In response to an AOPA proposal, a new type of navigational feature, called the VFR Waypoint, is now depicted on aeronautical charts. Currently, these waypoints are on several VFR Sectional and Terminal Area Charts (TAC) and their exact coordinates are included in navigation databases contained in Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers. They assist pilots in avoiding navigational blunders into Class B and Special Use Airspace.
AOPA members continuously fly under and around the busiest and most complex airspace areas in the world. Charted VFR Waypoints provide an additional navigational aid for members equipped with Area Navigation and current navigation databases.
For the past several years AOPA has worked with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish waypoints especially for pilots operating under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). In the spring of 1998, AOPA submitted a request to the FAA to establish VFR Waypoints as a supplementary navigational tool for VFR operations.
In response to AOPA's proposal, the FAA and AOPA worked collaboratively to develop a process for implementation of VFR Waypoints, charting symbology, and procedures for the charting of the waypoints.
Additional benefits of VFR Waypoints to pilots are being evaluated. For example, the FAA has initiated an evaluation of VFR Waypoints to assist pilots in locating a specific mountain pass when operating in mountainous terrain. Aeronautical chart detail is seldom sufficient to assist pilots in their search for low-altitude navigation through mountainous terrain. These waypoints would pinpoint proper entrance and exit point for navigation through valleys.
AOPA continues to advocate this new initiative. AOPA has requested that the FAA chart VFR Waypoints in terminal areas in the United States. In addition to terminal areas, AOPA has also requested that the FAA chart VFR Waypoints to assist pilots in avoiding Special Use Airspace areas, which include Military Operations Areas, Restricted Areas, and Prohibited Areas. AOPA will also continue to advocate for their use in identifying mountain passes.
AOPA thanks our members for their continued support in protecting the freedom to fly.