VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Questions and comments about the PE Pilot Training Program

VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby sono » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:03 pm

Flying a VFR route from a to b in receipt of flight following.

You have reached the point to commence descent for your destination - do ATC welcome you advising them you are starting a vfr decent or is this annoying use of frequency bandwidth to them of no value ?
EASA and FAA (61.75) Private ASEL AMEL Instrument
sono
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby Scott Medeiros » Fri Jun 29, 2018 8:16 am

Under VFR, it's not necessary to tell ATC of any altitude changes, unless the controller requests you "advise any altitude changes". If the frequency isn't too busy, I like to keep the controller in the loop as to what I'm doing so they can plan accordingly.
Scott Medeiros
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:49 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby sono » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:39 am

I am looking for something more definitive than that if possible please- ideally from a qualified controller..
EASA and FAA (61.75) Private ASEL AMEL Instrument
sono
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby kevin meyers » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:26 am

sono wrote:I am looking for something more definitive than that if possible please- ideally from a qualified controller..


Scott’s an airline pilot- you can respect his answer. He’s also a controller on PE. From another controller’s perspective, he gave an accurate answer. In fact, there’s nothing worse than when it’s busy and a weekend warrior is calling up with every piece of information I don’t care about. If I’m providing flight folllwing services to you, I’ll let you know if there’s traffic around you.
Kevin Meyers
Retired PilotEdge Air Traffic Controller / Instructor
Dallas, Texas
kevin meyers
 
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby sono » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:57 pm

I mean no disrespect. What is confusing about an answer which says tell the controller you are making a vfr descent if he is not busy is that you would think he want to know more if he was busy with lots of traffic near you to draw attention to your descent? If there is no one around why would he care...
EASA and FAA (61.75) Private ASEL AMEL Instrument
sono
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2017 9:11 pm

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby kevin meyers » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:40 am

I pilot would need to fact check me on this, but I believe the FARs say you are supposed to advise ATC prior to any altitude changes.

From an ATC perspective, if I’m really busy then I will call traffic to you if you’re near anyone else. Therefore, if you call up and tell me about an altitude change, it’s going to be more of a distraction than anything else. But at the same time, I’m not going to sit here and tell you to go against the FARs so if the FARs say to do it, then just know what rule you’re breaking if you don’t call up.

One more thing I’ll say is that if you are going to call up and advise of an altitude change, be efficient about it. “Approach, Cessna 123, leaving 6500 for 4500.” That’s all that’s needed. Nothing is worse than VFR pilots giving us too much information.
Kevin Meyers
Retired PilotEdge Air Traffic Controller / Instructor
Dallas, Texas
kevin meyers
 
Posts: 1655
Joined: Sat Nov 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby Scott Medeiros » Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:16 pm

The FARs state a pilot must report vacating a previously assigned altitude for a newly assigned altitude. A VFR aircraft isn't typically assigned an altitude, so the report is not required under VFR.

A controller may be working multiple frequencies and sectors (especially on PilotEdge). Just because the frequency is congested, doesn't necessarily mean the airspace around you is busy. For example, the departure controller for KSAN may be very busy handling aircraft departing and arriving KSAN, KMYF, KSEE, KSDM, KCRQ, and KRNM, plus VFR bravo transitions. If you are currently flying VFR north of KCRQ or KRNM you're probably the only aircraft out there, yet you're on the same frequency as the beehive of traffic overhead San Diego. In this case, the controller is aware of your flight, and is focused on higher priority work near the city. If I need to alert you of traffic I will, but I don't want non-essential radio calls while I'm sequencing fast jet traffic into the narrow space between SAN and the high mountainous terrain east of the city. If you're flying VFR through that busy airspace I'd ask for altitude reports because I would need to know if you plan on descending/climbing into my arrival stream.

Let's go back to our scenario of VFR flight following north of KRNM. If you're eastbound at 9500', and there is traffic below you and level at 7500', I may not point that out since there is 2000' of separation. Now, if you announce you're descending I would give you an advisory for that traffic as now you're descending into a potential conflict.

Essentially, you'll have to use common sense and your best discretion as to whether you should make a call to ATC.

Hope this clears up a controller's thought process as to when we'd like to know you plans vs. when we'd like radio silence.
Scott Medeiros
 
Posts: 141
Joined: Sat Apr 12, 2014 8:49 am
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: VFR descents while in receipt of flight following

Postby Keith Smith » Fri Jul 06, 2018 12:02 pm

Reddit discussion on this very topic, with many r/w controllers chiming in. The sentiment seems to be, "that's fine, as long as it's not busy."

https://www.reddit.com/r/flying/comment ... _tell_you/
Keith Smith
 
Posts: 9356
Joined: Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:38 pm
Location: Pompton Plains, NJ


Return to Pilot Training Program

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests