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7 Answers

Activating Flight Plan

Asked by: 12582 views Private Pilot

Departing from a towered field under Class B airspace.  Filed a flight plan for a cross-country.  Also requested flight following on initial contact with Ground Control.  Received squawk code for flight following but Ground nor Tower would call to activiate flight plan.

Soon after lift off Tower approved frequency change to contact Departure.

Question:  When and how is the best time and way to contact FSS to initiate flight plan?


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7 Answers

  1. Brent on Dec 09, 2010

    If you’re using flight following, and you have only one radio, you can request to temporarily change frequencies to listen to ATIS, talk to FSS, etc. If you have two, then I suggest you tune the second radio, change to transmit on it, and continue monitoring your assigned ATC frequency.

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  2. Koehn on Dec 09, 2010

    The easiest way is to have the tower at your departing airport activate for you. When you readback your takeoff clearance, ask them to activate your flight plan.

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  3. Randy Walton on Dec 09, 2010

    Is that true, that the tower will open the flight plan for you?  I’ve never done that and never heard that you could do that.  In fact, I’ve never heard a pilot ever open a flight plan that way.  Would love some confirmation on that suggestion.

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  4. Koehn on Dec 09, 2010

    AIM 5-1-4(f): On pilot’s request, at a location having an active tower, the aircraft identification will be forwarded by the tower to the FSS for reporting the actual departure time. This procedure should be avoided at busy airports.

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  5. Kent Shook on Dec 09, 2010

    My favorite technique in this situation is to use an on-field VOR, RCO, or GCO if one of them is available, to contact flight service and open the flight plan just before calling Tower for takeoff clearance.

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  6. Brian on Dec 12, 2010

    I call them up with my cell phone before I get in the airplane. I then request my flight plan be open 15 minutes from the time of the call. Since it usually takes, at most, 10 minutes to be wheels up; this gives a 5 minute fudge factor. No need to load myself down once I get in the plane if I don’t have to. 

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  7. Brian on Dec 12, 2010

    Forgot to add: in the case that my time is way off all I need to do is call them up when airborne and amend it. I’ve had to do this maybe two or three times in the last 5+ years.

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