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FAA slimming down 'Notices to Airmen Publication'

The FAA has started to streamline one of its core flight information publications in response to safety-minded recommendations from the aviation community.

The Federal Aviation Administration is one of the many government agencies that have influence over general aviation. Photo by David Tulis.

Beginning with the Feb. 28, 2019, edition, the Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP)—repository of copious quantities of critical and permanent air traffic system and airport-specific notams—will become a pared-down volume with the elimination of its Part 1, a listing of hundreds of flight data center (FDC) notams.

The slimming down of the NTAP, which is reissued every 28 days, will continue in succeeding issues, said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of airspace, air traffic, and aviation security. Duke represented AOPA in the NTAP review that the FAA initiated to examine the publication's role in the era of expanding digital information resources.

The FAA publicized the impending change in a foreword to the Jan. 3, 2019, edition of the NTAP, noting, “Part 1, FDC NOTAMs, will be removed from the Notices to Airmen Publication effective February 28, 2019. These NOTAMs will still be considered on request items when obtaining a briefing from Flight Service Stations (FSS).”

The decision to cut Part 1 from the NTAP for starters was a response to AOPA’s urging and to recommendations made by the technical-guidance advisory organization RTCA, Duke said. Two safety panels were convened in 2017 and 2018, with the decision to cut Part 1 emerging from the first and a review of the other portions of the NTAP taking place during the second panel. AOPA provided examples of pilot concerns about the NTAP, including complaints filed with the Aviation Safety Reporting System that highlighted the need to “make information available to pilots in a modern way,” he said.

To illustrate the effect of streamlining the NTAP, the 477-page current edition would have only been 152 pages without Part 1, he said.

The change will not delete any NTAP information not available through other FAA sources.

“The outcome in summary is that redundant and outdated information is being removed and there is now a more effective quality assurance system in place,” Duke said. Guidance on using the NTAP and on notams in general will soon be published in the Aeronautical Information Manual.

Duke reiterated the importance of pilots—especially those planning instrument flights—requesting airway and procedural notams, and notams the FAA describes as “general in nature and not tied to a specific airport/facility (for example, flight advisories and restrictions, open duration special security instructions, and special flight rules area),” during preflight briefings. The FAA’s online Notam Search site also provides these notices.

“We appreciate the FAA acting on our concerns and continuing their modernization effort of the delivery of notam information,” he said. “The number of obscure resources and publications pilots are expected to review before flight is confusing and is a well-documented frustration, as well as a hazard. AOPA will continue to work with the FAA on consolidating preflight resources and making them digitally available to pilots.”

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 35-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Notams, Flight Planning

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