What's a flight following and how do I deal with it as a controller?

Title says it all ^^

A flight following basically wants you to be aware where they’re heading and to give them instructions on getting there, the usual response right away would be ‘Proceed on course’, but since you are their controller you might request a different altitude or they might request a change. It’s basically like a transition but they are landing in your airspace, or at the tower in your airspace.

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So I can ask them to change their altitude and so can they but no headings?

I’m not sure on headings to be honest. You certainly can if they request ‘Radar Vectors’ since heading is actually what they’re asking for. I’m certainly not an approach expert so I can’t really offer clarification on this. But basically they are letting you know where they are and that they are heading in, and you get some options in your menu to instruct them what to do on their way in.

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Hmm. Okay thank you so much. I’ll wait for another reply to confirm this :P

Yes that’s definitely a good idea :) I must admit I’m not expert, one of the veterans should soon get you a better answer.

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Flight following is when an aircraft wants to follow its own naviagtion, usually a prefiled flight plan. However civilian airliners NEVER request FF and this should be the case for IF too. You could broadcast an ‘ILS Approaches only’ if you keep getting FF requests but most people don’t listen.

If you have a small prop plane, say a C172, they can be allowed a FF request. However as ATC, you may still vector them to avoid traffic, just make sure to give a ‘resume own navigation’ after ((:


:D Thank yoouu :)


Hmm how about VFR? or is that the same?? @MishaCamp

VFR is more just flying about randomly using visual flight rules under VMC conditions. I think FF is more from point A - B and VFR is just ‘hey lets go wherever we want’ (might want to check that though)

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So do the same thing for people asking for vfr?

Yup indeed you do

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VFR flight cannot go above 18,000ft. It’s GA aircraft flying generally very low visually with ground landmarks. They can still have a flight plan mapped out.

FF (which as @mishacamp says, is never used by commercial aircraft) but you can go to any altitude, and for the purposes of IF, I believe the intention is for commercial aircraft to fly a flight plan, at an altitude higher than 18,000ft if they want, to have ATC keep an eye on them but generally leave them alone.

Vectors or ILS means the aircraft has a destination but is completely under ATC control. They are expecting ATC to give them all headings and altitudes, and keep them separated from other aircraft. This is IFR rules.

In short, if someone checks in VFR or requests Flight Following, keep an eye on them but leave them alone unless a traffic conflict exists. If the request Vectors or an ILS approach, you as ATC needs to dictate their every move.

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Don’t forget that if it gets cloudy/foggy and you loose sight of the ground at any time then VFR flying has to be cancelled. People realllyyyy need to understand that on IF ((:


I still hear a lot of ‘requesting flight following’ broadcasts by jetliners on the Expert Server.
What would be the best way to minimize those?
‘Please check help pages’?

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even if it’s not intended: let them continue. See

(I don’t know any updates from this statement)