FSS Transition On Schedule

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The transition from public to private operation of the flight service station system continues with high hopes for better service. AOPA President Phil Boyer said the program is on track to have Lockheed Martin take over the system as scheduled on Oct. 4. Lockheed Martin got the $1.9 billion contract in February and appeals by several other contenders have been rejected. Despite the controversy and doom-saying that has gone on, Boyer maintains the deal is a good one. "... We are convinced that this is the right thing at the right time for the benefit of GA pilots," he said. The contract includes performance guarantees that will ensure that phone calls to briefers will be answered within 20 seconds and radio calls within five seconds. Briefers will have system-wide access to weather and NOTAMs and pilots are guaranteed they'll get a briefer who knows local weather patterns and operations. AOPA is also warning there may be the usual start-up glitches during the transition and is asking that pilots report any problems to AOPA so they can be reported to the FAA and fixed.