Decoding the different types of NOTAMs in Aviation
A Notice to Airmen or NOTAM, as defined by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), “is a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means. It states the abnormal status of a component of the National Airspace System (NAS) – not the normal status.” In simple words, it is notice filed by an official aviation authority to alert aircraft pilots of any potential threats or information about the flight route and airspace that can affect the flight operations, both in the air and on the ground. iJET today discusses all you to need to know about NOTAMs.
Who needs it?
Pilots and aircraft operators need to check all the NOTAMs affecting their flight route before they take-off. Usually a Pilot’s Flight Bag (a set of official documents, like navigation charts, manuals, etc., that the pilot is required to carry in their aircraft) includes the NOTAMs. Flight Support Companies too keep a check on the recent NOTAMs to ensure that the required information is provided to their clients, ensuring a seamless flight operation for them.
Who issues the NOTAMs?
Aviation authorities like aerodrome, ANSP, military or Civil Aviation Authority of countries issue NOTAMs, like closed taxiway, runway obstructions, restricted airspaces etc. Civilians cannot directly submit official NOTAM, but they can inform the local Flight Service Station (FSS) of any special event that is taking place. If an air show is going to happen, then the FSS will be informed by the concerned authorities. The FSS would then issue the “official” NOTAM, advising if the specified airspace has to be closed.
FAA is the authority responsible for issuing worldwide NOTAMs in the US. The different Air Traffic Control can issue their NOTAMs through the FAA NOTAM Manager.
Understanding the NOTAM
A NOTAM identifier consists of-
- A series (Any letter between A to Z)
- A four-digit number (Starting from 0001 and increasing consecutively for each series)
- And a two-digit year number
For example, U1099/19 NOTAMN is a NOTAM issued for London’s RAF Northolt Jet Centre (NHT/ EGWU). Here U is the series, 1099 is the four-digit number, and 2019 is the year. Each year, it resets, so that on 1st January each series will have a 0001 NOTAM. NOTAMN denoted that this is a new NOTAM.
The Different types of NOTAMs.
NOTAMs can be mandatory or regulatory. Usually we have Class I NOTAM that are issued via telecommunications and Class II NOTAM that are published in the chart publication cycle (updated every 4 weeks). These warn pilots about closed or restricted airspace, even alert them about a nearby flock of birds. We list some of the important types of NOTAMs.
Flight Data Center NOTAM (FDC NOTAM)
This type of NOTAM is regulatory and has to be followed. It advises about the required altitudes and speeds, pilot should follow.
Trigger NOTAM inform people of updates (permanent or temporary changes) in the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP). AIP is the local rulebook for each nation.
Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFR)
TFR are regulatory NOTAMs and inform about restricted airspaces due special events, natural disaster, or other such unusual events.
Bird NOTAM (BIRDTAM)
If there is a flock of birds in an airspace, it is warned through BIRDTAMs. To know the importance of this NOTAM, we advise you to watch the highly acclaimed film Sully, which portrays real life events of the heroics of Chesley Sullenberger who landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River in 2009, as the aircraft was struck by a flock of birds in both engines.
Snow NOTAM (SNOWTAM)
As the name suggest, SNOWTAM informs pilots of dangerous snow conditions, which leads to water/ snow on the taxiway or the runway. It is valid for 24 hours, after which a new SNOWTAM has to be issued.
Ash NOTAM (ASHTAM)
When volcanic ash or other dust contamination affects the airspace and operations of aircrafts in the airspace, then an ASHTAM is issued.
For your next trip, team up with iJET, your flight support partner who is aware of al the updated NOTAMs. This helps us to inform our clients of any specific restrictions or information about their flight route, which in turn ensures a smooth and punctual flight for them.