The FAA is now moving toward approving the Internet as an "official" information source. AOPA is pleased that the agency has just published a proposed advisory circular (AC) outlining recommended practices for "Internet Communication of Aviation Weather and NOTAMS." The association has been pushing for years for the FAA to use the power of the Internet to get pilots the information they need quickly and efficiently, and to change agency policy so that a pilot can legally use Web resources to make operational decisions. While today a pilot can get aviation weather and notams on the Web from a variety of government and other sources, they don't count (except for DUAT) as a legal preflight briefing. ( AOPA's Online Flight Planning Service uses DUAT and is a legal briefing.)
"In light of the inadequacies of the current notam system experienced by all users since 9/11, this FAA circular is a crucial step toward more effective pilot information dissemination," said AOPA Senior Vice President of Government and Technical Affairs Andy Cebula. "AOPA's Web site and our special ePilot alerts have demonstrated how the Internet can be used to provide pilots information in an easy-to-understand form."
Comments on the proposed AC are due by February 13.
The proposed AC would provide the foundation for the transition to a Web-based notam platform. AOPA successfully lobbied Congress for the money to put notams on an interactive Web server.
In 2000, AOPA participated in an FAA workgroup tasked with developing a draft Internet policy for the FAA that served as the foundation for this proposed circular. In conjunction with its workgroup participation, AOPA expressed strong support of the Internet imitative in a letter to the program director of the FAA's Aviation Weather Directorate, urging the FAA to adopt an Internet policy to expand the scope of the FAA's Internet applications.