Flying Simplified Navigation

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The Coast and Geodetic Survey introduced a new family of aeronautical charts in the early 1950s to simplify high-speed jet and transport navigation as well as lightplane visual flying. The series included planning, radio facility, approach and landing, as well as visual charts. These included jet navigation charts (JNC) for visual flying and the issuance of new experimental approach and landing charts for instrument operations. The new format permitted two procedures to be printed on one side of the sheet; it was hoped that the more than 1100 instrument approach charts could be reduced to approximately 400. The smaller-size sheets were also easier to handle in the aircraft. Specialized charts were also developed and tested: operational navigation charts (ONC), global navigation charts (GNC), and various long-range navigation charts (loran, CONSOL, and CONSOLAN).

The radio-facility charts proved unsatisfactory for jet aircraft flying at speeds faster than 500 knots. Consequently, in 1953, the Aeronautical Chart and Information Center introduced a new series of radio facility experimental charts that covered an area 750 nautical miles by 250 nautical miles and folded to 4 ½ x 9 inches for convenient handling.

The Aeronautical Chart and Information Center introduced the Flight Information Publication-Planning (FLIP) in 1958 to further eliminate nonessential material. This publication contained charts and textual data necessary for flight planning. FLIP, and other publications of this type, provide supplemental information that cannot be printed on the chart due to space constraints. The Airman’s Information Manual (AIM) replaced the Airman’s Guide in 1964. Since then, the AIM has gone through various evolutionary stages, at times consisting of four documents, to its present form of Basic Flight Information and ATC Procedures, Airport/Facility Directory, and Notices to Airmen. In 1995, the Airmen’s Information Manual was renamed the Aeronautical Information Manual, merely a sign of the times.

Standard instrument departure (SID) procedure charts were introduced in 1961. Standard terminal arrival route (STAR) procedure charts came in 1967. A year later, VORTAC (VOR with distance measuring TACAN equipment) area navigation (RNAV) en-route charts were introduced; VORTAC RNAV approach charts were developed in 1971.

Area navigation prompted the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to produce a series of high-altitude RNAV charts crisscrossing the United States with RNAV jet routes. These proved to be of limited value, however, and were subsequently discontinued. Jeppesen still offers RNAV en-route charts that, in effect, allow the pilot to design specific routes.

Sectional and world aeronautical charts evolved through several stages in the 1960s and 1970s. Mostly because of economic considerations, information was eventually printed on both sides, which reduced the total number of charts but unfortunately eliminated what many pilots considered useful information printed on the reverse side. Much of this general information was transferred to various sections of the AIM. Profile descent charts were published in 1976 and loran RNAV approach charts were introduced in 1990.

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