The FAA has published a notice of policy to discontinue World Aeronautical Charts (WACs) without a public comment period.
“AOPA is very concerned that pilots’ voices must be heard regarding any proposed charting changes that would affect safety and we are opposing this decision,” said Melissa Rudinger, AOPA vice president of government affairs. “We are very frustrated and surprised that the decision to discontinue these charts has circumvented the normal channels for comment and has not been fully vetted with stakeholders.”
The association opposes the notice of intent and will strongly urge the FAA to answer questions pilots might have first, and then provide a public comment period, before initiating any changes to the WAC series.
In addition to sectional charts, terminal area charts, and other navigational aids, many pilots routinely use WACs for long-range and overview planning before embarking on flights. In the West and in other parts of the country, WACs are a regular part of the flight planning process, and according to chart suppliers, about 12,000 WACs are sold yearly. Therefore, eliminating these maps could pose a serious safety hazard to flight.
The FAA reasons that digital advances in technology and navigational capabilities are making these printed charts obsolete as pilots shift their attention more toward digital products.
AOPA has shared concerns and provided feedback to the FAA previously and does not want to see a valuable product like WACs disappear from pilots’ tool belts. Additionally, AOPA encourages members to write to Eric Freed, the Federal Register listing contact.