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VFR Class B departure/VFR Flight following Question

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Hey folks, got a question in regards to Class B departures and/or VFR Flight following.  So when departing a class B, you're essentially receiving vfr flight following on the ground to depart the airspace.  My question/confusion comes in when your being handed off between controllers.  After tower passes me to approach, do I need to ask for flight following again once airborne with approach?  Or are they aware from the initial clearance?  2nd part of that question is once approach hands off to center - do I need to ask again for FF, or are they also aware?  In my head I kind of play this out as IFR, where the controllers are aware and following you via your transponder code and on each hand off you contact them as per normal IFR phraseology IE: Center, Skyhawk 2SP with you at 2500 for 4500.  

Thanks in advance.  I'm looking to start my IRL flight training soon and ATC/procedures is one thing I know minimal of and am trying to get a bit of a head start understanding.

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If you've requested Flight Following when you obtained your Class B clearance, there's a good chance that the Clearance Delivery (or whomever) controller is coordinating this with the overlying sectors. So, in theory, the Approach controller you speak to would be aware of your request for Flight Following. (At ZBW, we use a remark in the flight plan for this. I've seen other facilities using the scratchpad field or just verbally coordinating.)

That said, I wouldn't be afraid to re-iterate that request when you check in on departure:
"Boston Departure, Cessna 12389, 1,500 off Boston, heading 260, requesting VFR flight following to (destination) at (altitude)".

Once you hear the words "radar contact", you're effectively receiving Flight Following. There shouldn't be a need to request it again and you don't need to ask every time you get a frequency change. If we as a radar controller get a track for a VFR aircraft, we know it's because you want Flight Following.

As a VFR aircraft exits the Class B airspace, I'll usually say something like "leaving the Boston Class Bravo airspace, altitude your discretion, were you looking for Flight Following?" and give you the option at that point. However, not everyone will do that (and I don't do it every time). Of course, if I see the remark or someone has told me that's your request, you'll just hear "leaving the Class Bravo, altitude your discretion" and occasionally "remain this frequency for Flight Following".

If a controller unexpectedly terminates your Flight Following without explaining that it's for workload (and you're not close to your destination), chances are they've forgotten or weren't aware of the Flight Following request. In that case, you can just say "requesting Flight Following" in response to their "radar service terminated" message and typically you'll hear "radar contact" (meaning you're now receiving Flight Following) once again.


Evan Reiter
Boston Virtual ARTCC/ZBW Community Manager


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