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VFR charts to go on 56-day publication cycle in 2021

The FAA announced plans to put visual navigation and planning charts on a 56-day publication cycle early next year, streamlining the process of updating charted information and causing some charts now in use to become obsolete earlier than their published expiration dates.

The FAA will update visual navigation and planning charts on a 56-day cycle starting in 2021. Photo by Chris Rose.

The new 56-day publication cycle will take effect on February 25, 2021, for all sectional aeronautical charts, VFR terminal area charts, VFR flyway planning charts, and Helicopter Route Charts and will coincide with publication of other en route, terminal, and supplemental chart products.

The FAA expects the change to result in significant reductions of chart-related notams because new information will be added to charts more quickly than is the case on the current publication cycles of 168 days to two years. The change will also make the chart bulletins that are contained in chart supplement volumes unnecessary, the FAA said.

“AOPA has been advocating for this change and working with the FAA to move toward a 56-day cycle for some time and appreciates the FAA’s willingness to work collaboratively to bring about one of the biggest changes to visual charts in decades," said Rune Duke, AOPA senior director of airspace, air traffic, and aviation security. “We know from our surveys that close to 90 percent of pilots are primarily using electronic charts and no longer rely on paper charts. We believe this transition will improve safety and allow greater modernization of charting products to meet general aviation pilots’ needs, but we also remain sensitive to paper chart availability and cost.”

Pilots should note that some VFR navigation charts currently in effect will become obsolete earlier than their published expiration dates. Affected charts will be listed in a charting notice expected to be released soon.

In a related action to take effect February 25, 2021, the FAA will revise the wording of a note that appears on navigation charts that extend into foreign airspace to caution that limited chart information is provided outside of U.S. airspace for orientation and transition to foreign charts and flight information publications, and that pilots should refer to foreign publications outside of U.S. airspace.

“We will continue to work with the FAA on numerous other chart changes that will further improve the utility of visual and IFR charting products,” Duke said.

AOPA ePublishing staff
AOPA ePublishing Staff editors are experienced pilots, flight instructors, and aircraft owners who have a passion for bringing you the latest news and AOPA announcements.
Topics: Advocacy, Airspace, FAA Information and Services

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