Recognizing a shift in pilot preferences for web-based tools, the FAA continues to evolve Flight Service to streamline operations and reduce costs, while maintaining the highest level of safety. Flight Service is leveraging technology to eliminate redundancies and underutilized services.
"None of these changes will affect a pilot's ability to receive core safety services," said Steven Villanueva, Director Flight Service, in the Air Traffic Organization's System Operations Services. "We are phasing in the changes to ease the transition for users," he added.
The FAA consolidated Flight Watch into routine inflight services to eliminate unnecessary duplication of service and provide greater convenience for pilots. Now pilots get weather updates on the same frequencies they use to close flight plans and receive Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs), including temporary flight restrictions.
The FAA phased out the remaining 19 locations of the Remote Airport Advisory Service. Seven of the airports did not meet the Agency's criteria for receiving advisory service. Pilots have alternate ways to get the information it provided at designated airports without control towers.
The Flight Service team works with all stakeholders to implement changes. In the contiguous United States, controllers now enter pilot weather reports directly, rather than relaying the information to Flight Service specialists to enter. Efforts are also underway to make NOTAM coordination, entry and dissemination more efficient. In addition, we are realigning emergency services frequencies so pilots will receive immediate assistance from an Air Traffic Controller with surveillance capability to increase safety in an emergency.
The FAA plans to implement flight plan filing for civil aircraft exclusively under the format used by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). Flight plans contain specific information related to the proposed flight of aircraft and assist controllers in delivering air traffic services. Today, pilots file flight plans in the U.S. under either the domestic or ICAO format. The use of one format will simplify the process and align U.S. flight plans with ICAO standards.
Pilots primarily use automation to file flight plans and receive preflight briefings. New technology such as ADS-B gives pilots more inflight options. Flight Service will continue to incorporate the latest technologies and reduce or eliminate other functions to create efficiencies and value.
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