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Flight Planning

Dead Editor,

I am a flight service specialist working at the London Flight Service Station (FSS) and I would like to submit a solution to a problem that, I'm sure, affects all FSSs. When an aircraft is overdue on a visual flight rules (VFR) flight plan/itinerary, one of the first steps FSS must take is to check the destination airport. At remote airports, and/or at night, this can be a fairly complex undertaking that often involves sending the police to the airport in question.

To minimize this problem, pilots should include a contact phone number that is most likely to allow FSS to reach them directly in their flight plan or itinerary. This could be a home phone number of the friends/relatives visited, the hotel where they will be staying, or even a cell phone. This would allow us to establish more quickly the pilots’ whereabouts, and the search could be terminated before more drastic search and rescue (SAR) actions are taken.

Rob Elford
FSS London