January 10, 2008
AOPA ePublishing staff
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
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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