Inherently Governmental


Junior Member
Feb 19, 2009
Under the Bush Administration air traffic control and flight service lost its designation as an inherently governmental function. Its easy to see why that should not be the case for ATC but many don't understand what flight service does. The common saying is "No one has the audacity to say filing flight plans is inherently governmental". However that is merely one of dozens of functions flight service does. Flight Service has access to a lot of information and does many functions which should be considered inherently governmental.

Filing flight plans for GA aircraft may not be inherently governmental, but what about the military flight plans, FBI/Homeland security flight plans, and Washington ADIZ/FRZ flight plans.

Flight service specialists also hold all the pin numbers and are the exclusive source to file plans for people to get in and out of DC.

Specialists have communication access to all ATC facilities in 2/3's of the country and location information on military,government, and civilian aircraft.

The US Notam office specialists issue FDC notams and monitor D notams for correctness and are considered inherently governmental. So why do flight service specialists that format and enter D notams not? D notams are the bulk of the notams in the system and specialists have the authority to format and deny notams.

Specialists are first to engage in communications search and rescue of VFR civilian and military aircraft. They also assist ATC in locating missing IFR aircraft.

While weather briefings may not be inherently governmental and filing a VFR flight plan for N12345, I hope people can see that Flight Service performs functions and has access to sensitive information that should rate it as an inherently governmental job.


Senior Member
Feb 17, 2009
I would argue that processing a flight plan for any airplane to use our national airspace system, VFR or IFR, GA or air carrier, is inherently governmental. If passenger security screening is a government function, then access to the NAS should be a government function.