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Speedbird 52

Do I Really Need Charts?

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Hello everyone, I have seriously been considering purchasing a yearlong subscription to navigraph for charts, as it is nice to have information such as MDA, DH, and Acceleration/Deceleration heights. However, I am struggling to justify it. Right now, I can quite easily find free charts for most airports, yet I seldom touch them. I fly mostly heavy metal, and these planes come with everything I could need! I get the route on the display and fly it. It is quite rare that I ever need to look at a chart and I have never even touched an enroute chart. So what are your opinions on this? Is it worth it? And how will I use the charts?

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As you say charts are mostly available from the net.  Charts contain a lot more information than can be crammed into an FMC so you should download them and use the relevent charts for your flight. You don't have to print them!!

In the real world paper charts are mandatory even if you have an EFB. Just one reason for this is that the batteries for paper charts never run out! Also there is no guarantee that the electronic charts are up to date.

 

Two good sources are http://www.planningcharts.de/

and Eurocontrol. Airfields and governments have to by EU law deposite up to date charts with Eurocontrol. So what they have is always bang up to date.

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"I can quite easily find free charts for most airports, yet I seldom touch them."

 

Its going to hurt if you pay for them . More than anything using charts comes down to self discipline since nothing bad can happen in a simulator if you don't bother :-)

 

The upside is Navigraph bundle in around 50 training vids in the yearly charts subscription at no extra cost explaining how to use approach charts at different airports around the globe. This makes it good value

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En-route charts are less necessary in an FS environment (but very much a "nice to have" if you want to consider things like terrain clearance, diversion strategies etc whilst enroute) but aerodrome charts are a must.

 

As mentioned above, there is a lot of information contained on the charts that is not necessarily in the FMC navdata. The most obvious, and important, one that springs to mind is SID stop altitudes, which are not encoded in the FMS data for many airports and in many places will not be automatically given to you by ATC -- the assumption is that you should have (and have read) the chart. Also things like preferential runway usage, SID and STAR peculiarities (for instance, some SIDs or STARs are not used for planning purposes or may only be used in the event that a particular navaid is unserviceable -- all of them will be in the FMC database, but only the chart will tell you which is the most appropriate).

 

Also, as you mention, if you are carrying out instrument approach procedures you will need the MDA/DA(H) information that is only available from the charts.

 

As for whether it's worth paying for the charts from Navigraph -- really it's up to you and your needs. The main advantages are the iPad/Android app that enables you to access (and annotate) the charts on a tablet and the fact that all the charts are in the same format and in the same place -- so you don't have to go hunting around for charts. Plus, the chart presentation is optimised for pilots (and particularly airline pilots) -- which is significant, because the free charts available from Eurocontrol etc are effectively "raw data" designed for use by a range of users from private pilots to ATC and even airport designers and airline performance planners etc. As a result, the Eurocontrol charts contain a lot of "raw" data (so, for instance, you won't find a DA/H on a Eurocontrol state chart -- you will only find OCA(H), which is the raw data from which an airline or chart provider such as Lido or Jeppesen would then calculate the DA(H)), lots of information that might be relevant to private pilots but not necessarily airline pilots (and vice-versa), information for airport planners and performance engineers like Geoid Undulation Elevation, pavement bearing strengths, co-ordinates of navaids, waypoints, runway thresholds, excruciating detail about approach lighting systems etc. And various states have various different ways of presenting the data, sometimes in multiple languages, which can make for cluttered, difficult to read charts in some cases.

 

However, the Eurocontrol charts are free. So it depends really on what you're prepared to spend and how much convenience you're prepared to sacrifice to save some money!

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http://fltplan.com/ offers up-to-date U.S. and Canadian charts for free.

 

I would say yes, you still need charts even with an FMC. An FMC doesn't show you

transition altitudes automatically. Most importantly, it may happen that ATC assigns

you to a different STAR, or the wind has changed and you want to change it yourself.

With just an FMC it is easy to get lost about which STAR is suitable, or bout visualizing

how required changes may affect your route.

 

Peter

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As Simon said, aerodrome charts are required. Enroute charts are nice, but you can really live without them in the Sim.

 

One could argue, if you fly offline and on your own, you can really do whatever you want, the question is how realistic you want to fly.

 

There's no need to purchase a Navigraph subscription. The benefit of doing so would be to have the whole charts for the whole world centralized in just a single source. No need to look around for charts of the various airports. Depending on your flying style this could be a real headache killer.

 

On the other hand, if you always fly within certain countries, there's good sources of information that will do the job. Skyvector for the USA for instance. If you fly in the UK there's the NATS AIP, in Spain there's the ENAIRE AIP. In Europe you can register to Eurocontrol and have access to all European Charts.


 

 


main advantages are the iPad/Android app that enables you to access (and annotate) the charts on a tablet

 

 


the chart presentation is optimised for pilots

 

Very good points!

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If you fly in the UK there's the NATS AIP

Next time you load a chart from the NATS website watch carefully. It links to Eurocontrol!! :sad:

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*snip*

 

Agree totally. I was in the same position not too long ago and was wondering what to do - up until that point doing short haul stuff almost entirely out of Gatwick, I would just google the ICAO code and charts and get what I could. That ends up being a pain as you have to organise all of your charts and then (a bigger one for me) you'd find your AIRAC data doesn't match the charts anyway. I can't recall what options Navigraph offer in terms of packages that you can buy but I ended up going for the 9€ per month sub, as I felt it was good value. For that I get the AIRAC data for my Aerosoft Airbus, and then very satisfyingly, matching charts for any airport on the globe via a very well designed app (Android in my case which works perfectly on my 10 in tablet).

 

I had no idea they did tutorial videos for reading approach charts as well, I was actually going to ask about that very thing soon! Perfect!

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I have subscribed to Navicharts for the last 3 years but I am not going to renew it. They switch chart providers to Lufthansa System and Navigraph claimed we get better and more charts. Myself I find this untrue as a lots of regional airports are not longer supported and I mostly fly 737's or Q400 into regional airports.

 

All the Australian airports and up to date as its the Air Services Australia website http://www.airservicesaustralia.com/aip/current/dap/AeroProcChartsTOC.htm

 

sky vector is very good  https://skyvector.com/

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The problem I see with the Eurocontrol site is that its search function is a pain in the &@($*.

 

If I can go to the original source, for example ENAIRE for Spain, I do so.

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En route charts are not really necessary and indeed real crews would be hard pushed to tell you which airway they are on without looking it up in the FMC or asking ATC.

 

Airport charts are another matter and really are pretty essential to match up the SID and STAR with the flight plan and arrival runway and obtain situational awareness. The procedures are constantly changing and the fastest way to a huge headache in the sim is when your charts and FMC procedures are all out of whack.

 

Also bear in mind that many government th published charts only feature OCA/H and not MDA/DH/DA/RVR data, the latter of which you need to fly realistically.

 

I swear by the Navigraph LIDO product for this.

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