Just In Case You Forget To Check NOTAMs When Filing Your Flight Plan, Garmin Has You Covered
I will never, ever forget the night that I landed on a closed runway. The controllers had gone home hours earlier, so there was no backup from the tower. Before my departure, I had quickly breezed over the NOTAMS as I filed my flight plan, but apparently, I had more important things to do than take the time to analyze every word. Big mistake.
The thing about it was that the ILS approach was up and running, all the airport lights were on full intensity, even the runway lights were shining brightly as I emerged from the clouds. Everything was as I expected. Well, until the maintenance truck pulled up next to me to ask why I just landed on a closed runway.
The runway was closed to civilian traffic from midnight to 6 AM for whatever reason. Obviously, it wasn’t for runway maintenance because the military planes could come and go as they pleased all night long. This hardly seemed fair, but the FAA didn’t care about the equity of the situation.
I’m happy to say, Garmin is coming to the rescue by making NOTAMS a little more user-friendly for busy pilots. Thank goodness. If you haven’t heard about version 10.5 in Garmin’s Pilot electronic flight bag app, it’s worth a look. Earlier versions of Garmin Pilot added graphical depictions of airspace, obstacles, and navaid NOTAMs.
Now they’re getting serious and adding runway and airport closures to help us see at a glance what’s usable and what’s not. A few years late for my little run-in with the law, but I’ll take whatever they’ll give me now.
The NOTAM system will be color-coded for Garmin users. When you zoom in on the airport in the dynamic map or view the Garmin Safe Taxi airport diagram, you will be able to see a graphic depiction of a runway closure NOTAM, such as:
- A red runway with a yellow X on each end indicates it is closed
- An orange runway with a yellow clock at each end indicates there is information associated with the closure, such as time or date
- A yellow runway indicates a closure is coming
Garmin Pilot is also offering enhanced terminal NOTAM alerting. This feature will highlight NOTAMs on the airport page, procedures page, and airport diagrams. So now we’ll get:
- A color-coded warning banner on the top of the airport page
- A warning button on the bottom right corner of the page
- A color-coded badge on procedures and airport diagrams
- A warning tab on the flight plan form (I could have used this)
- Runway closures shown on the Instrument Procedures page
If you happen to be flying in Europe, Garmin Pilot will display ICAO Airspace Classification colors on the dynamic map.
They sure are making things easy for us. Imagine filing your flight plan and instantly knowing that a runway is closed or, even more importantly, knowing that a runway WILL be closed about the time that you’ll be arriving. There is almost no excuse to mess up with NOTAMs anymore. Well, as long as you’re flying with Garmin Pilot on board, that is.