Thousands of flights could not take off in the US yesterday due to a fault in a computer system that gives important information to airplanes in the air. Actually, there is a computer system called NOTAM i.e. Notice to Air Missions. This gives pilots and other aviation personnel alerts about air traffic. Thousands of aircraft remained grounded in America yesterday after a technical fault in this system. According to media reports, around 4,663 flights were delayed and 450 domestic and international flights had to be cancelled. According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), flight operations were able to resume gradually after about 4 hours after the NOTAM malfunction on Wednesday. Aviation experts are saying that it will take at least 2 days for the situation to become normal. Normal air traffic operations across the United States began to slowly resume on Wednesday.
What is NOTAM?
The full form of NOTAM is Notice to Air Missions. It is a system which is considered to be the most important part of the entire flight operations. Flights get information about takeoff or landing only through NOTAM. Understand in simple language, NOTAM takes real time data and gives it to Air Traffic Control (ATC). After this ATC transmits this data to the pilot of the flight. Along with this, let us tell that NOTAM system monitors not only flights but also natural disasters and other problems.
How does NOTAM manage flights?
- NOTAM is a kind of computer system, so its language is difficult. NOTAM has its own code language. Real time data collected from NOTAM is shared in the final briefing to pilots before takeoff of any aircraft.
- NOTAM collects real-time and abnormal conditions data from the National Airspace System (NAS). Provides to ATS by taking data related to any service, process or threat condition or change in any condition in NAS.
- Without NOTAM, airplanes are unaware of bird strikes or slippery runway conditions, which in themselves can prove to be a major risk.
- NOTAMs are listed for the different locations of the flight location the pilot wishes to collect information about.
- Apart from this, if any runway or taxi-way is closed. Even if there is a problem in the radio navigation system,
- NOTAM has a role in giving information about it.
- These systems inform pilots on the route of flight about changes in conditions such as weather, volcanic activity, airspace restrictions and other factors, as well as unusual events such as parachute jumps, rocket launches and military exercises.
- NOTAM informs pilots about unusual conditions at airports, including icing, poor lighting, and the presence of flocks of birds.
- The US FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) runs a centralized NOTAM system. It displays the necessary information on the monitor according to the scheduled flight route. However, as is the case with any centralized system its glitches/failures have very wide ramifications.