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Notice to Airmen

Introduction:

  • Notices to Airmen, or NOTAMs, are time-critical aeronautical information either temporary in nature or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication on aeronautical charts or in other operational publications, such as the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD)
  • Disseminated by either the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or Military:
  • NOTAMs, which are known in sufficient time for publication, and are of 7 days during or longer, are normally incorporated into the NOTAM publication which are found at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/publications/notices/
  • Notices to Airmen contain aeronautical information that are essential to the safety of a flight such as:
    • Airport or aerodrome primary
    • Runway, taxiway, and ramp closures
    • Obstructions
    • Communications
    • Airspace
    • Changes in the status of navigational aids, landing systems, or radar service availability
    • Hazards, such as air shows, parachute jumps, kite flying, and rocket launches
    • Flights by important people such as heads of state
    • Military exercises with resulting airspace restrictions
    • Inoperable lights on tall obstructions
    • Temporary erection of obstacles near airfields
    • Passage of flocks of birds through airspace (a NOTAM in this category is known as a BIRDTAM)
    • Notifications of runway/taxiway/apron status with respect to snow, ice, and standing water (a SNOWTAM)
    • Notification of an operationally significant change in volcanic ash or other dust contamination (an ASHTAM)
    • Software code risk announcements with associated patches to reduce specific vulnerabilities
    • Other information essential to planned en route, terminal, or landing operations
FAA NOTAM Search
Figure 1: FAA NOTAM Search

Notice to Airmen Publication:

  • The Notice to Airmen Publication (NTAP) is published by Mission Support Services, Air Traffic Control (ATC) Products and Publications, every 28 days
  • Data of a permanent nature may be published in the NTAP as an interim step between publication cycles of the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) and aeronautical charts
  • Once published, the information is not provided during pilot weather briefings unless specifically requested by the pilot
  • The NTAP is divided into four parts:

    • Part 1:

      provided by ATC Products and Publications. This part contains selected Flight Data Center (FDC) NOTAMs that are expected to be in effect on the effective date of the publication. This part is divided into three sections:
      • Section 1, Airway NOTAMs, reflects airway changes that fall within an Air Route Traffic Control Center's (ARTCC's) airspace
      • Section 2, Procedural NOTAMs
      • Section 3, General NOTAMs, contains NOTAMs that are general in nature and not tied to a specific airport/facility (for example, flight advisories and restrictions, open duration special security instructions, and special flight rules area)
    • Part 2:

      provided by National Flight Data Center (NFDC), contains Part 95 Revisions, Revisions to Minimum En Route IFR Altitudes and Changeover Points
    • Part 3:

      International NOTAMs, is divided into two sections:
      • Section 1, International Flight Prohibitions, Potential Hostile Situations, and Foreign Notices
      • Section 2, International Oceanic Airspace Notices
    • Part 4:

      Graphic Notices, compiled by ATC Products and Publications from data provided by FAA service area offices and other lines of business, contains special notices and graphics pertaining to almost every aspect of aviation such as: military training areas, large scale sporting events, air show information, Special Traffic Management Programs (STMP), and airport-specific information. This part is comprised of 6 sections:
      • General
      • Special Military Operations
      • Airport and Facility Notices
      • Major Sporting and Entertainment Events
      • Airshows, and
      • Special Notices
  • The number of the last FDC NOTAM in the publication is noted in the front to aid the user in updating the listing with any new NOTAMS
  • All information will be carried until expiration, cancellation, or published permanently in other publications, such as the A/FD
  • NOTAM information is not available from a Supplemental Weather Service Locations (SWSL)

NOTAM Information:

  • Searched by either searching for an airport or center
    • Example: Boston International Airport: KBOS
    • Example: Miami Center: ZMA
  • NOTAMs are available through Flight Service Station (FSS), Direct User Access Terminal Service (DUATS), private vendors, and many online websites
  • Service A - information received wireless
  • Service B - communications and received via telephone
  • Service F - regular information via telephone

NOTAM Composition:

  • NOTAMs contain the elements below from left to right in the following order:
    • An exclamation point (!)
    • Accountability Location (the identifier of the accountability location)
    • Affected Location (the identifier of the affected facility or location)
    • KEYWORD (one of the following: RWY, TWY, RAMP, APRON, AD, COM, NAV, SVC, OBST, AIRSPACE, (U) and (O))
    • Surface Identification (optional—this shall be the runway identification for runway related NOTAMs, the taxiway identification for taxiway-related NOTAMs, or the ramp/apron identification for ramp/ apron-related NOTAMs)
    • Condition (the condition being reported)
    • Time (identifies the effective time(s) of the NOTAM condition)
  • Altitude and height are in feet mean sea level (MSL) up to 17,999; e.g., 275, 1225 (feet and MSL is not written), and in flight levels (FL) for 18,000 and above; e.g., FL180, FL550. When MSL is not known, above ground level (AGL) will be written (304 AGL)
  • When time is expressed in a NOTAM, the day begins at 0000 and ends at 2359. Times used in the NOTAM system are universal time coordinated (UTC) and shall be stated in 10 digits (year, month, day, hour, and minute). The following are two examples of how the time would be presented:
    • !DCA LDN NAV VOR OTS WEF 0708051600-0708052359
    • !DCA LDN NAV VOR OTS WEF 0709050000-0709050400

NOTAM Dissemination and Availability:

  • The system for disseminating aeronautical information is made up of two subsystems: the Airmen's Information System (AIS) and the NOTAM System. The AIS consists of charts and publications and is disseminated by the following methods:
    • Aeronautical charts depicting permanent baseline data:
      • IFR Charts-Enroute High Altitude Conterminous U.S., Enroute Low Altitude Conterminous U.S., Alaska Charts, and Pacific Charts
      • U.S. Terminal Procedures—Departure Procedures (DPs), Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARs) and Standard Instrument Approach Procedures (SIAPs)
      • VFR Charts—Sectional Aeronautical Charts, Terminal Area Charts (TAC), and World Aeronautical Charts (WAC)
    • Flight information publications outlining baseline data:
      • Notices to Airmen (NTAP)—Published by System Operations Services, System Operations and Safety, Publications, every 28 days)
      • Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)
      • Pacific Chart Supplement
      • Alaska Supplement
      • Alaska Terminal
      • Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
  • NOTAMs are available in printed form through subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, from an FSS, or online at PilotWeb (www.pilotweb.nas.faa.gov), which provides access to current NOTAM information. Local airport NOTAMs can be obtained online from various websites. Some examples are www.fltplan.com and www. aopa.org/whatsnew/notams.html. Most sites require a free registration and acceptance of terms but offer pilots updated NOTAMs and TFRs

NOTAM Classification:

  • NOTAM information is classified into five categories:
  • NOTAM (D):

    • Contains information for all navigational facilities that are part of the National Airspace System (NAS), all public use airports, seaplane bases, and heliports listed in the Chart Supplement U.S. (formerly Airport/Facility Directory)
      • The "D" stands for distant but also incorporates local NOTAMS
    • The complete file of all NOTAM (D) information is maintained in a computer database at the Weather Message Switching Center (WMSC), located in Atlanta, Georgia and distributed automatically via Service A telecommunication system
    • This type of NOTAM will be omitted during a standard briefing unless requested
    • Distributed via service A telecommunications such as a Flight Service Station (FSS), who have access to give over the phone
      • Air traffic facilities, primarily FSSs, with Service A capability have access to the entire WMSC database of NOTAMs
      • These NOTAMs remain available via Service A for the duration of their validity or until published
      • Once published, the NOTAM data is deleted from the system
    • Includes items such as taxiway closures, construction activities near runways, snow conditions, changes in airport lighting that does not affect instrument approach criteria, such as a VASI
    • All D NOTAMs are required to have one of the following keywords as the first part of the text: RWY, TWY, RAMP, APRON, AD, OBST, NAV, COM, SVC, AIRSPACE, (U), or (O)
  • NOTAM-D
    Figure 2: NOTAM D
  • FDC NOTAM:

    • FDC NOTAMs are issued by the National Flight Data Center and contain information that is regulatory in nature pertaining to flight
    • :
    • Contain such things as changes in flight data, which affect instrument approach procedures, aeronautical charts, and flight restrictions prior to normal publication
    • Also used to advertise temporary flight restrictions caused by such things as natural disasters or large-scale public events that may generate congestion of air traffic over a site
      • Transmitted via Service A only once and are kept on file at the FSS until published or canceled
      • FSSs are responsible for maintaining a file of current, unpublished FDC NOTAMs concerning conditions within 400 miles of their facilities
      • FDC information concerning conditions that are more than 400 miles from the FSS, or that is already published, is given to a pilot only on request
    • Must be requested during weather briefing
      • Only unpublished given (it is assumed the pilot has the NOTAM publications available)
    • DUATS vendors will provide FDC NOTAMs only upon site-specific requests using a location identifier
    • NOTAM data may not always be current due to the changeable nature of national airspace system components, delays inherent in processing information, and occasional temporary outages of the U.S. NOTAM system
      • While en route, pilots should contact FSSs and obtain updated information for their route of flight and destination
    • FDC NOTAMS include the following:
      • Interim IFR flight procedures:
        • Airway structure changes
        • Instrument approach procedure changes (excludes
      • Departure Procedures (DPs) and Standard Terminal Arrivals (STARs)
        • Airspace changes in general
        • Special instrument approach procedure changes
      • Temporary flight restrictions (discussed in Chapter 15):
        • Disaster areas
        • Special events generating a high degree of interest
        • Hijacking
      • Flight restrictions in the proximity of the President and other parties
      • 14 CFR part 139 certificated airport condition changes
      • Snow conditions affecting glide slope operation
      • Air defense emergencies
      • Emergency flight rules
      • Substitute airway routes
      • Special data
      • U.S. Government charting corrections
      • Laser activity
  • Pointer NOTAMs:

    • NOTAMS, issued by FSS to highlight or point out another NOTAM, such as an FDC or NOTAM (D) NOTAM
    • Assists users in cross-referencing important information that may not be found under an airport or NAVAID identifier
    • Keywords must match the keywords in the NOTAM being pointed out
      • Example: AIRSPACE is related to TFRs
  • Special Activity Airspace (SAA) NOTAMs:

    • SUA NOTAMs are issued when Special Activity Airspace will be active outside the published schedule times and when required by the published schedule
    • Pilots and other users are still responsible to check published schedule times for Special Use Airspace as well as any NOTAMs for that airspace
  • Military NOTAMs:

    • NOTAMs pertaining to U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy navigational aids/airports that are part of the NAS

Conclusion:

References: