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Encyclopedia > Flight Service Station

A Flight Service Station (FSS) is an air traffic facility which provides pilot briefings regarding current weather and possible hazards along a route of flight. A FSS may also give en route communication services and Visual flight rules (VFR) search and rescue (SAR) assistance. Other responsibilities include relaying Air traffic control (ATC) clearances, creating Notice to Airmen (NOTAMs), receive Instrument flight rules (IFR) flight plans and monitor Navigation Aids (NAVAIDs). Visual flight rules (VFR) are a set of aviation regulations under which a pilot may operate an aircraft, if weather conditions are sufficient to allow the pilot to visually control the aircrafts attitude, navigate, and maintain separation with obstacles such as terrain and other aircraft. ... Search and Rescue (acronym SAR) is an operation mounted by emergency services, often well-trained volunteers, to find someone believed to be in distress, lost, sick or injured either in a remote or difficult to access area, such as mountains, desert or forest (Wilderness search and rescue), or at sea... Air Traffic Control Towers (ATCTs) at Schiphol Airport Air traffic control (ATC) is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. ... NOTAM or NoTAM is the quasi-acronym for a Notice To Airmen at the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). ... It has been suggested that Air traffic control#Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) be merged into this article or section. ... Flight plans are plans filed by pilots with the local Aviation Authority (e. ...


Contacting a Flight Service Station

The nearest FSS can be reached by telephone with the number 1-800-WX-BRIEF (992-7433) in the U.S. or 1-866-WX-BRIEF in Canada. Recently changes in phone number routing has caused calls to not be sent to the closest location. A list of numbers has been provided at the bottom of this article. United States is the current Good Article Collaboration of the week! Please help to improve this article to the highest of standards. ...

A pilot en route may also hail a FSS using the common frequency of 122.2 MHz (126.7 MHz in Canada) with their COMM (communication) radio. While this is the common frequency, some stations may use other frequencies. The latest information can be found in the Airport/Facility Directory (AFD) or Sectional Chart in the US and in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS). The hertz (symbol: Hz) is the SI unit of frequency. ... The Airport/Facility Directory (abbreviated A/FD), in the U.S., is a pilot’s manual that provides comprehensive information on airports, large and small, and other aviation facilities and procedures. ... A Sectional Chart is a type of aeronautical map designed for visual navigation of slow to medium speed aircraft. ... The Canada Flight Supplement with its current blue cover since Nav Canada took over publication. ...

All Flight Service Stations listen on standard frequencies with the aircraft emergency frequency of 121.5 MHz being the most important. This frequency is the emergency frequency that a pilot would use to give a distress call or to seek help when lost. Every station has its own discrete frequency, generally between 122.3 and 122.6 MHz, so two stations aren't picking up the same pilot. Since a flight service station may be covering a large area of land there may be one or more Remote Communications Outlets (RCO) which it monitors through land lines. An RCO may be located by itself or with a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR). The aircraft emergency frequency is a frequency used on the aircraft radio band reserved for emergency communications for aircraft in distress. ... Remote Communications Outlets (RCO) are remote VHF aviation band radio transmitter/receivers established to extend to communication capabilities of FICs and Flight Service Stations. ... D-VOR (Doppler VOR) ground station, co-located with DME. VOR, short for VHF Omni-directional Radio Range, is a type of radio navigation system for aircraft. ...

Pilots are encouraged to radio a FSS and give a pilot report (PIREP). FSS flight briefers give any available PIREPs to pilots that may be traveling through the same area as the given report. A Pilot Report (PIREP) is a report of weather conditions encountered by an aircraft during a flight. ...

Canadian FSS

In Canada, FSS were a portion of the federal government department of transport. In 1996 the air navigation system was privatized, NAV CANADA was created and the FSS went with them. The new company's vision was to centralize pre-flight services, and reduce the capabilities and duties of the FS stations. 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... Created by an act of Parliament in 1996, NAV CANADA is Canadas provider of air navigations services. ...

Flight Information Centers were developed, six major efforts were conducted in southern Canada, and fifteen FSS were closed, and they opened the 6 FIC's and 3 northern hubs. The remaining flight service stations are now classified as airport advisory sites, they can provide airport advisories, vehicle control, weather observations, clearance delivery, local weather information, and some will be providing remote advisory services. These remaining stations generally have limited hours, limited personnel and are no longer responsible for flight planning of any sort. The FIC's have assumed the responsibility for any flight plans, filing, inflight alerting, closing, interpretive weather briefings. The FIC's also have large areas they are overseeing, and have networks of RCO's, some are co-located with advisory sites. The FIC's are similar in function and scope to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system in the US of the automated FSS. The northern FSS (Hubs) that remain, Whitehorse, Yellowknife and North Bay are full service FSS, that have the personnel, equipment, training, experience and skills to be FIC's but have yet to be officially designated. North Bay FSS is tied into the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) North Warning System (NWS) radar system, and has a vast network of 23 RCO's located across Canada's arctic coast. The 3 northern hub's also assist and oversee the "Community Airport Radio Station" (CARS) program. Flight Information Centres (FICs) are clearinghouses for flight-related information. ... Flight Information Centres (FICs) are clearinghouses for flight-related information. ... Flight Information Centres (FICs) are clearinghouses for flight-related information. ... Remote Communications Outlets (RCO) are remote VHF aviation band radio transmitter/receivers established to extend to communication capabilities of FICs and Flight Service Stations. ... Flight Information Centres (FICs) are clearinghouses for flight-related information. ...   FAA redirects here. ... Template:Hide = Motto: Template:Unhide = Our People, Our Strength Location City Information Established: {{{Established}}} Area: 416. ... Motto: Template:Unhide = Multum In Parvo (Much In Little) Location City Information Established: {{{Established}}} Area: 105. ... North Bay (, time zone EST) is a city in Northeastern Ontario, Canada (2001 population 52,771). ... The NORAD shield. ... The North Warning System (NWS) is a series of radar stations across Arctic North America. ... This long range RADAR antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. RADAR is a system that uses radio waves to determine and map the location, direction, and/or speed... The red line indicates the 10°C isotherm in July, commonly used to define the Arctic region border Satellite image of the Arctic surface The Arctic is the area around the Earths North Pole, opposite the Antarctican area around the South Pole. ...

Search and rescue

A flight service station not only takes IFR flight plans but VFR as well. A VFR flight plan is considered by many general aviation (GA) pilots as a free insurance policy. By activating a VFR flight plan the pilot is guaranteeing for him or herself that someone will start searching for them if they don't arrive at their destination in a timely manner. FSS use a system graduated emergency levels, when a flight plan's estimated arrival time comes close (within 1/2 hour), the FSS goes into the uncertainty phase, the flight plan information is rechecked, and the departure is verified. When a flight plan's calculated estimated arrival time is met and the aircraft has not landed, the FSS launch the distress phase. A communications search is started, this alerts all the possible communications sites and airports along the aircraft's planned flight route that it is late arriving at its destination and any information is requested. The FSS also contacts the military search and rescue authorities that a preliminary search has begun. To receive all the information, this stage lasts one hour. If within the hour, the aircraft is located, the flight plan is amended to either close it or extend the time. If the hour passes and the aircraft has not been found, the alert phase is reached and the communications search is intensified. All possible landing sites within fuel range of the aircraft's last known position are checked. If another hour passes without result, the emergency passes from the FSS to the Search and Rescue authority. General aviation (abbr. ... The estimated time of arrival or ETA is a measure of when a vehicle or aircraft in travel, cargo, or emergency services is expected to arrive at a certain place. ...

In the case of a pilot not arriving at their destination and closing their flight plan, flight service will start making calls to nearby ATC and Area Control Centers (ACCs) or Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC). If this turns up nothing, a call is made to any contact numbers given with the flight plan. If there is no information about a pilot's whereabouts within two hours of their scheduled arrival, flight service will contact the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center (AFRCC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. (Other facilities would be contacted if the pilot was in Alaska or Hawaii.) This temporary flight restriction map from the Federal Aviation Administration shows the boundaries of the regions controlled by the Area Control Centers within and adjoining the continental United States, as well as the IATA airport code of each such Center operated by the United States. ... As the United States inland search and rescue (SAR) coordinator, the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center serves as the single agency responsible for coordinating on-land federal SAR activities in the 48 contiguous United States, Mexico and Canada. ... Langley Air Force Base (IATA: LFI, ICAO: KLFI) is located at in Hampton, Virginia is home of Air Combat Command. ... Official language(s) English Capital Richmond Largest city Virginia Beach Area  Ranked 35th  - Total 42,793 sq mi (110,862 km²)  - Width 200 miles (320 km)  - Length 430 miles (690 km)  - % water 7. ... Official language(s) English Capital Juneau Largest city Anchorage Area  Ranked 1st  - Total 663,267 sq mi (1,717,854 km²)  - Width 808 miles (1,300 km)  - Length 1,479 miles (2,380 km)  - % water 13. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

The AFRCC contacts friends and relatives of the pilot asking about the pilots intentions and flying abilities. The AFRCC may make phone calls to local military, police or Civil Air Patrol units as well. If by three hours the pilot has not been located, an actual search mission is launched (weather permitting). If there is an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (Emergency Locator Transmitter or ELT) onboard the aircraft a search mission can be drastically reduced in time. Civil Air Patrol seal The Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is the official civilian auxiliary of the United States Air Force (USAF). ... Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs), Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) and Personal Locator Beacons (PLBs) are tracking transmitters that operate as part of the Cospas-Sarsat satellite system. ...

When flying within the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) all pilots are required to file a flight plan and if flying VFR the word "defense" is added and the flight plan is referred to as a DVFR. North America is surrounded by an area called the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which is jointly administered by the United States and Canada. ...

List of Flight Service Stations, Identifiers, and Direct Phone Numbers

FSS Location Identifier Direct Phone Number
Albuquerque, NM (ABQ) 866-449-5390
Altoona, PA (AOO) 866-708-9987
Anderson, SC (AND) 866-225-2172
Anniston, AL (ANB) 866-609-8684
Bangor, ME (BGR) 866-295-3835
Boise, ID (BOI) 866-258-9068
Bridgeport, CT (BDR) 866-293-5149
Buffalo, NY (BUF) 866-678-2759
Burlington, VT (BTV) 866-847-1846
Casper, WY (CPR) 866-227-7498
Cedar City, UT (CDC) 866-667-3858
Cleveland, OH (CLE) 866-780-8261
Columbia, MO (COU) 866-223-4352
Columbus, NE (OLU) 866-288-3448
Conroe, TX (CXO) 866-689-5992
Dayton, OH (DAY) 866-505-6163
Denver, CO (DEN) 866-751-7021
Deridder, LA (DRI) 866-401-5659
Elkins, WV (EKN) 866-656-2661
Fairbanks, AK (FAI) 866-248-6516
Fort Dodge, IA (FOD) 866-300-2858
Ft. Worth, TX (FTW) 866-272-7915
Gainesville, FL (GNV) 866-523-7229
Grand Forks, ND (GFK) 866-306-6931
Great Falls, MT (GTF) 866-527-7601
Green Bay, WI (GRB) 866-845-4888
Greenwood, MS (GWO) 866-245-6109
Hawthorne, CA (HHR) 866-879-8252
Honolulu, HI (HNL) 866-766-0820
Huron, SD (HON) 866-732-1331
Islip, NY (IS) 866-365-5019
Jackson, TN (MKL) 866-840-1051
Jonesboro, AR (JBR) 866-520-8890
Juneau, AK (JNU) 866-297-2236
Kankakee, IL (IKK) 866-450-6593
Kenai, AK (ENA) 866-864-1737
Lansing, MI (LAN) 866-879-4066
Leesburg, VA (DCA) 866-225-7410
Louisville, KY (LOU) 866-412-7968
Macon, GA (MCN) 866-276-0243
McAlester, OK (MLC) 866-269-0189
McMinnville, OR (MMV) 866-833-7631
Miami, FL (MIA) 866-347-0318
Millville, NJ (MIV) 866-225-7920
Nashville, TN (BNA) 866-890-1348
Oakland, CA (OAK) 866-469-7828
Prescott, AZ (PRC) 866-226-3763
Princeton, MN (PMN) 866-841-6469
Raleigh, NC (RDU) 866-663-3354
Rancho Murrieta, CA (RIU) 866-272-7525
Reno, NV (RNO) 866-281-2737
Riverside, CA (RAL) 866-838-2250
San Angelo, TX (STJ) 866-300-3867
San Diego, CA (SAN) 866-682-2175
San Juan, PR (SJU) 866-822-8537
Seattle, WA (SEA) 866-384-7323
St. Louis, MO (STL) 866-671-6176
St. Petersburg, FL (PI) 866-295-3983
Terre Haute, IN (HUF) 866-224-9906
Wichita, KS (ICT) 866-672-5145
Williamsport, PA (IPT) 866-655-6434


  • Aeronautical Information Manual, Section 4-1-3. Federal Aviation Administration, 2004
  • Pardo, Jeff (April 2005). "Rescue me!: Why you should file a VFR flight plan". AOPA Flight Training, pp 35-37 coolcat12



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