Want to fix Notams? Be a Fox

Mark Zee
Mark Zee
Dec 7, 2018 · 2 min read

OpsFox is fixing the Notam problem. What is the Notam problem?

There are many, but there are two primary issues:

  • Format — Character Set (1924 UPPER CASE), Count (1.5 million a year), Coding (CNFSG ABBRVS)
  • Control — The state will either put in too much (ass-covering), or too little (censoring information that may harm tourism or cast the authority in a bad light). This is why we have thousands of Notams about tiny obstacles, birds, and fireworks — but very few about safety issues, airspace risk, and bad infrastructure.

Both of these mean that we will not see the critical few that can put our lives or jobs in jeopardy.

To fix the first, I’m working with ICAO on Norm, an AI bot that is learning to read Notams in the existing system, and be able to sort them in order of criticality as voted by the pilots and dispatchers that have to use them. Progress with Norm is exciting, as we watch the AI supercomputers at Amazon learn about this archaic system and struggle in the same way that us humans do.

To fix the second, we’ve built a secret underground network of Foxes. Wait, that sounds weird. Yes? It’s supposed to. Without engagement, we have nothing. And what’s more engaging than a secret spy network?

Here are some ways to think of OpsFox:

  • Community Notams — crowdsourced information
  • Blockchain Notams — an open, transparent ledger
  • Waze for Pilots — “Nothing can beat real people working together”

Because we are all undercover Foxes, we can report anything we like, and Fox Command takes on the role of curator, ensuring that the data flow remains relevant, critical, and useful.

Do you want to be a Fox? Like all good underground networks, it starts with a front — in our case, a Chinese Restaurant, in Berlin. If you think you have what it takes to be a Fox, ask me for the order number to get started.

Mark Zee

Written by

Mark Zee

Former Airline Pilot and Air Traffic Controller, I love solving critical international flight operations issues. Founder of OpsGroup.