Greenwood, Mississippi, AFSS (file photo)
The FAA's automated flight service stations in Louisiana and Mississippi are working toward restoring full service, but they are still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
The Greenwood, Mississippi, AFSS has restored its air-to-ground communication frequencies, but the toll-free telephone lines are still out of service. Those calls are being rerouted to AFSS facilities in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and Jackson, Tennessee. The FAA reports that Greenwood's local telephone numbers are working, although calls from AOPA headquarters to those numbers didn't go through.
Phone lines are also down to the DeRidder, Louisiana, AFSS. Its calls are going to Fort Worth and Conroe, Texas, and Jonesboro, Arkansas, facilities. Pilots flying in Louisiana are having some difficulty contacting the DeRidder AFSS to cancel VFR flight plans because some of the facility's remote communications outlets are also out of service. Pilots can call 800/WX-BRIEF to cancel on the ground.
"The expectation is that once the Lockheed Martin FS21 flight service station system is fully functional, these kinds of outages will be much less likely," said Andy Cebula, AOPA senior vice president of government and technical affairs. That's because the modernized system will be able to control radio outlets from any facility and transfer phone calls anywhere within the system. Each hub facility will have specialists certified to brief all regions of the country.
Lockheed Martin's contract with the FAA specifies that it will officially start supplying no-fee flight service information to pilots starting October 4.
September 7, 2005