FAA: Digital Chart Proposal In The Works

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The FAA is now working on a final proposal for how it will determine prices for aeronautical chart products, the agency said last week, but no dates were set to complete or implement that plan. Late last year, the FAA developed a draft proposal to address the issues of security, safety, and cost recovery for its paper and digital electronic products. The agency said it wants to protect the integrity of its charts, which it says have sometimes been "replicated in a way that did not preserve the integrity of the original product." The FAA also wants to develop a fee structure that will enable it to recover production costs.

The FAA said it hasn't set any dates for completion of the final proposal or a timeline for implementation, but it plans to keep the aviation community informed about its progress. The agency now develops aeronautical products and sells them through a network of about 400 authorized aeronautical chart agents, as well as through direct sales to the public. "With the growth of the worldwide web and advances in personal computing devices, pilots have relied increasingly on digital aeronautical products rather than traditional paper charts," the FAA said. The agency has the authority to charge fees to recover the costs of producing those products. The draft plan inspired quite a lot of discussion when it was released in December; click here to read AVweb editorial director Paul Bertorelli's blog post on the topic.