...With Enhanced Service Promised

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By April 2006, AOPA says, Lockheed is expected to launch the Flight Service 21 (FS21) Web portal for pilots to obtain preflight briefings, file flight plans, store user profiles, and get graphical flight planning and weather products. The first FSS hub, in Leesburg, Va., also is scheduled to open in April, with two other hub facilities -- Fort Worth, Texas, and Prescott, Ariz. -- to open by next October. The other 17 facilities that will remain after consolidation -- down from 58 today -- should be upgraded with FS21 technology by July 2007. After the 18-month transition is complete, pilots' telephone calls must be answered within 20 seconds and radio calls within 15 seconds. Flight plans must be processed in three minutes, and PIREPs must be processed within 30 seconds of receipt, 15 seconds if they are urgent. And an annual customer satisfaction survey will be conducted. "It is estimated that Lockheed's 10-year contract will actually save the government about $2.2 billion," Boyer said.