Pilots and dispatchers familiar with the Dallas DFW to Chicago Midway MDW flight route are all too aware of the large number of NOTAMs in their flight plan: 142 NOTAMs across 127 pages, to be exact. That’s a lot of NOTAMs for anyone to read through, and situations like this have become far too common for commercial and business aviation pilots these days. And the truly alarming thing is that with the current rate of airline traffic growth and more flights being added each year, these numbers could actually go up!
Too much data can often be overwhelming for dispatchers and pilots, and this could eventually lead to a situation where they begin to skim over important details because there is simply too much data to absorb and process in a limited amount of time.
Traditionally, airlines have operated in two different ways. Legacy airlines typically operate using the older method of printing out flight releases on dozens of sheets of paper. Then someone has to physically deliver that large collection of paper to the pilot flying the route. The pilot then has to read through the entire flight release, as well as all the updated NOTAMs, which as previously stated could number well over a hundred. And finally, the pilot manually signs off on the flight release and returns it back to the dispatcher.
Alternatively, airlines that have modernized use digital tools and applications to release, accept and sign off on necessary documents such as flight releases with the touch of a few simple buttons on an iPad. Aside from reducing the amount of paper being printed and passed around, using digital technology has the added benefit of providing a flight release that can be more current, since it is automatically updated to the latest version when the pilot opens it in a digital application. Paper versions can be up to three or four hours old by the time the pilot actually reviews and signs off on it, which mean there might already be updates he or she may not know about.
Today's digital airlines cut through that clutter and take advantage of multiple digital sources to aggregate and filter all available data, prioritizing the data points and NOTAMs that are the most important to their operations. This makes day-to-day operations easier for dispatchers, pilots and the airline overall.
With Skybook, Jeppesen is working to help airlines cut through all this data. Using the example above from DFW to MDW, we can help reduce 127 pages of NOTAMs down to just 27 pages that really matter. Skybook allows airlines to set their own rules and priorities for NOTAM filtering, determining what their pilots really need to know, and then automatically pushes out these airline-prioritized NOTAMs to pilots in the flight release. This makes it much easier for pilots to review and sign off on relevant and up-to-date information right before their flights. Plus, dispatchers instantly know when pilots have downloaded, viewed and accepted a flight release.
Skybook, offered by Jeppesen, provides the right amount of information in the right amount of time, allowing airlines to make the best decisions while reducing data overload, saving fuel and increasing safety and efficiency. Contact your Jeppesen representative to hear how Skybook can help your airline operations, or visit jeppesen.com/skybook to learn more.