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Monday, January 21, 2008

NOTAMs by Computer

Next week pilots will be able to receive all NOTAMs relevant to their flight on their computers as new local NOTAMS are reclassified and published electronically, alleviating the need to call local flight service stations along the route. "AOPA has been advocating for this change for a long time," said Melissa Rudinger, vice president of regulatory affairs. "This helps simplify and consolidate information gathering for pilots while alleviating some of the call burden on flight service." Existing NOTAMs will be added as time permits and could take months before all local NOTAMs are available electronically, said the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of the change, and advising until they are, pilots should continue to call FSSs.
The plethora of NOTAMs has been cited by industry safety experts as a hazard as pilots are bombarded with more NOTAMs and expired NOTAMs are not purged from the system. The confusion could mean pilots will not see an important NOTAM related to the flight.
Part of changes scheduled for the NextGen Air Traffic Control System, the NOTAM realignment takes place over the next few years and is aimed at simplifying NOTAM entry, accuracy and distribution. This month the FAA harmonizes the Distant “D” NOTAM criteria with the ICAO NOTAM criteria. The National Business Aircraft Association said the change “will enhance NOTAM interpretation and will provide meaningful information as well as improved reliability and accessibility.” It noted there will be 12 specific "keywords" used in NOTAMs and without them, the NOTAM will not be published. The keywords allow pilots to customize automatic programs to their area of interest.
“Two changes will be immediate and will impact everyone,” said NBAA. “First, the FAA is adopting the ICAO definition for aerodrome movement area, expanding the definition of ‘D’ NOTAMs. Secondly, as a result of the expanded definition of ‘D’ NOTAMS (which will now include taxiways, ramps, aprons and lighting), all current Local ‘L’ NOTAMs (Civil ‘L’ NOTAMs only, not military) will become ‘D’ NOTAMs.”
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