmmm

Quote:
Originally Posted by w1curtis View Post
My primary reason to use VFR flight following is so that I do not have to duck under or climb over positive controlled airspace -class B, C and TRSA. Ofter however if VMC I purposely do not use flight following since they will vector you all over the place to make it easier for IFR/commercial traffic. Philadelphia and New York class B is notorious for this. Class Cs aren't too bad, but I do NOT expect that just because I'm on flight following that I don't have to worry about traffic.

I do have to say that since 9/11 controllers in general are much more willing to give flight following. Back in "the good old days" unless they were absolutely bored, the just snapped "unable VFR advisories at this time."


Class B ..NY you say........hummmmm

I fly the class b Hudson river all the time and was up on 911. Now I know what a ground stop is.....

The NYC controllers always give me what I want cause I know what to ask for... If they are landing using the river approach; forget going down the river at 2k. They have always given me flight following with a smile (can tell in their voice). I have TIS on board also so I can double check atc.

Gotta love this stuffffff.
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