Don't expect to receive a face-to-face preflight weather briefing or file a flight plan in person at a flight service station anytime soon. An FAA security directive issued immediately after September 11, and still in effect more than five months later, prohibits visitors at air traffic facilities, including all 61 FSSs.
"The visitor prohibition at en route centers, approach facilities, and towers should not apply to FSSs," explained Melissa Bailey, AOPA vice president of air traffic services.
"We've asked the FAA to remove the lock-out, and we are hopeful that after the Olympics the agency will open the doors of FSSs again," Bailey said.
Pilots accustomed to an in-person briefing, rather than using the telephone or DUATs via computer, have been squelched. The Aviation Services department of AOPA has received several complaints from members about the inconvenience.
Curiously, a purely random check of FSS Web sites across the United States found nothing obviously posted regarding the policy.