By selecting the Notam feature in the overlays menu, users of the Garmin Pilot mobile app can now see colorful highlights outlining graphical airspace and obstacle Notices to Airmen. This new feature is part of the 10.3 upgrade to Garmin Pilot for Apple devices. Garmin also added new features for the profile view, with a quick access bar to add or remove important information.
The new Notam feature solves a crucial problem for pilots briefing a flight: how to determine whether a Notam listed in the briefing will affect the flight. Obstacle Notams are notoriously difficult to analyze, mostly because there are so many of them, but also because the pilot needs to calculate the location of the listed obstacle and determine whether it will protrude into the flight path.
Airspace Notams can also be difficult to understand because pilots need to search on maps for the applicable special-use airspace (SUA)—for example, restricted or prohibited areas, military operations areas (MOAs), or UAS operating areas. Electronic flight bag apps so far don’t offer a way to search for SUA, but Garmin Pilot 10.3 makes it much easier to figure out whether a particular SUA is going to affect the route and be active or the locations of Notamed obstacles.
The way the highlights work is simple: if the SUA is scheduled to become active in the next 24 hours, it is outlined or depicted as a circle in yellow. If the airspace is active, it is shown in red (restricted, prohibited airspace); orange (alert and warning areas, including MOAs); gray (Flight Data Center Notams; for example, changes to instrument approach procedures or other IFR notices); and purple (other Notams such as parachute jumping activity or a CTAF frequency change).
Notamed obstacles, which are supposed to be temporary, are shown graphically on the map as pink obstacle figures, which makes finding these obstacles much easier.
To learn more about any of the graphically highlighted Notams, all a pilot has to do is touch the obstacle figure or inside the color-highlighted airspace, which pops up a radial menu with a Notam icon. Touching the icon reveals the Notam’s raw or decoded text. Notam details are also available when using the Notam widget in split-screen mode.
The new profile-view quick access bar makes it easier to select which information to display. Buttons in the access bar switch on or off the wind, airspace, cloud cover symbols, icing, pilot report, and traffic views. The profile now has improved pinch-to-zoom capability for quick looks at different parts of the vertical profile.