If I’m traveling between 2 satellite airports near KLAX, and not leaving or arriving in the general area, should I contact LA approach or departure for flight following?
Nope. If you’re above FL180 and not intending to land in the area, there’s no need to contact.
If you are flying within their airspace (50nm, below FL180), yes you can ask for flight following. Read this
I thought that Flight Following is only for VFR? Wouldn’t you simply Check In with the app/dep?
It’s not a inbound or outbound flight. Somewhat similar to a transition he is/was passing through.
Just passing through whilst on a frequency, to maintain separation and a controlled environment with other aircraft.
Actually check in is usually for departing flights with a fpl. Fair point. Although ‘flight following’ is generally used for GA traffic with or without a flight plan, they’ve following a fpl for their flight to an airport. That’s why you can also report VFR.
I believe “Check in” has pretty much been misused by the pilots a lot. Lots of pilots on the expert server would normally just use check in firstly. For me, as an approach controller, I would ask their intentions if they check in. Technically you are right. They should check in. But actually, check in would just cause confusion. I believe in this case, request flight following would be a better choice.
He never said if he was VFR or IFR.
No, confusion among ATC. ;) You can check in.
I think my question was misunderstood. I’m not asking if I should call at all, I’m asking if I DO call, which would be more appropriate, the approach freq or departure freq?
Approach is probably the best choice. They may switch you to another frequency though.
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