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FAA drops airmen from NOTAM terminology

As December 2, 2021, the long name for NOTAMs switched from Notices to Airmen to Notices to Air Missions.

The Institute for Women Of Aviation Worldwide who was first to denounce the FAA’s gender-excluding terminology and advocate for its replacement welcomes the change in terminology for NOTAMs.

In a good sign for things to come, the FAA also dropped “airmen” in the target group description and replaced it with “personnel”, a gender neutral used by civil authorities across the globe. The FAA website states that “a NOTAM is a notice containing information essential to personnel concerned with flight operations but not known far enough in advance to be publicized by other means.”

Progress is still slow. The FAA is yet to decide to replace “Airman Signature” on certification documents with a gender neutral alternative like “holder signature”. Likewise, “Airman Certification Standards”, the 2016 replacement for “Practical Test Standards” still stands.

The most current FAA certification statistics (December 31, 2020) lists 1,399,691 active airmen certificates (some individuals can hold multiple certificates) including 260, 700 female airmen certificates, most as flight attendants (196,902). Women hold 41,736 (6.17%) of the 675,384 active FAA pilot certificates, 7, 860 (2.56%) of the 306,301 mechanic certificates, and 196,902 (79.16%) of the 248,742 flight attendant certificates.

The recent change is yet to be implemented at the ICAO, an international civil aviation organization.

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