In an age when everyone seems to think “electronic” when it comes to aviation charts, Jeppesen is looking to reinvent paper sectionals.
In listening to its customers, Jeppesen learned that many VFR pilots wanted a more modern VFR chart with information dovetailing with what they were seeing on their GPSs. “Through better use of color, contrast, and intuitive symbols we have made a visual aeronautical chart that is easier to use,” said Christopher Dean, product manager at Jeppesen.
The charts are based on a set of products launched in Europe in 1995—where many GA pilots fly VFR almost exclusively because of the costs and complexity of IFR flying. The U.S. charts will be updated about every six months. Initial coverage areas will be based on Jeppesen’s analysis of data from AOPA’s Real-Time Flight Planner, which the company developed for AOPA, and its own flight planners.
Jeppesen is basing the rollout of its coverage areas on the analysis of VFR flight plans filed by its customers. Coverage for Florida and Georgia and the Great Lakes area is now available. Other parts of the Lower 48 states will be available by the end of 2009. Suggested retail price is $9.95 per chart, slightly more than government-issued sectionals. But Jeppesen points out that some of its VFR+GPS charts, as they are called, cover more area than one sectional chart.
The back of the VFR+GPS charts will carry JeppGuide airport diagrams for select airports and local information for some airports, such as restaurant and attraction information.
In addition to the 1:500 scale charts, Jeppesen will offer a 1:250 scale for select regions—similar to the scale of the government’s terminal area charts.
The new charts use richer colors than sectionals to help pilots determine airspace requirements and boundaries. Airport details are less cryptic. The charts use a combination of cultural data, such as showing the actual boundaries of an airport or the presence of a shopping mall, traditional aviation data.
The company plans to ultimately also make the chart information available in electronic format for use in moving map displays.