To the Letter - Pilots still prefer paper

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Dear Editor,

Call me old fashioned, but I am genuinely concerned about the end of the A.I.P. Canada (AIP) in its current format, with the amendment service. I was told that going to a Web-based service was in the best interest of the larger pilot group and was preferred by most pilots, as they did not like adding the paper amendments to their AIP. I do not often refer to my AIP, but I am kept up to date of all the latest changes while adding the dreaded amendments.

My previous employer provided all pilots with their own Flight Crew Operating Manual (FCOM). The amendments were frequent, and I am sure that none of the pilots, myself included, enjoyed adding them. However, during the process of updating the manuals you would be brought up to date on all the changes. At the company where I currently work, the pilots are not issued with a paper copy of the FCOM, but are issued a CD. Every time there is an amendment, the pilots are issued with a new CD, and the old one goes in the garbage. I am embarrassed to say that the new CD often tends to go to the office unopened. It may truly be the most convenient way, but I believe it is very counterproductive to the process. The other problem with a CD is that it is not the preferred way to "study." A book in your lap is still preferred by most pilots. Looking up information on a Web-based product is quick and easy with search engines. Looking it up in the paper copy is not as easy but the side benefit is that you tend to get a lot more information than you initially bargained for as you fumbled your way through the manual searching for the tidbit you needed.

I can see that there is going to be some cost saving associated with making these changes, but I do not agree that this is an improvement in the supply of information services, as stated in the Aeronautical Information Circular5/05. I think the pilot group would be better informed with the AIP as it was, than under the new system.

Bob Austin
Coldwater, Ont.

Thank you. ASL Issue2/2005 had an article on page4, which explained the transition from the current AIP to the NAV CANADA State AIP and the Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (TC AIM) in detail. The Transport Canada AIM will remain available in a paper version and both the Web and paper versions will have an explanation of the changes made with every new edition. This should ensure every pilot has easy access to the pertinent information. - Ed.

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