The summer flying season is upon us, which means air traffic within the general aviation community will be picking up. To ensure a safe and orderly flight, it is imperative that pilots check the NOTAMs before every flight for information on TFRs, runway or airport closures, drone operations, etc.
NTAP Discontinued in June
If you are are planning a flight, be aware that the Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP) has been discontinued as of Jun 18, 2020. Also effective on this date, Domestic, Graphical, and International Notices will be available through the FAA website. Links to these notices will also be available on the FAA NOTAM Search website and on the Air Traffic Plans and Publications website.
FAA NOTAM Search Website
NOTAM search is simplified through the website through a fully optimized and customizable search tool that lists NOTAMs in a digital list. Letters to Airmen and a link to Airport Construction Notices can be found on the website in PDF format. Customizing your search through criteria such as time and date, location, flight path, geographic area, latitude/longitude, keywords, and more, optimizes the search by providing pilots with NOTAMs that are relevant to the flight. Additionally, pilots may filter and sort results by location, class, start and end date, and condition for better analysis.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs)
Besides the NOTAM search website, another valuable FAA website resource to visit while planning is tfr.faa.gov. TFRs may appear quickly and there are various instances where pilots violate the airspace by inadvertently flying into these protected areas. Although the website gets updated in real time, it is still necessary to call 1–800-WX-BRIEF for precise information on TFRs that could be relevant. On the TFR website, first select the state where you’re operating or expecting to fly into, and select “GO.” The website will then propagate a list of TFRs that have been published. Alternatively, you may select the Center you will be operating around to see a list of TFRs surrounding the Center. Within each line, the hyperlink under the NOTAM column provides additional details and graphical representation on the time, date, and altitude of effectiveness.
Be sure to take the time to familiarize yourself with these resources so you can stay informed when planning a flight. Doing so will not only help you stay legal, it will improve your situational awareness in the air and improve the safety and organization of your flight. For more information about NOTAMs, be sure to update your copy of the Gleim FAR/AIM with the last edition. An electronic edition of the FAR/AIM can be accessed online here.
Written by Ryan Jeff (CFI, AGI), Aviation Research Assistant