Do We Still Need Telephone Weather Briefings?

The FAA is looking, as always, for ways to trim spending. Rumor has it that the feds may not extend funding for the two DUAT online weather and flight planning services after the end of the government’s fiscal year this September. I think that would be a huge mistake.

The two online briefing services for pilots–DUAT and DUATS–were rolled out early in the internet era. They were among the first easily available sources for complete weather data, notams, TFRs and flight plan filing. Initially the service was text only, but eventually graphics were added. All you needed to use the service is a current medical certificate.

Since the DUAT services were established a whole host of online and mobile device apps have been invented. I can’t possibly keep track of how many weather and flight planning apps and services there are, and what they can all do, and the number keeps growing. In many respects the apps are easier to use and more graphically driven then the DUAT services.

What most pilots don’t know is that nearly all of the new flight planning apps and services actually use one of the DUATs to get their information and file flight plans. The FAA has been cautious about allowing online services to connect directly to the ATC computer system to input flight plans. It’s easy to see why. Can you imagine what a hacker, or even a well meaning bumbler, could do to the ATC system if they were allowed to feed corrupted or malware files directly into the ATC Center computers? It would be a disaster for air travel.

So DUATs, and just a handful of other fully vetted operations, are permitted direct access to the FAA system. Though you may no longer use one of the DUAT providers, you are very likely to be using their FAA connections when you use one of the very capable apps that have become so popular.

From what I can tell the entire DUAT budget is under $10 million. And it’s a pay per contact service so the FAA pays only when pilots use it. This is chicken feed in any federal government budget, and one of the best values the FAA has.

DUAT, both directly and indirectly by linking other providers to the FAA, is doing so much for so little, but the big bucks spent on weather are still going into the telephone briefing. An online weather briefing or flight plan filing costs pennies, but a phone briefing costs many dollars. The worst part is that a phone briefing, no matter how long it takes, can never deliver graphics to show the boundaries of airmets, or sigmets, or radar pictures or fronts and lows and highs, or critical TFRs. And the world’s longest phone briefing could only give a pilot a tiny fraction of the total information available, no matter how fast the pilot scribbles as the briefer reads.

Briefers are not allowed to actually interpret the weather information they give to pilots. In the old days when FSS staff were located on airports, had windows to look out, and often spent many years at the same station, they did have knowledge and experience about local conditions and could add local knowledge to the briefing. Those days are gone.

What the phone briefer can do now is sort through the huge stack of data and prioritize giving the pilot on the phone the most critical and important data more quickly. But now software can do that, too. Almost daily the weather apps and online sites get better at showing what matters most first, and presenting the information in an easy to understand and interpret format.

Some pilots still find it comforting to hear a human voice read them the weather information, and intone those “VFR not recommended” words, or express serious concern when reading an airmet or sigmet, or terminal forecast for low conditions. But most of us don’t. We want the information quickly, completely, and want to read it and see it for ourselves.

Ending phone briefings would save more than 10 times the cost of DUAT services and online briefings. Complete weather and flight planning information is available from so many outlets I think it’s time to cut the phone cord.

But what about inflight weather requests? Without briefers who would read weather, notams, TFR locations and such to a pilot in flight? That is an issue, but the solution is already being implemented through ADS-B FIS (flight information service). ADS-B sends up complete weather and flight information continuously from a national network of ground stations that is nearly complete. Portable ADS-B receivers cost well under a grand, there is no subscription fee, and FIS can show pilots radar pictures, location of TFRs and weather alerts, and other graphics on mobile electronic devices, notably the iPad.

The FSI data sent up continuously is so much better than anything an FSS person can read over the radio because you can see the information graphically. And on most systems you can see the actual location of your airplane relative to the TFR, or radar returns, or other weather hazard. No voice report can do that.

In aviation we are of necessity slow to adapt new technology. We want proven tech, not new tech because the stakes are high. But electronic information technology is now well proven, is being used daily at the highest levels of aviation, and can do so much more than any phone or radio voice briefing it’s time to move ahead. Let’s hang up the weather phone.

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43 Responses to Do We Still Need Telephone Weather Briefings?

  1. Marc Rodstein says:

    I agree fully. Can’t remember the last time I phoned an FSS for a briefing, and I don’t plan to ever do it again. A phone briefing is so far inferior to an online or even a smartphone briefing as to be ridiculous, yet it costs maybe 50 times as much. If you want to cut the waste in government this is a good place to start. I would make an exception for out of the way places where internet/smartphone communication is not readily available.

  2. Rae says:

    I’m confused by the title of this article. While I have not gotten “telephone” weather briefings in years, I use ForeFlight and my flight plans are transmitted via DUATS. If you are talking about discontinuing telephone weather briefings, I would not care. If you are talking about discontinuing online services such as DUAT and/or DUATS to applications such as ForeFlight, I would be deeply concerned.

    • Mac says:

      The headline says telephone, I think. And that’s what I’m talking about, not any online service.
      Mac Mc

  3. Tim says:

    I call FSS for every flight. Not because I am looking for some comfort, but because this is the only official source of TFRs.
    Secondly, if checking weather between legs, I will call for an update because my phone is too small to read the weather and look at decent trends. And sorry, but I have almost never seen an FBO have a weather computer available near the self serve fuel tanks in the middle of the night. And over 1/3 of my hours are night….

    Basically my point is FSS still serves a critical service, DUAT(s) does not.

    Tim

    • Mac says:

      Hi Tim,
      DUAT and DUATS have the same official status as a telephone briefing so you’re covered. What you really care about is that there is a record of what information you received and when in case there is ever an investigation. Both DUAT services, FlitePlan.com and an online 1800wxbrief.com site all record and retain a record of the information you viewed.
      There is no FAR that requires a weather briefing of any kind under VFR. The closest rule is FAR 91.103, the “preflight action rule” which mentions weather only for an IFR flight. The odd thing about this rule is that is says “each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with ALL (emphasis mine) available information concerning that flight. That’s a tall order. Can you be sure you have ALL information? I know you can’t from a phone brief because it would take a week to read ALL that is available online.
      Mac Mc

      • Tim says:

        Mac,

        My point was neither DUAT(s) solution, ForeFlight or ANY online services is considered official for TFR. Just hit the FAA TFR website and read the final line, only official source for TFRs is the FSS (which reads you the list from the TFR website — I have asked, but unless they read it to you it is not official).

        Just ask your local FSDO what action will be taken if you fly into a TFR and you have not called FSS. If you have called FSS and it is not mentioned or times provided changed you are clear.

        Tim

        • Mac says:

          Well, Tim, the DUAT information is provided by the FAA, paid for by the FAA, comes from the exact same source as the phone briefer’s information so it is as “official” as anything can be. If you don’t like that, look at 1800wxbrief.com. That site is operated by Lockheed Martin, the very same company that employs the briefers you talk to on the phone and assembles the information they see on their screens. Believe me, a for profit company like Lockheed Martin does not customize its data stream for one outlet over another because that adds cost. What you see there is exactly the same info the phone briefers have. We all know the FAA is not a single unified operation, and one FSDO may have a different opinion than others, but the data on DUAT is FAA supplied and paid for, and so is the 1800wxbrief.com, and fltplan.com also has an official FAA approval stamp for its weather and ATC data.
          Bests,
          Mac Mc

          • Tim says:

            Mac,

            I never said it made sense. It just is; there are only one viable sources for TFR data before flight which if incorrect will you get a pass from DHS and FAA. The good old FSS briefer on the phone. Once in flight, although ATC is not official, you will get a pass from DHS/FAA if you specifically ask as you approach if the TFR is active.

            See also Douglas Manuel’s post. :D

            Tim

  4. Eric7 says:

    I know someone who got his license suspended for violating a pop-up TFR over an industrial site. He got his WX briefing from a prominent commercial service at his FBO. No mention of a TFR. The FAA told him a phone briefing is the only officially recognized source.

    • JimD says:

      Whoa Eric. I know it used to be the case the DUATS online is also an officially recognized TFR source. In fact, I get a DUATS online briefing every time I fly, and the only thing I look at is the TFRs section. Everything else about wx I get from other sources such as those mentioned herein. Maybe every pilot needs to phone for a TFR briefing before every single flight. (That would, I have no doubt, get FAA’s *rapt* attention.)

  5. TedK says:

    If you login to the FAA’s TFR site (tfr.faa.gov), it says “Pilots should not use the information on the website for flight planning purposes. For the latest information, call your local Flight Service Station at 1-800-WX-BRIEF.”

    The FAA needs to let go of Orville and Lindy and move into the 21st century. Yes, telephonic briefs should wane to nearly nothing, but they should remain available.

    • Bob says:

      That the FAA will provide this information would be great, but it is completely inexcusable that they’ll try a cop-out of “this is unofficial” and try to resort to making everyone phone in for a briefing like it’s 1950.
      It’s 2014, and like it or not, internet-based services are becoming the norm for just about everything. The FAA needs to accept that an online-only briefing will have to become acceptable and official. Unfortunately, like in the rest of aviation, the FAA seems to be populated by too many people who think aviation technology reached its peak sometime around 1975, and everything aviation-related should therefore be frozen to the way things were done then.
      Newer isn’t always better. But being able to see and read the information instead of having to process it verbally and build the picture in our heads is a substantial improvement, and it’s time the FAA recognizes it.

  6. Kayak Jack says:

    I prefer to call 1-800WXBRIEF to have official confirmation of my interpretation of WX info from sources other than DUAT/DUATS. When DUAT/DUATS learns to speak plain English, I’ll deal with them. Their abbreviated gobbledygook doesn’t impress me positively. Any service delivering information needs to speak in the language of the receiver. I’m not a computer.

    Yes, I know that some pilots will snicker in derision at me for saying this. But, here’s the simple formula. DUAT/DUATS serves me; I do not serve them. A human briefer on the phone understands this; DUAT/DUATS does not seem to.

  7. Tim is right. A friend if mine got tagged violating a TFR. He quickly summerized what was happening (when thumped by an F-16) and took a photo of his ForeFlight/Stratus presentation. During the punitive phase of his license suspension, he received a letter saying that all NextGen graphics/data is advisory only. Only ATC/FSS provide valid TFR data. As a side note, his ASR was rejected, because they said national security trumps the NASA program.

    • michael mercer says:

      I am the pilot that Doug mentioned that got busted for depending on inaccurate FAA ADS-B TFR broadcasts. The whole two year ordeal resolving the issue (a 30 day suspension of my license) has been eye opening for me. The bottom line is that the FAA’s position regarding safety of flight information is completely untenable.

      First some history specific to TFRs. You may not have noticed but for years there was no graphical display of TFR that you could use for safety of flight. Sure AOPA and even the FAA had a map with TFRs marked. But if you looked closely you would note a disclaimer that they were advisory only (that changed within the last 12 months for the FAA graphical depiction and AOPA dropped their depiction and now points you to the FAA version). Somehow the FSS briefers were better at viewing these than us because if they looked at an advisory only display and told you where TFRs were or were not then that made it legal (provided the FAA could find a record of your communication with the FSS briefer). The challenge otherwise, and even now that the FAA has removed the advisor only restriction for their graphical display, is how do you prove you looked at the TFR graphic? I was certainly surprised to find out the FAA makes errors but still holds the pilot accountable.

      Mac is correct that ForeFlight would access DUATS/DUAT to get the weather data. You have an option to load your personal user ID and password for DUATS/DUAT into the app and ForeFlight will retrieve your briefing using your credentials. If not, ForeFlight will use their credentials to get your briefing. Only from the FAAs perspective, as I painfully discovered from my TFR incident, if the FAA cannot find that your credentials were used to get the briefing then you simply did not get the briefing and will be cited for violation of 91.103(a). It makes no difference that you got exactly the same information using ForeFlight’s credentials vice your own. I would add the following April 29, 2014 quote from the FAA’s Regional Administrator in a letter to Senator Warner on my behalf, “ForeFlight provides a service that is not an FAA-approved source for preflight or safety of flight information.” Quite telling of the FAAs position on this matter if you ask me. Surprisingly ForeFlight received the FAA’s Qualified Internet Communication Provider (QICP) certification back in 2012, prior to my incident. The FAA canceled the requirement to use approved QICPs effective August 15th in Advisory Circular (AC) OO-62. Some of this may explain the illogical behavior of the FAA in my case holding a pilot accountable for depending on inaccurate data from the FAA – that the FAA has no less admitted was in error. So you tell me what constitutes a legal FAA briefing? I can assure you that even if you get something that the FAA has approved, you remain screwed if you cannot prove you got the information when they come after your certificate.

      I would correct something in Mac’s article and a belief held by many pilots. EVERYTHING broadcast through the FIS-B or TIS-B parts of ADS-B is ADVISOR-ONLY. That means you cannot use any of that data to defend yourself against an FAA enforcement action. Again the FAA’ Regional Administrator stated that ADS-B “is not to be used for real time navigation, that it is only advisor, and that pilots should contact Air Traffic Control or and FAA Flight Service Station that provides weather and other safety information.” Think about that when you are making your split second decision to deviate from assigned heading and altitude for at TIS-B collision alert next time you are flying.

      • michael mercer says:

        I would correct one comment I made about being screwed if you cannot prove you got a legal briefing. It matters not if you can prove you got the briefing. The only thing that matters is if the FAA can independently verify through their own systems that you got the briefing. If they cannot find a record in their database that you got the briefing – then you did not get the briefing and will be cited in violation of 91.103(a). Good luck providing the copy of the printout or email you got from whatever FAA-Approved source you used.

  8. Thomas says:

    There really should not be any excuse for NextGen airspace not being legally valid for TFRs. I mean, what is NextGen for, if not air navigation?

    We really need judges with the common sense to throw out Secret TFRs.

  9. Thomas says:

    In fact, it seems to me that an article in a major newspaper, ridiculing NextGen’s official status as “not to be used for navigation”, would be an excellent development. Public humiliation can be an effective motivator for senior bureaucrats.

    Anyone got connections to a decent aviation journalist at NYT or WSJ, maybe?

    • Douglas Manuel says:

      Perhaps Jon Scott, an aviation journalist for Fox News SFO, could be a good starting point. He was profiled in the March 2014 issue of AOPA Flight Training (I have no direct contact information).

  10. Felix says:

    I totally disagree. Sure the internet is great, and you can easily get your briefing from DUAT(s), but most of the time the briefings on the DUAT(s) is full of useless information. I fly in and around the NYC class B, and every weather briefing contains hundreds of NOTAMs from JFK, EWR, LGA – airports that i have no intention of landing at (or even getting near). The briefer on the phone not only gives me the information I need, but quickly filters it for me. Reading those lengthy 30 page briefings on an iPad or iPhone is not fun. Furthermore, if I have questions I have a live person to ask.

    I’m not against technology (i’m a software engineer), but getting rid of 1-800-WX-BRIEF would be a big mistake, and as a CFI I teach my students to use a live briefer over DUAT(s) all the time.

    • Mac says:

      Hi Felix,
      Here are some interesting numbers. DUAT, which is paid per contact, costs the FAA and taxpayers about 8 cents per contact. There were more than 130 million contacts a year through the DUAT pipeline. On the other hand, FSS briefers handled 4.6 million calls at a cost of about $140 million for a cost of nearly $30 per activity. Even by government spending standards, that is an amazing difference. Is FSS and phone briefings a wise use of available aviation funds? That’s the key question.
      Mac Mc

  11. Kayak Jack says:

    Mac, I don’t think that is the key question. Aye god – it’s bean counter thinking. You’re better than that.

    Do there is a distinct difference between efficiency (thinking of cost, in this situation) and effectiveness. “Efficiency = doing things right. Effectiveness = doing the right thing.” Being efficient at not doing the right thing is still wrong. “I’m lost – but making great time!”

    The reason for weather briefings, as I understand it, is to convey necessary information, in a useable format, about conditions of flight, to the pilot. If the information is inaccurate, not authoritative, incomplete, or not in a useable format, it is misleading and of little use. No matter how cheaply it can be done poorly, it is no savings.

    Poorly, here, is a relative term. If it is being done better, then that is a way we should both pursue and use.

    Just my 2 cents.

  12. John Ewald says:

    I agree with Mac. Phone briefings are so 20th century. I’m an active IFR pilot who flies about 150 hours a year in the system, most of it for business travel. I’m on the go and always in a rush. Phone briefings simply take too long. I can look at a few apps on my phone, go to fltplan.com and be filed in about 90 seconds. Try that with a briefer.

  13. Larry N. says:

    Sounds as if the gist of this discussion is that most people (including Mac) seem to be saying you have to have a computer to be a pilot, and you have to have a large “smart” phone to be a pilot. In other words, you’re mandating more equipment purchases just in order to fly. Sure, most folks these days have those things, but not everyone.

    “Phone briefings are so 20th century.” What’s a century got to do with anything? That’s just (to me) an offensive way of saying “old fashioned.” So you’re saying everyone needs to operate the way you do?

    The digital divide is getting into aviation…

  14. Thomas says:

    Kayak Jack,

    Hold on a second. Cost matters. Mac says it costs an average of $30 to provide a telephone briefing.

    Would you pay $30 to get a voice briefing?

    If no, then the question becomes whether it’s fair to demand that other people pay $30 to provide a service to you, that you yourself think is worth less than that.

    If yes, then the government doesn’t need to provide the service: it can be a business, with customers like you.

    Costs matter.

    • Tim says:

      If there was another usable and official source of TFRs it would eliminate 95% or more of the FSS calls I make. The last 5% I could go online on my phone and fiddle fart around for a bit and answer but it is just easier to call FSS.

      Oh, I checked with three other pilots who like me trained inside the SFRA or near P40. They all do the same thing, call for the official TFR list just before take off.

      Tim

  15. Charley says:

    It’s not only a “digital divide, it’s an age divide as well. I find that older pilots actually enjoy talking to briefers, while younger pilots like myself like to get the weather and file flight plans electronically – particularly if weather won’t be a factor (if the forecast looked to be interesting using electronic sources, I’d call a briefer.)

    On a related note, if the FAA justifies future user fees based partly on the cost of telephone weather briefings, then I’d propose that they charge for the service. DUAT/DUATS should be free or a nominal fee, and carry the same authority as a voice briefing.

  16. Bill P. says:

    I vote with Mac Mc on this one, while at the same time agreeing with Kayak Jack and CFI Felix that the official online system needs to be improved so pilots can get the information they want and need easier. That means less clutter from info they don’t need (Felix’s point) and providing info that is expressed in English (Jack’s point).

    If the official online system(s) could be improved — perhaps combined with an educational campaign designed to make sure more pilots are aware of the improved system and how to use it — hopefully pilots would recognize that they can obtain better information faster online than they get get with a telephone briefing (Mac Mc’s point). Then maybe the telephone system would die a natural death.

    However, the system can’t be changed if the FAA keeps insisting that checking for TFRs online is not valid for flight planning and that you MUST instead call 800wxbrief or risk being prosecuted if you violate a popup TFR. That’s ridiculous. Changing that alone would get more pilots to just go online and stop calling 800wxbrief.

  17. Kayak Jack says:

    Thomas sez, “Hold on a second. Cost matters. Mac says it costs an average of $30 to provide a telephone briefing. Would you pay $30 to get a voice briefing?

    If no, then the question becomes whether it’s fair to demand that other people pay $30 to provide a service to you, that you yourself think is worth less than that.

    If yes, then the government doesn’t need to provide the service: it can be a business, with customers like you.

    Costs matter.”

    You’re right of course, cost does matter. Safety matters more. Penny wise and pound foolish isn’t the best way to go. Gus Grissom was burned to death, sitting on a rocket provided by the lowest bidder.

    • Thomas says:

      If you consider safety an absolute requirement, you have to stay on the ground.

      If you don’t, you’re making tradeoffs.

      When you’re making tradeoffs, costs matter. Do you, for example, have a ballistic parachute on your plane? Air bags? Two engines? Turbines?

  18. Kayak Jack says:

    I’d happily use online info (that’s where I get the bulk of my information already) if DUAT/DUATS will offer it in formats that are digestible. It isn’t the source – it’s the useability of it that I need.

    Another concern is that when I get it on line, then drive to the field, do a pre-flight, and get ready to start the engine – my online information is now at lest an hour old. My telephone information is about 10 minutes old at engine start.

    I use WING-X and an ASB receiver that sill display weather and TFR’s, but I haven’t heard an expert analysis of weather for a while. Then again, maybe I’m a wuss pilot. I developed that after picking up pieces a few crashes, and chunks of pilots.

    • Thomas says:

      On this topic, I am with you.

      I think part of the debate probably relates to whether someone processes information better visually, or verbally. I have always found telephone briefings very difficult to process: I can’t easily translate the words into a mental picture of the weather. I have to write them down, pull out a large-area chart, and sit and think about them.

      Or look at a weather map for less than 30 seconds.

      On the other hand, whatever software those briefers use to cull through the NOTAMS, really needs to be made available to the rest of us.

      And, the FAA and/or weather services need to get the memo that the teleprinter is no longer in use.

  19. Fred Wimberly says:

    I often fly into the Washington SFRA and FRA. It is impossible to fly into the flight restricted area without personal telephone voice contact with flight service. Vetted pilots must be positively identified. I’d guess the cost of all the telephone briefing is a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of maintaining the Special Flight Rules Area. Unfortunately, the SFRA is just a feel good thing and is a total waste as far as actually providing meaningful security.

  20. Mark Hubelbank says:

    In a recent call to FSS about the TFR over ORH resulted in the briefer insisting that all he was allowed to do was read the TFR. When I asked if anything had changed since it was posted the day before, he could not say. This effectively made the phone call useless. It may have made me legal but definitely not better informed.
    The only rational solution is to have the online and ADS-B TFR data be current within minutes of any change.

  21. Cory Miller says:

    The notion of removing humans from the process of providing weather briefings is, in my opinion, ridiculous. To do so, you would have to assume that everyone, has access to a computer with an Internet connection. Even in this day and age where Internet connectivity is extremely widespread, you cannot assume that everyone has access. You also cannot assume that everyone is carrying a smart phone these days. I still know a few people that do not even carry plain ol’ cell phones, let alone a smart phone. For getting weather updates during flight, you can’t impose the financial burden on every aircraft owner to spend just under one grand on the purchase of a new piece of equipment to install in their aircraft. For many aircraft owners, like me, flying on a shoestring budget, that is an awful lot to ask. Additionally, as informational and valuable as pictures can be, you can’t ask a picture questions or get a page of statements to qualify its output. I totally agree that the weather technology that we have today is invaluable. I use both DUAT systems myself and would feel lost without them. But, on the other hand, I don’t believe that anything will ever completely replace a live dialog with a real human being. So, bottom line, I would push for more education and usage of technology and less reliance on telephone or radio conversations. This would reduce the financial overhead of those systems. As time goes on, the number of briefers employed could be significantly reduced. But to completely eliminate telephone or radio service for weather briefings would be a bad, bad mistake!

  22. Kayak Jack says:

    Mark Hudelbank sez: ” The only rational solution is to have the online and ADS-B TFR data be current within minutes of any change.”

    And Cory Miller sez: ” I would push for more education and usage of technology and less reliance on telephone or radio conversations. This would reduce the financial overhead of those systems. As time goes on, the number of briefers employed could be significantly reduced. But to completely eliminate telephone or radio service for weather briefings would be a bad, bad mistake!”

    I would agree with these two directions. (1) Continue to improve – and stand behind – the information presented on line. And (2) Continue to use and improve live briefings on the phone.

    Bottom line here is not budget. Bottom line is flight safety. Let’s never forget that.

    • Thomas says:

      Sounds like an excellent plan.

      But, please: unless you never fly, safety isn’t your bottom line. There are tradeoffs.

  23. Kayak Jack says:

    thomas replied: ” I think part of the debate probably relates to whether someone processes information better visually, or verbally. I have always found telephone briefings very difficult to process: I can’t easily translate the words into a mental picture of the weather. I have to write them down, pull out a large-area chart, and sit and think about them.

    Or look at a weather map for less than 30 seconds.”

    Usually, the telephone briefing merely confirms what I’ve already seen on line. Maybe one out of four or five times, though, it clarifies or maybe refutes my personal interpretation. A briefer’s estimate of when a front can become a problem, fr’instance, is more valid than my estimate.

    Like you, I combine both pictures and words in my mind to make the GO/NO GO decision, or a reroute.

  24. Bruce McGregor says:

    From the DUAT.com website:

    The FAA, through the use of the Direct User Access Terminal (DUAT) program, provides free weather and flight planning services to pilots and dispatch personnel. DUAT constitutes a legal FAA briefing, and in that context, all accesses are recorded and stored for 15 days.

    Mac is right, a DUAT(S) briefing, direct or through a third party such as ForeFlight, may substitute for a FSS phone briefing.

  25. Bart says:

    File IFR or use flight following on EVERY VFR flight and you solve the pop up TFR dilemma that’s bothering a lot of the folks here. Now lets talk about a system that’s supposed to protect the president, and a few others deemed too important to lose, which in fact broadcasts the location and times of arrival to anyone who cares to look for the current TFR locations. TFR’s are DUMB! and a colossal waste of money time resources and a source of endless conflict between pilots and the FAA.

  26. R. Mark says:

    “Chicken feed” has been a poor justification for government spending way too much and our deficit proves it. Just cut it and publish a timeline for the loss of a free but non-essential government service. For those who find it an essential and valuable part of their flight planning they will find a pay-4-service replacement that will fill their needs. Since the FAA already contracts this out it will just require the current providers to change their business model for who pays. If the contractor does not want to continue his WX business without a government contract then he will sell it off to someone who wants to make it work. There are commercial weather forecaster services for surfers and sailors through small subscription fees, but we GA aviators have enjoyed a free ride mandated and funded by the FAA. Time for everyone to find their own weather solution not paid by Uncle Sam…

  27. J says:

    FYI to everyone that believe foreflight flight plans go through DUAT/DUATS… They don’t… They in fact go through Lockheed Martin. This change occurred about a year ago.

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