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-   -   VFR Flight Following -- What's going on here? (http://www.aviationbanter.com/showthread.php?t=29233)

Jay Honeck June 20th 05 08:39 PM

Did you keep the FF squawk code or go back to 1200?

Ah, good point. We kept squawking the code we were given till we
landed. I wonder if we had switched to 1200, if Chicago would have
seen that and figured out that we were landing (rather than crashing?)
in Rantoul?

Usually Chicago won't accept a hand-off from adjacent controllers,


Chicago center will accept handoffs, but Chicago approach probably
will not. Having said that, even if Center cancels your FF because of
no handoff, once you get near Approach's airspace, you can call
Approach and they will almost always provide flight following through
the area.


It seems like lately no one is accepting hand-offs from anyone along
the Lake Michigan shoreline. We flew to Wisconsin yesterday, and
Rockford wasn't able to hand us off to Milwaukee on the flight inbound.

On the flight westbound, later in the day, Milwaukee handed us off to
Rockford without difficulty, but they, in turn, cut us loose before we
even hit the Mississipi, which was very unusual -- especially on a
sleepy Sunday evening. (I swear, we were the only plane he was
handling.)

Usually RFD will seamlessly hand us off to Quad Cities approach. We
called up QC once we hit the Big Muddy, and they were able to handle us
without difficulty.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


Jay Honeck June 20th 05 09:07 PM

Now that I think about it, I suppose we could have asked Flight Watch
to notify Chicago Center when we could no longer hear them, but frankly
it never dawned on me that Chicago really cared that much about what
happened outside of their Class B airspace.

First, Chicago Center doesn't give a crap what happens in the Chicago
Class B.


Ah, true enough. I have mistakenly been using the terms "Approach" and
"Center" interchangeably in this thread.

"Chicago Center" is always cooperative and helpful, and will
unfailingly provide flight following all the way to Iowa City (if
we're high enough, which we rarely are) if requested.

"Chicago Approach" is the ATC facility in question here. They are the
ones who called the Rantoul airport manager, and they are the ones who
usually will not provide VFR flight following.

Which is why I was (and am) so surprised that they actually took the
time to call Rantoul when we lost radio contact with them. They are
usually not so helpful.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City


Chris G. June 20th 05 09:30 PM

The way the SAR system works is that once the FAA has radar contact with
you and are providing radar services, they will continue to do so unless
they are unable (due to lack of radar coverage) or you cancel them. If
you fall below their radar coverage while utilizing their services, then
they begin the SAR process. It goes something like this:

1) They attempt to establish radio contact.
2) They contact the FSS and the FAA issues an INREQ
3) After 15/30 mins (my memory fails me as to which # that is), an ALNOT
is issued. At this time, the FAA starts calling around to airports and
doing ramp checks. They also (if a flight plan was entered into the
system) will start making calls to the locations listed in your flight plan.
4) If you still cannot be located, SAR agencies, such as the Civil Air
Patrol, Sheriff's Office SAR teams, etc are activated. The process goes
on from there.

You got caught in Step 3, for which they're actually glad to catch you,
even if they don't always sound it. It's much better than the alternative.

Chris


Jay Honeck wrote:
Now that I think about it, I suppose we could have asked Flight Watch
to notify Chicago Center when we could no longer hear them, but frankly
it never dawned on me that Chicago really cared that much about what
happened outside of their Class B airspace.


First, Chicago Center doesn't give a crap what happens in the Chicago
Class B.



Ah, true enough. I have mistakenly been using the terms "Approach" and
"Center" interchangeably in this thread.

"Chicago Center" is always cooperative and helpful, and will
unfailingly provide flight following all the way to Iowa City (if
we're high enough, which we rarely are) if requested.

"Chicago Approach" is the ATC facility in question here. They are the
ones who called the Rantoul airport manager, and they are the ones who
usually will not provide VFR flight following.

Which is why I was (and am) so surprised that they actually took the
time to call Rantoul when we lost radio contact with them. They are
usually not so helpful.


Ben Hallert June 20th 05 09:40 PM

Good story, and some valuable information there and in the responses.

Flight Following is a great service, and I'll do everything I can to
make Joe Controller's day easier when he's giving me this. I had a
thread a couple weeks ago asking about what to do if you go NORDO when
on FF, and the general consensus was to squawk 1200. Very compatible
with what people have suggested here, even thought I know it would eat
at me the whole time until I got down that the controller might think I
just 'dissed' him by dropping off frequency and FF. :) I figure that
the more pleasant experiences Joe Controller has with us VFR weenies,
the more likely he'll be to accept FF handoffs and keep an eye on us.
The traffic watch is really only a fraction of the value I get out of
it: knowing that I've got someone on-frequency who knows exactly where
I am already if I have to declare an emergency means that I can spend
just that much more time troubleshooting my problem instead of trying
to give an intelligible location for SAR to use when they're trying to
find my flaming wreckage.

Using fligh****ch to get a message to those guys sounds like another
good tip to add to the book, I'll have to remember that.


[email protected] June 20th 05 09:47 PM

Jay,

You got good service from a controller who got worried about you.

Now, quit messing around; with that very capable airplane and all the
flying you do, get your instrument rating. It'll also help your VFR
travel and dealing with ATC. Besides, the workload IFR is much, much
less than VFR when you're dealing with weather such as you had and also
having to figure out airspace and so forth.

I've had a controller get hold of a small airport when I had a total
electrical failure on an IFR flight plan. In and out of the clouds,
saw an airport below me, spiraled down and landed. As I parked, the
airport manager came out to make sure I was okay and said CVG approach
had called and was concerned. I called the controller back, told him
what was going on and thanked him for making the call to have someone
looking out for me. It was a very nice feeling on an afternoon when
the airplane was in the midst of what turned out to be a reaction to a
stupid wiring job done by someone years before that was finally coming
due as insulation was scraping off of poorly routed wires. (In fact,
it was the only good thing that happened that afternoon-figuring out
the problem and repairing it wasn't cheap.)

Warmest regards,
Rick


Ron Natalie June 20th 05 10:05 PM

Guy Elden Jr wrote:


As for flight following, I would think the value would be pretty much
useless. The whole point is to gain a second pair of eyes for you on
the ground with the assumption that you are still responsible for
separation from other aircraft. If the folks on the ground can't see
you on their scopes, then there's really no point to flight following.

You will appear on the scopes (provided the primary radar is functional)
but it's probably more trouble than it is worth to the controller to
track you.


Jay Honeck June 20th 05 10:22 PM


The traffic watch is really only a fraction of the value I get out of
it: knowing that I've got someone on-frequency who knows exactly where
I am already if I have to declare an emergency means that I can spend
just that much more time troubleshooting my problem instead of trying
to give an intelligible location for SAR to use when they're trying to
find my flaming wreckage.


This is precisely why we use FF on pretty much every flight outside the
pattern, especially in winter.

After reading that the AVERAGE length of time between search & rescue
notification and location was 18 hours (!), we realized that we
probably wouldn't survive an accident here in the Midwest between
November and March without the advantage of having ATC know PRECISELY
where we were when we went down.

Of course this is all presuming that we had enough time to broadcast a
"Mayday!" call before the wing came off, or whatever.

This whole thing has been an excellent learning experience, and is both
funny and kinda sad. After ten years of flying around their airspace,
I've grown so used to Chicago Approach sounding ****ed (or indifferent
-- or refusing altogether) about providing flight following -- and
then, if they DID provide flight following, having them do such an
incredibly ****-poor job of traffic notification -- that it simply
never occurred to either of us that they might give a damn if we
dropped off their radar screens.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City, IA
Pathfinder N56993
www.AlexisParkInn.com
"Your Aviation Destination"


Peter Duniho June 20th 05 10:31 PM

"Chris G." [email protected] wrote in message
eenews.net...
The way the SAR system works is that once the FAA has radar contact with
you and are providing radar services, they will continue to do so unless
they are unable (due to lack of radar coverage) or you cancel them. If
you fall below their radar coverage while utilizing their services, then
they begin the SAR process.


I have never seen any documentation of this claim, for VFR aircraft. My
understanding is that the scenario in this thread was motivated solely at
the discretion of the controller, that there is no automatic search and
rescue for abnormally terminated flight following, and that only a VFR
flight plan guarantees a search and rescue attempt for missing VFR flights.

Can you provide a reference to something that supports the idea that
airplanes getting VFR flight following are given automatic search and rescue
if they somehow are "lost" from the controller (either radio or radar
contact lost)?

Thanks,
Pete



Gig 601XL Builder June 20th 05 10:37 PM


"Jay Honeck" wrote in message
ps.com...
Now that I think about it, I suppose we could have asked Flight Watch
to notify Chicago Center when we could no longer hear them, but frankly
it never dawned on me that Chicago really cared that much about what
happened outside of their Class B airspace.

First, Chicago Center doesn't give a crap what happens in the Chicago
Class B.


Ah, true enough. I have mistakenly been using the terms "Approach" and
"Center" interchangeably in this thread.

"Chicago Center" is always cooperative and helpful, and will
unfailingly provide flight following all the way to Iowa City (if
we're high enough, which we rarely are) if requested.

"Chicago Approach" is the ATC facility in question here. They are the
ones who called the Rantoul airport manager, and they are the ones who
usually will not provide VFR flight following.

Which is why I was (and am) so surprised that they actually took the
time to call Rantoul when we lost radio contact with them. They are
usually not so helpful.
--
Jay Honeck
Iowa City




Jay, you've got the plane and you travel in it enough.

Break down and get your IFR ticket.


GigG



Chris G. June 20th 05 11:21 PM

I have placed a call to the local FSDO for the exact regulations
governing this, but I speak from experience, having been a State SAR
Coordinator backup for the State of Oregon a few years ago.

Chris


Peter Duniho wrote:
"Chris G." [email protected] wrote in message
eenews.net...

The way the SAR system works is that once the FAA has radar contact with
you and are providing radar services, they will continue to do so unless
they are unable (due to lack of radar coverage) or you cancel them. If
you fall below their radar coverage while utilizing their services, then
they begin the SAR process.



I have never seen any documentation of this claim, for VFR aircraft. My
understanding is that the scenario in this thread was motivated solely at
the discretion of the controller, that there is no automatic search and
rescue for abnormally terminated flight following, and that only a VFR
flight plan guarantees a search and rescue attempt for missing VFR flights.

Can you provide a reference to something that supports the idea that
airplanes getting VFR flight following are given automatic search and rescue
if they somehow are "lost" from the controller (either radio or radar
contact lost)?

Thanks,
Pete




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