As, as promised here is a guide to getting NOTAMs.
I guess we all know in theory what a NOTAM is, but it would seem that some people (including myself) received very little practical information about them in their flight training. NOTAMs are important, and it?s a legal requirement to check them before flight. There are two general types of information found in them that can be very useful and important. Firstly, they contain last minute information that can?t be published in the AIP, such as a piece of restricted airspace created at relatively short notice, such as temporary class A for a Red Arrows display, or a warning that an airshow is taking place at a particular location, or perhaps simply to activate a particular danger area on a given day. Secondly, they contain information showing any changes to the published information in the AIP. For example if an airports opening hours are going to be different from those published in the AIP, or if the airport lists itself in the AIP as having AVGAS, but for some reason or other, AVGAS isn?t available at that airport at that point in time.
Many pilots get away without checking NOTAMs in Ireland, but that?s all it is?.getting away with it. They probably survive because there isn?t that many restricted airspaces that pop up in Ireland, and we tend to hear about most of them, but that?s no excuse for not doing proper flight planning! You should make getting the NOTAMs a regular part of your pre-flight briefing?.it is after all a legal requirement! Those who venture into the UK during the summer are not likely to get away without checking NOTAM?s for very long! There are lots of restricted airspaces that last for short periods, such as when the Red Arrows do a display (they can do quite a number over a weekend!), when a member of the royal family are flying somewhere or when the police are dealing with an emergency or terrorist raid. On top of that there are simply hundred and hundred of airshows and flybys in the UK every summer, and you?ll want to avoid becoming a part of these! If you infringe the RAT (Restricted Airspace-Temporary) which surrounds every Red Arrows display, then you run an extremely high chance of being prosecuted, even for a first offence.
So that?s why you should check the NOTAMs, now the question is where? Well, first thing I would say is that the system is designed in such a way that you are supposed to get the NOTAM brief from the country that you are departing from. So for example, lets suppose you are planning on flying from EIAB to EGTR (Elstree near London), stopping there for fuel, and then continuing on to LFQQ (Lille in France), stopping there for lunch, and then continuing on to LFQS (Vitry in France). For your flight from EIAB to EGTR you are expected to get a NOTAM brief from AIS Shannon, and for your flight from EGTR to LFQQ you are expected to get a NOTAM brief from AIS UK, and for the flight from LFQQ to LFQS you are expected to get your NOTAM brief from the French AIS.
The reason for this is that NOTAMs are produced in different types, called series. The different series are decided by each country, and may be for example, International NOTAMs, Enroute NOTAMs, Airport NOTAMs etc. It?s up to each country to decide how many series of NOTAMs it has, and how they are split up. Not every country distributes all their NOTAMs internationally. A good example of this is France. The French authorities produce a series of NOTAMs called ?Series D? which is only for domestic airports. Are you can not fly directly to a domestic airport in France from outside the Schengen zone, they don?t bother distributing that series to non Schengen countries. Makes sense really! Since you can?t fly to LFQS directly from the UK, then why bother giving the UK NOTAMs relating to LFQS! Now the danger here is that for your flight from LFQQ to LFQS if you get your NOTAMs from somewhere other than the French AIS, then you won?t get to see NOTAMs relating to LFQS. If a NOTAM is marked as ?enroute? such as an air show would be, then these are always distributed internationally.
Ireland only issues one series of NOTAMs and that series is distributed internationally, so we don?t have an issue here. You can get a NOTAM brief from the UK AIS website, which I?ll describe below, and rest assured that you are covering all NOTAMs for Ireland. Obviously using the UK AIS is perfect for UK flights too, but if you want to go further a field, then you need to look at other countries AIS systems too! Let?s not go there for the moment!
Now you know the theory, and we?re about ready to look at how you actually get a NOTAM brief, but before I go on and explain that, let me issue a caution. Please, NEVER get a NOTAM brief from one of those weather sites that allow you to get NOTAMs. This is for a couple of reasons. First one because you don?t know what series they have access to, and could be missing something important as explained above, and much more importantly, they generally only give you a NOTAM brief for your departure and destination airports. So for example, if your flight goes from EIWT to EIKN, your path will take you almost overhead EIAB. However even if EIAB have an airshow on that day, and managed to get the Red Arrows (and as a result, some temperory class A airspace) you would not get to see the NOTAMs about this! Your brief is only for the two airports, and nothing in between. A small number of these sites will give you NOTAMs for a straight line between the two airfields, but you can?t control the route. So please don?t use these!
So what should you use? Well the place to get NOTAMS for the UK (and also for Ireland) is http://www.ais.org.uk
You will need to register, but registration is free.
Click ?Register Here? on the left hand side, and then accept the conditions of use. Fill in the details required. Unfortunately you are required to enter a postcode or you can?t register. Use ?EH1 1EH? and that should work.
Once your account is created, you will be thrown back to the log in screen. Log in, and we?re ready to go
On the next page is where you select the briefing you want.
Put your cursor over the word ?Notam? in the top left corner, and a menu drops down.
For briefings for flights within Ireland
Click area brief.
This will bring up a new page.
Briefing ID: This is any name you wish to give to the briefing, so that you will remember it if you want to call it up again later.
Briefing Content: You can select if you want to include Snowtam, Ashtam and Birdtams.
UTC Date & Time are self explanatory, just note the backward format of the dates.
Departure & Destinations are the ICAO codes for the airports.
Traffic: Change to VFR, so as to exclude items only relevant to IFR flights.
UTC Validity period: Only notams relevant to the periods after the date and time you enter into the first two boxes will be shown. Notams will be excluded if they only relate to periods after the date & time in the second pair of boxes. Again note the backward format of the dates in these boxes.
Purpose: Leave as ?General & Misc?. Otherwise Nav Warnings will be excluded, and you don?t want that!
You can exclude notams that are older than a particular number of days, if you so want, by entering the number of days in the box.
Cruising level interval: Lower and upper altitudes (expressed as flight levels) for which you want notams. Only notams relevant to flights between these flight levels will be shown.
FIR: This is the FIR that you want the Notams for. In this case enter EISN
Click Submit, and you?ll get all notams for the Republic of Ireland.
For briefings for flights outside Ireland
The problem with using the above method for a UK briefing is the shear volume of notams that exist in the UK. The solution is only to get notams relevant only to your route. (You can do the same for flights within Ireland, but because of the small number of Irish Notams, it?s not usually worth the bother!)
Put your cursor over the word Notam in the top left corner again.
Click ?Narrow Route Brief?
All items are the same as above until you get to flight level. This time you don?t have a range of level, but simply one flight level. Notams will be given if they affect your altitude +/- 4000ft. Therefore I suggest you put in FL040, as this will cover all notams from surface to 8000ft. An alternative is to put ?VFR? into this box, and then you will get all NOTAMs from surface to 12000AMSL.
Narrow route width. By default this is set to 10. This means that notams affecting an area five miles either side of your track will be reported. Increase this to make the tunnel as wide as you need, allowing for any potential routing around weather etc.
Route: This is the route that notams will be reported along. Use ?DCT? between each point. Acceptable points re VOR codes (DUB), NDB names (RSH), IFR waypoints (LIFFY), or bearings from a VOR. The bearings from a VOR can be a very good way of making your route if you can?t find anything close to it. If the point you want to route via is on a bearing of 285 degrees FROM the DUB vor and a distance of 57 NM, then use the format DUB285057.
Additional FIRS: Notams will be looked for in FIRs that your departure and destination aerodromes fall into, and any that you have a waypoint located in. If you cross other FIRS which you don?t have a waypoint in, then please enter their codes here, to force it to check them too. For example if you are departing Dublin and going straight to Beauvais with no waypoints in between, then by default it will only report notams in the Shannon and Paris FIR. You would need to include EGTT the London FIR in here to tell it to also check them.
Alternate Aerodromes: if you want to check notams at an alternate aerodrome, include them here.
I hope you can understand all that, that I haven?t bored you, and that it?s of some help to you! If you have any question, please feel free to ask.