AOPA Online established the precedent by publishing graphical TFRs on its Web site following the September attacks, and now the FAA is following suit. As reported by AOPA last week, the FAA is developing a graphical TFR product for flight service to fix a longstanding problem of disseminating clear and accurate TFR notams. To that end, Jeppesen has announced that it is the FAA's partner in development of a prototype system that will create, maintain, and distribute graphical TFRs to flight service specialists. As currently planned, this graphical TFR product will not be available to pilots. AOPA thinks that is wrong.
In a letter dated February 19, AOPA told the FAA that it has a vested interest in the graphical TFRs and asked for the opportunity to collaborate with the FAA in development of the product, including making it available to users via the Internet.
"The availability of graphical notices for pilots continues to be one of the highest priorities in the association's advocacy efforts, and it is AOPA's belief that the FAA should make them available to users via the Internet, said AOPA Vice President of Air Traffic Services Melissa Bailey. "Pilots continue to face many challenges due to airspace restrictions, but obtaining accurate information from the FAA should not be one of them."
Jeppesen was an obvious choice for FAA, given its history of providing charting and TFR information electronically. There was no better illustration of this capability than the work that was done for AOPA by Jeppesen in the development of graphical TFRs during the "nuclear notam" crisis of last year. AOPA's action in providing this information helped countless aviators to avoid violating restricted airspace.