When to request Flight Following / Radar Vectors / Check in / Request ILS approach:
There is a lot of confusion about when to use this option:
First of all it is important to know that “Flight Following” is not allowed in class A airspace! Class A airspace starts at FL180 and above.
Flight following should be only be used when flying VFR and when flying a “general aviation” airplane. You can think of the Cessna 172, 208, and the Cirrus for example. Any airline transport airplane is NOT allowed in real life to fly VFR when carrying passengers. Please refrain from asking FF when flying a jet!!
VFR flying is done by navigating while using the landscape as a reference. You can use landmarks, roads, rivers, lakes etc for this.
Radar vectors: When you get close to your destination or you fly without FPL you can ask for radar vectors to a destination. Depending on the approach controller he might vector you on final of the runway or he can tell you to contact the tower when on downwind.
Check in: When you have a flight plan and when you want to follow this all you have to do is a check in. The controller will reply with “roger” and from that moment you are under control by the ATC. He might give you radar vectors to avoid collision with other traffic but normally the only instruction you will get is an altitude instruction. IE: “climb or descent to XXXX feet or flight level.” You can always request a different altitude or level from atc but he might refuse your request due to conflicting traffic.
Request ILS approach: Whenever possible it’s recommended to request an LS approach when you are in contact with the approach controller. You will get radar vectors and altitude descent and the controller will guide you to the ILS of the runway in use.