Local NOTAMs Go Electronic

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Pilots will soon be able to receive all NOTAMs relevant to their intended flight on their computers. On Jan. 28, all local or L-designated NOTAMs will be reclassified and published on the national NOTAM system. What it theoretically means, according to AOPA, is that pilots will no longer have to call flight services to get the local NOTAMs, which can have important information like taxiway closures. The practice might be different at first, however, and a call to FSS might be in order for the first while just to make sure. "AOPA has been advocating for this change for a long time," said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs. "This helps simplify and consolidate information gathering for pilots while alleviating some of the call burden on flight service." It's important to note that only new local NOTAMs will be on the system at first. Existing local NOTAMs will be added as time permits and it could take months before every relevant NOTAM is available electronically. The change is part of a gradual overhaul of the NOTAM system and the new NOTAMs will include graphics that tell the viewer at a glance what service or facility is affected (taxiway, lighting, airspace, runway, etc.) By 2010, military airspace NOTAMs will also be included and the full system will be digitized and feature graphics.