When Lockheed Martin takes over flight service station services next Tuesday, pilots probably won’t notice the difference. Phone numbers, frequencies, and even FSS specialists all are expected to remain the same. And AOPA has been assured that Lockheed Martin has detailed transition plans to ensure that pilots receive the services they need. “We are in regular communication with the FAA and Lockheed, and they understand the importance of maintaining service to pilots throughout the transition period,” said AOPA President Phil Boyer. “If members have problems with FSS, we can work quickly to get those concerns addressed.” To ensure that the transition goes as planned, Lockheed and the FAA will operate a 24-hour operations center that will act as a point of contact to ensure continuity of services. AOPA has been told that about 1,900 of the current 2,000 FSS employees have accepted job offers from Lockheed Martin, but the company also has developed contingency plans should any last-minute issues arise during the initial transition. Looking ahead, pilots should see improved services over the next 18 months as Lockheed consolidates FSS facilities, implements performance guarantees, and launches the Flight Service 21 (FS21) Web portal for pilots nationwide to obtain preflight briefings, file flight plans, and get graphical flight planning and weather products. In the meantime, AOPA is stressing the importance of maintaining and supporting both existing DUAT services, which will continue to be an important backup system and will allow pilots to continue to use existing flight planning software based on the DUAT system. Source: AOPA ePilot

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