SOARIZON recently integrated a new feature provided by our aviation data provider, Snowflake Software.
The new update - spatially enriched, machine-readable NOTAMs, enables NOTAMs to be read and understood more easily and represent a clearer visualisation on the map.
What does this mean for pilots and operators?
NOTAMs shown through the platform will now be much more accurate and easier to interpret.
The image below demonstrates the visualisation of a NOTAM before and after the new functionality was introduced.
The update also includes the ability to visually interpret NOTAMs at different altitudes within the airspace, giving pilots a much better idea of air traffic at a glance.
What are NOTAMs?
NOTAM is an abbreviation of ‘Notice to Airmen’. They give details of any known hazard along a planned route, whether on the ground or in the airspace at any altitude.
Why do drone operators need NOTAMs?
NOTAMs are a crucial part of planning drone missions. Drone pilots use the same airspace as all other aircraft and so need to be aware of any potential restrictions or warnings happening within that airspace.
NOTAMs provide data referring to different altitudes, multiple types of risks or hazards. The team at Snowflake Software have put together a handy list of the different types of NOTAM on their blog, summarised below:
Trigger NOTAM: issued to “alert” people of changes to the Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), which is a local “rulebook” for each country. AIPs are kept up-to-date by regular revision on a fixed cycle. For operationally significant changes in information, the cycle known as the AIRAC (Aeronautical Information Regulation And Control) cycle is used: revisions are produced in chart publication cycles: every 28 days (single AIRAC cycle) or every 56 days (double AIRAC cycle). The intention of Trigger NOTAMs is to highlight the coming into effect of permanent or temporary changes to the AIP, and it normally includes brief descriptions of the changes, the effective date and times, and the identification of the amendment or supplements of the AIP.
FDC NOTAM (Flight Data Center NOTAM): FDC NOTAMs are regulatory in nature, they must be followed, much like the rules of the road when driving. For example, you cannot go faster than the speed limit on the highway and if you do you can get a ticket. In aviation there are required altitudes, speeds, waypoints etc. you MUST follow.
TFR (Temporary Flight Restrictions): TFRs are a type of FDC NOTAM which must be abided by and are regulatory in nature. They are a restriction on an area of airspace due to the movement of government VIPs, special events, natural disasters, or other unusual events within airspaces, meaning that an aircraft cannot fly through the TFR area and must change its flight path to avoid it.
BIRDTAM (Bird NOTAM): BIRDTAMs advise airspace users of a passage of a nearby flock of birds through an airspace. A flock of birds can have significant consequences on an aircraft if one gets caught in an engine.
SNOWTAM (Snow NOTAM): A SNOWTAM is a NOTAM which affects an aerodrome and will be issued to notify users of the presence of, or the removal of, hazardous conditions due to snow, ice, slush or the resulting standing water on the runways, taxiways and aprons of the aerodrome. A SNOWTAM is valid for 24 hours and a new one will be issued whenever there is a significant change in conditions.
ASHTAM (Ash NOTAM): An ASHTAM advises users of an operationally significant change in volcanic ash or other dust contamination which can affect an airspace and aircrafts flying through them.
Class I NOTAM: Class I NOTAMs are normal NOTAMs that are issued via telecommunications.
Class II NOTAM: These are normal NOTAMs that are not issued via telecommunication. Instead, they are published in the chart publication cycle which is updated every 28 days.