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August 28, 2013
By Benét J. Wilson
As expected, the FAA has announced an end to direct-to-consumer sales of all paper aeronautical chart products, effective Oct. 1. After that date, pilots will need to purchase all paper aeronautical charts from an authorized chart agent.
This move by the FAA follows a previous action that ended subscription chart services in July 1 and is aimed at maximizing the efficiency of the FAA division that develops aeronautical chart products. Digital chart products will not be affected.
“During the FAA’s consideration of this change, AOPA evaluated the impact of the change on pilots and urged the agency to ensure the continued widespread availability of affordable paper aeronautical charts,” said Tom Kramer, AOPA’s manager of airspace and modernization. “We found that pilots could obtain paper aeronautical charts at prices lower than the FAA, with free shipping, from a variety of online pilot supply shops.”
There are no plans by the FAA to end production of paper aeronautical charts.
“AOPA has advocated, and the FAA agrees, that there continues to be strong demand for paper aeronautical charts and the FAA has no plans to discontinue the production of aeronautical charts. This simply changes the distribution model,” said Kramer.
In its announcement, the FAA noted that its network of authorized chart agents “offer unparalleled customer service, quick delivery and proven logistics for providing a high level of product support to the aviation community.”
Digital products will still be available for purchase through the FAA by contacting the AeroNav Products' Distribution Team directly via email or by phone at 800-638-8972 (for calls within the U.S.) and 301-436-8301 (for calls outside the U.S.).
AOPA eNewsletter and Social Media Editor Benét J. Wilson joined AOPA in 2011. She is working on her private pilot certificate.
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