Congressman Says Briefers Didn't Give Pilots NOTAM
ANN REALTIME REPORTING
10.12.07 1650 EDT: Well... this changes things. According
to a report in the Federal Times, pilots who busted a temporary
flight restriction last weekend over Camp David weren't alerted to
the restrictions by flight service briefers... because the facility
lost the Notice to Airmen.
That revelation came to light in a statement by Illinois
congressman Jerry Costello, chairman of the House Transportation
and Infrastructure subcommittee on aviation, during a hearing into
FAA oversight of privatized operations.
As ANN reported, Wednesday's
congressional hearing took a close look at Lockheed Martin's
performance in the two years since it took over Flight Service
Station duties from the FAA, as well as that agency's ability to
regulate other private companies tasked with providing vital air
During that hearing, AOPA president Phil Boyer noted just 64
percent of pilots recently surveyed were satisfied with the current
level of service provided by Lockheed for flight service operations
-- which, though an improvement from figures cited earlier this
year, is still "a failing grade."
Complaints most often cited by pilots using FSS today include
dropped calls, and a lack of knowledge of local conditions on the
part of Lockheed briefers.
Costello believes there is a recent, high-profile example of the
latter. As ANN reported Monday, a
dozen pilots flying antique and vintage planes to the Hagerstown
Fly-In in Maryland inadvertently flew into restricted airspace over
Camp David. At least four pilots were intercepted by F-16s.
At the time, FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown told reporters the
pilots who entered restricted airspace could have avoided the
incidents, had they had radios onboard, and checked the NOTAMS.
"Pilots are supposed to check the notices to airmen that we put
out that are in effect for the area," she said.
Apparently, they did. According to the Federal Times, Costello
says pilots who contacted flight service before their flights were
not told of the Camp David TFR... as briefers apparently lost the
Aero-News contacted Lockheed several times Friday for
comment on this revelation, but those calls were not returned by