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EAAers Participate in GA Pilot Working Group on NOTAMs

August 13, 2009 — Earlier this year, a working group of general aviation pilots participated in a series of meetings to discuss modernization of the FAA’s text-based Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) system. Several EAAers participated, including Robert Pastusek (EAA 496695), a 39-year pilot from Arlington, Virginia, who answered the EAA Chapter Office’s call to participate. A recently released summary of this group revealed how the FAA is planning to evolve the system, as well as a GA wish list containing changes the participating pilots would like to see.

The FAA hopes to evolve the current text-based NOTAM system to a database system allowing pilots to filter or sort information so they can more efficiently plan a flight. Some of the challenges identified with the current system include: a large volume of NOTAMs from multiple sources, many of which are irrelevant or repetitive; the format of all caps, full of abbreviations, and burdened with legal verbiage; current system either has missing data, must be cross-referenced, or does not provide the data unless specifically requested.
A GA pilot “Wish List” included

  • Digitize NOTAMs (already completed)
  • Reduce the volume of NOTAMs and increase the GA pilot’s ability to manage them by implementing the following:
    • Ensure that NOTAMs in the system are “real” and “current.”
    • Enable filtering capabilities
    • Create a single official government-funded source for all aeronautical information and provide a no-cost access for GA pilots.
    • Provide capability to receive all NOTAMs in real time
    • Provide standardized graphical representation to supplement NOTAM text
    • Improve the format to make them easier for GA pilots to use
    • Include the capability for GA pilots to provide feedback
    • Improve NOTAM training and education
    • Develop a viable backup system in case of failure
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