A NOTAM, or Notice to Airmen, is a notice issued by a government agency or military command to provide information on potential hazards or changes to aeronautical facilities or procedures that may affect the safe and efficient operation of aircraft.
Recently, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has proposed a change to the terminology used in NOTAMs, from “Notice to Airmen” to “Notice to Air Missions” to reflect the increasing use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the airspace. This change is intended to reflect the fact that the information contained in NOTAMs applies not only to traditional manned aircraft, but also to UAS and other air missions, such as balloons.
The proposed change is still under discussion and has not yet been implemented. However, it is expected that once it is implemented, the new terminology will be used in all NOTAMs issued by ICAO member states. This change will help to ensure that all air missions are aware of the information contained in NOTAMs and can take appropriate action to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their aircraft.
The proposed change from “Notice to Airmen” to “Notice to Air Missions” does not have to do with pilot gender equality as many think. The change is intended to reflect the increasing use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in the airspace and to ensure all air missions are aware of the information contained in NOTAMs and can take appropriate action to ensure the safe and efficient operation of their aircraft.
The term “Airmen” is used in the traditional sense, referring to pilots and other personnel involved in the operation of aircraft. However, with the increasing use of UAS and other types of air missions, the term “Airmen” may not accurately reflect all of the individuals and entities that may be affected by information contained in NOTAMs. Therefore, the proposed change to “Notice to Air Missions” is intended to be more inclusive and to ensure that all air missions are aware of the information contained in NOTAMs. The acronym not changing made it a pretty easy too.
Furthermore the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has been working on the development of a digital NOTAM system, known as the ICAO NOTAM Management System (INMS), to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of NOTAM dissemination.
The INMS is designed to provide a single centralized platform for the issuance, distribution, and retrieval of NOTAMs. This digital system will allow for the electronic submission and distribution of NOTAMs, as well as the ability for users to search and view NOTAMs online. Additionally, the INMS will incorporate advanced features such as automated validation, conflict detection, and geographic information systems (GIS) mapping capabilities.
As of 2021, many countries have already implemented the digital NOTAM system, while others are in the process of doing so. It’s expected that in the near future, digital NOTAMs will become the norm and will be used worldwide.