Wednesday, July 27, 2011

I Love Aviation Charts

I've always loved aviation charts. Sectional charts, terminal area charts, even helicopter charts (I haven't looked much at the various IFR related charts). They are so densely packed with information, yet are still relatively easy to understand once you know the conventions and symbols. Clever design.You can buy current charts from various sources, and you should always have a current paper sectional chart in the cockpit for the area in which you are flying (even if you have a really nice GPS).

Although you can download a lot of charts from the FAA for free, there are web sites that make them easier to access for browsing or preliminary planning (they have real information but are labeled "not for navigation"). I just discovered a really cool site for browsing all the different charts for the entire country, (sample above). It has a simple interface for accessing all the charts and airport info as well as some basic flight planning features, though I also have access to AOPA's better on-line flight planning for once I get current and start flying to some different airports for whatever reason (for a legendary $100 hamburger or maybe $120 scrambled eggs).

This FAA page has free PDF downloads of the 9th Edition of the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide, split into six sections for the various types of VFR and IFR charts. Useful for getting a better grasp of the many symbols, colors, and line styles used on charts.

1 comment:

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