Aeronautical chart

An aeronautical chart is an enhanced map that pilots use when flying. The Oxford Essential Dictionary of the US Military (2002, quoted by, 20091) defines an aeronautical chart as "a specialized representation of mapped features of the earth, or some part of it, produced to show selected terrain, cultural and hydrographic features, and supplemental information required for air navigation and pilotage, or for planning air operations".

An aeronautical chart, thus, represents topographic features, hazards and obstructions, navigation aids, navigation routes, designated airspace and airports locations. Specific charts are used for each phase of a flight and may vary from a map of a particular airport to an overview of the instrument routes covering an entire continent (e.g., global navigation charts), and charts for IFR and VFR (National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 20082. By using appropriate and updated navigational charts, pilots will be able to know their location as well as any procedures governing particular airspaces and airports.

(Image embedded from Wikipedia on 30 December 2009)

Types of Aeronautical charts and their purpose

1. Airport Charts
2. Standard Instrument Departure (SID): It's purpose is to standardize departure from a given runway, reduce the errors in aircraft tracking, reduce possibility of radio-telephony congestion and prove a means of vacating the aerodrome to a point clear of traffic where an aircraft can then intercept the cleared route.
3. Enroute Charts (High Altitude/Low Altitiude {upper altitude and lower altitude for EU & RVSM charts)
4. Standard Terminal Arrival Routes (STARS). They are used for reducing radio-telephony congestion, standardize arrival instructions, reduce the possibility of aircraft tracking to land in airports and for aircraft suffering communication failure.
5. Instrument Approach Charts (precision/non precision)
6. VOR/DME MRA Sectors (VORSEC) Chart: Purpose of VORSEC chart is to provide adequate terrain clearance and reliable navigation aid signal reception within the area covered by the chart. Additionally, they are used by pilots for arrival, departure or transiting when within the area of cover and also used by ATC for lateral aircraft separation.

1. ANSWERS.COM (2009). Aeronautical chart. Retrieved from on 30 December 2009.
2. NATIONAL GEOSPATIAL-INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (2008). Navigational planning charts. Retrieved from NGA on 30 December 2009.

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