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Flight Following

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Even though i have a PPL, and held it for over 16 yrs, i have no


experience with Flight following or how it is used, especially in




Can somone please enlighten me, and other readers what Flight following is and how is it used??


Thank you.



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Hi Rob,


Flight Following is only available if your fitted with transponder.


I make a habit of calling for it if flying over difficult (tiger) country just for the reassurance that (1) someone is watching in case I get into trouble and (2) ATC knows of my whereabouts and intentions to alert other pilots nearby if req'd and let me know of other nearby traffic.


The controllers usually ask if I have a plan in the system (which I don't because I rely on friends with whom I leave my flt plan to act as SarWatch).


They then suggest it would be better if I had done so butstill go


ahead anyway. Providing you're within radar range they will usually


oblige unless under heavy workload.


Just call up on the area freq in use something like this ...


Me ... "Melb Centre this is CT****"


ATC ... "Go ahead CT****"


Me ... "CT**** is tracking Cooma to Tumut at 7500. Request Flight Following"


ATC ... "CT**** squawk ident please"


Me ... "Sqwark ident, CT****"


ATC ... "CT****, sqwark code is 0571 (or whatever)"


Me ... "Sqwark 0571, CT****"


ATC ... "CT****, I have you at 4 miles NW of Adaminaby, confirm preferred alt"


Me ... "Confirm 4 miles NW Adaminaby and maintaining 7500, CT****"


Now, if you decide to change alt or heading or decide you no longer want flight following, it's important (not to mention courteous) to advise ATC.


These Air Services links will help






Hope this helps,





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Hi again Rob,


Further on Flight Following (FF).




was told today by Airservices that FF is not a substitute for


submitting a flight notification and sartime. ATS will not be inclined


to get anxious if an a/c on FF disappears from the radar screen. While


flying from Cooma to Merimbula and return today I also noted that this


must be at the discretion of individual ATS operators. A couple of


times I faded off the radar screen and the operator called to check and


advise that reception was poor before finally terminating radar


service. It can sometimes be difficult for the radar to pick up a small


plastic craft in fringe areas. I was tracking at 7500 eastbound and


managed only about 5 mins of radar service. On the westbound return leg


at 8500 the operator tried to connect with me several times before


giving it up. I guess this is something I just have to live with when


flying over these mountainous areas.





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