Missing some features from DUATS as you transition to 1800wxbrief, the flight service online system? If so, Leidos, the government contractor providing telephone-based and online weather and flight planning services for the FAA, wants to hear about it.
Roger Krone, chairman and CEO of Leidos, himself an active pilot and a DUATS user making the transition to 1800WXbrief.com, says his company makes quarterly software updates to the weather and flight planning site and that most requests they get for new features can be easily incorporated. “Speak up, we want to hear your ideas,” Krone told AOPA.
In addition to the traditional telephone-based flight service information, Leidos provides an online flight planning system, including the ability to file flight plans and get approved weather briefings for a planned route. Leidos sends the same weather data to numerous flight planning sites and electronic flight bag apps. To use 1800wxbrief.com, pilots only need to create a free account with their email address. Leidos provides a quick reference guide for its website. The AOPA Online Flight Planner and the AOPA GO app are already configured to connect to the FSS site for weather and flight plan filing.
Leidos also provides several tools to help pilots. One time-saving system is the EasyActivate/EasyClose capability, which lets a pilot activate or close a VFR flight plan simply by responding to a text sent to them 30 minutes before departure and arrival. These actions are recorded and included in the pilot’s history. Reminders are also sent if a VFR flight plan is not closed within 20 minutes of the expected arrival time. This capability was upgraded in March to use an SMS provider, so a data connection is not needed. Pilots using EasyActivate/EasyClose can use text messaging to activate or close a VFR flight plan, and to receive acknowledgement of the action.
Krone said pilots who are missing DUATS features can use the feedback link at the bottom of the 1800wxbrief.com home page to share their ideas for enhancements. Meanwhile, all of the telephone-based services for flight service remain unchanged and briefers can be reached at 1-800-wxbrief.