Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
#1778135
James Chan wrote:.. Why is this obscure/outdated format still being used in 2020?
...


Because it was agreed by ICAO at its beginning, in the era of Morse and AFTN/TELEX, and the format must still allow for both of those, which are globally approved by the CCITT :roll:

It was explained to me by someone who had been in a national Delegation at ICAO in Montreal that any change would require unanimity. SovBloc delegations used to block any change proposed by 'Western' countries, partly out of perversity but also because the USSR apparently still used a lot of internal Morse and HF printer links for 'AFTN'-type traffic. That has changed, but apparently North Korea will still block anything proposed by others. 'Blocking' is never formal 'vetoing'; it is always expressed as a 'need to consult further' :)

[just trying to answer the question; please don't shoot the messenger :wink: ]
GonzoEGLL, johnm liked this
#1778150
In very many cases - and this is a good example - the delivery method makes little difference.

When the clarity of wording is poor, the choice of delivery method is irrelevant.

Had it been worded as @Tim Dawson suggests, with the author actively trying to aid the user rather than blindly following a process, there would be no problem of understanding, no trap to fall into, and a greatly reduced risk of infringements.
Kemble Pitts, Rob P, flybymike and 6 others liked this
#1778177
I do agree that the format, in this case, is not an issue.
G-BLEW, Dave W liked this
#1778282
This thread is really helpful, but I wanted to flag a question - and possibly an example of where there is ambiguity.

I've got a flight on Friday where for efficiency I'd like to route through the East of Southend's zone up to Suffolk. I checked SD and also the NOTAMs and it appears to show that Southend is closed and that it's ATZ, CTA and CTR are deactivated (although SD only shows the CTA and CTR as so). Here's the NOTAM as presented by NOTAM Info:

Q) EGTT/QAECD/IV/NBO/AE/000/055/5135N00045E017
A) EGMC B) FROM: 20/06/18 15:15C) TO: 20/06/30 19:00
E) SOUTHEND CTA, CTR, ATZ DEACTIVATED. AD CLOSED. NO ATS AVBL
SCHEDULE: 1515-1900

Until I had read this thread, I would have assumed that the airspace deactivation is from 1515 on 18th June until 1900 on 30th June.

But you've now got me confused: is it daily between 1515 and 1900 every day in that period (e.g. is the airspace active before 1515 each day?

There's no D) against the Schedule component (but is that because I'm not reading the raw notam?)

Perhaps I am an idiot (probably), but would it not make sense - to avoid confusion - where airspace is only deactivated for part of the day to have the FROM and TO dates/times 0001 to 2359 so that the scheduled times are clearly distinct from the period in which the NOTAM is in effect?

Just because the deactivation begins 1515 on 18th June, why can't the NOTAM period begin 0001 but the schedule kick off 1515? That way, there's no risk that someone won't interpret the NOTAM period as lasting from the start of the first day of deactivation through to the end minute of the last day of deactivation?

I appreciate people out there will read this and go: you should know how to deconstruct a notam, but lots of low hours pilots like me will look at this and rightfully be confused as to whether it's deactivated or not. I'm happy to admit that I'm confused (and would welcome someone else telling me whether Southend is active or deactivated before 1515 during those dates.
T6Harvard liked this
#1778289
@flyingearly

Its a minefield isn't it?

When you have this sort of doubt your fallback is a quick telephone call to the ATC unit involved.

In passing, Southend are very good on transits, I've never known one refused, and "The Pier" and must be the easiest VRP to identify in the whole country.

Rob P
Last edited by Rob P on Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
skydriller, T6Harvard liked this
#1778290
flyingearly wrote:Until I had read this thread, I would have assumed that the airspace deactivation is from 1515 on 18th June until 1900 on 30th June.


So would I. And even having read the thread I might do in the future.
Either "DAILY" or even better "EVERY DAY" needs to be in there.

Can this stuff be reported anywhere? This kind of thing is likely to lead to airspace busts.
flybymike liked this
#1778310
skydriller wrote: This kind of thing is likely to lead to airspace busts.

Which will be treated as entirely the unfortunate pilot's fault.

Nothing will be learned by anybody else, if previous form is maintained. Ridiculous.
flybymike liked this
#1778315
I know that there is already lots of griping about the proliferation of NOTAMs, but the wording of NOTAMs and usage has been a bugbear of mine ever since I started training; presumably there is a sort of CAP 413 equivalent for writing them?

To give a slightly different but related example, last year towards the South Coast there was a NOTAM centred around Battle/Hastings/Bexhill area for model RC flying. It lasted 3 months, from sunrise to sunset, and pretty much said what I just said: 'model radio flying taking place'.

Presumably, model radio flying wasn't taking place for 16 hours a day, every day for 3 months, but as a consequence you now have a NOTAM that persists for 3 months every single day, even though it's clearly just a placeholder to protect the local Radio model flying club whenever they meet up a couple of times a week. Why not word it as such?

It would be good if someone, somewhere, either reviewed NOTAMs and rejected them for wording (or pushed for clarity), or otherwise the aviation community could 'report' NOTAMs if they were incorrect, or ambiguous, or needed clarification?

Better language improves the situation for everyone. Another example: 'kite flying'; if you could refer to it as Paragliders or Hang Gliders then other airspace users would know what to look out for (admittedly I'm still very new to all this, but I have yet to see a 'captive balloon'; in my head I've got it as those mini blimp things that sometimes get tied as adverts to petrol stations? Is that what I should be looking out for?).
T6Harvard liked this
#1778346
Rob P wrote:When you have this sort of doubt your fallback is a quick telephone call to the ATC unit involved.


Doubt also tends to be my saviour.

My thought process with these airspace deactivations went something like this:

Hmmm, could be more clearly worded - one possible interpretation is that the airspace is deactivated completely, at all hours, for a period of many days.

Asks self: How likely is that?

Self replies: Not very.
Rob P, Hawkwind, T6Harvard liked this
#1778359
defcribed wrote:
Rob P wrote:My thought process with these airspace deactivations went something like this:

Hmmm, could be more clearly worded - one possible interpretation is that the airspace is deactivated completely, at all hours, for a period of many days.

Asks self: How likely is that?

Self replies: Not very.


Ah, but there's the danger. As someone who has never flown to/from/over Southend, my only exposure has been in planning my upcoming trip. In my head, the image I had of Southend - promoted by the fact it has all this Class D around it - was that it was an EasyJet hub and home of commercial aircraft, so now that Covid19's all kicked off, it would not seem unrealistic that the airport would be fully closed.

Therein's the problem; reading a NOTAM it's really easy to get confirmation bias and you have to very consciously snap yourself out of it. My conversation went something like:

"Southend's closed because of Coronavirus for several weeks because EasyJet aren't flying, so they've deactivated their airspace while the commercial flights aren't operating"

"It's closed 15:15 on 18th June, which is maybe when the last scheduled flight departed/landed, and it's opening 19:00 on 30th June, which I guess is when the next flight is scheduled to leave"

"The ATZ isn't showing as deactivated in SD, perhaps because GA's still going on?*"

Now, as it happened, I'd picked up sufficient doubt in my assumptions that I'd planned to call my FI this week to talk through my flight plans and get a second opinion, but then I saw this thread first and it provided the perfect opportunity to ask the question. Had I not found it, I would have still rung ATC for reassurance.

But I think I'm pretty indicative of how a low-hours pilot would handle this situation (possibly I'm a bit more cautious!) and I can easily see how someone would end up busting airspace if they followed through on these sorts of assumptions.

*As it happens, the ATZ is deactivated when the AD is closed, but SD isn't reflecting that, even thought it's showing that the CTA and CTR are deactivated.
Dave W liked this
#1778362
For as long as people blame ICAO unanamity for inept NOTAM creation and others are happy to believe it we will keep getting GIGO.

As long as the Q line is correct the NOTAM passes muster for ICAO compliance, so hanging your hat on bad, illogical, nonsense text in the "free text" bit is disingenuous.

Time for 21st C thinking not early 20th C

:cyclopsani:
David Wood liked this
#1778389
flyingearly wrote:I know that there is already lots of griping about the proliferation of NOTAMs, but the wording of NOTAMs and usage has been a bugbear of mine ever since I started training; presumably there is a sort of CAP 413 equivalent for writing them.

There is, - ICAO Annex 15.
https://skybrary.aero/bookshelf/books/3737.pdf