Proper VFR Flight Following Call

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Ross
A question for the controllers out there....How do you prefer VFR flight following requests?

The reason I ask is recently I was listening to an older episode of the Opposing Bases podcast and the host suggested a format for the request that I'd never heard of before and certainly had never been taught by an instructor. Further, given that I'm under the Boston Approach umbrella I hear a ton of VFR FF requests and they're all the same...and different from what this host suggested. First, here's what I typically hear in this area: "Boston Approach, <call> VFR request." Once APP responds it's usually something like, "Boston Approach, <call> request flight following to <airport>..." followed by a mixed bag of aircraft type, position, and requested altitude.

What I have been doing lately is "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR request." <response> "Boston Approach, 7747G good morning we are out of Hyannis request VFR flight following to Nashua, Alpha Sierra Hotel at 3,500."

The gentlemen at Opposing Bases suggest (and they're controllers, after all) that we, as pilots would score some serious brownie points if we go about it this way: "Approach, <aircraft> <position> VFR to <destination> type <aircraft type> <altitude>." For example, "Boston Approach, 7747G is 4 miles north of Hyannis, VFR to Nashua - Alpha Sierra Hotel, we are type Skyhawk climbing for 3,500." However, the one time I tried this format as suggested by these controllers, Boston Approach had me go back and do it all over again. So, controllers...how can I make your job easier when I want FF?
 
You should always include your type, position, and altitude in a request to a radar facility. It's not clear (to me) whether Opposing Bases was recommending it to be given in a particular order or not.
 
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You should always include your type, position, and altitude in a request to a radar facility. It's not clear whether Opposing Bases was recommending it to be given in a particular order or not.

OB was recommending a specific order to match the order data is typed into their system.
 
OB was recommending a specific order to match the order data is typed into their system.
The don't all use the same system though. Are OB ARTCC controllers or TRACON?
 
At the time of the episode's recording (2018) they were both TRACON if I understand correctly. They've always been quite cryptic. One has gone back to the airlines in recent months. And yes, the order of information was specified as that is how it is entered into the system as they explained it. Episode 6 for those who want to hear the part I'm referring to starting at 16:15. There was another more recent episode where this was talked about again but I can't seem to find it. In that episode they also specified that they usually don't need the "wakeup call" of "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR Request" but it seems to work better when you do.

Edit: More supporting info and clarity
 
The don't all use the same system though. Are OB ARTCC controllers or TRACON?

Yes, exactly. They are TRACON, and they received information from an ARTCC controller that their recommendation didn’t match the ARTCC system.
 
Not even all TRACONs use the same system either, at least not in 2018. They might all be using STARS now but I can't find verification.
 
On a tour of ZKC (Kansas City Center), several controllers indicated they prefer it all up front. When a random aircraft they've not been talking to calls up, it's nearly always someone looking for flight following (IFR traffic are expected and known, usually). Obviously, there are times where that might be inappropriate based on how busy the frequency is, and you kind of have to use your judgment on that. But, in my opinion, in most situations, cold calls are just a waste of airtime and can create even more frequency congestion. You're not "surprising" the controller with a radio call; the literal job is to sit there and answer calls from aircraft. So, they don't need a heads up that you're trying to contact them and want something. That said, when the request is truly unusual, a cold call can be appropriate (like you want to orbit some point inside controlled airspace, or something else really out of the ordinary). But VFR flight following is not even remotely unusual. Same for cold calls to ground or a tower. I guess you could say that ones of my CFI "pet peeves."

My style: on first contact, I typically just concisely provide (a) who I am ("Bugsmasher N12345"), (b) where I am (rough distance and direction from a known point, usually an airport and current altitude), and (c) what I want to do ("looking for VFR flight following to _____ at ______ft"). So a sample call might be "Kansas City Center, Cessna 12345 is 5 miles SW of OJC, 3000 and climbing, looking for flight following to KICT at 8000ft." Simple, concise, easy to say quickly.
 
The first callup should always be this format:
“ABC Center, vfr request, N12345” - spoken reasonably slowly - and clearly.

If you say:
“ABC Center, N12345, vfr request”,
50% of the time, the controller will ask for a repeat of your N#.

Order Matters.
Nothwithstanding all claims by experts or authoritative publications.
It’s just how it is; human nature.
To wit: most readback fails do not include the very last part; this has to do with our short term memory.
 
A question for the controllers out there....How do you prefer VFR flight following requests?

The reason I ask is recently I was listening to an older episode of the Opposing Bases podcast and the host suggested a format for the request that I'd never heard of before and certainly had never been taught by an instructor. Further, given that I'm under the Boston Approach umbrella I hear a ton of VFR FF requests and they're all the same...and different from what this host suggested. First, here's what I typically hear in this area: "Boston Approach, <call> VFR request." Once APP responds it's usually something like, "Boston Approach, <call> request flight following to <airport>..." followed by a mixed bag of aircraft type, position, and requested altitude.

What I have been doing lately is "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR request." <response> "Boston Approach, 7747G good morning we are out of Hyannis request VFR flight following to Nashua, Alpha Sierra Hotel at 3,500."

The gentlemen at Opposing Bases suggest (and they're controllers, after all) that we, as pilots would score some serious brownie points if we go about it this way: "Approach, <aircraft> <position> VFR to <destination> type <aircraft type> <altitude>." For example, "Boston Approach, 7747G is 4 miles north of Hyannis, VFR to Nashua - Alpha Sierra Hotel, we are type Skyhawk climbing for 3,500." However, the one time I tried this format as suggested by these controllers, Boston Approach had me go back and do it all over again. So, controllers...how can I make your job easier when I want FF?
I call Boston all the time and I do it the way OB says, I would say 95 % of the time I don’t have to repeat myself. The caveat is if they are super busy, I’ll say vfr request. Some pilots and instructors don’t like that, but my Cfii taught me that way and it is quicker when it works.
 
You’re not going to get a universal answer to your question. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard pilots check in with all the information only to hear that the controller didn’t copy it. Not all controllers are created equal. One might be able to handle a complete call up while another, not so much.

Then there are other factors. How busy is the controller? Are you even in range for the controller to hear you? How are your radios (clarity)? Is the controller on the landline or doing other higher priorities (issuing IFR clearance)?

When I used to work approach, I preferred a wake up call. “Beaufort approach, Mooney 12345.” VFR request works at the end as well but not necessary. Reason being, that transmission, I’m already writing on a strip and glancing at IFR outbounds. If it’s not on the IFR outbounds, that kinda narrows what they’re calling for. As I’m typing in the callsign I’m simultaneously saying “Mooney 12345 Beaufort Approach, go ahead.” Doesn’t matter what software (ARTS, ERAM, STARS) is being used. The differences are minor. ADS-B out helps if they have it set to show call sign but they still have to input your info into the radar flight data guy’s computer (FDIO) to use automation (hand off) and get an NAS code.

I remember flying in Germany one time and my copilot (2LT) called up with a long initial call. I remember cringing because I knew the controller probably only got part of his transmission. Being a no nonsense German controller he replied with “Vas dat your idea of an initial call up?” If it were another controller could he have copied all the info? Possibly but why not just call him with a wake up? You save a few worthless seconds by rattling off the entire thing only to have to repeat it all over again.
 
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Forgot altitude?
Forgot altitude?
Yep. And that I threw it all out there at once. Works well most of the time, but I thing a simpler cold call is better in case the controller is busy.

I really should have included the 4 minutes between the call and the compliment but I didn’t want to call out another pilot. Right after my call, another airplane called for flight following and the controller had to play dentist to extract the information. I think the comparison was the reason for the compliment.
 
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You’re not going to get a universal answer to your question. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard pilots check in with all the information only to hear that the controller didn’t copy it. Not all controllers are created equal. One might be able to handle a complete call up while another, not so much.
For too many pilots, that becomes an excuse to avoid flight following.

I was a “get it all out in the first call” guy for years. Worked fine until one day, I called the busy controller who asked me to repeat it all. So I changed. I think there is a “universal” that works in all situations.

An initial call to say you have a request. Personally, I mention where I am and that I want flight following. Basic (and universal :D) who I am, where I am, and what I want used for any cold call, but it doesn’t matter. “Request,” “VFR request,” just the tail number. Whatever. The whole idea is to let othem know you want something.

It’s the second part where people tend to mess up. And it’s simple. The information they need is just…
Tail number.​
Where you are.​
Where you are going.​
Altitude you want.​
Type aircraft.​

You gave them the first one already. You may have given the second one too. If you are flying something common and used the type as part of the initial call up (“Cherokee 2345B” rather than “N2345B), you can probably skip it buy why not take the extra whole second to say it if you are not sure.

Edit: BTW, no harm adding it, but they do not need your equipment code. I’ve never given it and never been asked for it.
 
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Another situation that’ll nullify the complete initial call method, is if the controller has multiple freqs up. Especially multiple UHF freqs and working military traffic. You could be transmitting thinking you’re in the clear when on another freq a pilot is already transmitting and blocking you.

Had a guy (PA32) once call for FF going into Hilton Head (49J). It was during air show time (before / after) at the base and I was swamped with military traffic. Listening to the tapes, he called right when another military aircraft was transmitting on UHF. Never even heard the guy. Unfortunately the tapes were pulled because about 10 minutes later he crashed off the approach end to rwy 3 killing himself and his pax. Ironically he was on the board petitioning for a tower at Hilton Head to increase safety. Few years later they’d get their tower and now is KHXD.
 
The first callup should always be this format:
“ABC Center, vfr request, N12345” - spoken reasonably slowly - and clearly.

If you say:
“ABC Center, N12345, vfr request”,
50% of the time, the controller will ask for a repeat of your N#.

Order Matters.
Nothwithstanding all claims by experts or authoritative publications.
It’s just how it is; human nature.
To wit: most readback fails do not include the very last part; this has to do with our short term memory.
This is a good thread! I have used the acronym IPAIDSAM as suggested by the book Say Again Please. But I am sure my radio work can use some improvement. I usually request FF during the climb after passing 4000 for 10,500. Is there a preferred way to ask on the next call? I would normally say "Potomac Approach, Mooney 1935Y out of KCJR, climbing through 4000 for 10,500, request VFR Flight following to 2E8, Dexter MI." That Flight also includes a dogleg over KDUH Toledo to keep me over land and select my entry point to Detroit Bravo. Should I change the request to say " to KDUH, Toledo and 2E8 Dexter Mi"? If I don't do something I usually get a call in Ohio asking why I am off course.

IPAIDSAM: Identity, Position, Altitude, Intention, Destination, Squawk, ATIS, then Microphone.
 
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Another situation that’ll nullify the complete initial call method, is if the controller has multiple freqs up. Especially multiple UHF freqs and working military traffic. You could be transmitting thinking you’re in the clear when on another freq a pilot is already transmitting and blocking you.

Had a guy (PA32) once call for FF going into Hilton Head (49J). It was during air show time (before / after) at the base and I was swamped with military traffic. Listening to the tapes, he called right when another military aircraft was transmitting on UHF. Never even heard the guy. Unfortunately the tapes were pulled because about 10 minutes later he crashed off the approach end to rwy 3 killing himself and his pax. Ironically he was on the board petitioning for a tower at Hilton Head to increase safety. Few years later they’d get their tower and now is KHXD.
'Old Grumpy' at KHXD is my favorite controller.
 
This is a good thread! I have used the acronym IPAIDSAM as suggested by the book Say Again Please. But I am sure my radio work can use some improvement. I usually request FF during the climb after passing 4000 for 10,500. Is there a preferred way to ask on the next call? I would normally say "Potomac Approach, Mooney 1935Y out of KCJR, climbing through 4000 for 10,500, request VFR Flight followg to 2E8, Dexter MI." That Flight also includes a dogleg over KDUH Toledo to keep me over land and select my entry point to Detroit Bravo. Should I change the request to say " to KDUH, Toledo and 2E8 Dexter Mi"? If I don't do something I usually get a call in Ohio asking why I am off course.

IPAIDSAM: Identity, Position, Altitude, Intention, Destination, Squawk, ATIS, then Microphone.
If you are already receiving flight following, the next handoff call doesn't have to be anything more than ID and altitude. If you are going to deviate from a direct route, just tell the controller your are already talking to when you are ready to deviate. Brief explanation may not be necessary but is a nice touch. "N1234A is turning toward Toledo to remain over land." Simple, short, straightforward.

My theory: They are nice enough to watch us, help us with traffic, and be there in case of a problem. The least we can do is let them know what we are doing.
 
What does the AIM say?

Don Brown's Say Again? article series is excellent for all things ATC as he always references what he says to the FARs, AIM, and 7110.65. His article which discusses this topic is https://www.avweb.com/features/say-again-3atc-101/

If everyone would make their best effort to stick to standard phraseology and AIM recommendations things would flow much more smoothly because controllers wouldn't spend their days listening to a different "better way" on every call.
 
A question for the controllers out there....How do you prefer VFR flight following requests?

The reason I ask is recently I was listening to an older episode of the Opposing Bases podcast and the host suggested a format for the request that I'd never heard of before and certainly had never been taught by an instructor. Further, given that I'm under the Boston Approach umbrella I hear a ton of VFR FF requests and they're all the same...and different from what this host suggested. First, here's what I typically hear in this area: "Boston Approach, <call> VFR request." Once APP responds it's usually something like, "Boston Approach, <call> request flight following to <airport>..." followed by a mixed bag of aircraft type, position, and requested altitude.

What I have been doing lately is "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR request." <response> "Boston Approach, 7747G good morning we are out of Hyannis request VFR flight following to Nashua, Alpha Sierra Hotel at 3,500."

The gentlemen at Opposing Bases suggest (and they're controllers, after all) that we, as pilots would score some serious brownie points if we go about it this way: "Approach, <aircraft> <position> VFR to <destination> type <aircraft type> <altitude>." For example, "Boston Approach, 7747G is 4 miles north of Hyannis, VFR to Nashua - Alpha Sierra Hotel, we are type Skyhawk climbing for 3,500." However, the one time I tried this format as suggested by these controllers, Boston Approach had me go back and do it all over again. So, controllers...how can I make your job easier when I want FF?
The way you did it.
 
What does the AIM say?

Don Brown's Say Again? article series is excellent for all things ATC as he always references what he says to the FARs, AIM, and 7110.65. His article which discusses this topic is https://www.avweb.com/features/say-again-3atc-101/

If everyone would make their best effort to stick to standard phraseology and AIM recommendations things would flow much more smoothly because controllers wouldn't spend their days listening to a different "better way" on every call.
If ya wanna save some time scroll down to where it says Terminated then to the 4th paragraph.
 
If everyone would make their best effort to stick to standard phraseology and AIM recommendations things would flow much more smoothly because controllers wouldn't spend their days listening to a different "better way" on every call.
Personally, I'm still waiting for the day when ATC says "position checks" after I give them my altitude.
 
I don't even see the difference.
This is what he did. "...What I have been doing lately is "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR request." This is the other way. "...The gentlemen at Opposing Bases suggest (and they're controllers, after all) that we, as pilots would score some serious brownie points if we go about it this way: "Approach, <aircraft> <position> VFR to <destination> type <aircraft type> <altitude>." For example, "Boston Approach, 7747G is 4 miles north of Hyannis, VFR to Nashua - Alpha Sierra Hotel, we are type Skyhawk climbing for 3,500." However, the one time I tried this format as suggested by these controllers, Boston Approach had me go back and do it all over again. So, controllers...how can I make your job easier when I want FF?" That's a pretty big difference.
 
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At the time of the episode's recording (2018) they were both TRACON if I understand correctly. They've always been quite cryptic. One has gone back to the airlines in recent months. And yes, the order of information was specified as that is how it is entered into the system as they explained it. Episode 6 for those who want to hear the part I'm referring to starting at 16:15. There was another more recent episode where this was talked about again but I can't seem to find it. In that episode they also specified that they usually don't need the "wakeup call" of "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR Request" but it seems to work better when you do.

Edit: More supporting info and clarity
Thanks for giving the time it starts. Having to listen to their whole episodes to find something drives me nuts.
 
Another situation that’ll nullify the complete initial call method, is if the controller has multiple freqs up. Especially multiple UHF freqs and working military traffic. You could be transmitting thinking you’re in the clear when on another freq a pilot is already transmitting and blocking you.

Had a guy (PA32) once call for FF going into Hilton Head (49J). It was during air show time (before / after) at the base and I was swamped with military traffic. Listening to the tapes, he called right when another military aircraft was transmitting on UHF. Never even heard the guy. Unfortunately the tapes were pulled because about 10 minutes later he crashed off the approach end to rwy 3 killing himself and his pax. Ironically he was on the board petitioning for a tower at Hilton Head to increase safety. Few years later they’d get their tower and now is KHXD.
Yup. Even without the UHF factor it happens. Like Controllers working combined sectors. They are supposed to get everyone on the same frequency with a 'change to my frequency.' But that doesn't always work. Sometimes the sectors can be so large that a pilot could be out of range of the frequency he would like to get everyone on. And they don't always have to be very large. Line of sight issues happen in mountainous areas.
 
This is what he did. "...What I have been doing lately is "Boston Approach, Skyhawk 7747G VFR request." This is the other way. "...The gentlemen at Opposing Bases suggest (and they're controllers, after all) that we, as pilots would score some serious brownie points if we go about it this way: "Approach, <aircraft> <position> VFR to <destination> type <aircraft type> <altitude>." For example, "Boston Approach, 7747G is 4 miles north of Hyannis, VFR to Nashua - Alpha Sierra Hotel, we are type Skyhawk climbing for 3,500." However, the one time I tried this format as suggested by these controllers, Boston Approach had me go back and do it all over again. So, controllers...how can I make your job easier when I want FF?" That's a pretty big difference.
I still don't see the difference, unless he did it all in one call, which the guys from OB did not say to do. Quite the opposite. They recommend starting with a heads-up call.

Beyond that, the information is the same. Still who and what you are. Still where you are. Still what you want. Still where you are going. Still at what altitude. It's probably just me, but those tiny differences in the exact order those 5 elements are given, some of which depend on which facility you are talking to and the equipment they have, do not strike me as a "difference." Just a way to scare people into thinking they have to be perfect or avoid receiving services.
 
The first callup should always be this format:
“ABC Center, vfr request, N12345” - spoken reasonably slowly - and clearly.

If you say:
“ABC Center, N12345, vfr request”,
50% of the time, the controller will ask for a repeat of your N#.

Order Matters.
Nothwithstanding all claims by experts or authoritative publications.
It’s just how it is; human nature.
To wit: most readback fails do not include the very last part; this has to do with our short term memory.
Hmm, that's not a bad idea. Call sign after 'request'
 
I was just looking for this clip the other day. Couldn't remember who posted it though
It was one of those times I had the camera running for another reason (unfortunately it crapped out for the other reason) and happened to capture a few minutes of something I thought was interesting.
 
It was one of those times I had the camera running for another reason (unfortunately it crapped out for the other reason) and happened to capture a few minutes of something I thought was interesting.
Funny how that works out sometimes. Just remembered seeing it once and was looking for it earlier this week. Thanks for reading my mind.
 
Funny how that works out sometimes. Just remembered seeing it once and was looking for it earlier this week. Thanks for reading my mind.
I find it works out that way a lot. I think most of my in-flight videos are like that. Short pieces I thought were interesting from a longer flight. My personal favorite in that group is "The Clearance," which didn't involve me at all. It happened early during a flight to PHL Video of the approach into PHL was the plan. "The Clearance" was a bonus. (So was my taxi screwup in the approach video :D)
 
Spent the weekend camping with the Boy Scouts so I'm just now catching up and this has turned into a pretty interesting discussion.

Aviation: where we make simple things complicated and make up ridiculous mnemonics to justify it.
You've not been in the military, I'm guessing. We're like...waaaaay better at it! :lol:
The way you did it.
I think this is how I'm going to continue doing it. Seems to be the norm around BOS.
I still don't see the difference, unless he did it all in one call, which the guys from OB did not say to do. Quite the opposite. They recommend starting with a heads-up call.
I wish I could find it, but in a more recent episode (within the last couple months, I believe) they specifically said the opposite. They said they DON'T want/need the heads-up call. However, given my experience with radio between Coast Guard, flying, and amateur radio I can't imagine being able to juggle all those different airspaces with all those different aircraft doing different things and all-the-while being able to catch a mouthful like that on first contact.
 
I am not a controller, but did recently finish listening through the entire OB back catalog.

My takeaway: They are/were terminal controllers (so this doesn’t apply to center controllers) in Class C airspace. Most tracons use FDIO (flight data input /output - pronounced like the dog name Fido), which is a computer from the 80s with a blister button keyboard (I imagine it like the Timex Sinclair 1000) that requires typing the data in a specific order with no ability to correct (you just have to start over from the beginning if you make a mistake). OB suggests providing that data as close to what they need to type in to make that as easy as possible.

From (three character limit so drop the K), To (same), Type (no slash), Altitude (three digits in hundreds of feet).

So start with a wake-up call, so they know to grab the fdio keyboard: “Seattle Approach, November 12345, Request flight following”

Approach: “November 12345, go ahead”

You: “November 12345, BFI, zero sierra niner, C172, zero three five”

I gathered they would prefer a waypoint like the airport you just departed from or a nearby VOR than a relative offset (e.g. they can’t do much with 50 mi NW of KSEA), or with some visual landmark. They need exactly three characters to fill in.

They’ve admitted to being bad at using the aircraft type in place of November - e.g. Skyhawk 12345. We should prefer the latter in radio communications, but it’s unclear to me if they type in the “N” when inputting the callsign.

They joked that if you really wanted to blow a controller’s mind, you speak exactly all the characters that they need to type verbatim: November 12345, FYJ splat HGR space C172 space zero three five

I think “splat” is what they call “asterisk” (*)

They can’t enter the “slash golf” part of the aircraft type, and won’t do anything with it if they could.

Center controllers I think just need your destination and desired altitude, and have far fewer restrictions on inputs as they use a different system entirely.

Class D airports often can’t put you into the NAS (e.g. requesting flight following on the ground) because they don’t have a FDIO, but also because they would need to coordinate with overlying airspace, so it’s easier for you just to contact the controlling facilities directly once airborne.
 
I am not a controller, but did recently finish listening through the entire OB back catalog.

My takeaway: They are/were terminal controllers (so this doesn’t apply to center controllers) in Class C airspace. Most tracons use FDIO (flight data input /output - pronounced like the dog name Fido), which is a computer from the 80s with a blister button keyboard (I imagine it like the Timex Sinclair 1000) that requires typing the data in a specific order with no ability to correct (you just have to start over from the beginning if you make a mistake). OB suggests providing that data as close to what they need to type in to make that as easy as possible.

From (three character limit so drop the K), To (same), Type (no slash), Altitude (three digits in hundreds of feet).

So start with a wake-up call, so they know to grab the fdio keyboard: “Seattle Approach, November 12345, Request flight following”

Approach: “November 12345, go ahead”

You: “November 12345, BFI, zero sierra niner, C172, zero three five”

I gathered they would prefer a waypoint like the airport you just departed from or a nearby VOR than a relative offset (e.g. they can’t do much with 50 mi NW of KSEA), or with some visual landmark. They need exactly three characters to fill in.

They’ve admitted to being bad at using the aircraft type in place of November - e.g. Skyhawk 12345. We should prefer the latter in radio communications, but it’s unclear to me if they type in the “N” when inputting the callsign.

They joked that if you really wanted to blow a controller’s mind, you speak exactly all the characters that they need to type verbatim: November 12345, FYJ splat HGR space C172 space zero three five

I think “splat” is what they call “asterisk” (*)

They can’t enter the “slash golf” part of the aircraft type, and won’t do anything with it if they could.

Center controllers I think just need your destination and desired altitude, and have far fewer restrictions on inputs as they use a different system entirely.

Class D airports often can’t put you into the NAS (e.g. requesting flight following on the ground) because they don’t have a FDIO, but also because they would need to coordinate with overlying airspace, so it’s easier for you just to contact the controlling facilities directly once airborne.
Well some of this is correct. Yes, the “FIDO” is incredibly old but still used today even with all the software upgrades. 30 + years ago of first using it myself, my brothers facility (ABI) still has it in their tower.

Not all class Ds can’t put you into the NAS computer. Several class Ds are associated with a TRACON, RAPCON, RATCF that use the FDIO system. It’s in the tower and in the radar room.

The first point in the route does have to be a fix but the controller can easily pick the closest fix in their airspace. The route isn’t separated by a an asterisk (*) but is separated periods (.). They do eliminate the K and still stick with FAA IDs but they DO input the equipment suffix with a slash (/). Generally, as stated in another thread, they don’t ask. Reason being, like I used to do, is make them all / U. The actual equipment suffix isn’t important on their end. Neither is the ICAO alphabet mess that came out years ago. Most controllers just treat everyone as if they’re / G anyway.

Yes, N is entered for aircraft ID unless using an FAA special use / military callsign.
 
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