Reading Charts

So how do you know what airspace class or area you’re going to be flying in? Read the chart! The FAA publishes detailed charts of the airspace over the United States. The most popular is the sectional aeronautical chart. There are 37 of them, each named for a primary city on the map: San Francisco, Albuquerque, Charlotte, Chicago, Miami, Billings, and so forth.

Another popular chart is the world aeronautical chart (WAC) that covers about twice as much area as a sectional, but with less detail. Most sport and private pilots prefer the sectional charts. Sectionals are official for six months, then are replaced by a new sectional with changes. You cannot rely on an out-of-date sectional chart to guide you in flying.

Number of Take-Offs Equals Number of Landings (Hopefully)
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Reading sectional and WAC charts is relatively easy because they have legends that tell you what all the symbols mean. There’s a lot of information on a chart so you first need to spend some time trying to figure out the legend. Read on for some tips.

Sectional aeronautical chart legend
Sectional aeronautical chart legend
"Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore."
-- Andre Gide

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