Does today's NOTAM outage/Ground Stop impact VFR Flight?

Having a discussion with local pilot about today's NOTAM system outage and associated ground stop and there is a differing opinion.  Since we can't confirm notam's on route and more specifically at destination airport, I'm of the opinion that the ground stop applied to VFR flights.  A friend disagrees.  What is the implication of a NOTAM outage on a VFR flight?

2 Replies
1590 Posts

@Thomas Nery
So you take off VFR without being able to check MOTAMs.  You bust through a TFR.  Please tell me how you'd explain that to the investigating Inspector when they ask how you complied with the requirements of 91.103 without being able to check NOTAMs.

IOW, they haven't said “no”, but they can make you wish you hadn't.


@Thomas Nery

I tend to agree with your take - VFR/IFR doesn't have much to do with it. § 91.103  requires the pilot in command , become familiar with all available information before beginning a flight.

A few years back a friend flew less than 10 miles over to the next airport to practice takeoffs and get some free donuts at the FBO. As soon as he turned off the mags there was an FAA inspector to greet him.

The inspector's first words out of his mouth were “Did you check NOTAMs for your flight?"

Turns out, there was a small local airshow that afternoon and the airport was NOTAM'ed closed. 

My friend was let off the hook with a few calls of counseling, so no big deal.  But there is another guy at our FSDO that we all know would have made a federal case out of it, so my friend was lucky the “friendly” inspector was there. And if he'd gone less than an hour later and the airshow performers started practicing and he landed on top of a tiny Tiger Moth with no radio doing its routine,  things would have been much worst.

I am based around airspace that gets those dreaded last  minute VIP airspace restrictions, so I've actually had people flag me down during a warm up and tell me to cut the engine because there's a TFR right now  (even if though I'd checked NOTAMs an hour before). If had taken off, the secret service is going to want to have a chat with me

Yes, it is probably irrelevant since 99+% of the time it doesn't matter. But unless you have some psychic powers, the only way to get all available information for your flight is to use a data source that's accessing the NOTAM system, and the system has to be working.