Aviation Safety Letter 2/2003

Pilot Information Kiosks: NAV CANADA Provides a New Way to Access Flight Information

By Ron Doyle, Director of Safety and Service Design, NAV CANADA

Pilot Information Kiosk

NAV CANADA's Pilot Information Kiosks (PIKs) offer pilots a new way to access important flight planning information from convenient airport locations.

The new kiosks provide fast and simple access to NAV CANADA's Aviation Weather Web Site (AWWS), which offers all of the latest weather and flight information pilots require when developing their flight plans.

The kiosk also offers toll-free telephone access to professional interpretive weather briefings provided by Flight Service Specialists.

New resources, new sources — The PIK program is part of the $27 million Flight Information Centre project, a multi-year investment by NAV CANADA into improving pilot access to vital flight information services across Canada.

Kiosks are being installed at convenient locations in airports where pilots gather, including Flight Service Stations (FSS), flight clubs, and training schools.

Housed in a metal casing, the stand-alone kiosk features Internet connectivity to NAV CANADA's AWWS, a 17-inch colour touch screen, a full-size keyboard, a thermal printer, a touch pad and a telephone handset with speakerphone capabilities. An attached table provides a stable surface for writing and for laying out maps and other documents.

Pilots will be able to browse the AWWS and select user-defined weather and flight data, including NOTAM, for their specific flight route, a regional area, or local data tied to a particular airport. Pilots will also be able to create a personal profile through "My Weather Data," enabling them to save and access customized weather information.

Using the kiosk to access briefing services — To assist pilots in analyzing weather data, a telephone is provided at each kiosk with a toll-free direct line to Flight Service Specialists, who will provide a variety of information and interpretive briefing services in response to the pilot's requirements. To facilitate information exchange, Flight Service Specialists will have access to the same data and maps being reviewed by the pilot.

Pilots can print material at the kiosk for future reference, and then file their flight plan over the phone. A project that will allow pilots to file a flight plan over the Internet is currently scheduled to be completed in the summer of 2003. Each kiosk will be backed by maintenance services, including remote monitoring and local support.

Roll-out strategy — At this time, NAV CANADA is installing approximately 77 kiosks at airports with FSSs. We must point out that the kiosk is most effective with a high-speed Internet connection. The unavailability of suitable Internet connections at some airports will determine kiosk locations. For those airports that only have dial-up Internet service, data download times will be slower. There are currently 48 kiosks at selected airports, with more being installed every month.

To find out where kiosks are located at airports near you, check the Canadian Flight Supplement or visit the NAV CANADA web site at http://www.navcanada.ca/ (Under "Service Projects," "Pilot Information Kiosks").

Future improvements — NAV CANADA is planning additional improvements to its AWWS, which will provide new products and improve the site's functionality and ease of use. Many of the planned changes will respond directly to suggestions made by pilots who use the site.

For additional information please contact John Foottit, Manager Aviation Weather, NAV CANADA at (613) 563-5603 or foottij@navcanada.ca or contact NAV CANADA Customer Service at 1 800 976-4693.

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