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From the FAA this morning

The FAA is working to restore its Notice to Air Missions System. We are performing final validation checks and reloading the system now.

Operations across the National Airspace System are affected.

This apparently caused a complete ground stop for the whole US. Why?

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1 Answer 1

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NOTAMS contain information about potential hazards and other mission-critical information that is short-lived (so not worth printing on charts) or otherwise breaking news kind of stuff.

Without that information, pilots will be unaware of dangers that may be involved in their flight.

VFR traffic was exempt from the stop, presumably because VFR flying relies far more on pilots' own ability/requirement to detect obstacles/trouble, and GA (which operate under looser regulations and may choose to accept more risk than airlines are allowed to accept on behalf of their passengers) were among the first to be additionally exempted prior to the ground stop itself being lifted.

But airlines are heavily regulated and aren't allowed to depart without reviewing the NOTAMS relevant to their flight path and if the NOTAM system is offline they're unable to meet that regulatory requirement.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't know what this particular NOTAM ground stop stated regarding the type of operations that were affected, but even General Aviation VFR traffic are subject to information published in NOTAMs. Your answer gives the impression that General Aviation (VFR) operations need not care (ever) about NOTAMs, which is incorrect. $\endgroup$
    – user22445
    Jan 11, 2023 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @757toga I'll edit. I was listening to KBOS_GND/DEL when it dropped which is how I know VFR traffic was exempt from the ground stop. $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2023 at 15:31
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    $\begingroup$ This answer is largely correct with the exception of the presumption about VFR. Whatever the reason for the VFR exemption, it wouldn't be for the reason stated. NOTAMs often contain information vital to the safe conduct of VFR flights, cf notaminfo.com/latest?country=UK+Channel%20Isles $\endgroup$ Jan 11, 2023 at 16:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Dave Grimlin That's true. Ask any VFR pilot that accidentally flew into a Presidential TFR. $\endgroup$
    – RetiredATC
    Jan 11, 2023 at 19:10
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    $\begingroup$ @user71659: it was originally a complete 100% everybody GS, then they exempted medevac and military, then they exempted VFR, then they exempted IFR general aviation, then they exempted flights to ATL and EWR, then they also exempted flights to IAD, then they lifted the stop entirely. $\endgroup$
    – randomhead
    Jan 12, 2023 at 13:41

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