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| | |-+  Too short for flight following?
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Author Topic: Too short for flight following?  (Read 10836 times)
mielsonwheals
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« on: March 19, 2012, 11:46:40 PM »

I was wondering if some controllers could give me feedback on a question I had... Is there is a distance that is really too short to ask for flight following? I am a new private pilot looking to get some more cross country experience.. but wondering if on my shorter trips I should forgo the flight following. Have you every had someone call for flight following and asked yourself "seriously?"

Example: 40 nm trip, factoring in time after takeoff in class D with the tower, and a few minutes with flight service to open up a flight plan. Say 30 nm left in the trip I'm calling approach... would this be too short?

Thanks.
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davolijj
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 02:16:52 PM »

I know what you mean.  I once requested flight following from Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh (AGC) to Westmorland County Airport (LBE).  The two airports are 24 miles apart.  I didn't realize until I started working as a controller how ridiculous the whole thing was, but as a new private pilot I felt a certain reassurance having someone guiding me.

I'd say 40 miles isn't unreasonable for a light single, especially on a VFR day when there's a lot of traffic out there.  Unless I'm covered up with traffic, I never mind providing service to VFRs no matter how short the flight is.  You'd be surprised how often I see VFR aircraft operating in close proximity to each other, whether they know it or not.  So to answer your question, I'd say 30 miles or longer is perfectly reasonable to request flight following from a controller's standpoint.
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mielsonwheals
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« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2012, 12:20:25 AM »

Thanks for your response. I went on the flight this morning and used flight following for the trip there and the trip back. On both legs the controllers seemed happy to provide the service. It was pretty quick, but like you said the reassurance is nice when you're new and building experience. Especially today, few clouds but very hazy.
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dave
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« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2012, 10:02:23 AM »

Workload permitting, of course, every controller I have asked this question of said they would rather be talking to us than not,
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pericynthion
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« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2012, 08:25:29 PM »

Example: 40 nm trip, factoring in time after takeoff in class D with the tower, and a few minutes with flight service to open up a flight plan.

A VFR flight plan is entirely unnecessary for flight following - the controllers don't even have access to it.  And it provides negligible search & rescue benefit if you are talking to ATC.  I would skip the call to flight service and use a VFR flight plan only for extended flights way out in the boonies outside radio and radar coverage.
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