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3 Answers

Radar Services

Asked by: 4082 views General Aviation

When flying VFR - what exactly does it mean to request radar services?  Is that different from flight following?

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3 Answers



  1. John D. Collins on Oct 11, 2011

    From the controller manual, order 7110.65T, the following description of basic VFR radar services:

    a. Basic radar services for VFR aircraft shall include:
    1. Safety alerts.
    2. Traffic advisories.
    3. Limited radar vectoring when requested by the pilot.
    4. Sequencing at locations where procedures have been established for this purpose and/or when covered by a LOA.

    Other radar services are provided in various airspace such as in Class C and B which will include separation from other VFR/IFR traffic and assigned headings and altitudes. I would suggest that you request the specific service you wish rather than using the catch all phrase.

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  2. Heather McNevin on Oct 11, 2011

    Radar services and flight following are the same thing.  Radar services is the more ‘book’ term, flight following would be the most used terminology. 
    Basically when I am talking to a VFR aircraft, I will tell them about any potential weather (remember ATC radar only see’s precipitation) along your route of flight, also if I see any traffic I will let them know.  It doesnt relieve the pilot of looking for their own traffic, just think of it as an extra set of eyes helping find traffic.  I’ve had situations where I was providing radar service to a VFR pilot and there was another aircraft that was VFR that wasnt talking to me.  They weren’t traffic until the other VFR guy did about a 100 degree turn right into my flight following flight.  It happened quickly and despite being within 100 feet indicated altitude of each other, and less than a mile away, the pilot never did see the other VFR traffic. 
    I also let the VFR pilots know of any pertinent NOTAMs at their destination airport (if they are landing in my airspace).  Also, flight following is a good idea in case of emergency.  Rather than having to wait for your ETA on a flight plan to come and go before someone looks for you, you are already talking to someone who can immediately start resources moving in your direction.

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  3. Earl Kessler on Oct 11, 2011

    I just wanted to say after following John Collin’s responses for the past few months, I am totally impressed by his depth of knowledge and use of pilot and controller resources.  Aviation is a better place with you John!

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