The Finish Line: NOTAM SPRINT 2023



From May 8-12, the NOTAM Alliance will host a NOTAM SPRINT: a workshop to create a framework for a vastly improved NOTAM Briefing for pilots and dispatchers. The NOTAM Alliance is a user-led group of airlines and aircraft operators focused on radically changing how NOTAMs are provided to flight crews, and includes major airlines like Austrian, Lufthansa, Aer Lingus and United Airlines.

The background to the NOTAM Sprint is a year of tremendous gains in NOTAM improvement. 2023 started with an FAA system failure, which in turn brought global attention to the NOTAM issues that pilots face every day – oversized 50-page+ briefing packages that are impossible for crews to parse. This creates a huge safety risk: critical updates affecting their airports and route of flight are regularly missed.

After decades of attempts to solve the NOTAM problem, the advances in Artificial Intelligence and a fresh approach to the core issues in 2023 led to a two-month review of the content of NOTAM messages. During February and March, a working group of 50 pilots, dispatchers and NOTAM experts created a “Top 50” list of tags that can be applied to any NOTAM, across 9 categories: Airport, Approach, Runway, Taxiway, ATC, Navigation, Airspace, Hazards, and Library. A Large Language Model (LLM) can then used to apply the appropriate tag to any NOTAM, which allows them to be sorted and filtered.

The result is a shortened “SuperNOTAM” Briefing harnessing the “Dark Cockpit Philosophy” – presenting first only critical NOTAMs to flight crew, with the more routine operational NOTAMs in a Supplement for reference. Irrelevant NOTAMs are filtered out. Each airline can set their own preferences as to which NOTAM types are deemed most critical (eg. Runway closures, Fuel warnings, Rescue/Fire cover), and which are routine/operational (eg. Parking stand changes, frequency outages, taxiway changes). The most persistent “junk” NOTAMs – Birds, Grass Cutting, and Obstacle Light outages – can be consigned to the scrap heap if desired.

The NOTAM SPRINT aims to create a working prototype of the model, turning the theory into reality, and reducing the NOTAM content at least tenfold. Over five days, airlines, operators, pilots and dispatchers will work on the key areas of the model.

All users are welcome to particpiate in the event, which will have daily Zoom group chats, a Slack working group, and an evening Notam Newsletter to summarise the day’s progress. At the end of the five days, the goal is to have an open-source blueprint for a NOTAM model that all aircraft operators will be able to employ, and ultimately, bring long-awaited and much needed relief to flight crews and dispatchers worldwide.

To read more about the event, visit the event page NOTAM SPRINT 2023, and to register, use this link.

NOTAM SPRINT 2023 – links


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One Comment

  • gary livack says:

    Mark. Greetings. I participated in your recent OPSGROUP Sprint Team activity. (Good use of my time.). Several of us are now in the process of drafting a paper on NOTAM improvements. I think it important to include mention of your recent activity, along with including some text describing the TAGGING CONCEPT, perhaps in its own appendix section. Might you have several pages of writeup material I might be able to use, with permission and appropriate attribution, of course. When the draft is more mature, I’d be pleased to send you a copy for your review, comments, markup, etc., as well as your use as you see fit. Thanks. G

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