An Open Letter, Alpha


Dear Hawthorne Automated Flight Service Station:
I’m sorry.
No, seriously, I really do apologize.

For whatever reason, it seems that when I land at a destination in your jurisdiction, I forget to close my flight plan.
I don’t know why that is, exactly… it’s on my checklist.
And the good folks at Oakland Flight Service always remind me to do so when I open with them.
And I never seem to forget to do it when I’m in Oakland or Rancho Murrieta Flight Services’ jurisdiction.

See? I even double-underlined it after I forgot the first time…

Maybe it’s just because I’m so squee-u-lar whenever I land so far away from home that I forget to give you guys a call until it’s too late.
You always give the lecture about having started the search and rescue process. The one saving grace is I tend to land at towered airports, so this only involves a call to the control tower, who (I can only presume) ruffle through their stacks of paper, find that I did indeed land, and then tell you to call the search off for the stupid-pilot-who-forgot-to-close-his-flightplan.
You also always warn me that if it had been an non-towered airport, the police would have been called. That’s a scary prospect. I always mumble some useless excuse and thank you for your services.
Then—and I’m not kidding; you can ask my passengers—I tend to feel bad about it for the next couple of hours.
You and the control tower have better things to do than “searching” for me. This is probably the single best reason I can think of to get my IFR rating: so I can fly places IFR; then not closing my flight plan will be someone else’s problem!
Anyway, I wanted to let you know that I really do feel bad about it, and I’m really trying to find ways to make sure in the future to remember to give you guys a call right when I touch down.

Me, filing my flight plan with one of your friendly (and patient!) briefers…

Keep up the good work. You really do provide top notch service, even for forgetful pilots like me.
[Pilot certificate number redacted]