Just after midnight on October 4, the FAA officially turned over control of the automated flight service station system to Lockheed Martin to run under contract.
"AOPA was an advocate for this switch, because it was the only way to modernize flight service and improve services to pilots," said AOPA President Phil Boyer. "Now we take up our watchdog role, to make sure pilots ultimately get everything that Lockheed Martin has committed to in its contract with the FAA."
Pilots won't likely notice any change in the near future. Today it is essentially the same people using the same equipment as yesterday. But as Lockheed Martin phases in new equipment and new procedures, pilots should eventually notice service improvements. The contract is expected to save the FAA and taxpayers more than $2 billion over the next 10 years.
The FAA and Lockheed Martin established a command center with open lines to all 58 flight service stations to monitor the switch-over. They report that so far all of the shifts have been staffed, and all of the equipment is working.
October 4, 2005