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NOTAMS and why they need to be checked....

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NOTAMS and why they need to be checked....

Old 5th Sep 2008, 20:18
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NOTAMS and why they need to be checked....

We recently held an aerobatic competition at the airfield, which was NOTAM'd from the surface up to 4000' AGL with a radius of 4NM.

I was astonished by the number of aircraft which called up on frequency (for joining info) without the faintest clue, and others who's commanders clearly hadn't bothered to check the NOTAMs wanting to fly through the o/head at 2000', or close enough to be a hazard to those participating in the aerobatics event.

Even worse, was the number of student pilots (some on solo navex's) from local airfields who called up 'inbound', again blissfully unaware of the competition. As an instructor myself, I make it my business to check that my students have read AND understood the NOTAM's and also check them myself. After all, we are supposed to be 'supervising' the student.

Lastly, we also had the potentially disatrous situation of aircraft flying through 'the box' whilst aeros were in progress that hadn't even bothered to call up on the airfield frequency...

Software utilities like Notam Plot (and others) mean there really is no excuse for this kind of sloppiness. Why can't people act with a care to others and exercise more responsibility I ask?
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Old 5th Sep 2008, 20:49
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Bit""&ng on here is probably preaching to the converted.

It is worth trying to be pro-active.

Even worse, was the number of student pilots (some on solo navex's)
So, this was an opportunity to establish which school they were with and which instructor. I would make a call to their CFI. Both the student and the school might "learn" a very worth while lesson. Isnt that the object of airfields "mentoring" students.

Train the student properly and you will end up with a better pilot.
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Old 5th Sep 2008, 20:56
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We had the Dutch Open last weekend and as far as I knew nobody flew through the NOTAMed SRZ (which included the holding and box, obviously)

It helped that this SRZ was located into another, permanent SRZ which is almost completely contained in class A starting at 1500' and up (so no en-route traffic possible, only traffic climbing up from underneath), and that Lelystad Radio always mentioned "aerobatics active" to everyone who asked for airfield information. Also Lelystad has no overhead joins but a specific, mandatory joining procedure located on the opposite side from where we did the competition.

There were a few banner towing aircraft who used "our" frequency (which was in the NOTAM as well) to coordinate their towing and general chitchat. Fortunately they found another frequency after a polite request.

So great weekend, great weather, no incidents (and I came in 1st in the Beginners class).

(Oh, and before anyone starts to make smart remarks about aerobatics on an IFR flightplan: The permanent SRZ is carved out of class A airspace which effectively becomes class G airspace in favourable weather conditions. It is there to allow aerobatics, stall practice and a few other things for which you need more than 1500' in altitude, roughly above the busiest GA airfield in the Netherlands.)
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 09:41
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At least the other pilots bothered to put a radio call in and check.
I hope they were spoken to politely.
As far as I am concerned interpreting NOTAMs in their current impenetrable state is tedious and prone to error - the problem is with the system - I cannot help but sympathise with people caught out by events such as yours.

I check them on long flights but locally rely on radio contact, a knowledge of where the red arrows are going to be and ATC to steer me clear. When I file IFR I glance at them but they are definitely not user friendly enough.

We need legible graphical relevant NOTAM presentation - the current presentation is not acceptable in any of the available formats,

SB

Last edited by scooter boy; 6th Sep 2008 at 12:33. Reason: speling erorz
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 09:53
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Originally Posted by SB
As far as I am concerned interpreting NOTAMs in their current impenetrable state is tedious and prone to error - the problem is with the system - I cannot help but sympathise with people caught out by events such as yours.
Quite right, whenever they sort out their crap system things will improve.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 10:19
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I half agree

I would never go flying without checking NOTAMs, if nothing else on the 0500354802 number.

However that number is not exactly all encompassing and I was caught out by something that was NOTAMd but not mentioned on the AIS phone in number. Now I manually check that through the website.

Have to agree though the ais website is a bit impenetrable and will even though I've mostly worked out how to give it a source and destination it will still flood you with hundreds of NOTAMs (especially if you put in region EGTT) that have no relationship to your flight.

I always check NOTAMs religiously before flying, yet still get caught out because I miss something about Epsom, wedged into between NOTAMs refering to Solent \ Bournemouth or somewhere else I'm not going to.

With a small amount of software development though, the NOTAMs could be made MUCH easier to use. Having the NOTAMs NOT arrive as one big block of black ASCII on a white background would be a starting point. Why not have them arrive with a colour key ? So that the location is red and so stands out against the rest ? That way you can scan them more easily for NOTAMs that are relevant.

This being PPRuNe, I don't doubt "the special ones" are going to come back with "If you can't be bothered to read through all 50 pages of NOTAMs before every flight then you are a danger to yourself and everybody else around you" but the simple fact is, not matter how tenaciously you read them, they are sufficiently poorly delivered it's WAY to easy to miss something important.

Last edited by PompeyPaul; 6th Sep 2008 at 10:30.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 11:57
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This being PPRuNe, I don't doubt "the special ones" are going to come back with "If you can't be bothered to read through all 50 pages of NOTAMs before every flight then you are a danger to yourself and everybody else around you"
Nope, but I would say that if you're getting 50 pages of NOTAMs that you're doing something wrong. There has been various guides on how to get the most out of the NOTAM system, in particular how to use the Narrow Route Briefing. Anything else is going to produce far too many notams.

The only reason I would put EGTT into the notam system, is the unlikely event that I was passing through EGTT FIR, but didn't have waypoints located in that FIR....very unlikely for me.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 12:15
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If you are struggling with the UK CAA version, the French version (in English!) is slightly more user friendly:

http://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/default_uk.htm

Click on NOTAM, Narrow Route on the lhs. It takes it's feed from the same database so you are effectively receiving the same info.


HTH
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 16:36
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Glush,

With the greatest respect and sympathy I feel it rather unfair for you to jump to the conclusion (like so many instructors are want to do) that a solo x-country student was not properly briefed. As a fellow instructor I have known a capable student pilot make the silliest of errors, or perhaps forget a detail from a NOTAM check, thus making what might appear from an outsiders point of view to be a rather alarming mistake. Brief all you like but the student will still make a mistake - it's part and parcel of learning.

PPR is required at Conington (I assume this is the airfield to which you refer) therefore I find it hard to believe that a supervising instructor would not only forget to check their student had obtained the relevant NOTAMS but also forget to call the airfield if that was the destination?!

VFE.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 18:45
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VFE

You'd be amazed by how many QXC students turn up at airfields with very little input from their Instructors. No NOTAMs? I've seen no lines on a chart, no fuel, no PPR, no idea that sunset is imminent, etc. It's apparent that some students are "briefed" days/weeks in advance and told "next time the weather's good, just turn up and go".
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 19:15
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Care to name and shame the flying schools concerned?

Have you ever reported it via the usual anonymous channels?

VFE.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 19:45
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Why can't the way the notams are displayed be changed.
Say a map, a bit like google earth, with flags of the current days notams.
Much easier to find out if a particular notam effects your flight and its position.

Some of these obscure kite flying and balloons take some finding.

If flagged, click on, then opens up to give more details.

Also the free phone number, why can't it first give all the event locations first briefly, then the detail, so that i don't have to listen to a load of info that doesn't effect me.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 20:06
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Ain't you lot ever heard of NotamPlot? It makes checking UK notams the work of seconds, and it's free. fly.dsc and ukga have similar facilities, which are also free.

I appreciate that the current notam system is the way it is in order to ensure a uniform interface worldwide, but that doesn't stop it sucking to high heaven! It's what we in the IT sector would describe as a "legacy system". A load of old crap which doesn't improve because the relevant stakeholders can't/won't sit round a table long enough to do something about it.
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 21:51
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Rather predictably...

I would say that if you're getting 50 pages of NOTAMs that you're doing something wrong

And right on cue...
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Old 6th Sep 2008, 23:09
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Well PP, if you put a post like that up you shouldn't be surprised.

The system may be cumbersome but that's the way of ICAO and until xnotam is adopted by ICAO we are stuck with it. About 3 pages is the norm. If you go for a Route Brief rather than a Narrow Route Brief and stick in a FIR you will get NOTAM for the whole of that FIR.

The freephone number gives you what it says on the tin. RA(T) and airspace upgrades, i.e. the mandatory stuff. It won't give you nav warnings or tell you that the taxiway at Little Snoring is out of service.

In the context of the original post here it will almost certainly have been a Nav Warning, which infers no prohibition on entry other than that which would apply to the ATZ under Rule 45.

glush's astonishment at the breaches of Art 52 of the ANO by the commander is however quite understandable.
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 10:18
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I do wonder about this subject myself I know a few pilots that just never bother to check notams and don't bad an eyelid in saying so, I have only had my pilots licence 3 years but and feel privileged to have it, but I do wonder if stds are dropping like most things seem to be in modern day life,

Or are the schools dumbing down????

NJA.
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 10:34
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Wtf ?!?!?

Well PP, if you put a post like that up you shouldn't be surprised.

And precisely WHICH part of that post are you referring to sunshine ?!?

1. The AIS site being a bit impenetrable ?
2. With a small amount of software development the whole site could be much easier to use ?
3. Not having NOTAMs arrive as black text on white background, but with some sort of colour key would help ?
4. The "golden ones" immediately coming out to criticise ?
5. Or the bit I was being facetious and mentioned 50 pages of NOTAMs ?!

Look I'll even look facetious up for you, it's here. I guess that's my fault though, I'm never ceased to be amazed by the high population of people on here who've undergone an extremely successful "sense of humour" bypass operation.

May I respectfully suggest that you actually read posts before commenting on them ? Oh yeah, thanks for proving point 4 for me.

Kindest Regards
PompeyPaul

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Old 7th Sep 2008, 11:24
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Mike

I know we have been here before but I think these threads reflect peoples frustration with a system that goes back to the dawn of tele printers.

Yeah, sure the system works, and it may well be the best we have within ICAO standards, but that doesnt mean its the best system we could have.

People wish for something better, more user friendly, and given the advances in the way we can use and manipulate data, that does not seem unreasonable.

The EASA intiative you mention looks to be a good one. Its a shame that once we were world leaders in so many fields, today we seem happier to let others do the innovation.
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 12:46
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but that doesn't mean its the best system we could have.
No, it's not but would people be willing to PAY for a better system?

I know that I would not. The present system works well enough if you are willing to take a little amount of time to understand how to get the best from it.
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Old 7th Sep 2008, 13:24
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No, it's not but would people be willing to PAY for a better system?
For a change I dont think cost is a significant factor.

The issues stem from the problems assiciated with interpolating the existing data. The format we have was developed I suspect long before there was any possibility of automatically plotting the information graphically which results in the known issues with plotting the data graphically.

I think what most people want is a reliable way of displaying NOTAMS on a map which they can print and take with them. If that process took all of 5 minutes and they could super impose their PLOG on their map I suspect many more would include this as part of their pre-flight.

Here is a thought - with the growth in glass - how about being able to download NOTAMS to a usb, plug this into your G1000 or Avidyne and have an instant graphical display of the days NOTAMs.
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