Requesting VFR Flight Following?

I'm a student pilot and a little confused about something.... Who do I initially contact and request flight following from? Is it the tower at the airfield I just departed from? If there is no controlled tower, who do I contact initially and where do I look for that frequency?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It does depend on the airport you are leaving in regards to whom you request flight following from.

    For instance, I operate out of a non-towered field. Upon departing and clearing the area, I switch from CTAF to the approach frequency that overlays my home base. The same is true for any non-towered field. Your AFD will have an approach/departure frequency for the Class E or Class G airspace around the airport and you are to contact that controller. You can request flight following on the ground before you take off but I have always contacted the controller in the air as I need to report my position on CTAF anyway.

    If you are at a towered field (Class D, C or B) then you have two options. Request flight following from the tower controller and that controller can pass on your message to the appropiate departure controller. This works primarily at Class C and B airports as there is a closer knit communication between tower and approach at these busier fields. You can also request traffic advisories once handed off to the departure controller the same as you would leaving a non-towered field.

    Your AFD is a great resource to prepare for this situation.

    Source(s): - Private Pilot training for Instrument Rating
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  • Joe D
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    At an airport with an operating control tower (i.e., during operating hours), you can request FF from ground control before taxiing.

    Otherwise, you'll have to wait until airborne to contact the nearest ATC facility (approach, departure, center, etc) on the appropriate sector frequency and request FF. You can find the appropriate sector freq any number of ways, including the A/FD, instrument approach plates for the airport from which you departed, on airnav.com, etc.

    Some regions also put out ATC sector freq maps for the region. You could contact your local FSDO and ask if your region has such a map available.

    Even if you pick the wrong sector frequency for the spot you are in when you initally call up ATC, they will typically tell you the correct sector freq to contact.

    Such a scenario might be:

    You: "Seattle Approach, Cessna 4999X off Bremerton runway 34, climbing 1,200 for 2,500 request flight following Redmond, Oregon via Portland"

    Seattle Approach (wrong freq): "Cessna 4999X, contact Seattle Center for flight following on 128.5"

    EDIT: 5 thumbs down? Tell me what I wrote above that is even remotely incorrect.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Unless the rules have changes, you'll have to make 3 stop and go landings at a towered airport, that would be a good time to ask your tower controller, that's why they are there, to serve you. Same goes for departure, enroute and approach controllers, a lot of pilots are scared to ask them anything if they are flying VFR, but remember, their job is to serve pilots in any way they can.

    Also, if you're VFR they will have to deny you flight following if their workload doesn't permit them, but I've never heard anybody denied, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened.

    I've asked for ball scores while VFR and they have always given them to me, especially on nights or weekends, they're as bored as you are on a long cross country, and they know you're trying to stay awake.

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  • Mark
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    Listen to Rockwell.

    Sometimes a good answer gets plenty of Thumbs down from the ignorant here.

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  • Mike
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Look on your sectional it really depends on what type of airspace you are flying threw

    Lets say for example you just departed a class D airport (Tower,ground) you would tune the nearest airport with a class C's approach frequency

    Correct me if i am wrong guys but this is how it works for a couple airports around here

    5 thumbs down? the trolls are out today

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  • Rather than spoon feed you the answer , I suggest you read the section(s) in the AIM Chapter 4 and in The Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge chapter 12

    http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic...

    http://www.faa.gov/Library/manuals/aviation/pilot_...

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