In doing some planning for an upcoming flight, I noticed my destination (a towered airport) has a NOTAM about the runway: "FICON PATCHY ICE". That seems rather vague, I'd like more information before departing. Who should I contact to get more details about the runway conditions and how it might affect my flight?


What, you dislike the fact that the NOTAM about patchy ice is patchy in its detail? :)

Generally if you need more information about a NOTAM (in the US) you can check with:

  1. Flight Service While collecting your briefing ask if they have any more detail -- sometimes they do, sometimes they don't, but it's worth asking.
  2. A local FBO
    Particularly for FICON NOTAMs - A local FBO will usually know the condition of the field, and often have other useful info for you (like how much a heated hangar is going to cost you for the night).
  3. Airport Operations
    Again, particularly for FICON NOTAMs - These guys will usually have a pretty good picture of the field's condition, since they're generally the poor shmucks responsible for doing the snow/ice clearing.

Failing all of those, you can also call the tower phone number at a towered field (you can get that number from Flight Service too) and ask them for details.
I usually make the tower my last resort call - they're almost certainly going to be willing to give you as much information as they can, but they're also busy doing other stuff like dealing with planes taking off/landing/taxiing around & they'd probably appreciate if we tried the other sources first.
The other folks I mentioned generally have someone sitting around to answer phones and questions.
In the case of Flight Service, that's basically their job :-)


Well this NOTAM really doesn't give a good impression of what's the actual condition is, but I appreciate you being keen to get some detailed information prior getting there. You should consider to call the airport manager - find the number e.g. at skyvector, but I wouldn't wait until the date of your departure, as these people are sometimes not easy to contact and it needs several tries, but of cause the information, especially regarding this NOTAM, should be as up to date as possible. A local FBO could also provide you with some more detailed information.

  • 4
    $\begingroup$ This really is a pretty awful FICON NOTAM as far as level of detail goes. I'm used to seeing "ALL RWYS LOOSE DRY SNOW" or "PATCHY ICE TWYS A,B,G,D" or my personal favorite "4FT SNOW BANKS ADJACENT TO ALL MOVEMENT AREAS" -- something that gives you a clue about the actual conditions. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Jan 8 '14 at 4:57

In such a case the best action would be to call the tower's published telephone number. They will have more information regarding this notam (and might even have created it themselves) .


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