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Sadly, NOTAM spam is a persistent thorn in the world aviation community's side. Bureaucratic rump-covering exercises lead to NOTAMs being issued and distributed that are mere noise to the average airman, leaving them pawing through pages and pages of briefing packets looking for a needle in a haystack.

As airmen, we're largely stuck with the results of this all. While better filtering would indeed be an improvement over what we have now, it would but paper over the underlying problem: the fact that there's this sea of noise to begin with.

How can NOTAM creators and handlers can this spam problem? Are there documented practices or guidelines they can follow to reduce the amount of rubbish that gets input into AFTN and dutifully delivered to hapless airmen everywhere?

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  • $\begingroup$ I see a big game of CYA, if they don't issue a NOTAM and somebody gets hurt as a result, somebody is liable. Personally as a pilot I'd rather read through noise to find things that are applicable to me than miss something because somebody deemed it not applicable. $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Apr 26 '17 at 3:34
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer -- at some point, there's just too much hay in the haystack and you can't find the needles as a result. (ouch!) Granted, solutions don't have to involve omitting information altogether -- condensing multiple NOTAMs for the same event (have you seen how many NOTAMs the FAA spews out for a runway closure?) is a possibility I've batted around in my head, for instance... $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject Apr 26 '17 at 11:32
  • $\begingroup$ From a non-pilot perspective, the "NOTAM spam" was an interesting bit of history, and from a human being perspective, I'd say the writer is a bit... peeved. $\endgroup$ – FreeMan Apr 26 '17 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ More on NOTAM spam $\endgroup$ – UnrecognizedFallingObject May 16 '17 at 14:44
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It's a real problem. Probably the worst you could do is read a raw DUATS briefing. If your EFB includes briefing support, those will do a slightly better job formatting and organizing everything. If you're flying VFR most of the time like me, keywords like IAP, ODP & SID following an airport identifier are only relevant to IFR, and not information concerning that flight.

Needless to say, the burden is on the airman right now. Maybe if someone passed these abuse cases to a forward-thinking FSDO, they might have a chance of some relief.

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