The NTSB is siding with AOPA: The FAA and the Department of Defense must do a better job in telling civilian pilots about military flight activities. The NTSB recommendations came in response to the midair collision over Bradenton, Florida, between an Air Force F-16 and a Cessna 172 that killed the Cessna pilot. NTSB said the FAA and DoD must provide real-time information on the military activity in special-use airspace (SUA) such as military operating areas and along military training routes.
"The recommendations echo what AOPA has advocated for years; give us real-time SUA status reports, and the result will be improved safety for GA operations in SUA that is shared with military aircraft," said Melissa Bailey, AOPA's vice president of air traffic and regulatory and certification policy.
Of particular note is the NTSB recommendation that the FAA "develop automation capabilities to ensure that pilots, flight service station briefers, and air traffic controllers can access current and comprehensive information on military training routes, special-use airspace, and other safety-of-flight information that is organized and presented in a manner in which it can be readily understood and applied to specific flight operations."
The need for real-time information is a cornerstone of AOPA's advocacy efforts, and while breakthroughs such as availability of SUA scheduling information on AOPA Online have done much to improve the flow of information to GA pilots, it falls short of putting the most current information in the cockpit.
In addition to posting scheduling information for SUA, AOPA has also pushed for notam reforms and other initiatives that would provide improved information to pilots via the flight service and ATC systems.