New chart distribution method coming
The National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) is planning to change the way it distributes aeronautical charts on Oct. 1 in order to meet its budget goals. AOPA staff members are working to assure that any new plan affects the availability and price of charts as little as possible.
Under the new plan, a business would need to have annual chart sales of $5,000, not the current $500, to remain a chart agent. Smaller outlets that do not meet the new criteria would purchase charts from larger chart agents. Pilots should see little difference in prices, but it is possible availability of charts for areas outside a pilot’s home airport could be affected. Smaller FBOs may choose to stock mostly regional charts.
AOPA staff members recently attended a meeting on the plan at the invitation of the FAA and are working with NACO and chart agents to make sure safety is not compromised. After the new distribution method takes effect NACO plans to survey its agents approximately every six months to determine any effects on pricing and availability.
April 7, 2009