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
    Sep 1, 2021 at 17:44
  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this part of why you're required to have two radios? $\endgroup$
    – Vikki
    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
    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
    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
    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. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    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
    Sep 1, 2021 at 20:40

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.