In addition, aeronautical charts include topographical information such as the terrain and mountain heights. It's always good to know how tall a mountain in your path is!

Knowledge Test

When reading chart coordinates, remember that latitude is listed first, then longitude. Forget which is which? Remember that longitude is the long line on the chart. The other is latitude.

It's also important to know where landmarks are: roads, railroad tracks, lakes, rivers, radio towers, and other large objects. You'll be flying by what you see—under visual flight rules or VFR—so a chart is vital to figuring out where you are.

Longitude and latitude on a world map

Of course, it will take you many hours before you can easily read aeronautical charts. So get a chart for your area, available for about $10 from the FAA or at larger airports, and start practicing. You'll soon see how useful they are for helping you enjoy flying.