The FAA's 261 Flight Service Stations provide an array of services to pilots of private airplanes, small commuter and air-taxi operations, crop dusters, military aircraft, and other users of general aviation airports.
Flight service specialists provide:Preflight briefings: Before a flight, a pilot contacts a Flight Service Station for current and forecast weather along the planned route, and other information about conditions affecting the flight. Details include wind speeds and direction, cloud movements, air temperature at different altitudes, hazards and predicted changes.
The briefings include Notices to Airmen or "Notams" concerning airport problems or special conditions, such as a closed runway, plus the latest in-flight reports from airborne pilots about conditions along a route.
Flight Plans: Based on the briefing, the pilot files a plan with the FAA describing the aircraft, route, schedule, fuel and other details that help the agency track the flight.
Search and Rescue: If an aircraft does not arrive at the destination according to the plan, the flight service specialists begin a series of steps to find it. The flight service specialist can direct a lost pilot by radio on how to return to course, or send search-and-rescue teams to look for the airplane.