Bill To Improve Notam System Takes Step Forward

 - November 4, 2019, 11:41 AM

The House last week approved legislation designed to improve the Notam system. Passed by voice vote, the Notice to Airmen Improvement Act of 2019 (H.R.1775) calls on the FAA to establish a task force that would review existing means to present Notams and flight operations information to pilots; review regulations and policies surrounding Notams; determine best practices to organize, prioritize, and present flight operations information in an optimal manner; and provide recommendations to improve Notam information.

Headed next to the Senate Commerce Committee for consideration, the bill specifies that the task force should comprise a cross-section of industry, safety, and human factors experts and complete its work within 18 months.

“Although Notams contain critical safety information, they are often lengthy and difficult to understand,” said Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minnesota), who introduced the legislation. “These inefficiencies have the potential to create life-threatening situations. My legislation will ensure the continued safety of air travel by requiring that safety protocols are consistently maintained and improved upon.”

The report accompanying the bill cites the critical nature of Notams but states that they can be “difficult to read, understand, and retain. Additionally, Notams can lack completeness or accuracy, which can endanger flight.”

Further, the report pointed to the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation to the FAA in 2018 to establish a group of human factors experts to review information presented to pilots. “Identifying methods of improving the accuracy, organization, display, and understanding of Notam information will aid pilots and improve flight safety in the U.S.,” the report added.