Culture

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Constructed land features include roads and highways, railroads, buildings, canals, dams, boundary lines, and the like. Many landmarks that can be easily recognized from the air, such as stadiums, racetracks, pumping stations, and refineries, are identified by brief descriptions adjacent to a small black square or circle marking exact location. Depictions might be exaggerated for improved legibility.

Figure contains a description of railroads, roads, bridges, and tunnels shown on aeronautical charts. Differences between sectionals and WACs are noted. Single-track railroads have one crosshatch; double and multiple railroads have a double crosshatch. Railroads often make excellent checkpoints. A word of caution. Numerous railroads emanate like spokes from many large cities. Pilots navigating exclusively by the “iron compass” have become hopelessly confused when they inadvertently took the wrong track —pardon the pun.

Never navigate solely by one landmark. Major highways (category 1) also make excellent checkpoints, but they do suffer from the same problems as the railroad. Secondary roads (category 2, and especially secondary category 2) are often difficult to positively identify, especially when flying over sparse areas of desert or plains. Bridges, viaducts, and causeways are often very good checkpoints.

Figure shows populated areas (large cities from figure), boundaries, water features, and miscellaneous cultural features. Large and medium cities are shown by their outlines as they appear on the ground. This helps significantly with identification. Towns and villages are only represented by a small circle. Especially where several towns or villages are in the same general area, this symbology makes them hard to positively identify. Political boundaries are shown using standard map symbols. Cultural coastal features are depicted because of their landmark value. Small mines and quarries are shown by a small crossed-picks symbol.

Pilots should pay particular attention to the symbol for aerial cableways, conveyers, and the like, which are formally called catenaries. The catenaries depicted on aeronautical charts are cables, power lines, cable cars, or similar structures suspended between Pilots should pay particular attention to the symbol for aerial cableways, conveyers, and the like, which are formally called catenaries. The catenaries depicted on aeronautical charts are cables, power lines, cable cars, or similar structures suspended between peaks, a peak and valley below, or across a canyon or pass. A cableway is normally 200 feet or higher above terrain, which poses a very serious hazard to low-flying aircraft; the cable might be marked with orange balls or lights.

Cultural features are not revised as often as aeronautical information; therefore, especially in areas of rapid metropolitan development, cultural features as seen from the air might differ from those depicted on the chart. Power transmission lines (high-tension lines) are depicted for their landmark and safety value. Often, transmission lines can be used to verify the identification of other landmarks. Although not normally qualifying as an obstruction, their depiction alerts pilots flying at low altitudes to this sometimes almost invisible hazard. Transmission lines are shown on a chart as small black towers connected by a single line.

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