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FAA refuses to chart a plan for island-bound pilots

Fall isn't far away, especially for pilots planning to fly to the Caribbean and over Hawaii. Official government charts would be great, right?

Despite a strong push from AOPA, the FAA still hasn't committed to producing replacements after the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) stops publishing Flight Information Publications (FLIP) and other popular charts in October.

"The FAA must take action to provide equivalent products, otherwise there will be no publicly available government source of aeronautical information for Hawaii, the Caribbean, and Central and South America," according to Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of regulatory affairs.  This was reflected in a recent letter to the FAA.

The NGA, under the Department of Defense (DOD), announced in 2004 that it would stop selling the charts. AOPA, however, was able to convince the DOD to take public comments on the issue. Several hundred pilots were successful in getting the government to implement a phased approach for the discontinuance of en route charts, supplemental flight information, and instrument approach procedures.

Over the past two years, AOPA has continued to go to bat for pilots, advocating for a transition plan. Congress has also weighed in, but the FAA still refuses to act.

The territories fall under what is known as the U.S. Flight Information Region and the FAA has a legal responsibility for providing the navigation products to ensure safety and efficiency.

For more information, see AOPA's updated Air Traffic Services Brief.

August 23, 2007

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