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"Science does not know its debt to imagination."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

NOTAMs ("NOtice To AirMen") are informational documents filed to make pilots and other aeronautical projects in your flight range aware of your activity. To the best of your knowledge, it contains the details and aspects of the flight pertinent to everyone's awareness and safety.

The NOTAM is constructed from information gleaned from our flight simulations, and information about the sites we launch from (particularly the airports and other flight navigation aids that pilots might refer to).

What follows are the step-by-step instructions currently employed by the HARBOR flight team to construct and file a NOTAM in advance of a flight. These instructions are based on our current template:

We also recommend using our Flight Planner Sheet and our Launch Sites Summary during NOTAM preparation, to consolidate and keep all the pertinent information organized:

Preparing a HARBOR NOTAM

  1. Header (Line 1): Change the date to the date of flight

  2. Header (Line 2): Change the flight designation to the correct designation for the proposed HARBOR flight, HARyymmdd

  3. Header (Line 3): Change the Time and Date to the time for which you last ran a flight simulation. The data from that flight simulation will be used to create the NOTAM.

  4. NOTAM (Item 2): Change the callsigns in the links to the callsigns that will be used by CATS/BATS during the flight. The flight director should have this information.

  5. NOTAM (Item 3): Change the time to the expected time of launch activities. To allow for unforseen contingencies, HARBOR generally uses a wide window, starting from at least one hour before our expected launch time, and ending approximately two hours after a nominal landing time. The time specification should be given first in local time (LT), and parenthetically in UTC (denoted "Zulu" Z). To transform between MDT and Zulu: MDT = ZULU - 6h.

  6. NOTAM (Item 4): Change the launch site. If launching from an airport, include the three character airport identification code. If you don't know the code, the flight director should, or it can be found from the aiprot database at AirNav.

  7. NOTAM (Items 5-8): The stack details for most HARBOR flights change little. Consult the flight director to determine if any of the physical characteristics of the stack should be changed in these items.

  8. NOTAM (Item 9): Change the estimated landing time in both local time (LT) and UTC (Z). The values here should be consistent with the launch time reported on ITEM 3, and the flight duration reported on ITEM 8 (i.e. landing time = launch time + flight duration).

  9. NOTAM (Item 10): Change the estimated impact to the landing predicted by your flight simulation. The simulation reports the distance, the bearing, and the LAT/LONG of the landing site. Report all of those values here, converting the bearing into the best approximate compass direction (be sure to use interstitial directions, such as ENE when appropriate).
  10. NOTAM (Item 10, sublines): Here you have to do a little work. The sublines note the landing location with respect to navigational beacons typically used by pilots, known as VORs ("VHF Omnidirectional Range"). Since most HARBOR flights are limited in their downrange runs, an easy way to find nearby VORs is to look at the AirNav page for the airport launch site (midway down the page is a section called "Nearby radio navigation aids).

    Click on the VOR identifier that is closest to your landing site, and you will be taken to a page with the critical data for the VOR. The information you care about are the LAT/LONG and the Variation. Note these numbers down.

    Using a great circle distance calculator to get the bearing and range from the VOR to the landing site. Many different ones exist online; I use GPS Visualizer. Make sure your starting point in the calculator is the VOR, and the ending point is your landing site.

    To specify the relationship to the VOR, one notes the distance (from your great circle calculator), and the radial direction. VOR radial directions are based on local directions toward magnetic north. The radial direction for VORs with "E" variations is given by Radial = Bearing - Variation. For negative results, add 360.

  11. NOTAM (Item 11): Change this to the predicted direction of flight (the bearing of your landing site from the simulation), being sure to convert the angle into an appropriate compass direction.

  12. NOTAM (Item 12): Change this to the predicted distance of flight (the distance of your landing site from the simulation).

  13. NOTAM (Item 13, 14, 15): Change this to the contact information for the faculty flight director on the flight.

  14. FOOTER (Line 5 -- last line): Change the launch locale and airport identifier.

  15. FOOTER (Line 5 -- last line): Change the distance to landing site and the direction of the flight.

  16. FOOTER (Line 5 -- last line): Change the specification after WEF ("When In Effect") to the time covered by the NOTAM.

    The first number is from the Launch Time (Item 3) in format: YYMMDDhhmm where the hours (hh) and minutes (mm) are specified in UTC (Zulu).

    The second number is from the Esimate Time of Impact (Item 9) in format YYMMDDhhmm where the hours (hh) and minutes (mm) are specified in UTC (Zulu).

  17. Congratulations! Your NOTAM is now complete. Verify it with a faculty flight director, then move on to the filing procedures below.


  1. Call the Prescott Automated Flight Station (877-487-6867). The automated system will ask you from which state you are departing from; this is the state we a LAUNCHING from. Once you respond, you will be connected to a person.

  2. When you get to a person, tell them would like to file a NOTAM for a HiBALL out of airport name. The critical data they need is in the last line of the NOTAM -- the distance, the direction, and the time when in effect, in Zulu.

  3. After you call it in, the NOTAM should also be emailed to the faculty flight directors, and our FAA contact. As of 2011, this is: Stephen Pearce ( ANM/FAA 801-320-2539).

    • Make the subject of the email NOTAM Details --- HIBAL from U69 2011-08-07, Weber State University, with the correct DATE and AIRPORT CODE.

    • Keep the email short. The body should start with a short note including the time you filed the NOTAM with the Prescott Station, like this: This NOTAM was filed with the Prescott AFSS [877-487-6867] on Friday, 10 JULY 2011 at 5:25pm MDT (2325 Z).

    • Paste the entire text of the prepared NOTAM after your note.

  4. If they ask for who you are, tell them "The NOTAM should be filed under faculty flight director's name."

  5. In the event of a scrub, call the Prescott Automated Flight Station (877-487-6867). When you get to a person, tell them you had filed a NOTAM for a HiBALL out of airport name and you would like to cancel the NOTAM.

HARBOR --- Historical NOTAMS

Date FiledFlightNOTAMWritten By/Filed By
11 June 2011 har110612 (scrubbed) NOTAM_2011_06_12.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
10 July 2011 har110710 NOTAM_2011_07_10.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
07 August 2011 har110807 NOTAM_2011_08_07.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
08 August 2011 har110808 NOTAM_2011_08_08.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
09 August 2011 har110809 NOTAM_2011_08_09.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
10 August 2011 har110810 NOTAM_2011_08_10.txt S. Larson/S. Larson
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Last Updated: 14 January 2014