EBACE Convention News

Do Notams Drive You Nuts?

 - May 30, 2018, 9:06 AM
Flight Service Bureau highlighted the world's worst Notams at its EBACE booth. (Photo: Matt Thurber)

EBACE visitors can stop by the Flight Service Bureau booth (Booth H24) and add their vote to the “Notam wall of shame” on display. Headlined “Choose the Worst Notam,” the wall is plastered with printouts of the most incredible, unbelievable, and outright ludicrous Notices to Airmen (Notams) ever conceived. Booth visitors are asked to pick which one they think is worst.

On a more serious note, Flight Service Bureau (FSB) is working to fix the horribly ineffective Notam system. Its efforts stem from the Notam issued before Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 was shot down over Ukraine and the sheer unreadability and indecipherability of the Notam that warned pilots not to fly over that region. FSB calls this “the Killer Notam” and writes in its handy Field Guide to Notams, “What if the Notam had simply said what was really going on? This is what the CAA could have written, but they choose not to speak clearly: IN THE PAST 3 MONTHS, 14 AIRCRAFT HAVE BEEN SHOT DOWN IN THE EASTERN PART OF UKRAINE, INCLUDING ONE ON MONDAY, WHICH WAS AT FL210.”

FSB is also polling pilots for their views on Notams and working with ICAO on a Notam improvement project, as well as an artificial intelligence-driven Notam dissemination system that uses crowd-sharing to highlight real problems.

The safety of the aviation system depends on clearly written Notams, and FSB is trying help improve the current outdated, all-caps, written-in-code, unvetted, and unsafe system.

“Choose the Worst Notam” examples:

SLAUGHTER BOARS OPERATION BY NIGHT WITHIN THE AIRPORT

THERE IS A FENCE UP TO 3M HGT AT DIST OF 2661M FROM RWY 14L EXTREMITY…

THERE IS NO HOBART