Currently, the FAA develops aeronautical paper products and sells them through a network of about 400 authorized chart agents, as well as through direct sales to the public. With advances in personal computing devices (such as the iPAD) and the growth of the Internet, there has been an increase in the use of digital aeronautical products as a supplement to paper.
We plan to sell our digital products similar to that of our paper products - expressly through a network of digital agents having a signed agreement with AeroNav Products. We are validating a new pricing structure in this digital proposal that will reflect what it takes to recover our costs.
Note: We are aware that some developers are currently replicating, altering and reselling FAA digital products as an "official" FAA product. To prevent the introduction of any unintended safety risks, the FAA desires to protect the integrity of our aeronautical products. All notations and symbology in the original products are to be included in any tailored versions.
Barring any unforeseen setbacks especially with regard to employee furloughs, we plan to implement the pricing and digital distribution of digital products the Fall of 2013.
Since 1926, the federal Aeronautical Charting Program has been a fee-based service. Congress transferred the program from the Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the FAA in October 2000. Public Law 106-181, dated April 5, 2000, provided for the FAA to charge user fees to recover the full costs of the compilation, production and distribution of both electronic and paper charts. Title 49, United States Code, section 44721, codified this authority. The FAA does not currently use appropriated funds to cover the compilation, production, or distribution costs of electronic or paper charts.
Agents will be required to report quarterly on the number of units sold. Language in the agreement (signed by both parties) will provide the FAA access to sales records, as needed, for verification.
Access the AeroNav Products homepage to stay abreast of new aeronautical products and services as they become available.
Initially, the FAA plans to distribute digital products in PDF and GeoTiff formats.
Prior to implementation of the Digital Products Cost Recovery Strategy (planned for Fall of 2013), the public may order FAA Digital Chart Products directly from the AeroNav Product's website (www.aeronav.faa.gov) or by telephone at 800-638-8972. After implementation of the Cost Recovery Strategy, FAA Digital Chart Products will only be available through an authorized FAA agent.
All digital products published by the FAA are in the public domain and are not copyright protected. Therefore, a written release or credit is not required to incorporate them into your own digital products. The FAA cannot endorse or recommend a private industry product over another. Also, since all of our products are date sensitive we recommend that you seek legal advice prior to marketing your own products. To protect the integrity of our aeronautical products, all notations and symbology in the original products are to be included in any tailored versions.
The terms "scraping" and "data mining" describe the pulling of digital data from charts that are currently available to the public on our website and to be used for planning purposes only. These charts do not contain all the safety related annotations of the charts we will provide to our authorized digital agents. To preserve the integrity of our authorized charts and to ensure the proper use of these planning tools they will contain the watermark: "Not for Navigation."
AeroNav Products intends to set reasonable "cost recovery" prices for products sold to our authorized agents to prevent the practice of unauthorized versions used for repackaging and resale. We recommend that you seek legal advice prior to marketing your own products. The FAA will continue to communicate our "authorized agents" to the public.
There is still a strong demand for paper products. According to a recent online survey, results show that paper products will continue as a companion and essential back up to digital products.
The CIFP (Coded Instrument Flight Procedures) uses the ARINC 424 standard. GPS and FMS do not currently support the use of "raw" ARINC 424 data. Individual avionics manufacturers process the data into their proprietary format for use in GPS or FMS units. The FAA does not process aeronautical information for use in any GPS or FMS.
The National Aeronautical Navigation (AeroNav) Products Office does not provide obsolete charts to the general public due to concerns for flight safety. Only nonprofit educational institutions teaching map reading may obtain obsolete charts. Requests are made by writing using your institution's letterhead:
FAA, AeroNav Products
10201 Good Luck Road
Glenn Dale MD 20769
Note: AeroNav Products currently has both a VFR and IFR training chart available for public use. These charts are available at a fraction of the cost of our current charts. Please contact our Logistics Group - Distribution Team for ordering information.
Out-of-date charts are available at:
National Archives and Records Administration
8601 Adelphi Road
College Park, Maryland 20740
Phone: 866-272-6272 or 301-837-3200
Library of Congress
101 Independence Ave SE
Washington, DC 20540
Phone: 202-707-6277 / Fax: 202-707-1334
The new subscription service begins with the next edition of the product. For example if the next edition date for the Seattle Sectional Chart is May 30, 2013 and you place your order for a subscription in April your subscription will begin in May. To obtain the current December 13, 2012 edition, you would need to place a one-time order.
Chart Agents are required to have minimum annual net sales of $5,000. The FAA e-Commerce System is available for placing orders at http://faacharts.faa.gov.
Chart Agents may choose two plans:
With your application, you must also submit a business plan to FAA, summarizing how you plan to achieve the $5,000 minimum annual net sales. Agents have one year to establish their business and may enlist their own network of sales outlet(s) to sell navigation charts and related products. After the first year, agents not selling a volume sufficient to maintain an active status may receive a cancellation notice. These agents may pursue to continue business as a sub-agent with an existing chart agent who meets the minimum annual sales. For additional information about the Chart Agent Model, please visit our website.
If you are interested in becoming an authorized chart agent, please mail or fax the FAA Distribution Team your name, address and telephone number so we can send you the Chart Agent Agreement, Supplemental Instructions and Signature Pages. Please specify whether you are interested in becoming an Aeronautical Chart Agent, Nautical Chart Agent or an agent who will sell both aeronautical and nautical charts and related products.
FAA, AeroNav Products Logistics Group - Distribution Team
Customer Service and Support Group
10201 Good Luck Road
Glenn Dale, Maryland 20769-9700
When a navaid is first constructed, the antenna is physically oriented to True North. Then a potentiometer adjustment is made to slave the navaid with Magnetic North. This action matches the isogonic line making it agree with a magnetic compass. Initially these two values are the same, but the magnetic variation of the earth changes at differing rates depending upon location and time.
Navigational aids go into service and remain online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The FAA performs periodic maintenance; however, readjustments to match the isogonic value require a total shut down of the equipment, plus recertification and flight check verification. This process begins when a navigational aid is out of tolerance by at least +/-6 degrees. Note: GPS databases use a MAGVAR model to calculate the most up-to-date magnetic variation.
For purposes of airport depiction, specialists represent a runway between 7970 and 8069 feet in length as 8000 feet, which equates to a line 0.192 inches in length on the Sectional chart scale. In this case, a circular aerodrome symbol is used.
If a runway is between 8070 and 8169 feet in length, specialists round to 8100 feet, which equates to a line 0.1944 inches in length on the sectional chart scale. This line is too long to fit into the largest circular aerodrome symbol FAA has available. Therefore, specialists place a line-work around the runway pattern forming a polygon (enclosed shape) for anything over 8069 feet in length.
Specialists also place these polygons around the runway pattern of aerodromes with multiple runways that are less than 8069 feet, in cases where the multiple runway pattern does not fit into the largest, circular aerodrome symbol.
RP is the abbreviation for "right pattern" followed by the appropriate runway number(s) and indicates a right traffic pattern.
RP* indicates that there are special conditions or restrictions for right traffic and the pilot should consult the Airport/Facility Directory for those special instructions and/or restrictions. RP* does NOT indicate that there is right patterned traffic for all aircraft at all times.
"OBJECTIONABLE" indicates an airspace determination per FAA Joint Order 7400.2J Section 4, Airport Charting and Publication of Airport Data, issued 9 FEB 2012. When you see this indication on a chart be sure to refer to the applicable Airport/Facility Directory for more information. FAA Regional Airports Offices are responsible for airspace determinations. Address any challenges to objectionable airspace determinations to your regional airports office. Contact Information for FAA Regional Airports Offices.
VFR charts depict airport's hard and soft surface runways. Enroute charts depict airports having hard surface runways of at least 3000-foot in length. If your airport meets those criteria, you may contact the local Federal Aviation Administration, Airports District Office or Aeronautical Information Management, AJV-21, at 1-866-295-8236 to have your airport charted.
The FAA Specialist will verify your airport's information and publish a change in the National Flight Data Digest. This change will generate a charting directive to depict your airport on the chart. The FAA will chart your airport as long as it does not cause chart clutter and does not interfere with any existing data that may have a higher safety priority. The FAA makes every effort to adjust chart data to accommodate your airport name and symbol on the chart for the next publication cycle.
To register a private use airport with FAA or make changes to an existing private use airport, complete FAA FAA Form 7480-1 Notice of Landing Area Proposal. in according to the instructions. Send your completed form to the appropriate FAA Regional Office listed on the instructions sheet. Once you have begun the registration process, you may contact the same office for the status of your application. If you have received an Airspace Study letter from the FAA, contact the FAA Airport Safety Data Branch (202) 267-8728 and ask for your application status.
Contact the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) at FAA Headquarters. This information can be found on the inside front cover of the Airport/Facility Directory and shown here:
To recommend revisions access: http://nfdc.faa.gov (Submit Airport Data Change Form) or write to:
FAA, Aeronautical Information Management
NFDC Group AJV-21
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
Toll free: 1-866-295-8236
Parachute-jumping symbols designate airspace areas to alert the flying public of special air traffic activity. Charting these areas may be accomplished by contacting the FAA Air Traffic Facility (Control Tower, Approach Control Facility, Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC)) having jurisdiction over the airspace and requesting the specific area be charted. The FAA specialist will submit a Special Activity Area Data Sheet to the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) at FAA Headquarters for publication in the National Flight Data Digest. For depiction on a chart, the parachute jumping area must:
FAA Regions can nominate jump sites if special circumstances require charting.
Once published in the National Flight Data Digest, FAA AeroNav Products adds the PARACHUTE JUMPING AREA to that section of the Airport/Facility Directory. If it meets minimum charting requirements, the FAA AeroNav Products depicts the appropriate charts with the Parachute Jump Area symbol in the next publication cycle.
Charting these areas is accomplished by adding an associated remark to the airport record (Example: "Glider activity in vicinity of airport"). Airport owners/managers should access the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) Portal at nfdc.faa.gov and submit an Airport Data Change Form (public and military airports only) or contact Aeronautical Information Management, AJV-21, at 1-866-295-8236 and request the addition of the remark. The FAA specialist will verify your information and publish a change in the National Flight Data Digest (NFDD). Once the change is in the NFDD the appropriate publication and charts are updated with the information for the next effective date.
To add, modify or delete UNICOM or Common Traffic Advisory frequencies, airport owners/managers should access the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) Portal at nfdc.faa.gov and submit an Airport Data Change Form (public and military airports only) or contact Aeronautical Information Management, AJV-21, at 1-866-295-8236 and request your authorized UNICOM or CTAF be published and/or charted. The FAA Specialist will verify your information and publish a change in the National Flight Data Digest (NFDD). Once published in the NFDD, the appropriate publications and charts will reflect the new information by the next effective date.
Please contact the FAA at 9-AWA-ATS-Diagrams@faa.gov. Any graphic changes should be submitted using the Aeronautical Chart Change Form found within the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) Portal at nfdc.faa.gov. to submit your requested graphic changes.
To request and airport/facility directory change, please contact the National Flight Data Center (NFDC) at:
FAA, Aeronautical Information Management
NFDC Group AJV-21
800 Independence Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20591
Toll free: 1-866-295-8236
As soon as the NFDC has entered your requested change/changes into their database, notice will be directed to everyone producing relevant aviation publications requiring all to amend their products.
An instrument flight procedure is a series of predetermined maneuvers for aircraft operating under instrument flight rules, i.e. IFR conditions, when visual flight is not possible due to weather or other visually restrictive conditions. These maneuvers allow for the orderly transition of the aircraft through a particular airspace. The term "instrument flight procedure" refers to instrument approaches, instrument departures, and instrument enroute operations.IFR approach procedures are developed and approved for a specific airport. These procedures are critical to flight safety and safe operations during periods of marginal weather/visibility and in areas of adverse terrain. Instrument approach procedures also allow for the transition from enroute operations to the terminal area for landing at the destination airport. The instrument approach procedure uses ground or satellite based systems to provide guidance and obstruction clearance to the runway or to an altitude from which visual operations for landing can begin. Departure procedures allow for orderly movement along a specified route providing obstruction clearances from the point of departure to a position at which EnRoute operations can begin.
The specialist uses terrain, and man-made obstruction data in the development of the airport procedure. The specialist also considers any special design needs requested by the applicable country that meet the specified criteria. Each segment of the procedure is designed and documented.
The charting of instrument flight procedure is restricted to those that have been Quality Controlled by the FAA. In order to complete these charts, accurate data is required in English, by the requesting country. These may include airport, obstacle, communication, fix, special use and terrain data.
Once a designed instrument flight procedure passes the quality review process, it is certified through an actual flight inspection, and then it's charted and published for use.
You are encouraged to bring charting errors to our attention. Every FAA Aeronautical product contains contact information and brief instructions for reporting charting errors. You may contact us by mail, telephone, and e-mail:
FAA, AeroNav Products AJV-3
Second Floor, Station 2111
10201 Good Luck Road
Glenn Dale, MD 20769-9700
Telephone.......(800) 626-3677 toll free, U.S. only
Telephone.......(301) 344-6341 local, MD, VA, DC
FAA Aeronautical Chart User's Guide is designed to be used as a teaching aid, reference document, and an introduction to the wealth of information provided on FAA's aeronautical charts and publications. It includes explanations of aeronautical chart terms and symbols, plus a visual depiction of all of the symbols organized by chart type.
FAR 91.103 Preflight action.
Before beginning a flight, each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight.
FAA charts and related products are continually updated to reflect current aeronautical, terrain and cultural information. The following table shows the average number of changes per product type per cycle:
|Product Type||Changes/Cycle (average)||Cycle Length|
|Terminal Area Chart||100||6 months|
|Sectional Chart||278||6 months|
|World Aeronautical Chart||493||1 year|
|Airport/Facility Directory||825||56 days|
|Enroute Low Altitude Chart (U.S.)||1361||56 days|
|Enroute High Altitude Chart (U.S.)||284||56 days|
|Enroute Low Altitude Chart (Alaska)||128||56 days|
|Enroute High Altitude Chart (Alaska)||63||56 days|
|Terminal Procedures Publication||75||56 days|
The specific FAA regulation, FAR 91.103 "Preflight Actions," states that each pilot in command shall, before beginning a flight, become familiar with all available information concerning that flight. Although the regulation does not specifically require it, you should always carry a current chart with you in flight. Expired charts may not show frequency changes or newly constructed obstructions, both of which when unknown could crate a hazard.
The FAA's July/August 1997 issue of FAA Aviation News on "current" aeronautical charts provided the following information:
AIM 1-1-19b3(b) Database Currency (1) In many receivers, an up-datable database is used for navigation fixes, airports and instrument procedures. These databases must be maintained to the current update for IFR operations, but no such requirement exists for VFR use. (2) However,...
AIM 1-1-19f1(b) Equipment and Database Requirements - For IFR Operations "All approach procedures to be flown must be retrievable from the current airborne navigation database..."
AC 90-100, U.S. TERMINAL AND EN ROUTE AREA NAVIGATION (RNAV) OPERATIONS, paragraph 8a(3): The onboard navigation data must be current and appropriate for the region of intended operation and must include the navigation aids, waypoints, and relevant coded terminal airspace procedures for the departure, arrival, and alternate airfields.
NOTE: Navigation databases are expected to be current for the duration of the flight. If the AIRAC cycle will change during flight, operators and pilots should establish procedures to ensure the accuracy of navigation data, including suitability of navigation facilities used to define the routes and procedures for flight. Traditionally, this has been accomplished by verifying electronic data against paper products. One acceptable means is to compare aeronautical charts (new and old) to verify navigation fixes prior to dispatch. If an amended chart is published for the procedure, the database must not be used to conduct the operation."
Published instrument procedures and routes are incorporated by reference into 14 CFR Part 95 and 14 CFR Part 97, are "law." They are "effective" only during the AIRAC cycle dates specified on the enroute chart/TPP covers or on the side of the chart when printed from the digital-TPP. If you are using a published procedure before or after the dates specified on the chart under IFR, you are technically in violation of the law.
The FAA cannot arbitrarily depict airspace on its charts without proper authorization. Certain procedures must be followed before the FAA may chart any aeronautical information, especially airspace. Please consult FAA Order, JO 7400.2G - Procedures for Handling Airspace Matters.
Page Last Modified: 08/29/13 10:00 EDT
This page can be viewed online at: http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/faq/