FAA Comments On Chart Changes


The FAA has confirmed that it has stripped most of the data from charts that overlap on foreign airspace but it hasn’t said why. The agency responded to AVweb’s inquiry about the unpopular move on Wednesday but added little information about what motivated the change. In the Dec. 29 sectional release, any areas outside U.S. borders are essentially grayed out and have only the barest aeronautical information. Before that, they included all the same information in foreign airspace as they did in the U.S. Here is the FAA statement in its entirety.

“The FAA implemented a new 56-day cycle for publishing visual charts to provide more frequent updates. This reduces the need to issue chart-related Notices to Air Mission (NOTAMs) and chart bulletins,” the FAA said. “The visual charts specifically direct pilots flying in international airspace to use aeronautical charts and publications from that country’s aviation authority for the most current verified depictions.” The agency also said it conducted two years of outreach on the changes before issuing a notice on Oct. 13 announcing them. 

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  1. “outreach” is done via the Federal Register. Of course, who reads that daily? The big issue is that Pilots fly with outdated charts and during the issue period are not aware of Chart NOTAMS or Chart Bulletins to keep current with changes to airspace, obstacles, etc.

    AND each pilot should have the Chart Supplement as well as the chart for the route of flight because not everything is on the Chart. With EFB many of the currency issues may be solved but Letters to Airmen (found at the bottom of NOTAMs) are not included except on FNS NOTAM system. Surprised?

  2. Two years of outreach — really?? Well, I guess I must live in a cave!

    Sarcasm aside, I follow numerous aviation news sources including FAA’s own e-mail advisories, AVweb and others and I haven’t heard a a peep about this ill advised change.

    The FAA is adding insult to injury by making such a ridiculous claim. Russ, could you please follow up with your inquiry and ask them to provide some specific examples of their “outreach?”

    I have contacted AOPA and understand that their government affairs staff will be getting involved. Today I plan to contact the offices of my senators and congressman to state my concerns. I’ve also filed a direct inquiry to the FAA at their Aeronautical Inquiries web portal:


    I would encourage other pilots to do the same — you will need to register and create an account in order to file an inquiry. Let them know that this chart change will impact flight safety in areas near the border and was a totally unjustified and unnecessary move.

    The EAA and RAF should also be involved however I’m not a member of those organizations.

    If the FAA’s mission is to promote and maintain safe airspace, they need to provide more data and information to pilots, not LESS. Let’s get this decision reversed!

  3. I depend on AOPA and other private aviation resources to alert me about changes upcoming to the NAS. That includes NOTAMs, Charts, etc. I never saw anything on these FAA changes, and of course, I don’t have time to look at the Federal Registry. Don’t blame busy pilots who have to work for a living…

  4. “But the plans were on display…”
    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a flashlight.”
    “Ah, well, the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.”

    Douglas Adams, in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  5. … or as the world’s greatest chronicler of modern bureaucracy wrote about poor Arthur Dent, whose home was about to be razed to make way for a bypass highway:

    “But Mr. Dent, the plans have been available in the local planning office for the last nine months.”
    “Oh yes, well as soon as I heard I went straight round to see them, yesterday afternoon. You hadn’t exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them, had you? I mean, like actually telling anybody or anything.”
    “But the plans were on display …”
    “On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.”
    “That’s the display department.”
    “With a flashlight.”
    “Ah, well the lights had probably gone.”
    “So had the stairs.”
    “But look, you found the notice didn’t you?”
    “Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard’.”

    … and that was only the start of his troubles.

  6. Anyone interested in a bit of light reading?

    Below is the word for word response I received to the official inquiry which I submitted on the FAA Aeronautical Information Portal website. Please do not hold me responsible for any queasiness or nausea you might experience:

    “Thank you for reaching out to comment on the revised depictions of foreign data. While our charts have always referred pilots to use foreign charts and publications outside of US Airspace it will now be even more certain. The skeletonized depiction on our US charts will allow pilots to orient and transition to the foreign countries charting products thereby obtaining the current verified and trusted depictions.

    In 2020 we began outreach on Foreign Data Depictions activity with the intent of getting the majority of users attention to this matter. Briefings were sent by email in April 2020 to previous participants of the Aeronautical Information Meeting (ACM). A presentation was made to the Aeronautical Information Products and Service Community of Interest (AIPS CoI) to explain changes and have an exchange of ideas on several related visual chart topics. AOPA published an article April 16 of 2020 which touched briefly on that subject as part of the larger 56-day charting effort. In October 2020 we gave an in-person ACM briefing and had an exchange of ideas on this subject with attendees. In October of 2022, a Charting Notice published and email was sent to subscribers of our Alerts/Notices web page alerting them to the forthcoming change.

    I hope this additional information helps in your understanding of the history of our specification change.”

    Not a single word of explanation or a rationale behind WHY the data was stripped out. And with respect to all of their “outreach,” has anyone even heard of the ACM or the AIPS CoI??

    I would like to hear the comments of others but, more important, let’s all make our voices heard to the FAA, your elected representatives and whichever pilot organizations you belong to. This shouldn’t be allowed to happen.

  7. Well get ready for some more insanity. Next month, most of the private airstrips will also be remove. This to has somewhat flown under the radar.

    Private Airports Charted on VFR Aeronautical Charts
    Effective November 3, 2022, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) aeronautical charts will no longer make reference to emergency value in private airport charting.
    Only private airports with landmark value will be retained and charted beyond February 23, 2023.

  8. My guess is they suddenly realised they need to pay copyright to the foreign governments, and they had been stealing information for years.
    Michelin once famously put a squiggle which did not exist into a road on its maps, and then made millions when it sued everyone who copied the map without a license.