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FAA updating IFR chart formatsFAA updating IFR chart formats

AOPA fact sheet explains revisionAOPA fact sheet explains revision

The FAA has begun to introduce changes designed to reduce clutter on government-produced standard instrument departure (SID) charts, and make it easier for pilots to ascertain the equipment requirements for instrument approach procedures.

AOPA supports the changes and is working with the FAA to inform instrument pilots about them as the large numbers of charts of both types are converted to the new formats.

Two modifications are being made concerning SID charts that should make them more user friendly. Beginning with the August 2017 chart cycle, the location and height of low, close-in obstacles or groups of obstacles is being removed from the charts.

“While well-intentioned, the publication of these low, close-in obstacle notes has resulted in a serious chart clutter issue on many Standard Instrument Departures (SIDs) and extensively long Takeoff Minimums & Obstacle Departure Procedures (ODP) entries on those runways with numerous close-in obstacles,” explained a 2015 report of the Aeronautical Charting Forum’s instrument procedures group that recommended the change.

A related change was initiated in March 2017, when the digital Terminal Procedures Publication began to include embedded bookmark information that allows the user to search Takeoff Minimums and (Obstacle) departure Procedures and Diverse Vector Area (Radar Vectors) for specific airports. Instead of having to scroll through a long publication—not easy when using many electronic devices to locate flight-planning information—navigating by the embedded bookmarks “will allow the users to search this section by airport identifier, enabling the user to go directly to the page where the searched airport is located,” said an April 2017 charting notice advertising the new searchable-information feature.

According to an update planned for the next edition of the Notices to Airmen Publication, every SID for an airport with an entry in the IFR Takeoff Minimums, Departure Procedures, and Diverse Vector Area (Radar Vectors) section of a terminal procedures publication will be annotated with a negative T symbol. “This symbol indicates the chart user should refer to the IFR Takeoff Minimums, Departure Procedures, and Diverse Vector Area (Radar Vectors) section for information that may be relevant to the departure planning process. If takeoff obstacles exist, then they will be listed within this section and highlighted by the term, ‘Takeoff Obstacle Notes,’” it says.

Instrument approach procedures are also being reorganized to make key information more accessible and eliminate conflicting references.

Starting in March 2018, users of government-produced approach plates will notice that a box appearing near the top of the approach plate is being phased into use, containing notes stating the approach’s equipment requirements for conventional instrument procedures and performance-based navigation procedures.

AOPA has produced this fact sheet that gives examples of the required equipment and PBN information boxes and the types of notes that could appear. The fact sheet explains that the information box “will be the only area on the chart that lists the additional equipment or performance requirement needed for the approach. Currently, equipment and performance requirements can be found in the briefing strip and the planview area, and the two don’t always list the same types of navigation equipment as being required, which can create confusion.”

“The charting change affects organization of information, it does not change requirements to fly the procedure,” said Rune Duke, AOPA director of airspace and air traffic.

As AOPA reported in January, the notes are based on the current assumption that all aircraft flying IFR are equipped with at least one VOR.

Notes would also inform a pilot when radar is required to define a fix.

See the AOPA fact sheet for a detailed explanation of the change.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Advocacy, Obstruction Hazards, FAA publications

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