In-Depth: Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) introduced this bill to improve aviation safety:
“Although NOTAMs contain critical safety information, they are often lengthy and difficult to understand. These inefficiencies have the potential to create life-threatening situations. Modern air travel is incredibly safe, but we must constantly be working to maintain and improve upon safety protocols, and that is the objective of the Notice to Airmen Improvement Act.”
Writing in Flying magazine, John King argued that it’s long past time for NOTAMs to be improved so they’re actually useful to pilots:
“Considering the importance of their messages, notams should be the ultimate in accessibility, readability and ease of use. In the rest of our lives, the tools we all use on a daily basis — the internet, cellphones, tablets, digital maps — are improving continuously. The fact that notams have remained so substandard in this era reflects profound indifference and is a breach of faith and trust. The great strides being made by commercial flight planning programs are largely compensating for this abject failure, but it is the government’s responsibility to get this right in the first place. It’s time for the folks who run the program to demonstrate they have the interest of pilots at heart.”
After Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) landed on a closed runway, he observed that while “technically” pilots should “probably” check notams, it would be impractical for him to do so on the many flights he makes to small airports in Oklahoma each year. He told the Tulsa World, “People who fly a lot just don’t do it.” After his experience. Sen. Inhofe championed the 2012 Pilot’s Bill of Rights, which created the “notam improvement panel,” which, among other things, created an online search tool to help pilots find notams. However, the tool is difficult to use, and the FAA doesn’t allow pilots to use it until they’ve agreed not to make it their only briefing.
This legislation passed the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure by a voice vote with the support of two bipartisan cosponsors, including one from each party.
Of Note: The NOTAM system alerts pilots of potential hazards along a flight route or at a location that could affect the safety of the flight. In a Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation hearing, Rep. Stauber highlighted some of the NOTAM system’s current inadequacies and spoke about how the Notice to Airmen Improvement Act could rectify those issues.
Summary by Lorelei Yang(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ansonmiao)