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Island Reporting Flight Plans
Although standard VFR Flight Plans may be used for inter-island flights, you are advised to instead file an “island reporting flight plan.” Under the island reporting service, you make position reports to FSS when over designated checkpoints along your route (Fig. 3-1 in the book). The flight service station keeps track of your progress and will inform you of NOTAMs or significant weather changes. If one of your reports is 15 minutes overdue and FSS cannot establish communications with you, preparations for search and rescue operations will begin.
     To obtain island reporting service, describe your type of flight plan as “VFR island reporting” instead of “VFR” when filing. The remainder of the flight plan is filed in the same manner as standard VFR flight plans. Once aloft, give FSS a call to activate the flight plan and inform them of your off time. FSS will then let you know which checkpoint to report next. Touch-and-go landings may be performed at enroute airports if flight service is aware of your plans. However, an island reporting flight plan must be closed prior to any full-stop landings. If the airport you'll be landing at has approach control or a tower control, close your flight plan prior to contacting the controller.
      There are a few disadvantages to using island reporting service. First, pilots enroute to Kauai often find that when the service is used along with traffic advisories from Honolulu Center, the necessary switching between frequencies can become distracting. Kauai-bound pilots flying at altitudes too low for Center advisories should definitely file island reporting flight plans, but those who fly at higher altitudes may instead choose the combination of straight VFR flight plans and flight following from Center. Second, if radio failure prevents you from making a position report on time, you'll need to land at a nearby airport in order to quickly telephone flight service and prevent an unnecessary search from being organized.
      The advantages of using island reporting services are obvious. Your chances of being rescued after a ditching are best if search and rescue operations are begun soon after the ditching and searchers have a good idea of where to look. Island reporting flight plans are superior to straight VFR flight plans in these respects.


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