FAA, Lockheed need to hear about flight service glitches

January 10, 2008

FAA, Lockheed need to hear about flight service glitches

By AOPA ePublishing staff

They’re listening, but pilots aren’t reporting. The FAA and Lockheed Martin created the toll-free hotline 888/358-7782 (FLT-SRVC) to discover glitches pilots are experiencing with flight service and then use the information to fix them. The problem is that pilots are not reporting their complaints or compliments through the hotline.

“This past summer, calls were topping 130 to 150 a week. Now the number of complaints ranges from 10 to 30 a week, on average,” said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. “As Phil Boyer heard at this week’s Pilot Town Meeting in Florida and from calls coming directly to AOPA instead of the hotline, we know more than 30 pilots a week are experiencing problems with flight service.

“We demanded this toll-free number as a way to help fix the flight service station (FSS) system, but it won’t be effective unless pilots start reporting what’s working and what’s not. The FAA and Lockheed can’t fix glitches they don’t know exist.”

Lockheed and the FAA have assured AOPA that they are working to improve the system and want to know what problems pilots are experiencing—dropped calls, long hold times, poor briefer knowledge, or other snags.

In addition to reporting on your telephone briefing experience, you can take another step to smooth the process. Download AOPA’s AFSS Telephone Briefing Flight Planning Tips to have handy every time you call FSS. The card provides shortcuts, tips for helping the briefer give you the information you need, ways to make sure your flight plan has been filed, and the number to call to expedite your IFR clearance.

January 10, 2008