Skip to page content

Flight Service NAS Efficient Streamlined Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What are the goals of FAA’s Flight Service NAS Efficient Streamlined Services (FSNESS)?

FSNESS has three primary goals:

  • Expand the use of existing and developing technologies for functions that support FAA’s critical safety mission
  • Redesign processes to optimize service delivery
  • Eliminate redundancies and underutilized activities

Are pilots leveraging modern technology into their flight process?

Many pilots are using automation and technological enhancements. Traffic data for Flight Service in the Continental United States shows an increase in flight plans filed through the Leidos Pilot Web Portal. In 2017, 83% of flight plans filed through Flight Service are online, and, about 96% of briefings were provided online.

Is Flight Service going away?

No, we continue to evaluate services to identify changes that will create efficiencies without degrading safety.

Is Flight Service cutting services?

Core safety services will continue, however, service delivery methods may change to emphasize and leverage new technology and automated capabilities. We continue to evaluate obsolete, underutilized or redundant services.

Is Flight Service following safety requirements?

Yes, a Safety Risk Management Panel determines the level of risk for each identified change. Stakeholder participation and input is essential to make good safety decisions.

What changes has Flight Service made?

  • Enroute Flight Advisory Service (EFAS) - Effective on 9/24/15, EFAS is no longer provided on the dedicated Flight Watch frequencies. All weather and aeronautical information is relayed on routine inflight frequencies.
  • Inflight Services - Hazardous Area Reporting - The FAA discontinued Hazardous Area Reporting Service on 10/1/15. Enhanced Search and Rescue (ESAR) services now offered by the FAA through personal GPS satellite position monitoring have made hazardous area reporting services obsolete. Pilots can also request VFR flight following from Air Traffic Control (ATC).
  • Flight Plan Filing Automation - Increased automation available on the Ledios Pilot Web Portal and commercial vendors provide pilots with alternatives for flight plan filing, modification, activation and closure.
  • NOTAM Coordination - Automation exists that allows us to transfer verbal notification from Flight Service to ATC Flight Data Units.
  • Remote Communications Outlets (RCO) Infrastructure Reduction - Flight Service is eliminating duplicate and obsolete frequencies at the Inflight position, while maintaining a robust RCO network that provides at least 90% of the current RCO network footprint.
  • Security Flight Plans - The Flight Data Unit at Washington ARTCC now file Flight Restricted Zone (FRZ) flight plans. In addition, pilots may file web-based Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA) flight plans.
  • Search & Rescue - Enhanced Search and Rescue (ESAR) services are available through personal GPS satellite position monitoring. ESAR incorporates GPS technology into the SAR procedures for VFR flights and adopts automatic closure reminders for increased safety.
  • Telephone Information Briefing System (TIBS) - TIBS will be discontinued on September 13, 2018.

What other changes does Flight Service plan to make?

  • Flight Plan Filing (International Flight Plan format)
    • The FAA will transition to the international flight plan format for IFR/VFR civil domestic flights to align U.S. flight plans with ICAO standards.
    • NextGen deployments will bring benefits to the aviation community, which require adding an extra level of detail to domestic flight plans. Information regarding the crew, aircraft capabilities, and equipage will enable enhanced ATC services.
    • The International Flight Plan Form will be mandatory for civilian flight plans only. Many of the fields are not required if the flight does not cross a Flight Information Region (FIR) boundary.
    • Get ahead of the game by filing your flight plan in international format today. Simplified guidance on how to use the international flight plan format is available at www.faa.gov/go/flightservice.
  • Relaying Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) Clearances - Flight Service is working with Air Traffic Control (ATC) to enable pilots to call an ATC facility directly to request an IFR clearance. The FAA plans to publish phone numbers in the US Chart Supplement in February 2019.

How can pilots improve the safety of flight decision-making with technology?

The FAA has resource guides that include the General Aviation Pilot’s Guide to Preflight Weather Planning, Weather Self-Briefings, and Weather Decision Making (PDF), where pilots receive advice on how to make safe flying decisions.

In addition, pilots can expect improved decision-making with web-based graphics, plain language briefings and flight planning tools (such as favored altitude for wind and fuel consumption) that are fully customizable to their route of flight. Leidos Pilot Web Portal offers Preflight and Inflight Adverse Condition Alerts bringing the most updated information to your smartphone or mobile device.

What is the best way for pilots to receive flight planning and weather briefing services?

Technological advancements have led a majority of today’s pilots to utilize automated flight planning and briefing tools. Smartphone technology, satellite devices, and internet capability are smart, fast, easy to use, and benefit everyone. Pilots can take advantage of these readily available service delivery methods, including flight planning and weather briefing services from Leidos Pilot Web Portal or commercial vendors for a safe flight.

Web-based briefing tools include graphics tailored to a pilot’s route of flight and provide assistance with planning a departure around adverse weather conditions. In addition, pilots will find tools for automating VFR plan activation and closures, along with alerting services for adverse conditions, which may affect their route of flight. Many web-based services use plain language to describe weather conditions as well as interpretation tools.

What are Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA)?

As of April 2017, the Aviation Weather Center provides graphical and weather elements found in the Area Forecast (FA) as part of the Graphical Forecasts for Aviation (GFA) interactive website. In July 2017, Flight Service Specialists and those with limited Internet access gained access to two static graphical forecast images with cloud and surface forecasts. These new products deliver updates on weather information to decision-makers.

The Graphical Forecasts for Aviation and static graphical forecast images are updated continuously at www.aviationweather.gov. More details are in Advisory Circular AC 00-45H and a short video explains how to navigate the GFA interactive web tool at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLe6Eu3fwS0.

How does Flight Service communicate information to pilots?

Flight Service publishes articles and announcements in the FAA Safety Briefing and FAAST Blast messages. In addition to sharing updates at www.faa.gov/go/flightservice, Flight Service also collaborates monthly with external stakeholders such as the military, Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA), National Association of State Aviation Officials (NASAO), National Business Aviation Association (NBAA), and Helicopter Association International (HAI) on proposed FSNESS service changes.

Are you listening to pilots’ feedback as you make changes to Flight Service?

Yes, both individual pilots and aviation organizations representing the pilot community are engaged in the process.

To provide your input to the changes FAA is considering:

Page last modified:

This page was originally published at: https://www.faa.gov/about/office_org/headquarters_offices/ato/service_units/systemops/fs/faq/