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Most aerodromes provide some form of communal briefing facilities for pilots which includes aeronautical and meteorological information, although it is common for airline flight crew to be required to use briefing material supplied by their Companies which has been prepared specifcally for their planned flights.
What is provided by aerodromes for general use varies according to the type of aerodrome and national regulations. The provisions of ICAO Annex 15, Chapter 8, and Annex 3, Chapter 3, form the basis of most national regulations.
Briefing facilities should be easy to access, and information should be laid out in a form which makes them easy to understand, even by relatively inexperienced pilots. For example:
- NOTAMs should be written so that their meaning is evident without the necessity for de-coding;
- Where appropriate, NOTAMs should be displayed on a chart, so that a pilot can see at a glance whether a particular NOTAM affects his/her route;
Requirement to Provide Briefing Facilities
ICAO Annex 15: Aeronautical Information Services, Chapter 8, paragraph 8.1.1 requires that:
"At any aerodrome normally used for international air operations, aeronautical information essential for the safety, regularity and efficiency of air navigation and relative to the route stages originating at the aerodrome shall be made available to flight operations personnel, including flight crews and services responsible for pre-flight information."
The information provided by these aerodromes includes relevant elements of the following national publications:
- AIP, including amendment service;
- supplements to the AIP;
- NOTAMs and pre-flight information bulletins (PIB) containing current NOTAM information of operational significance;
- associated maps and charts.
Similar information may be provided for other States, but if so may be confined to immediately adjacent states, in which case a complete library of aeronautical information will be available at a central location which should be able to be contacted directly from the aerodrome AIS unit.
Briefing rooms also contain current information relating to the departure aerodrome conditions, including construction or maintenance work in progress; runway and taxiway conditions (including snow, etc.); obstacles and other hazards; changes to or unserviceability of airfield lighting; and changes to or unserviceability of airfield navigational aids.
Many aerodromes not "normally used for international air operations" also provide similar briefing facilities, albeit on a limited scale.
Smaller aerodromes, especially those not used for commecial or military operations, may provide only limited briefing facilities or none at all.
Meteorolgical offices are sometimes established at aerodromes and if so may directly provide, amongst other things:
- forecasts and other relevant information for flights;
- briefing, consultation and flight documentation to flight crew and/or other flight operations personnel.
Where there is no meteorological office available at an aerodrome, relevant information may be provided by electronic means or the facility to contact another meteorological office might be provided.
On-line Briefing Facilities
Most European countries make aeronautical and metorological briefing material available on-line. Facilities vary from country to country.
- ICAO Annex 3: Meteorological Services, Chapter 3, Section 3.4.
- ICAO Annex 15: Aeronautical Information Services, Chapter 8.