In the USA, calling the above phone number gets a pilot in contact with a flight service station (FSS). After reading the AIM and the Leidos Flight Service website, I still have some questions:

  • Where exactly are flight service stations, and which one does the phone number connect me to?
  • Is the person on the phone a meteorologist?
    • If not, how do they provide weather briefings?
  • Will someone answer 24/7 or do different stations have different hours?
    • Does this also apply to the FSS frequencies listed on VFR charts?

There is a list of Flight Service Stations in the US Chart Supplement.

The person on the phone is not a meteorologist and does not need to be. Though, just like pilots, they have been trained to be proficient on weather and weather related knowledge.

They provide the weather the same way a pilot can self-brief the weather. They utilize distributed briefings, Area Forecast Discussions, Prog Charts, other tools supplied to them by the NOAA, WPC, NWS, and AWC. Primary though, they use METARs, TAFs, PIREPs, and Winds Aloft reports at your airports of planned use and along your route of flight.

Someone will answer 24/7. Though, the person answering may not be from the closest FSS. It will be routed to the first available representative.

The same goes for inflight contact over VHF radio frequencies,

  • $\begingroup$ I see the list of Flight Service Stations in the chart supplement, but my question is about the location of each station facility itself. For instance, when I talk to Miami radio, is the person I'm speaking to actually in Miami? Or are they elsewhere in the country? Are all the operators of Miami radio in one facility? Are the operators of more than one FSS collocated in one facility? $\endgroup$
    – asb1230
    Nov 18 '20 at 19:50

The following FAA PDF that I found with a simple search says:

  • The 1-800 number appears to be an operator that will connect you to a local service station

  • The person giving the briefing is a certified "Air Traffic Control Specialist"

  • It seems 24x7, at least for Alaska



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