Fixing Notams is without doubt a collaborative effort. The aviation industry has been trying to tackle the Notam Problem since 1964, and to date, we have not solved it.

Now, in 2020, we see renewed energy in tackling the issue, and global success (“Notams are Fixed!”) can only come when the groups working on the problem collaborate and share – which is why we bring them all together here – so here is a list of the Fixers and the Filterers:

The Fixers

These are the groups now working on improvements to the Notam System itself.

ICAO – IMP (Information Management Panel)

  • Mission: Working Group – Aeronautical Information (WG-A) of the IMP [1st meeting report] is tasked with several topics as described in its five ‘job cards’, namely:  1) NOTAM, 2) AIM Global Implementation Support, 3) Digital Data Sets), 4) Aeronautical Charts, 5) WGS-84. The NOTAM focus group of WG-A is working towards defining a replacement of the current NOTAM system which should be integrated within the framework of System-Wide Information Management (SWIM).
  • Current Status: Developing an operational concept for the NOTAM replacement system (NRS).
  • Key contact: Alexander Pufahl (ICAO)  EmailLinkedIn

FAA Notam Improvement Team

  • Mission: The FAA is working on fixing core problems in the US domestic Notam System.
  • Current Status: Notam Search is operational. Notam Search is a modern, web-based search site that allows for easier sorting, filtering and keyword searches of Notams. Notam Search uses Digital Notams in AIXM 5.1 format.
  • Key contacts:

OPSGROUP

  • Mission: OPSGROUP is representing the users of Notams – primarily Pilots and Dispatchers.
  • Current Status: After a stall in 2020, we have renewed energy. Our aim is to bring the people working on the problem together, brainstorm ideas, and look for the easy wins in making a better Notam system.
  • Key contacts:

AIS Reform Coalition

  • Mission: A joint government/industry working group. A key goal of the AIS Reform Coalition is to harmonize aeronautical information with global standards, which includes Notams.
  • Current Status: No recent updates.
  • Key contacts:

Eurocontrol Digital Notam project

  • Mission: Recognising the failings of the current Notam System, Eurocontrol published in 2011 a Version 1.0 of specifications for a new Digital Notam format, using AIXM 5.1 as the data coding format. The idea is simple – a more structured data framework for issuing Notams.
  • Current Status: Release of Version 2.0 of the proposal for a Digital Notam format is planned for 2020.
  • Key contacts:

FAA Notam Task Force (stalled)

  • Mission: In their report on Air Canada 759, the NTSB report recommendation #2 to the FAA is to “Establish a group of human factors experts to review existing methods for present inflight operations information to pilots”. As a result, Rep. Pete Stauber introduced “The Notice to Airmen Improvement Act of 2019“, which if passed, will require the establishment of an FAA Notam Task Force.
  • Current Status: The bill passed the House on Oct 29, 2019, and is now in the Senate. Follow the progress of the bill. December 2020 update: no movement on this.
  • Key contacts:

 

The Filterers

These are the groups and companies working on filtering and presentation of Notams.

ICAO and OPSGROUP created an AI ‘bot’ named Norm. The first step was to train the AI using machine learning – 2 million Notams were shown to Norm to learn what a Notam is, and 36,000 base Notams were assessed for criticality by OPSGROUP Pilots and Dispatchers. Using that dataset, Norm assesses each new Notam worldwide with a simple criticality score of 1-5, and in addition, determines the most likely Q-code, independent of the one actually on the Notam. Norm in beta, and ultimately, shows that even advanced AI struggles to make sense of the current Notam format.

Skyguide  The Swiss ATC agency has a product called Skybriefing, where “the NOTAM text is revised to improve its readability and shortened to include only content of operational relevance”, creating a ‘SmartNOTAM’. Further, the NOTAMs are processed in such a way that they appear only in the briefing period in which they are valid. In addition, the SmartNOTAM can be filtered by means of the individual briefing settings.

Foreflight ForeFlight is an app providing flight planning, aviation weather, maps and charts. In the app, Notam Advisor ‘displays a warning banner that shows a count of relevant NOTAMs’. (2014)

Snowflake Software offer “Spatially Enriched Notams” as a product, by parsing NOTAM text coordinates, and matching with other aeronautical data to create a visual picture for otherwise hard-to-read coordinates. NOTAM data is transformed into geoJSON and made available through API’s which can be used to filter the data.

Lufthansa Systems The German software arm of the airline Lufthansa, through its flight planning software “Lido” (used by about 60 airlines), manually processes each Notam that is issued to determine relevance in a method they call “Notam Data Maintenance”.

Jeppesen have a Notam Management Tool.

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