What is a NOTAM - Notice To Airmen

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What is a NOTAM - Notice To Airmen

What is NOTAM

Imagine there is a wild storm that has just hit the city, The Airport Authority has decided to shut down operations on a runway at your local airport & it needs to communicate this effectively to every airline operating there. Such messages that are intended to inform all operators are called Notice to Airmen or NOTAM. They are written in a specific format followed strictly across the globe in order to minimize ambiguity and convey the most pertinent information in a swift fashion.


What are NOTAM ?

NOTAM is the information that could affect a pilot’s decision to make a flight.

NOTAM are issued concerning the following information :
  • Significant changes in operation of aerodromes or runways. 
  • Establishment, withdrawal and significant changes in Aeronaytical Information Publication (AIP)
  • Establishment, withdrawal and significant changes in Radio Navigational Aids
  • Establishment, withdrawal and significant changes of Visual Aids
  • Changes in Aerodrome lighting systems
  • ing information : Changes in Air Navigation Services
  • Changes on availability of fuel , oil and oxygen
  • And many more… 
NOTAM are not issued concerning the following information :
  • Routine Maintenance work which does not affect the safety of aircrafts
  • Temporary obstacles which does not affect the safety of the aircrafts
  • Lack of Marshalling services and road traffic control 
  • And any other information of similar nature

A checklist of all valid NOTAM is issued by the local governing authority (eg : AAI) along with the latest amendments to the AIP.

Example : Checklist for August 2018 A Series NOTAM :  Click Here


Special Types of NOTAMS : 

Trigger NOTAM : 

When an AIP Amendment or an AIP Supplement is published, trigger NOTAM are issued and must come into force on the same effective date as the amendment or supplement.
Example : 
G1268/18 NOTAMN
Q) VABF/QMXTT/IV/BO/A/000/999/
A) VABB B) 1808160000 C) 1808292359
E) TRIGGER NOTAM - AIRAC AIP SUPPLEMENT 62/2018.
   FLEXIBLE USE OF TAXILANE K1 - CHHATRAPATI 
   SHIVAJI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT MUMBAI (VABB).


SNOWTAM : 

SNOWTAM is a special NOTAM issued to notify about presence of hazardous conditions due to snow, slush, ice or water.

SNOWTAM

Example : 
GG EHAMZQZX EDDFZQZX EKCHZQZX
070645 LSZHYNYX
SWLS0149 LSZH 11070620
(SNOWTAM 0149
A) LSZH B) 11070620 C) 02 D) ... P)
C) 09 D) ... P)
C) 12 D) ... P)
R) NO S) 11070920 T) DEICING)


ASHTAM : 

ASHTAM is a special NOTAM issued to notify about presence of volcanic activity, ash cloud, etc. Its maximum validity is 24 hours.
Example :
VALI0024 LIRR 01151800 ASHTAM 015/10 
A) ROMA FIR B) 01151650 C) ETNA 101-06 D) 3744N01500E E) RED ALERT 
F) AREA AFFECTED 3700N01500E 3900N01600E 3800N001700W SFC/35000FT G) NE H) ROUTES AFFECTED WILL BE NOTIFIED BY ATC J) VULCANOLOGICAL AGENCY 




NOTAM Modes of Operation : 

NOTAMN : NOTAM issued is containing new Information
Example : G0128/08 NOTAMN
Meaning : NOTAM G0128 issued in 2018 contains new information


NOTAMR : NOTAM issued is replacing a previous NOTAM
Example : G0032/10 NOTAMR G0029/10
Meaning : NOTAM G0032 issued in 2010 replaces G0029 issued in 2010


NOTAMC : NOTAM issued is cancelling a previous NOTAM
Example : A0460/03 NOTAMC A0456/03
Meaning: NOTAM A0460 issued in 2003 cancels NOTAM A0456 issued in 2003


Classification of NOTAM : 

A Series NOTAM - Contains information of concern to long and medium range flights
B Series NOTAM - Contains full information on all aerodromes , facilities , etc
C Series NOTAM - Contains information for aircrafts not engaged in international civil aviation
S Series NOTAM - Contains SNOWTAM
V Series NOTAM - Contains ASHTAM
T Series NOTAM - Contains NOTAM which are not triggered by issuing operational changes
Z Series NOTAM - Contains information regarding GNSS Systems


Decoding NOTAM : 

Let us consider an example and decode it completely :

A1566/18 NOTAMR A0261/18
Q) VABF/QSCXX/IV/BO/AE/000/999/
A) VABB B) 1808030535 C) 1902020429 EST
E) FREQ 133.85MHZ FOR LOWER AREA CONTROL AVBL FOR OPS
   WI 50NM OF BBB VOR BTN FL145-FL245 AND FM 50NM UPTO
   100NM OF BBB VOR BTN FL070-FL245

1. A1566/18 NOTAMR A0261/18 : Indicates series , Type of Operation , Year of issue and Reference to an existing NOTAM.

Literal Meaning : Series A1566 issued in 2018 replacing NOTAM A0261 issued in 2018

2. Q) VABF/QSCXX/IV/BO/AE/000/999/ : Indicates FIR , Subject , Condition , Traffic , Purpose , Limits

Literal Meaning
VABF : NOTAM issued for Mumbai FIR. Subject
QSCXX : Subject -  Area Control Center
IV : Traffic - NOTAM issued for IFR and VFR Traffic
BO : Purpose - PIB Entry and Flight Operations
AE : Scope - Aerodrome and Enroute
000/999/ : Limits : FL000 to FL999

3. A) VABB B) 1808030535 C) 1902020429 EST : Indicates Start Time and End Time 

Literal Meaning : 
1808030535 : Start Time - 18th August 2018 , 0535 UTC
1902020429 EST : End Time - 2nd February 2019 , 0429 UTC (Estimated)

4. E) FREQ 133.85MHZ FOR LOWER AREA CONTROL AVBL FOR OPS
   WI 50NM OF BBB VOR BTN FL145-FL245 AND FM 50NM UPTO
   100NM OF BBB VOR BTN FL070-FL245 : Indicates Description of the NOTAM

Literal Meaning : Lower Control Area available on Frequency 133.850 Mhz within 50 miles of Mumbai VOR (BBB) between limits of FL145 to FL245 and from 50m radius to 100m radius of Mumbai VOR (BBB) between FL070 and FL245.





References : 

1. Aeronautical Information Manual
2. PANS-ABC (Doc 8400) 
3. ICAO AISM (Doc 8697) :
4. ASHTAM Examples
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