The aviation industry is quite good at keeping terms non-gender specific. For example, steward and stewardess have become flight attendant or cabin crew, which applies to both sexes. Not so much with NOTAM though.

NOTAM is an abbreviation of “Notice to Airmen”, a communication which is issued to pilots. It is specifically issued to air “men”, which presumably means female pilots can ignore them.

What Is A NOTAM?

The International Civil Aviation Organization, more commonly known as ICAO, defines the term like this. “A notice to airmen (NOTAM) is a notice containing information concerning the establishment, condition or change in any aeronautical facility, service, procedure or hazard, the timely knowledge of which is essential to personnel concerned with flight operations.”

Common notices would include letting pilots know about closed runways at an airport or inoperable navigation aids for example. Other notifications include those about hazards in the area of flight, such as air shows, rocket launches or things like that.

Alternatives to NOTAM

To include the lady pilots, perhaps the Notice to Airmen should be a Notice to Aircrew, a NOTAC. Another possibility could be Notice to Pilots, but NOTP doesn’t really roll off the tongue in conversation very well.

How about Notice to Air Persons, a NOTAP? It might be nice to avoid an acronym altogether and just call them Pilot Notices. Either way, it isn’t an insurmountable challenge to change it… you wouldn’t think!

Overall Thoughts

Certain things in aviation change at a slow pace, so I would not be surprised to see NOTAM around for a long time. That being said, in our 21st century world of woke culture and awareness, perhaps this archaic little gem should be retired and replaced.

What do you think of NOTAM? Keep it or ditch it? Any ideas for a replacement? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.

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Featured image by Pattharapong Sittirach via Wikimedia Commons.
Notice to Airmen by Bernard Bill5 via Wikimedia Commons.
Turkey by the FAA via Wikimedia Commons.