By Damian Le Roux
Or to be more precise, all about viewing and displaying NOTAMs.
By “viewing” I am meaning looking at and checking NOTAMs before flight, which as we all should know is essential before any flight even a quick winch launch.
And, by “displaying” NOTAMs I am meaning having the NOTAMs show up on a moving map screen on a cross country flight, which is nice to have but not essential.
There are so many web sites, apps, and programs available which work in so many different ways it is easy to get lost in all the options, or to altogether miss out on something useful. In fact, besides helping those new to NOTAMs, one motivation for writing this is so that if I have missed anything, I hope someone will let me know, preferably on a club forum post so we can pool our knowledge to best advantage.
Clearly, when it comes to NOTAMs, it is necessary to have a basic knowledge of what is required of us and how the different types of NOTAMs impact us. For example, an RA(T) for a Red Arrows display is restricted airspace, which if violated is likely to lead to prosecution. In contrast, a Nav Warning regarding the Red Arrows transiting between places is just a heads up to keep a look out - there is no requirement to keep away. This is an area many glider pilots are understandably unsure about, however that is beyond the scope of this article. For those unsure there must be lots of advice out there, but do try to find a reputable source such as the NATS or the CAA web sites.
Here are some of the options available to view NOTAMs.
NATS Aeronautical Information Service www.nats-uk.ead-it.com
Advantages: Comprehensive, good for RA(T) information.
Disadvantages: Not very user friendly for standard NOTAM information.
This is the original official on-line source of all operational aeronautical information, including NOTAMs. If you ever need to know anything this is the place to come. Unfortunately, it is a non-starter when it comes to viewing/checking NOTAMs because all you get is reams of raw text. However, when there is Temporary Restricted Airspace RA(T) this is the place to come because there is lots of useful information, including maps and diagrams; but not found under NOTAMs - look under Aeronautical Information Circulars (AICs) for information on RA(T)s.
AirSpace Select https://asselect.uk (note, no www.)
Excellent resource for UK glider pilots, probably the ‘Go To’ place for most.
Easiest web site for a quick check of the NOTAMs.
Easy to print out the relevant information.
All About Notams