NOTAM Name Change FAA Making Strides

“The following changes are made to align the order with current NOTAM policies/processes and to ensure compliance with ICAO standards and contractions,” says the Order’s Explanation of Changes. “These changes include modifying the acronym NOTAM from Notice to Airmen to the more applicable term Notice to Air Missions.”

Some members of the pilot community have taken to social media to mock the change: but it represents an important ongoing effort by the FAA to modernize their language and systems to accomodate a variety of flyers and aircraft.  “Air Mission” is not only gender neutral, but also more accurately describes drone operations – and the operation of other aircraft possibly as yet undefined.

The NOTAM name change is the latest move in the FAA’s efforts to update language in the FAA’s vast library to be “inclusive of all aviators and all missions.”  In the July episode of The Air Up There FAA podcast, the FAA directly addressed issues of gender-inclusive language.  Asked to provide input on the issues of diversity and inclusivity, the Drone Advisory Committee proposed that the term “Unmanned Aviation” be changed to “Uncrewed Aviation,” and identified a number of other traditional gender specific terms like “Airmen,” and “Repairmen.”

While some pilots may feel the change is unimportant, neutral terms confirm potential and possibility to students and people interested in joining the industry. “Words matter. As an attorney, I’ve said this throughout my career,” says Dawn Zoldi, CEO of P3Tech Consulting. “This seemingly small acronym change can have big impacts on how women and young girls  perceive their potential roles in an aviation industry that deliberately and intentionally welcomes all people. I’m proud of the FAA for making this change and hope others will follow their example in fostering inclusivity.”

As the drone industry in particular continues its explosive growth, companies cannot afford to limit – even without intending to – their potential pool of talent.  Young companies like Skydio have made a point of diversity in their workforce development; it’s a strategy important to employees, customers, and investors.  Additionally, as systems designed for more traditionally crewed aircraft are increasingly required to expand and develop to include new technology like uncrewed systems, a more inclusive approach designed to accommodate change can only be beneficial.

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