Embark on a Notam Adventure

For the last hundred years, the Notam has existed without fear of predator, unchanged and unchallenged.

It has lived freely in our aviation ecosystem, blissfully unaffected by technological development that has long seen the demise of other primitive species such as Morse Code, the Telegram, and Loran-C navigation.

Notams too will disappear, so take advantage of their abundance while you can. With this Field Guide, you can embark on your own adventure, finding the multitude of varieties that still exist.

Notamus Constructis

The Crane Notam

Very common in Europe and North America, the Crane Notam is part of the larger irrelevantus family. Most airports are near cities. Most cities – and airports - have construction, so there are a lot of cranes. These are at most a few hundred feet high, and usually very far from the runway. Nonetheless, any crane within Ubering-distance of an airport is added to the Notam system.

Notams most fowl

Notamus animalis avem

Another species of the irrelevantus family, the Bird Notam is the most common variety of the animalis genus. Birds like grass. It comes as no surprise that flocks of them are attracted to airports. Even forewarned that there are birds about, there’s not much you can do to avoid one that chooses to fly in front of your 737. The routine Bird Notam is, therefore, a statement of the obvious.

Nothing to see here

Notamus minimalis differentius

Practically invisible to the naked eye, the Tiny Notam communicates an almost imperceptible change. It takes up far more space than its contents warrant. The Tiny Notam results from a bureaucratic urge to correct an item of information, without considering whether this is in any way essential.

Not what it seems

Notamus clandestinus

To the untrained eye, this appears to be a list of active Notams. Not so. These are, in fact, coded numbers used by foreign intelligence agencies including MI6, Mossad and the CIA. Aware that almost nobody was reading Notams anymore, it was seen as the perfect vehicle to transmit instructions to operatives in the field.

Don't be outfoxed

Notamus animalis

Unbeknownst to most pilots, the Wildlife Notam is sponsored by the National Geographic foundation. Faced with declining magazine circulation, the Foundation made a secret agreement with individual states to promote interest in wildlife. The ruse is obvious – forewarning the pilot of Rhino movements, Goat grazing times, and Giraffe behaviour in mating season does zero to improve flight safety.

The Killer Notam

Notamus imperium

As a pilot, this is the Notam you want to keep your eyes open for. Incredibly difficult to spot, and that’s because it’s designed that way.

Malaysia 17, shot down over Ukraine in 2014, was the recipient of one of these. It was a coded warning that the crew ultimately never deciphered.

Read the Full Field Guide to Notams

Browse the pages below, or download the full book here (PDF version).

Leave a Reply

2 Comments

About Salient

The Castle
Unit 345
2500 Castle Dr
Manhattan, NY

T: +216 (0)40 3629 4753
E: hello@themenectar.com