FAA to Cease Publication of WAC Charts

The FAA will soon stop producing and distributing World Aeronautical Charts (WACs). According to
Policy for Discontinuance of World Aeronautical Chart Series announced in the Federal Register by FAA’s Aeronautical Information Services – AJV-5:

The FAA is continuing to expand the availability and capability of modern aeronautical navigation products. At the same time, we must rigorously analyze our suite of products and determine the feasibility and practicability of providing products that are no longer in demand from the public or have become obsolete due to technological advances. Since 2007, unit sales of the World Aeronautical Charts are down 73 percent. (Sales are down 10% year over year 2013/2014.) The cost to develop this product is independent of the sales. The cost of resources drives a steady and consistent rise in costs associated with the production of the World Aeronautical Chart to the FAA…

The FAA concludes that maintenance of both VFR series charts (the World Aeronautical Charts at a scale of 1:1,000,000 and the Sectional Aeronautical Charts at a scale of 1:500,000) is unsustainable. As a derivative product, the World Aeronautical Chart does not contain the full aeronautical and base information available to users of the Sectional Aeronautical Charts.

The notice gives the following schedule for the final versions of various WAC charts:

FAA will discontinue the compilation, printing, and dissemination of the World Aeronautical Chart series and we will continue to maintain the compliment [sic complement] of other comprehensive visual aeronautical charts. Charts: CC-8, CC-9; CD-10, CD-11, CD-12; CE-12, CE-13, CE-15; CF-16, CF-17, CF-18, CF-19; CG-18, CG-19, CG-20, CG-21; CH-22, CH-23, and CH-24 will cease to be printed beyond September 17, 2015. Charts: CH-25; CJ-26, and CJ-27 production will end upon their next scheduled printing dates of December 10, 2015; February 04, 2016, and March 31, 2016 respectively. (See the Dates of Latest Edition).

Organizing Approach Charts and Checklists

My IFR students have asked about the system I use for organizing frequently-used approach charts and checklists, especially when flying aircraft with small cockpits. Although I use an iPad and have electronic charts in the G500/GTN750 avionics in the cockpit of the Bonanza, I still keep printed copies of the current charts for the airports that I use frequently, both as backup and for convenience when I fly with students and customers.

ChartProtector_0364

I use 5.5 x 8.5 (kneeboard size) Avery 77004 sheet protectors or Staples Item 616224 ($4.81 for 25) to organize and hold approach charts and checklists. These sheet holders work with printed FAA charts or Jeppesen plates.

You can quickly print sets of charts for airports by using the features at AOPA Airports. You can also capture and then print portions of IFR en route and VFR charts at SkyVector.com.

Staples® 5-1/2

You can use Staples Item 453599 ($7.79 for 66 tabs) or the equivalent to attach and label tabs to help you organize checklists and charts.

Post-it® 1

VOR Decommissioning: Latest FAA Update

The latest meeting of the FAA’s Aeronautical Charting Forum included an update from FAA on its plans to decommission many VORs as the nation’s air navigation and air traffic control services transition to a GPS-based system. Here’s a summary of the briefing from the ACF meeting minutes:

Discontinuation of VOR Services

Leonixa Salcedo, AJM-324, briefed the issue. Leonixa gave an overview of the VOR MON program and a status report since the last ACF. She reviewed the progress made to date on identifying VORs that may be decommissioned. She pointed out to the audience a significant change in the number of VORs expected to be decommissioned. Previously, it had been reported that approximately 50% of all the VORs in the NAS would be decommissioned. That estimation has been readjusted to just over 33% (approximately 308).

Leonixa stated that since the last ACF, the criteria for decommissioning VORs has been developed by the FAA and MITRE. Discussions have also taken place between the FAA and the DoD, during which the military emphasized that their operational requirements within the NAS require that fewer VORs be decommissioned.

Leonixa explained that the VOR MON program will be on a 10 year timeline of three phases, with the decommissioning of approximately 100 VORs during each phase. The goal is for final transition to the VOR MON by 2025. In the short term, Leonixa stated that a list of VORs initially selected for decommissioning will be released to the public sometime in 2015.

You can review the PowerPoint presentation about the VOR decommissioning program from the ACF meeting here (PDF).

Video: Early Season Solo Aerobatic Practice

Last week, I flew the Extra 300L to its summer base at Seattle’s Boeing Field (KBFI). Today I enjoyed a beautiful summer-like morning in Seattle to get in much needed practice before I start flying with stall/spin/upset customers. I narrated the basic maneuvers in this flight.

BruceAir in AOPA Pilot magazine

I was profiled in the June 2015 issue of AOPA Pilot magazine.

FAA Publishes MVA and MIA Charts

The FAA has published minimum vectoring altitude and minimum IFR altitude charts on its website, here (scroll to the bottom of the page for the links to each category).

e. Minimum Vectoring Altitudes (MVAs) are established for use by ATC when radar ATC is exercised. MVA charts are prepared by air traffic facilities at locations where there are numerous different minimum IFR altitudes. Each MVA chart has sectors large enough to accommodate vectoring of aircraft within the sector at the MVA. Each sector boundary is at least 3 miles from the obstruction determining the MVA. To avoid a large sector with an excessively high MVA due to an isolated prominent obstruction, the obstruction may be enclosed in a buffer area whose boundaries are at least 3 miles from the obstruction. This is done to facilitate vectoring around the obstruction. (AIM 5−4−5)

The charts are PDFs, sorted alphabetically by facility.

Note the disclaimers on the main page:

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Minimum Vectoring Altitude (MVA) charts and Minimum IFR Altitude (MIA) charts are being made available on this website in PDF format for users to identify the sector designs and minimum altitudes on charts used by Air Traffic Control. These charts are not geo-referenced and are not to be used for navigation. In the next two years, as Air Traffic Facilities update current MVA and MIA charts, they will be made available in AIXM 5.1 format.

FAA Publishes List of Instrument Approaches Set for Cancellation

FAA has published the latest list of 736 VOR and NDB approaches that it wants to cancel. You can download a Microsoft Excel worksheet that includes all of the procedures here.

According to the April 13, 2015 announcement in the Federal Register:

This action proposes to remove certain redundant or underutilized ground-based non-directional beacon and very high frequency, omnidirectional radio range Standard Instrument Approach Procedures based on the criteria established by the FAA’s Policy for Discontinuance of Certain Instrument Approach Procedures.

The announcement offers additional details as background:

On June 27, 2014, the FAA published a policy establishing criteria for cancelling instrument approach procedures (79 FR 36576). Cancelling certain ground-based non-directional beacon (NDB), and very high frequency (VHF), omnidirectional radio range (VOR) SIAPs is one integral part of right-sizing the quantity and type of procedures in the National Airspace System (NAS). As new technology facilitates the introduction of area navigation (RNAV) instrument approach procedures, the number of procedures available in the National Airspace System has nearly doubled over the past decade. The complexity and cost to the FAA of maintaining the existing ground based navigational infrastructure while expanding the new RNAV capability is not sustainable. Therefore, the FAA is proposing the following list of SIAPs for cancellation based on the criteria established in the Policy.

The proposal is open for comments until May 28, 2015.

You can find details about the current inventory of instrument approaches and related procedures at the Instrument Flight Procedures (IFP) Inventory Summary website.

To learn more about specific procedures and procedures in development, visit the Instrument Flight Procedures Information Gateway.

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