Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby MikeN87 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 1:25 pm

When receiving flight following enroute to an uncontrolled airport how do you transition from speaking to approach to the CTAF. Should you continue to monitor approach, and when 10 mi out, tune to the local CTAF, announce your position and intentions and then monitor both frequencies until you have the airport in sight, at which point you cancel flight following?

I have been on lessons where we were receiving flight following and the instructor waited until we had the field in sight and then told approach to cancel flight following, we have the field in sight, and then announced on the CTAF that we were (about) 5 (or less) miles out. Is that the correct way of doing it?

Also, another question. When approach hands you off a tower (say about 10 mi out), does tower take over giving you traffic advisories until you land?

I have heard tower give traffic advisories for traffic in the pattern or 2 or 3 out but have not heard advisories for traffic as far out as 10 mi. So I guess my second question is, When does flight following end? When approach hands you off to tower or when you land?

Sorry if I'm over thinking this.

Thx,
Mike
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby RogerW » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:24 pm

From my understanding, you stay with FF until you report field in sight at which time they will turn you loose and tell you 'freq change approve, upon miss contacts us back' in so many words.
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby zerofay32 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:03 pm

RogerW wrote: 'freq change approve, upon miss contacts us back'


That's IFR. Not VFR Flight Following.
Last edited by zerofay32 on Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby RogerW » Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:47 pm

zerofay32 wrote:That IFR. Not VFR Flight Following.


My bad, you're right. Flight following wouldn't care if you called them back.
The first part is right though, right?
Roger W.
Home: Valkaria, Fl (X59)(but lost in SoCal)
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby zerofay32 » Sat Jan 05, 2019 9:59 pm

Yes. ATC will be looking to drop you like a hot potato as soon as you call the airport in sight. In reality, airports are a lot easier to see then in the sim. On a "severe clear" day/night one can see the airport 30 or more miles out. On those days I will wait to call the field in sight so ATC will keep eyes on me until I'm a little closer to the field. Usually 15 to 10 miles out. I usually don't listen to the CTAF until then unless I'm going into an airport that is busy (like a fly in or something). 10 miles in the aircraft I fly is plenty of time to work myself into any traffic. If I was in something faster like a jet, I would push that out a little further.
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby MikeN87 » Sun Jan 06, 2019 6:12 am

zerofay32 wrote: In reality, airports are a lot easier to see then in the sim. On a "severe clear" day/night one can see the airport 30 or more miles out.


You must have some great eye sight! All I can say is all the airports I've ever flow into I couldn't see until about 6-7 mi out, at most. Especially a single runway uncontrolled airport. There are a few airports in Jersey that are tuff to spot when you're on top of them lol.

Whenever I flew with an instructor, they always did what was suggested here, stay with FF until airport in sight, which was never 10 miles out. Even without receiving FF, any instructor I've flown with usually made their first call to CTAF about 5 to 7 mile out (not that this was necessarily their custom, but maybe because they were more focused (or yes, maybe a little distracted with the discussion at hand)

Anyway, my point in all this is that I think it would be good to let other pilots, in the pattern or even 10 miles out on their way in, to know someone is on the way in, and where to expect them to be coming from. I could never see myself telling FF I have the airport in sight 10 mi out.

Anyway, this is just one of those hanger talk subjects that you can go round and around with but interesting just the same.

Thx for your thoughts,
Mike
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby Keith Smith » Sun Jan 06, 2019 10:03 am

Before GPS and moving map displays, it was common to keep flight following until the field was in sight as a fallback if you were having trouble finding the airport. With most people having some type of GPS system (certified or otherwise, it doesn't matter for a VFR flight), there's really no reason to have the field in sight prior to cancelling. I'd argue that you really want to be monitoring that CTAF no less than 10nm out to start building a picture of what's going on at the airport.
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Re: Flight following to an uncontrolled airport

Postby redge » Mon Jan 07, 2019 11:39 am

MikeN87 wrote:
zerofay32 wrote: In reality, airports are a lot easier to see then in the sim. On a "severe clear" day/night one can see the airport 30 or more miles out.


You must have some great eye sight! All I can say is all the airports I've ever flow into I couldn't see until about 6-7 mi out, at most. Especially a single runway uncontrolled airport. There are a few airports in Jersey that are tuff to spot when you're on top of them lol.


Not just New Jersey...

Here’s Dr. Pilot and a friend, who is also a pilot, flying from Brookhaven, Long Island (KHWV) to Kobelt in the Hudson Valley, just north of West Point (N45). Dr. Pilot is not a rookie. He’s instrument rated, is currently completing requirements for a commercial license and has dozens of flying videos on YouTube going back five years. At 2.5nm out, he and his friend, who is at the controls, still can’t see Kobelt Airport.

“It’s a road. No, it’s the airport”. Watch from 15:05 :)

https://youtu.be/bTkEfQGJlOo
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