NOTAM's (Notifications for Airmen) are something that all pilots should be aware of. We have the advantage for local flying of being advised by BAE if there is likely to be something in our local area, however it is the responsibility of each pilot to ensure that we do not infringe any airspace. This is important and each pilot must personally satisfy themselves that they understand and are aware of any NOTAMS that may be experienced on any cross country flight.
The BGA has a web page dedicated to NOTAM's which should be used as a primary reference site, the link is http://www.gliding.co.uk/bgainfo/airspace/notams.htm and the primary source of NOTAM information is the NATS web site at www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/public/index.php.html) The BGA document has a document available at http://www.gliding.co.uk/bgainfo/airspace/aisnotamtipsv3.pdf that gives full details on how to download a Pre-Flight Information Bulletin from the AIS/NATS web site. There is a crib sheet at the bottom of this page that shows you how to download the raw data.
However there is an easier solution that gives a mapping display of the data and is so much easier to understand. You should be aware that the producers of this and similar mapping software always warn you that the NATS NOTAM data is the bible as per the BGA website.
NOTAM Map is free NOTAM mapping software. It is very user friendly once you have had a play with the menus and read the help section. The key feature is that it avoids a training course on how to read or remembering how to read NOTAMs. The extraction of relevant information is easy and is done for you. Click on the icon to go to it. To login and download the NATs data use the username Lakes and password Lakes, both with a capital L. This software works straight from this website as it is Java based. If your computer decides you need to, download and install additional software from their website which can be found at http://www.notam-map.co.uk/launch.html You may need Java software installing on your PC/Laptop, again free issue genuine software.
To use NOTAM Map
Click on the NOTAM Map (NM) icon
Click on File then Properties, set home airfield Barrow
Click on File and Download the NATS information (username Lakes password Lakes)
Go to View and open the map
Scroll to the flight path on the map or click and hold left mouse to drag map
As you move the mouse across the map colour changes occur and the info is on the window bottom
Or right click on the information points for the drop down menu
Select Detail to see the relevant simple explanations
The right click feature provides easy understanding of what may be in your flight path so you use mapping solutions at
To stick with the formal way of doing it, this crib sheet from the BGA website will probably suit most of our needs and make finding information easier.
Go to the login page of the AIS website http://www.nats-uk.ead-it.com/fwf-natsuk/public/user/account/login.faces
Log in the same way as above, you are drawing information from the same site
Login Name ..Lakes
Password . Lakes
Select .. POINT BRIEF
This brings up a template
Fill in the boxes as follows:
Briefing id :
Make up your own reference name/ number or leave the default
SNOWTAM/ ASHTAM/ BIRDTAM : Uncheck the lot of them if necessary
Origin: our airfield ICAO code or lat/long coords 54N003W
Radius: set to the furthest distance (in nautical miles) that you might fly in any direction from the airfield, default 25 miles
UTC Validity Period : Dont change!
Traffic : VFR
Copy the coordinates 54N003W to the box, all else is fairly logical
If you leave the traffic box at the default IFR/VFR, the brief bulks up with airways stuff. Better to select VFR
if you are a 500 km pilot, you can work out your own area
the smaller the area, the less crap
Finally, click SUBMIT, print and bring a copy to the airfield. Now all you have to do is make sure you understand what it is saying. If in doubt ask.
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