In this episode, I role play VFR flight following with MT, an air traffic controller at an air route traffic control center (ARTCC). We cover:
- The right way to contact Center for VFR flight following.
- The right way to set a new transponder code and send an ident.
- What a traffic alert means and what to do about it.
- How VFR flight following can be extended to the next ARTCC sector, or how it can be terminated by the pilot or the controller.
We also cover:
- How an air traffic controller can help you if you become lost while flying cross country. You’ll be surprised by the number of resources an air traffic controller has to help you.
- You’ll hear MT explain why staying in touch with ATC, no matter where you are flying, is always a good idea.
Note (added 5/31/15): During the interview with the air traffic controller, we simulated a radio exchange in which I ask for VFR flight following. Although the controller did not use the abbreviated version of my call sign, I incorrectly began using my abbreviated call sign. This is wrong. Never switch to your abbreviated call sign unless the controller does so first.
Thank you to listener Steve who pointed out this error in the comments section below.
Give Us Your Best Shot
As always, here’s your opportunity to ask an air traffic controller about anything on your mind. If you have a question about a strange clearance you received; or, if you have a question that has no book answer, here’s the place to ask. Use the comment box below; or write to me at email@example.com; or use the voicemail hotline at the number in the upper left sidebar for this website. We’ll answer your question in our next show.