To maintain air safety,ATC expects all aircraft to adhere to a set of rules based on established separation standards. Until recently, air traffic controllers followed established procedures based upon specific routes to maintain the desired separations needed for safety. This system has an excellent safety record for aircraft operations. Because of increases in the number of flights, the availability of more accurate and reliable technologies, and the inherent limitations of the existing system, there will be many changes in the near future. Use of the free flight concept where aircraft operators select paths, altitudes, and speeds in real time can maximize efficiency and minimize operating costs. New technologies and enhanced aircraft capabilities necessitate changes in procedures, an increase in the level of automation and control in the cockpit and in the ground system, and more human reliance on automated information processing, sophisticated displays, and faster data communication.


The system for disseminating aeronautical information is made up of two subsystems, the Airmen’s Information System (AIS) and the Notice to Airman (NOTAM) System. The AIS consists of charts and publications. The NOTAM system is a telecommunication system and is discussed in later paragraphs. Aeronautical information disseminated through charts and publications includes aeronautical charts depicting permanent baseline data and flight information publications outlining baseline data.

Flight information publications outlining baseline data in addition to the Notices to Airmen Publication (NTAP) include the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD), a Pacific Chart Supplement, an Alaska Supplement, an Alaska Terminal publication, and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).


The following conditions or categories of information are forwarded to the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) for inclusion in flight information publications and aeronautical charts:

  • NAVAID commissioning, decommissioning, outages, restrictions, frequency changes, changes in monitoring status and monitoring facility used in the NAS.
  • Commissioning, decommissioning, and changes in hours of operation of FAA air traffic control facilities.
  • Changes in hours of operations of surface areas and airspace.
  • RCO and RCAG commissioning, decommissioning, and changes in voice control or monitoring facility.
  • Weather reporting station commissioning, decommissioning, failure, and nonavailability or unreliable operations.
  • Public airport commissioning, decommissioning, openings, closings, abandonments, and some airport operating area (AOA) changes.
  • Aircraft Rescue & Fire Fighting (ARFF) capability, including restrictions to air carrier operations.
  • Changes to runway identifiers, dimensions, threshold placements, and surface compositions.
  • NAS lighting system commissioning, decommissioning, outages, and change in classification or operation.
  • IFR Area Charts.

A wide variety of additional flight information publications are available online at the FAA website and can be found with the “Library” link, and the tabs for both “Education and Research” and “Regulation and Policies.” Electronic flight publications include electronic bulletin boards, advisory circulars, the AC checklist, Federal Aviation Regulations, the Federal Register, and notices of proposed rulemaking (NPRM). When planning a flight, you can obtain information on the real-time status of the national airspace system by accessing the Air Traffic Control System Command Center’s Operational Information System (OIS) at This data is updated every five minutes, and contains useful information on closures, delays, and other aspects of the system.