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Contacting Flight Watch

Source: www.pilotworkshop.com/tips/calling_flight_watch.htm, Featuring John Krug

Subscriber Question:

"While on an IFR flight plan, what is the best way to get an enroute weather update when going off frequency to Flight Watch? What if you are unable to leave the frequency?" - Gary B.

John:

"The first choice is to make the request to leave the frequency from the controller you are working. The best time to make the request is usually when you are first handed off and check in with the new controller. If the controller denies the request – usually due to traffic – ask when it may be approved.

If you are unable to leave the frequency, you can still obtain weather information through various recorded source. You can obtain current ATIS and AWOS/ASOS broadcasts for airports along your route of flight on a second Comm radio. SIGMETS and Center Weather Advisories are broadcast on all ATC frequencies and HIWAS is available on selected VOR frequencies.

You may be able to monitor Flight Watch (EFAS). Even if you can't transmit, you may be able to hear the specialist exchanging weather information with other aircraft.

The best source though is with FIS – Flight Information Services also known as Datalink, XM weather, etc. Although not as interactive as the weather updates from Flight Watch (EFAS), FIS still provides a variety of weather products that can be reviewed as time permits."