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Requesting flight services from uncontrolled field

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:54 am
by niner_whiskey_bravo
Student pilot here with an ATC question. Thanks for your help or even better, a link/reference where I can learn.

If we're departing from an uncontrolled field and we'd like to have flight following, can we request flight services from the ground? Scenario is KSAC to KOAK, after KSAC tower hours. Can I call NORCAL before departing? Better NORCAL departure or arrival?

I've learned how to pick up services from the air and at controlled fields, but not confident in between.

Thank you for your knowledge.

Re: Requesting flight services from uncontrolled field

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:28 am
by Keith Smith
Not every non-towered airport (including towered fields outside of their published operating hours) are going to have a mechanism for contacting the approach controller who works that airspace. There might be a phone number you can call to reach the Flight Data position at the tracon for the purpose of picking up an IFR clearance, or perhaps you would call Flight Service on the phone who would relay the IFR clearance on the tracon/ARTCC's behalf (which involves Flight Service calling the Flight Data position by phone).

For those reasons, you generally do NOT pick up flight following on the ground from non-towered fields. It is something that is provided by the Air Traffic Control Specialist for an airborne aircraft. As such, you should depart VFR, then call the controller in the air. This is covered in detail in the CAT-5 rating (SMX-BFL).

Re: Requesting flight services from uncontrolled field

PostPosted: Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:24 pm
by niner_whiskey_bravo
That's very helpful, Keith. Thank you!