Notam Classifications and Covering Yourself Legally


Well-Known Member
I've got a few questions regarding NOTAM's and weather briefings.

To start off, it is my understanding that when you get a "standard" weather briefing, the briefer is only going to give you "Local" NOTAM's which have not been published. Published "Local" NOTAM's, "Distance" NOTAM's, and "FDC" NOTAM's will not be discussed unless you specifically request them.

To me, this whole system is a bit ambiguous. Personally, I've never asked for anything beyond the "Local" NOTAM's that the briefer offers, but I'm starting to wonder wether I should be asking for more, what with all the TFR's popping up.

It's my understanding that the NOTAM publication is updated every 56 days. It also takes about 56 days for approach plates and L charts to be updated. In other words, most published notams will show up on your L charts/approach plates, right? I would guess, that most of the time this fact eliminates the need for you to ask for Published NOTAM's, however, VFR Sectional are not updated as frequently as the NOTAM's and as such the NOTAM publication might be more of a concern for VFR flights.

Regarding FDC notmas, do TFR modifications fall under this domain? What kind of guarantee do I have that the briefer will tell me about any new TFR's/flight restriction during a "standard briefing" if I don't ask specifically for FDC NOTAM's?

Sorry if this is confusing, but I'd greaty appreciate any clarification.
The published NOTAMS can be found here:

They are updated every 28 days so only reading them in the Jepp books is not sufficient unless you have the subscription.

All unpublished D and L NOTAMs are given in a standard briefing, but published D and FDC NOTAMs are not (to the best of my knowledge anyways). Maybe someone can shed more light.
Okay it's 28 days, so scratch my L chart/plate theory. Thanks for that link Ed, quite helpful.
There are 3 types of notams: Notam D, Notam L and FDC Notams.

Notam D's are DISTANT Notams. They affect whether or not you can use a facility. Things like runway closures, lighting, navaids, etc. They will be given in a Standard Briefing, by any FSS that you call.

Notam L's are LOCAL Notams. They are things that you would hear on the ATIS at a towered field. Things like men and equipment near the runways, nonstandard runway markings, etc. They do not affect the use of the facility. They are only maintained by the local FSS and will not be given if you get a briefing from another FSS.

FDC Notams are flight restrictions, changes to IAP's, etc. They should be given in a Standard Briefing.

If a notam has been published then the FSS does not have to give it to you in the briefing, but usually will. The safest thing to do is ASK. Some stuff has to be asked for, like GPS and LORAN notams no matter what.

I always get Notams from DUATS. You get everything whether it was published or not. Unlike DUAT if you use DUATS you do not get the Notams for flight restrictions in Angola and Ethiopia when getting a route briefing to the airport just down the road. When I flile a flightplan I always do it on the phone and ask if there are any new notams. This way I am covered twice. DUAT and DUATS keeps a record of what it gave you, as does the FSS. This way if you were not told about a flight restriction or something else important you will not get violated.
Regarding the VFR sectional, updates are listed in the back of the AFD. If you are really bored you can put all the new towers they have built on your sectionals since they were published.

In todays climate I would ask for flight restrictions on every briefing.
Thanks ananoman, one of my biggest points of confusion was wether or not Notam D's are disseminated in Standard Briefings. I would not want to plan a trip only to find out the hard way that one or more navaids along my route of flight was inoperative.

At this point in my training I should probably know more about Notam's than I do right now, but I never really worried to much about asking for anything beyond what the briefer gave me in a standard briefing until recently.
I share your confusion, Alchemy. Many times even despite asking the FSS guys, they either do not know or do not have access to information that could affect your flight. This goes way beyond covering yourself from an FAA violation; it has the potential to determine whether you reach your destination intact or in a body bag. I always try to print out a DUATS breifing before I talk to the FSS guys so I have some idea of what to expect in terms of weather and notams. More than once I have querried the guy specificially as to runway availablity only to be assured that it would remain open all night. Of course when I got back it was closed... this has happened twice already; luckily the airport was not IMC so other runways were suatible. I think that regardless of the published status the FSS does its best to inform pilots of anything affecting them, but they are people too.
Many times I have read notams that said something was inop, closed, etc. Then you get there and it works, is open, etc. Hard to tell. Just make sure you always have enough gas to go somewhere else.
If you use a service like the notams are listed even after the publication of the NOTAM book (which I have seen once in 13 years of flying). Otherwise, FSS doesn't brief them after they are published.
Cool, I didn't know about DUAT, but I had been using DUATS (the one that aopa links you to from their site). I went ahead and signed up for DUAT and I'll probably use both methods from here on out, in addition to the usual FSS briefings. I think I've set myself straight regarding Notam's now, thanks for the help everyone.