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Flight Service Stations

Introduction:

  • Flight Service Stations are a air traffic facilities which provided services to pilots not otherwise available through standard controlling agencies
  • In Alaska this service is provided entirely by the FAA
  • Flight service for the lower 48, Hawaii, and Puero Rico is provided through a contract currently held by Lockheed Martin
  • Flight Service Stations (FSSs) are air traffic facilities which provide pilot briefings, flight plan processing, en route flight advisories, search and rescue services, and assistance to lost aircraft and aircraft in emergency situations
  • FSSs also relay ATC clearances, process Notices to Airmen, broadcast aviation weather and aeronautical information, and advise Customs and Border Protection of transborder flights

Automated - Flight Service Station (AFSS):

  • Transitioned from a government service to a contractor, Lockheed Martin
  • 122.2/255.4 "radio"
    • If in doubt use 122.2 for any FSS/Supplemental Weather Service as a generic frequency
  • Does not perform ATC control functions only relay and issues
  • Provides pilot briefings regarding current weather and possible hazards along a route of flight
  • Provides pre-flight, in-flight, and operational services, 24-7
    • 1-800-WX-BRIEF (992-7433) in the US
    • 1-866-WX-BRIEF (992-7433) in Canada
  • Frequencies can be located in the Chart Supplement U.S. or on IFR en-route charts and sectionals
  • Since a flight service station may be covering a large area of land, there may be one or more Remote Communications Outlet (RCO) which it monitors through landlines
  • Stores flight plans
  • Initiates search and rescue (SAR) if flight plan is not terminated 30 minutes beyond the ETA
  • Flight plan processing (opening/closing)
  • Most automated FSS have direction-finding (DF) steering capabilities
  • En-Route communications
  • Provides weather updates
    • HIWAS
      • Hazardous In-Flight Weather Advisory Service
      • Broadcasted on selected VORs, recognized by a black circle with a white H
  • Solicits PIREPs

Alaska FSS:

  • In Alaska, designated FSSs also provide TWEB recordings, take weather observations, and provide Airport Advisory Services (AAS)

Lockheed Martin Flight Services:

Flight Services:

  • Preflight Services:

    • As part of preflight preparation (AIM 5-1-1) pilots must receive preflight briefings
    • Flight Service Stations (AFSSs/FSSs) are the primary source for obtaining preflight briefings and in-flight weather information
  • Inflight Services:

    • Information provided enable pilots to maintain an awareness of current and forecasted weather conditions, as well as the status of the National Airspace System
  • Operational Services:

    • This includes issuing and canceling NOTAMs, providing VFR search and rescue, and delivering clearances
    • Easy/Activate, Close:

      • The EasyActivate™ and EasyClose™ service will send messages to the Text Message Phone Numbers and Email Addresses you select below, with links for fast flight plan activation and closure
      • Messages are sent:
        • 30 minutes before proposed departure time with a link to Activate your flight plan
        • 30 minutes before Estimated Time of Arrival with a link to Close your flight plan
  • Emergency Services:

    • This includes search and rescue operations
  • Special Services:

Flight Plan Services:

  • To obtain maximum benefits from the flight plan program, flight plans should be filed directly with the nearest FSS. For your convenience, FSSs provide aeronautical and meteorological briefings while accepting flight plans. Radio may be used to file if no other means are available

Operation Raincheck:

  • Operation Rain Check is a program designed and managed by local air traffic control facility management
  • Its purpose is to familiarize pilots and aspiring pilots with the ATC system, its functions, responsibilities and benefits

References: