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FAI FSS - Inflight Overview

Any services that are done on preflight can also be done on inflight, however it is always best to keep as much workload as possible on the preflight side. Requests for standard weather briefings or filing flight plans are prime examples of tasks that are best accomplished on preflight. The Alaska Supplement, in the "Procedures" section states, "Flight Plans may be submitted to the nearest Flight Service Station either in person or by telephone. Aircraft radio may be used if no other means are available." So if at all possible, get your pilot briefing and file your flight plan(s) in person or over the telephone, but if this is not possible, then do not hesitate to do it over the radio. It is understood in Alaska, with our limited telephone service, that there will be times when this is necessary.

On every contact the inflight specialist is required to ensure that you have received all the adverse conditions for your route, and if your destination is in our flight plan area, the NOTAMs for your destination. Not that we have to give them to you on every contact, but we have to ensure you have them. That can turn into a question and answer session because in order for us to do that we have to know your present position, altitude, route of flight and destination. That's because the requirement is not just to ask, "Hey did you get everything?" we have to check your route say, "AIRMETs are in effect along your route for Mountain Obscuration and Turbulence, do you already have those AIRMETs?" Then lets say there is a runway closed at your destination, we have to let you know about that, and of course if there is a Temporary Flight Restriction anywhere near the route, we have to ask if you have that. It does not matter whether or not you ask for any of this, it's required on every contact.

Some savvy pilots have discovered a magic phrase to eliminate most of that. On initial call up they state, "We have all the adverse conditions and NOTAMs for the route." We love to hear that, it sure makes our job easier, but don't say that unless it's true. Even if you make such a statement, we will still advise you if there have been changes recently enough that you most likely could not have already received the updated information.

You should also be aware that weather advisories and adverse conditions do not mean the same thing. Adverse conditions include additional items beyond just weather advisories, so be sure to say you have all the adverse conditions, not just weather advisories, if you are trying to eliminate the 20 question thing.

Weather advisories are forecast hazardous weather conditions which are issued in the form of: Alert Weather Watches (AWWs), Convective SIGMETs (WSTs), SIGMETs (WSs), AIRMETs (WAs) and Center Weather Advisories (CWAs).

Adverse conditions are harder to define but definitely include all weather advisories plus other items as well. It includes any meteorological or aeronautical condition reported or forecast that might influence the pilot to alter the proposed flight. This can include almost anything such as; fronts, thunderstorm activity, IFR conditions, icing, turbulence, airport closures, runway closures, air traffic delays, temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), etc.

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This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/systemops/fs/alaskan/alaska/fai/ifover/