Charts nationwide will soon sport something new: the four-pointed stars of VFR waypoints. The FAA has officially established a VFR Waypoints program.
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation pioneered the idea of VFR waypoints, and AOPA first requested VFR waypoints be added to sectional and terminal charts four years ago. Since that time, the FAA has tested the program in the Los Angeles/San Diego area and along the Gulf Coast, from Louisiana around to Florida's eastern shore.
The waypoints make it easier for pilots to navigate through complex airspace and to find and identify visual landmarks used by air traffic control as location reporting points. They can also be used to identify military operations areas (MOAs), restricted areas, and prohibited areas.
"We would like to acknowledge the support provided by the FAA, including those in Flight Standards, Air Traffic, and charting and field facilities across the country," said Randy Kenagy, director of advanced technology. "Without their innovation and willingness to meet their customers' needs, this never would have happened."
The FAA has issued guidelines to regional offices and air traffic control facilities for coordinating with local pilots and user groups to establish the new waypoints.
The waypoints are identified either by the traditional flag-and-pole or a four-pointed star similar to IFR waypoints, and by a five-letter designator beginning with the letters "VP," as in "VPRNL" in the graphic.
The FAA also plans to evaluate using VFR waypoints to identify the entry and exit points for mountain pass routes.