The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is pushing for changes to both VFR and IFR charts to provide better information to pilots.
AOPA wants air route traffic control center (ARTCC) frequencies on VFR charts so pilots can easily learn the status of military operations areas (MOAs). The association also is asking for city names and airport identifiers to be added to airport legends on low-altitude instrument en route charts.
The pilots' association advocated these and other changes during the recent Government/Industry Aeronautical Charting Forum held at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland, March 27-31. The forum oversees policy and procedures for instrument and VFR charting and for the design of instrument approaches.
"The charting forum is just one of 50 advisory committees on which AOPA serves," said Dennis Roberts, AOPA vice president and executive director of government and technical affairs. "Most of our work is behind the scenes, but AOPA's participation ultimately has a significant impact on the way we fly."
In the March charting forum, AOPA advocated inclusion of ARTCC frequencies on VFR sectional charts so pilots can call for "real-time" status of military operations areas.
Flight service stations don't always know if the military is actually using MOA airspace. Frequently, the only information available to an FSS is the published time a MOA could be active. That's seldom more than the data currently printed on VFR sectional charts.
Center controllers, on the other hand, always know when military aircraft are actually using a MOA, since instrument flights must be routed around an active military operations area.
"If ARTCC frequencies were listed on sectional charts, a VFR pilot could easily determine if a MOA was actually in use," said Roberts.
The charting forum supports AOPA's position.
Based on requests from AOPA members, the association also advocated enhancing IFR en route charts by adding the city name and four-letter identifier to the name of each IFR airport.
"For example, just 'Palwaukee Muni' appears now," said Roberts. "It's difficult to find the approach charts for Palwaukee if you don't know they're alphabetized under 'Chicago.'"
Under AOPA's proposal, also endorsed by the charting forum, the airport legend would read "Chicago-Palwaukee Muni (KPWK)."
"Our goal is to have everything identified the same way on instrument en route charts, approach plates, and in the GPS database," said Roberts.
The 355,000-member Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association is the world's largest civil aviation organization. More than one half of the nation's pilots are AOPA members.
April 14, 2000