If I only have one radio, and I'm using VFR Flight Following, what do I tell ATC when I want to pick up ATIS for the landing airport before I'm told to contact the tower?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Not a true answer per se, but a lot of radios allow you to monitor the standby frequency. Check with your radio manual to see if this mode of operation is supported. $\endgroup$
    – Tyzoid
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this part of why you're required to have two radios? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 3:19
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Vikki I'm not aware of any requirement that you have two radios. Many planes only have a single radio. Can you cite a source? $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 19:39
  • $\begingroup$ You just ask. "[Who you're calling], request a quick frequency change to get ATIS." Works every time. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 21:48

1 Answer 1


Just tell them what you said in your question.

"Approach, N23456 I will be off frequency for a couple of minutes to pick up the ATIS for ABC Airport."

That should work just fine. If the controller has an issue with that he/she will let you know and respond accordingly depending on existing circumstances.

Remember to report back on frequency.

  • 21
    $\begingroup$ As a controller, I appreciate the pilot phrasing it as a request, Otherwise I agree. The AIM doesn't specify phraseology so just use plain English. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 3:03
  • 6
    $\begingroup$ @randomhead- I do understand and appreciate your comment. Personally, as a former controller I would take the suggested phraseology in my answer as an implied request. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 3:14
  • 9
    $\begingroup$ I'd go with a shorter version: "Approach, N23456 request frequency change for ATIS", (wait for "request approved"). Then when you come back, "N23456 now has Information Tango" $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    Commented Sep 1, 2021 at 20:40

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .