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I've always wondered how a private pilot makes sure they have read all the NOTAM's that might affect their flight. There must be thousands of NOTAM's out there. This question talks about the many types. Some will be just for the day, some applicable for months. Some affect large areas, some just one taxiway. If doing a cross-country flight, especially to an unfamiliar airport, how does one know how to wade through all of them and be sure they've covered all of those that might affect their flight?

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  • $\begingroup$ You can use the FAA NOTAM search feature on their website. notams.aim.faa.gov/notamSearch $\endgroup$ – JScarry Mar 21 '17 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ More recently, tools like Skydemon do a great job of finding the relevant NOTAMs along your planned route. $\endgroup$ – Jamiec Mar 21 '17 at 15:07
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A quick lookup tool is PilotWeb.

The pilots may receive NOTAMS during flight briefing. The best way to ensure that you are getting proper NOTAMS is to request all NOTAMS for the route of flight you have filed when you speak with the flight briefer. The briefers are trained professionals, and they know what NOTAM information to provide to pilots, but it must be requested!

The FAA says this in regards to a standard briefing:

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)

(a) Available NOTAM (D) information pertinent to the proposed flight, including special use airspace (SUA) NOTAMs for restricted areas, aerial refueling, and night vision goggles (NVG).

NOTE- Other SUA NOTAMs (D), such as military operations area (MOA), military training route (MTR), and warning area NOTAMs, are considered “upon request” briefing items as indicated in paragraph 7-1-4b10(a).

(b) Prohibited Areas P-40, P-49, P-56, and the special flight rules area (SFRA) for Washington, DC.

(c) FSS briefers do not provide FDC NOTAM information for special instrument approach procedures unless specifically asked. Pilots authorized by the FAA to use special instrument approach procedures must specifically request FDC NOTAM information for these procedures.

NOTE- NOTAM information may be combined with current conditions when the briefer believes it is logical to do so.

NOTE- NOTAM (D) information and FDC NOTAMs which have been published in the Notices to Airmen Publication are not included in pilot briefings unless a review of this publication is specifically requested by the pilot. For complete flight information you are urged to review the printed NOTAMs in the Notices to Airmen Publication and the A/FD in addition to obtaining a briefing.

If someone is performing a self-brief via 1800wxbrief.com, which is the best internet briefing site in my personal opinion (because it will tell you if you make a mistake rather than purge your flight plan without telling you), they can see NOTAMS invoked by relevance to their proposed flight path.

So to be sure you're getting everything, call 1-800-WXBRIEF via phone and file that way and request NOTAMS from the briefer.

One last thing that needs to be reiterated here:

"This question talks about the many types [of NOTAMS]."

There are various classifications of NOTAMS, but for all intents and purposes in the civilian world, we have two types of NOTAMS; Distant-(D) and FDC. That's it.

Civilians haven't had local NOTAMS in the US since 2008 when an advisory circular announced that they were being packaged into NOTAM-(D)s

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  • $\begingroup$ The briefers you refer to in the first paragraph, is that who you speak to when you call the FSS? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jun 7 '16 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ @TomMcW I suppose they are the same organization that operates the FSS. They are "Lockheed-Martin Flight Services" under a government contract to handle flight services. 1800wxbrief.com is their company's flight plan filing/briefing site, and 1-800-WX-BRIEF is their phone number for the service. DUAT and DUATS are official, but they aren't as user friendly. Wingx Pro 7's(a pilot app) flight plan filing system utilizes a 1800WXbrief.com account as opposed to DUATS. $\endgroup$ – Ryan Mortensen Jun 7 '16 at 17:56
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    $\begingroup$ Just an update to the comments for future readers: the FAA has terminated the DUATS program effective May 16th, 2018. $\endgroup$ – Jimmy Jul 27 '18 at 16:20
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Theoretically, they could go by NOTAM category and select every NOTAM that falls along their planned route of flight (and planned alternates, if applicable), along with a few NOTAMs that warrant a general check regardless e.g. Presidential TFRs anywhere near their route of flight (and I use the term "near" very loosely; I'd check for Presidential TFRs anywhere in the state, and even in the adjacent state if close to the border).

More practically, it depends from pilot to pilot, but if you file a flight plan and ask for a briefing (which you really should for all but the most local of flights), you can ask the briefer to check for NOTAMs in effect along your route of flight to leverage their software to filter out unnecessary info.

More recently, we've also got a plethora of digital flight planning tools that can access the FAA NOTAM databases and pull down any and all relevant NOTAMs according to the filters you set.

At a minimum, you'd want to make sure you might want to check NOTAMs at your airports of departure and destination, along with your alternates and any TFRs. Checking NOTAMs for any navigational equipment you're planning to use (e.g. VOR/DME stations under maintenance, RAIM outages, etc.) is also a good idea.

Ultimately, however, it's up to the PIC to determine which NOTAMs are relevant and should be reviewed and which ones are not. All part of the position's prerogatives.

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