• What is a NOTAM and what is it for?

You know that, in aviation, safety is paramount to ensure that all procedures are carried out properly. One of the key elements in this area is the NOTAM, an acronym for Notice to Airmen.

Throughout this article, we will take an in-depth look at what a NOTAM is, what information contains and its importance in aviation.

What is a NOTAM?

A NOTAM is a message issued by civil aviation authorities that contains essential information for air navigation.

This information may include temporary changes to facilities, services, procedures, regulations and other aspects relevant to flight operations.

NOTAMs are designed to keep pilots and other flight personnel informed of current conditions in real time, thereby contributing to the safety of all airspace users.

How many types of NOTAMs are there?

There are different types of NOTAMs, each of which is geared towards a specific type of information. They are presented below:

  • NOTAM A: Refers to information on aerodromes, runways, facilities, services and regulations. These NOTAMs are of particular relevance to pilots and airlines.
  • NOTAM B: Contains information on air routes, navigation systems, controlled airspaces and danger areas. It is essential for flight planning and airline coordination.
  • NOTAM C: Provides weather-related data, such as adverse conditions, natural phenomena or events that may affect visibility and flight operation.
  • NOTAM D: Includes information on military activities, temporary restrictions and prohibited areas. It is crucial to ensure aircraft safety and avoid airspace conflicts.

Where to check active NOTAM reports in Spain

Before each flight, it is essential to check all the NOTAMs that are active in the area where you are going to fly. To do this, there are different ways to obtain NOTAMs:

  • On Enaire’s web. To access it you need to have a username, but don’t worry, our instructors will show you how to create it as soon as it is necessary for your training.
  • On the Icaro application. This is an app developed by Enaire for creating flight plans and consulting NOTAMs; it is also necessary to have a user account.
  • On the Insignia VFR website. This is a page created by Enaire for checking NOTAMs. Each one of them is represented on the map, allowing you to quickly see which ones affect your flight.

Examples of situations in which NOTAMs are issued

Here are some examples of situations in which NOTAMs are issued:

  • Temporary closure of a runway: If a runway is temporarily closed due to maintenance or repair work, a NOTAM will be issued informing pilots and airlines of the closure and the alternative runway available.
  • Changes in communication frequencies: If communication frequencies between pilots and controllers change temporarily, a NOTAM will be issued to ensure that all airspace users are aware of the new frequencies.
  • Sporting or cultural events: During major sporting or cultural events, such as the Olympic Games or music festivals, NOTAMs may be issued to inform pilots and flight personnel of temporary airspace restrictions.
  • Military activities: In case of military exercises or weapons testing, NOTAMs will be issued to inform civil aircraft of restricted or prohibited areas in the airspace.

How to read a NOTAM

At first they may seem complex, but in reality the structure of NOTAMs is always the same, so understanding their meaning becomes easier with practice.

Let’s look at the nomenclature of each of the elements and their meaning:

  • NOTAM/SUP: The first 5 numbers are the NOTAM identifier; the last two indicate the year of issue.
  • Item B: This indicates the time at which the NOTAM becomes effective.
  • Item C: This indicates until when the NOTAM is in force.
  • Items F and G: These refer to the vertical limits of the NOTAM.
  • Description: Specifies the nature of the NOTAM, the person responsible for its management or the requirements for entry into the NOTAM.

Continue learning about aviation

We hope you have found this article interesting and that has allowed you to learn a little more about what pilots have to check before each flight.

If you want to continue learning about other aviation facts, we recommend that you continue browsing our aviation blog, where we cover different topics such as where a plane flies the fastest. Furthermore, we might even talk about cloud formation or where the suitcases go when you check them in at the airport.

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