Sectional Chart Cycle **CHANGES**

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Joshuajayg, Nov 11, 2020.

  1. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    Anyone else aware that in 2021 the VFR charts will now fall into a 56-day update cycle rather than our current 168-cycle?

    https://www.aopa.org/news-and-media...rts-to-go-on-56-day-publication-cycle-in-2021

    I work for an operator that doesn't use electronic flight bags so we still purchase paper charts. This will triple our chart subscription costs. I assumed this was the FAA doing something witty on their own part. Turns out the AOPA has been advocating this for years and they are happy it is finally happening. I'm not thrilled.

    Thought you might want to know. Maybe, as a company, we need to move into the EFB world.
     
  2. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I'm sure someone was aware of that, but not me.

    It's important that they get updated regularly. Just ignore the fact that they have geographic stuff has been wrong for years and even the sectional and TAC charts don't agree.
     
  3. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

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    If I was still using paper, I’d be happy. It takes too long for changes to make it to print with the longer cycles.
     
  4. Groundpounder

    Groundpounder Pattern Altitude

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    What's a paper chart?
     
  5. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    how does it triple your cost? wouldn't you get however many updates included in your subscription timeframe? ie if you pay for a year, wouldn't the cost be the same whether it's 2 updates or 20 within that year?
     
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  6. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    I'd heard about this several months (a year?) back.

    In addition to the electronic version on the tablet, I've been carrying paper charts just because. However, I'm probably going to abandon that idea altogether now.
     
  7. midlifeflyer

    midlifeflyer Touchdown! Greaser!

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  8. Utah-Jay

    Utah-Jay Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I’ll carry dated paper for reference, but I’m a digital guy

    Besides the paper makes a good sunshade at times
     
  9. Jim K

    Jim K Cleared for Takeoff PoA Supporter

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    Just think how much wrapping paper you'll have next Christmas.
     
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  10. cowman

    cowman En-Route PoA Supporter

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    So how much really changes on a sectional in a typical cycle? It's not like the airports move. I would assume towers and the occasional frequency change/decommissioning of a navaid, etc.
     
  11. midwestpa24

    midwestpa24 En-Route

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    Don't forget airspace changes.
     
  12. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    The charts expire. If you’re going to use them to be legal, you have to replace them whether they changed anything in the chart or not. At a minimum the expiry date changes.
     
  13. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I didn't ask about the expiration dates, I asked about how how the subscription costs triple, as mentioned by the OP. printing out new charts shouldn't triple subscription costs.
     
  14. Salty

    Salty Final Approach

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    Sure. Paper, ink, shipping, and peoples time to put it together are free after all. :confused:
     
  15. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm done with the typical salty argument thread. stay with me here. once again, I didn't ask about paper, ink or anything else you're going to convince yourself is answering the question. if you printed out 10,000 charts every day for the rest of your life, it still doesn't explain how the S U B S C R I P T I O N C O S T triples. paper is a cost, but it's not a subscription cost. I don't know why I'm wasting my time, but as an example, the garmin subscription fee is, I dunno, somewhere around $500 for a year. whether charts update every 56 days or 56 times a day, the subscription fee is still $500. eman out.
     
  16. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I pay $8.25 each for sectionals, $5.80 each for TAC. Subscription means: "We will automatically send new charts as they are released and you can cancel at any time." It doesn't mean that I get free charts.
     
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  17. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Thanks for the explanation. So I used to go to my local FBO and purchase paper sectionals (in primary training because that’s what you did back then). Does that mean I had a subscription or did I pay for each sectional?
     
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  18. Deelee

    Deelee Cleared for Takeoff

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    dang you beat me to it!

    no need to use newspaper this year. Expired sectional charts for all this Christmas!
     
  19. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I’ve been on a subscription service since early in my flying career. But these subscriptions do not work like you’re thinking. I get automatically sent the 2 VFR charts I subscribe to every time they update. And I get charged for each chart. So it’s a subscription but not for $x / year.
     
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  20. eman1200

    eman1200 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    THANK YOU.
     
  21. asicer

    asicer Final Approach

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    You know how aera660 database updates are so slow? They're about to get much slower. :(
     
  22. Michael Marra

    Michael Marra Filing Flight Plan

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    I am "lucky" enough to live on the intersection of THREE sectionals -- New York, Detroit and Washington...this will be fun as they all have differing expiration dates...

    Well, I use my EFB to fly but always carry paper charts "just in case." I will have to think this through...

    Sounds like I will be doing a lot of recycling!

    How I wish we did NOT do away with the WAC charts now! They were GREAT for BIG PICTURE planning and back-up!

    Mike N714AJ
     
  23. RussR

    RussR Pattern Altitude

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    As an offset, it will reduce the amount of work you have to spend checking the Aeronautical Chart Bulletin and manually updating your paper chart every 56 days.

    What? Yes, I imagine most pilots don't even know this exists, and that their paper chart is likely NOT actually current. (Maybe you do, I don't know.)

    Here's the list of changes for my sectional:

    upload_2020-11-11_21-59-38.png

    But yes, I do think it is time for your company to make the jump to EFBs. With the vast majority of chart users using EFBs now (to which the change will be virtually transparent), it's about time the VFR update cycle was changed to match the IFR charts.
     
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  24. EdFred

    EdFred Taxi to Parking

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    Green Bay, Lake Huron, Detroit, Chicago here. But with all charts going to a 56 day cycle they will all have the same expiration date.
     
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  25. drummer4468

    drummer4468 Pre-Flight

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    Same here! NY, Montreal, and Halifax. Paper planning in training was a pain in the ass, having to lay out 3 different charts across a picnic table to plan a 150nm XC. Very happy that we have the spoils of ForeFlight and other EFBs these days. So convenient to have a digital map at my fingertips without crazy folding, refolding, or needing lights to read at night. I couldn't imagine having to keep all that clutter under control while flying the plane.
     
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  26. JoeSelch

    JoeSelch Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    I, too, wish the WAC was still a thing. <sigh>
     
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  27. Doug Reid

    Doug Reid Line Up and Wait

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    I carry my old ipad loaded with charts and ForeFlight as a backup to my newer ipad. I have used it a couple times when the newer ipad had issues. I thought this was a good use for my old tablet rather than giving it away for peanuts.
     
  28. Utah-Jay

    Utah-Jay Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Denver, Salt Lake and Vegas here.

    My $199 a year FF has me covered
     
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  29. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Does every U.S. sectional get updated with every cycle? That's crazy! In the past I bought American VFR paper charts specifically for each trip, so I never paid attention to update cycles.

    Up here in Canada, each individual VNC (sectional) gets updated on an as-needed basis, probably averaging every year or two — there's no specific expiry date, so a VNC is valid until replaced.
     
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  30. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I think you're wise to carry paper charts as emergency backups, and because they're only emergency backups, it should be fine to update them just 1x/year or so.
     
  31. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    If it's just a question of paying less, your $0 a year FltPlan Go subscription would cover you equally well (for the U.S. and Canada). :)
     
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  32. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Chart production costs have nothing to do with the chart price. They aren't fiscally related. The government produces charts as part of the FAA budget and the general fund gets the money paid when they are purchased.
     
  33. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    Looks like it got covered. Through Sporty's or Aircraft Spruce, you can get a "subscription" to paper charts and they send you the requested amount every time the chart gets updated. Then they charge you for the charts. So instead of sending and charging for x number of charts every 6 months, they are now going to charge that same amount every 2 months.

    Also, PDF downloads of charts is free but we aren't going to print our own charts. Too impractical.

    Our operation is primarily local VFR operation so having "current" charts is kind of a joke for us as we know where everything is better than the FAA does. But it is a requirement so we abide by it. The tough part is if we get a charter to... Montana, we may have to turn it down simply because we don't have the charts and we don't have the A061 approval in our Op Specs to use an EFB.

    So if we do go to an EFB, we will have to purchase hardware for all our pilots (8-9 midseason), purchase the subscription, provide training for the system, implement update/charging procedures, and get it all approved by the FAA. Luckily Foreflight provides help in that process. Then people break things and we have to purchase new hardware. It's all a money game.

    I did some cost comparison and it looks like it will be cheaper to go EFB considering all the charts we keep on hand for our daily flights and other places we are likely to get charters. I figure we will need to replace tablets every 4 years. That seem reasonable to you iPad peeps?
     
  34. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    For the purpose of running an EFB it will likely be just acceptable. They will start to seem a bit laggy after 2 years and that will likely be fairly noticeable after 3 years. 2 years is a better replacement interval if you want things to be snappy.

    Note that you can buy the iPads with cellular data capability but without the monthly service. This gets you GPS in the iPad itself.

    Also you can sell them after 2 years for a reasonable recovery of part of the cost and apply to the new ones.
     
  35. Joshuajayg

    Joshuajayg Line Up and Wait

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    I spoke with a Foreflight representative today and he claimed 5 years for replacement intervals. However, I bet pilots will be harder on these tablets than simple time will. Do you run an iPad?
     
  36. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Pattern Altitude PoA Supporter

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    Yes. Right now I am running an A1538 from late 2015. So I guess that is 5 years. It has been used primarily for Foreflight and about 350 hours of flying. Purchased used and still in good shape. I am just beginning to notice the lag. So perhaps I was a bit overly conservative in my prior assessment.
     
  37. jayhawk74

    jayhawk74 Pre-Flight

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    The FAA requires the Airlines to replace their IPads every 3 years so I don't think that they will allow a Charter company to stretch the replacement to 4.
     
  38. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Yeah, we use them in aerial photography and 5 year replacement sounds about right for part 91. I'm on my second iPad mini.
     
  39. Ryan F.

    Ryan F. Cleared for Takeoff

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    Yes, I think it's a great change. Russ beat me to the ACB mention -- probably one in a hundred pilots have ever even heard of Aeronautical Chart Bulletins, but this is what you're forced to rely on to remain current when using charts which are updated (roughly) twice per year.

    I would imagine the preponderance of users going to electronic charts played a role, most likely, in this decision.

    Paper still has its place, but really, it's hard to justify in many cases nowadays in lieu of their electronic counterparts. If you have need for constantly updated VFR sectionals it might be best to make the switch to an EFB.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2020
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  40. Palmpilot

    Palmpilot Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    It seems like the cost increase would further reduce paper sectional sales. I like having them for my local area even though I am now a ForeFlight user, but if it costs three times as much, I'm not sure it will be worth it.