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Thread: Lost VFR flight following on vfr flight plan

  1. #1
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Lost VFR flight following on vfr flight plan

    Not sure if this is right place for this.

    Flying a CC on a vfr flight plan I lost flight following. Was flying over mountainous terrain for about 45 minutes. There were scattered clouds that i felt prevented me from climbing higher to establish radio contact.

    Right before losing flight following I was handed off to another sector. I transferred to new frequency and attempted to raise them. No joy. I could hear airliners but not ATC. Switched back to previous frequency. I couldnt get them either.

    I decided to focus on flying the plane. About 30-40 minutes later I landed and closed my flight plan. I assumed ATC had my flight plan and would have seen it was closed.

    Whats the right thing to do in that situation? Did I need to call someone once i landed? Does ATC center have my flight plan?

  2. #2

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    If you closed your flight plan with the FAA you are ok. When you drop off of flight following nothing happens until you are reported missing or fail to close your flight plan.
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  3. #3

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    You can always ask an airliner to relay.
    Remember, These are the Good old Days!

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    Gordon Misch's Avatar
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    That seems to happen from time to time over the Cascades. Over time, I've kinda learned where to expect that, and if expected I ask for the next frequency before I lose a controller, and to keep my current squawk. Also, often the controllers will say they're gonna lose me in x miles, and to give a call on the next frequency in y miles. Sometimes when everybody knows this is coming they will arrange a different transmitter. When all that goes down the sewer, I've sometimes had airliners call me to relay.

    If you look at the IFR MEA's you'll see we typically don't get nearly high enough in the mountains for decent radio comms.
    Gordon

    N4328M KTDO

  5. #5
    SJ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon Misch View Post

    If you look at the IFR MEA's you'll see we typically don't get nearly high enough in the mountains for decent radio comms.
    ^^^ this is what I do ^^^

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
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  6. #6
    BC12D-4-85's Avatar
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    Overall it might just be easier to use a tracking device with that reports position. And has an SOS button if needed. 2-way coms can involve lots of equipment, operators, and weather/terrain.

    Gary
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  7. #7

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    Gary has the right answer. A Garmin InReach is able to track and communicate even in the mountains. I never file a flight plan, it is just too hard to try to close a flight plan when landing off field. My In Reach is programed to activate tracking when the plane starts. My wife and several friends can follow my flights so I have a lot of redundant backup.
    DENNY
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  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cardiff Kook View Post
    Flying a CC on a vfr flight plan I lost flight following. Was flying over mountainous terrain for about 45 minutes. There were scattered clouds that i felt prevented me from climbing higher to establish radio contact.

    Right before losing flight following I was handed off to another sector. I transferred to new frequency and attempted to raise them. No joy. I could hear airliners but not ATC. Switched back to previous frequency. I couldn't get them either.

    I've had this happen a few times to me too, although it has been a long time. What I've always done is to keep trying to raise the new frequency. Try to verify that the freq you've got entered is correct. I once entered the incorrect freq and it acted pretty much like you said. Fortunately I had the AFD on board and was able to verify that I had one number incorrect. Solved it instantly.

    Most often though its just a matter of keeping at it until they get back to you. Eventually you'll get close enough. Those folks in ATC can get busy and miss stuff too.

  9. #9
    Cardiff Kook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DENNY View Post
    Gary has the right answer. A Garmin InReach is able to track and communicate even in the mountains. I never file a flight plan, it is just too hard to try to close a flight plan when landing off field. My In Reach is programed to activate tracking when the plane starts. My wife and several friends can follow my flights so I have a lot of redundant backup.
    DENNY
    I have an in reach as well.

    How do you program it to start when the plane starts?

  10. #10

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    I have a charging mount on the panel hard wired to the plane. Keeps it fully charged and you can program it to start tracking as soon as it fires up and shut down when the power is off. I used to carry a sat phone but the tracking of the InReach is really useful in Alaska.
    DENNY
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  11. #11

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    Recently retired ATC in a large Tracon. VFR flight following and a VFR flilght plan are two entirely separate things and have nothing to do with each other. You may already know that but just wanted to clarify that first. When you lost radio with ATC I will say sometimes to usually the controller will notify the sup who will in turn let the center for the area know. Sometimes this doesn't happen depending on the controller and the area involved. For instance if they observed you land at an uncontrolled airport they may just terminate in the blind and hope all is well. However they should make appropriate notifications in case there was an emergency and there is a possibility you are lying in a field or in the mountains somewhere. Then what happens is an ALNOT is started. Center would then follow their checklist which typically starts with a call to Flight Service to see if you had filed and activated a flight plan. Then Flight Service pretty much takes over from there doing the necessary notifications. So when you cancelled your flight plan with Flight Service that effectively took care of everything on your end. If you hadn't filed and activated a flight plan you could still have called Flight Service to let them know what happened with your flight following and losing radio. They would then make the appropriate calls to that facility to let them know you are ok.
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  12. #12
    flynlow's Avatar
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    Anzack...not to hijack this thread but...

    Can a flight of two (or more) enter controlled airspace with a mode c ring even though one or more of the flight aircraft are not adsb equipped??

    Related to being dropped off flight following, if I lose contact with center I use the 'nearest' feature and search center freqs.. I usually reestablish the connection using this feature.

  13. #13

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    I’ve been retired about a year and half but as far as I remember being in a flight doesn’t eliminate the requirement for adsb in the mode c veil. Atc isn’t the police in this matter and most likely doesn’t care or even notice unless you call them for services but you never know when you will get the over zealous controller.

  14. #14
    flynlow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anzack View Post
    Iíve been retired about a year and half but as far as I remember being in a flight doesnít eliminate the requirement for adsb in the mode c veil. Atc isnít the police in this matter and most likely doesnít care or even notice unless you call them for services but you never know when you will get the over zealous controller.
    Thanks. I called Wichita Clearance Delivery with this question and my answer was it would be ok and it is done occasionally.. Still I think i would call ahead if this situation would come up. I recall coming out of Amarillo some years ago on a ferry flight of two and the controller asked for one of us to shut transponder off or go to standby...I could hear her proximity alarm ringing in the background.

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