June 1999Flying Smart

Legends: Finding Flight Service

The weather specialists at flight service stations are easy to find when you?re planning your flight. Dial 800/WX-BRIEF from any telephone in the United States to be connected with a flight service station (FSS). But how do you reach those specialists when you may need them most?in the air?

Just as on the ground, you can get in touch with a flight service specialist to help you get weather information and open or close flight plans from just about anywhere if you know how. Remote communications outlets (RCOs) located around the country can give you a means to communicate with flight service when you might otherwise be out of range. In this example, the Pontiac VOR acts as an RCO for the Kankakee FSS.

Let?s say you need an inflight weather update to complete your trip with confidence. You may want to contact the nearest FSS. The communications box containing the Pontiac VOR frequency and Morse code identifier also tells you how to reach the controlling flight service station. Above the box is the frequency 122.1 followed by the letter R. The R stands for receive only, meaning that the appropriate flight service station can receive your transmission over 122.1 MHz but can?t respond on that same frequency. The FSS will respond to you on the frequency for the VOR, in this case 109.6 MHz. In brackets below the box is the word Kankakee, which tells you that when you transmit on 122.1, you will be talking to the Kankakee FSS.

To call the FSS, transmit on 122.1 MHz, saying who you are calling, identifying your aircraft, and telling the listener how you are receiving. ?Kankakee Radio, Cessna Three-One-Six-Zero-Foxtrot, receiving Pontiac VOR, 109.6. Over.? This tells the FSS specialists that they need to transmit to you on the Pontiac VOR frequency.

Make sure that before making the initial call, you?ve configured the audio control panel so that the navigation receiver tuned to the Kankakee VOR frequency is channeled to the speaker or headphones, and the volume is turned up so that you?ll hear the FSS.