Atc expert serves

Hello everyone, so yesterday (03.12.23)i was departing from klax and i got this message (flight following request not required after check in) how come i dont need to ask to follow flight plan when the airport is active with tons of traffic in and out?

Dang I didn’t know it was already December 4th, 2023 lol!

I believe flight following is used mainly for VFR flights. I could be mistaken.

when you stated “Qantas 4 Heavy, with you at 3,100ft”, that is the definition of checking in with a controller. the message you sent at 06:46:28 was a flight following request, which is not needed. i suggest checking out the user guide for more instructions on communicating with ATC.


Check out this section in the manual.


the user guide says that when flying IFR, the flight following request can be used.

No it doesn’t, flight following is used for VFR only. See 6.5 of the ATC manual: 6.5 Flight Following | Infinite Flight

Because when you check in, you essentially are already requesting that when IFR. When the controller responds with “radar contact”, they’re giving you clearance to follow your flight plan. A check in does not just mean “hi” like most people think it does. Even if you are VFR and want to request flight following, just request that without checking in. Request one of the two but not both.


May I complete a bit with that here…

okay. thanks.

I just want to say… The way we fly in IF with IFATC has a lot of differences from how it’s done in the real world. Just because of the understandable limitations to our system

Things to clear up:

Obtaining flight following from atc does not exactly mean “follow your flight plan” it just means that ATC will provide service to you as a VFR aircraft. IFR-cleared traffic is already looked after by ATC so it is unnecessary to ask them to hold your hand (flight following). Since IF does not have clearance delivery, things can be very confusing… The way I think of it in IF is that if I am an IFR aircraft departing in an ATC environment, I must in theory already be cleared enroute. So I’ll check in… and go about my business. Radar contact does not mean you are cleared enroute. In Infinite Flight it doesn’t really have any significance because IFATC should always have you on radar. So to me, checking in is just letting ATC know that you’re there on frequency working with them. Nothing more. It’s not a clearance. Again, if you’re departing IFR… in theory you are already cleared to your destination


Dang! I didnt even realize the date was wrong, my bad!

So was i still in the wrong? Or was the atc?

So wait… does radar contact basically means that i can follow flight plan? Or did i completely misunderstand

Only request flight following when flying VFR. This tell ATC to keep watch over you and provide you with vectors if needed. If not flying VFR then you just have to check in after being handed off which typically doesn’t happen anyway because of limited staffing.

Flight following only for VFR

Radar contact means they can see that you’re there on radar. That’s it. They can expect you to follow your flight plan


The controller was correct in their command to you. You either check in or ask for flight following, not both. Additionally, 99% of the time commercial aircraft fly IFR, meaning they would not request flight following which others have stated is for VFR traffic only.

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This thread is making my brain hurt.

Flight following is a VFR procedure only and has nothing to do with a flight plan. In fact, 99% of planes using flight following do not have a flight plan. If you have a flight plan set up, then by definition you are not a VFR aircraft (in Infinite Flight at least) and you would never ask for flight following.

As other have pointed out, flight following means that ATC will watch your VFR aircraft and give you traffic advisories. Now, if you instead took off out of KVNY in a C172 with no flight plan and wanted to do sightseeing, that would be a case to ask for flight following and they would give you traffic advisories to keep you out of the way of LAX traffic.

Lesson to remember: For most purposes, if you are flying a jet, DO NOT ask for flight following. Matter of fact, can we just make it so you are unable to even request it with a flight plan filed? We have been pushing for years for people to understand flight following and they simply cannot or will not.

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I disagree. There’s not really a difference between “filing” a flight plan and just having your destination or points plugged into the gps. I believe VFR aircraft should have the ability to request flight following either way. But that’s probably a discussion for a different thread

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Hmmm. Interesting point you got there chad…

what do you mean by « or points plugged into the gps» i should probably know this but ye…