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Leidos wants to hear your upgrade ideasLeidos wants to hear your upgrade ideas

Missing some features from DUATS as you transition to 1800wxbrief, the flight service online system? If so, Leidos, the government contractor providing telephone-based and online weather and flight planning services for the FAA, wants to hear about it.

Leidos is asking pilots to give feedback on their telephone and online weather-briefing services. Photo by Mike Fizer.

Roger Krone, chairman and CEO of Leidos, himself an active pilot and a DUATS user making the transition to 1800WXbrief.com, says his company makes quarterly software updates to the weather and flight planning site and that most requests they get for new features can be easily incorporated. “Speak up, we want to hear your ideas,” Krone told AOPA.

One way or another, DUATS users need to transition to 1800wxbrief.com to continue accessing online briefings and filing flight plans because the FAA has canceled the contracts for DUATS effective May 16. The FAA issued the first Direct User Access Terminal System contracts in 1989 as a way for pilots to access approved weather information online. With the advances of alternative online weather sources, including 1800wxbrief.com, which is provided by the Automated Flight Service Station (AFSS) contractor Leidos, the FAA decided not to renew the DUATS contract.

In addition to the traditional telephone-based flight service information, Leidos provides an online flight planning system, including the ability to file flight plans and get approved weather briefings for a planned route. Leidos sends the same weather data to numerous flight planning sites and electronic flight bag apps. To use 1800wxbrief.com, pilots only need to create a free account with their email address. Leidos provides a quick reference guide for its website. The AOPA Online Flight Planner and the AOPA GO app are already configured to connect to the FSS site for weather and flight plan filing.

Leidos also provides several tools to help pilots. One time-saving system is the EasyActivate/EasyClose capability, which lets a pilot activate or close a VFR flight plan simply by responding to a text sent to them 30 minutes before departure and arrival. These actions are recorded and included in the pilot’s history. Reminders are also sent if a VFR flight plan is not closed within 20 minutes of the expected arrival time. This capability was upgraded in March to use an SMS provider, so a data connection is not needed. Pilots using EasyActivate/EasyClose can use text messaging to activate or close a VFR flight plan, and to receive acknowledgement of the action.

Krone said pilots who are missing DUATS features can use the feedback link at the bottom of the 1800wxbrief.com home page to share their ideas for enhancements. Meanwhile, all of the telephone-based services for flight service remain unchanged and briefers can be reached at 1-800-wxbrief.

Thomas B. Haines

Thomas B Haines

Editor in Chief
AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Topics: Pilot Weather Briefing Services, Advocacy

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