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FAA To Start Charging For Online Charts, No Access For Individuals

The days of inexpensive navigation and chart apps for your mobile devices appear to be numbered with the FAA's announcement that it will begin charging for downloads that were previously free starting April 5, 2012. A story in the December issue of our sister publication Aviation Consumer says the Aeronautical Navigational Products Directorate (Aeronav), which currently makes the latest charts and other navigational products available online for free, says it has to recover the costs… ( さらに...

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Didn't we already pay for this in the form of income tax and fuel tax??
I was a thinking the same thing Chip. Is this not what they ought to be doing rather than spending our money on something from 20 years past. Sometimes things of the past or those no longer needed have to be cut off but that's not the government way.
Wayne.... I'm pretty sure scrapping the NDB system will save as much money as this tax will raise. I'd be just fine with losing that approach..... That'll save a few pages in the TERPS too.
This has the same deal as the user fees...the cost of implementing the fee will probably make the whole thing break even at best.
Oppose this silly cost:
Umm...VATSIM or IVAO? Seriously? That will not be a compelling argument to the FAA or anyone for that matter. We're talking about actual use by airspace users.
iflyfsx 0
Before you know it, the IRS is going to start charging us a tax to cover the cost of processing our taxes. In the meantime, billions of dollars are wasted on the TSA and their useless, invasive, and dangerous scanners.
I do believe I already pay for this service with my TAX dollar!!!
Chuck Me 0
Does anybody have the official announcement from the FAA?
calbert 0
Does AOPA know anything about this?
Chuck Me 0
I don't know if AOPA knows or not. I would just like to see something more official with detail before I start screaming and yelling. Yes it is concerning. I want to know where avweb is getting their information. I am sure it has driven a lot of traffic to their site. I can't find anything on Aviation Consumer (I don't subscribe though).
Call the director of AeroNav products, Fred Anderson, at 405 954 3027. They'll probably direct you to customer service, 800 626 3677. Nothing in writing, but they'll confirm the fee goes live on April 5, 2012.
Chuck Me 0
It caught my attention the language says something like "individuals won't have access anymore and companies will have to pay for the information"

I'm willing to be this is driven by the people who sell these charts as part of products. I'd bet they have lobbied the FAA to start charging for them and eliminating individual access.
I believe these folks are involved on the AOPA side:

Heidi Williams ( and Tom Kramer (

I wonder if NBAA is involved?
Does this mean they plan on charging for their online publications aswell?
GO here and say NO to this new cost!
Will this affect my $75 a year ForeFlight subscription? Hope not...;)
jchpa32 0
I have sent an e-mail to Aeronav, asking them to clarify this. I asked if this means I cannot download the PDF's of plates, diagrams and AFD pages and print them at home on my PC. The story wasn't very clear if it was just the data used to develop these apps, or the products themselves.It has been a great boon for my flying since they became available online, and I also use them quite a bit for flight simming.
Ever since Naco/Aeronav decided a few years ago to limit charting agents to those selling $5k or more in charts, I have a heck of a time getting charts-only one FBO in town now carries them, and only some, so they never seem to have what I need. Not long ago I had to discontinue my Sporty';s chart subscription as it wasn't cost effective for the flying I do, instead relying on the FREE online charts. And yes, I feel I pay for them through my fuel and general taxes, just like the other aviation services I use.
This would be a big blow for safety, and another reason for many people to reduce or stop their flying altogether.
I have signed the petition, and I will be contacting my congressmen.
Statement by the Board of Directors of the IMC Club Regarding Charging Fees by the FAA
Ask FAA for reversal to charge for government approach data downloads and not allowing individuals to access them.

Statement by the Board of Directors of the IMC Club Regarding Charging Fees by the FAA

we need 25,000 signatures
A petition has already been set up here:

And there is a website:
Let's all try to make a difference...sign the petition:

Check out our site for more info:
Oh sorry...Thanks Tom!
JD345 0
Pretty soon you're going to have to pay just to like airplanes.
Thank you to all of the Democrats out there including Obama that think we can tax and levy fees to get the U.S. out of this financial mess.
And what makes you think that it is just the Blues and Obama that is doing this? I remind you that Marion Blakely was also doing this under Bush's administration for pretty much 6 out of the 8 years he was in office! AIRAC data? gone. DAFIF? Gone. Both went pay only because of that.

So this isn't just a Democrat or Republican thing here. This is the FAA's way of dealing with everyone, especially Republicans, saying "cut everything except for defense!" Because the FAA has been in crisis and damage control mode for YEARS, these are the cuts you are now getting. Congrats.

Back on topic: petition signed, and letters to my senators and Reps sent.
If you want it fixed, vote Libertarian... not Democrat OR Republican.
calbert 0
humm...looks like inflation or another way to fill the lack of money in the bank. Jepp charts got so expensive and even the local shops did not carry them anymore a few years ago. They was the one to use for training for sometime before. I only had one student ever buy them for training in the last 5 years. Most did not want to spend the money on them. They berly whant to spend the money on the FAA/nos charts since they feel they will have to buy them a few times before there checkride. Some times we have to download them to use for teaching or to just make life easyer insted of flipping the book every time. Will this affect the suscribed ipad app? Lets see what happends and if FAA or AOPA has any offical stuff on this.
JPeroyea 0
Think about how many small businesses will be negatively affected by this government move. How many pilots and flight schools, airlines and 135 operators will be affected? Just another government intrusion into our lives. I miss Ronald Reagan.
I don't blame the FAA. The agency has been in a funding crisis for years now and they really do need to find a way to finance their own operations. The real problem here is that the quality of the FAA charts pales in comparison to the commercial alternative from Jeppesen. I fear that once pilots, educators, and hobbyists get used to the idea of paying for charts, they're going to see the value in the much better Jeppesen offerings and stop using the FAA charts altogether.

If the FAA can make charts that don't suck, I have no problem buying them.
JPeroyea -1
Yet another government intrusion into many citizens lives. How many small businesses will be negatively affected by this new government intrusion (taxation)? How many pilots, FBOs, 135 operators,CFIs, and perhaps airlines will be negatively affected by this? It is just another move to put government above citizens....with socialism tactics. Obama is not done with the aviation industry yet. He has been talking about many other moves, and he will not back down. This chart tax is just a sign of the camel getting his nose under our tent. I assume all of us are concerned about more government control and taxation....just what the aviation industry does not need. Wake up everyone! Time for a new Chief Pilot before it is too late!
Actually, socialism would insist on free access for all individuals. I think this is more a case of lobbying, catering to big business and perhaps a bit of cronyism thrown in for good measure.
This is how our government works - the lobster effect - they know if they implement things all at once there is a huge outcry - but if they take babysteps towards their goal - by the time people wise up - too late!!! this was their plan all along to keep the individuals out.
from SkyVector: "We have a large format color scanner and we know how to use it!"
That's great for large charts but not for instrument procedures.
I just called the director of AeroNav products, Fred Anderson, at 405 954 3027. They directed me to customer service, 800 626 3677. I asked for something in writing, but there's no written announcement on this. They confirmed, however, that the fee goes live on April 5, 2012 and we can only buy through agents. The lady said they have no idea how they're going to price it yet. I'd sure like to know where the December 13th meeting is.
FlightAware will be in attendance. Here is the information:

From: <>
Date: Thu, 29 Sep 2011 17:32:39 -0400
To: <>
Cc: <>, <>
Subject: Dec 13 Meeting for Interested Parties in Digital Distribution Agreements of Aeronautical Navigation Charts and Related Products with FAA's AeroNav Products

Dear Digital Subscriber,

Please join us for an open discussion about becoming a digital product agent on December 13 from 9:00AM till 4:30PM. This meeting covers the terms of the agreement, including review and input from potentially interested parties on the contract and pricing structures associated with digital agents. RSVPs requested.


FAA's Aeronautical Navigation (AeroNav) Products has reengineered its business processes. One of the changes that we have identified is the need to have clear agreements with Authorized Agents on the distribution and packaging of our digital products. As safety is the key mission of the FAA, it is imperative that the integrity of our navigation products is maintained in digital forms just as it is in paper forms. April 5, 2012 will be the last edition of our products that will be distributed to individuals or businesses without an agreement. This forum is an opportunity to exchange ideas with interested entities and gain feedback on these agreements.


AeroNav Products' Logistics
10201 Good Luck Road
Glenn Dale MD 20769

For more information about this event and to RSVP, please contact:

Abigail “Abby” Smith
Business Development, Manager
1305 East-West Highway, Room 4613
Silver Spring MD 20910
Visit AeroNav Products Here
What are they gonna do? DRM like iTunes and the Kindle? Invent some whole mechanism for preventing redistribution?? I can only imagine a world of "pirate pilots" !!
Chuck Me 0
I saw we all pick a spot someplace and start flying over 500' agl and drop our old charts....they will start to make quite a mountain in a few weeks and it will eventually blot out the sun!
Jeppeson/Boeing are in on this! They want to be in or not! Talk about a screwed up all is about the dollar.......damn......
Cost society a billion to make a million for a few hundred K for congress to push it through. The system works.... for corporations.
Chip. You hit the nail on the head. A very valid question.
AOPA has finally chimed in.
Does that really count as chiming in? They summarize the facts but don't provide a position or plan.
I agree...we should demand more action from AOPA!!
This sounds like a hidden tax / user fee to me. I have been ordering paper charts from FAA on line wonder how long before those aren't available to individuals. Last time I checked I could not add to my subscriptions.

Next I suppose IPAD and others won't be able have nav data for pilots.. Oh well back to the compas and world maps as Columbus did.
Well, if the FAA gets their way, iPad users will have to pay extra for the charts and plates now, yep.
I say we all take a lesson from the Occupy Wallstreet people and take our tents down to our local airfield...that will show them!
You mean let's have a fly-in? :P
Sounds like more of the OBAMA spreading the wealth around. But not mine as it has all been spread like you know what in a manure spreader.

You would think the money save in printing charts and plates would offset making the electonic ones available to everyone. They have the costs of creating the data already in place as a fixed cost. Just making it available doesn't require much in the way of resources that they don't already have in place.
Next government please...
Charging for the downloads, if it's nominal, I'm ok with. What I'm not ok with is shutting out individuals from downloading charts even for a fee. How does this recoup costs?
The whole iPad utility in the cockpit started with small companies seeing something that could be improved upon. This reeks of corporate lobbying interests probably by Garmin and those companies that have lost business to ForeFlight et al.
I like to download the back of the AFD since my iPad apps don't have all that info. Now what am I to do?
I wrote to AOPA to encourage support for continued inexpensively downloadable charts for everyone. I hope many more do.
They will just encourage individuals and small companies to use copies and out of date charts.
Can't balance the budget but know how to cost me money.
Once again the little guy gets the axe and has to pay. I knew iot was too good to be true.
limiting access to charts, could even be MORE dangerous than User Fees

PDF/electronic charts is a GREEN as the FAA can get
e.g. lack of printing, shipping and/or tossing out-of-date charts
wonder how much was SAVED by NOT PRINTING (or shipping) only paper charts

I still cannot find an approach plate for the MLS / Microwave Landing System
maybe I left it next to the LORAN-C receiver I yanked out
Yes and the Government spent 3 million dollars to move a VOR from a location not on the Bemidji Airport to onto the Bemidji Airport. Would not a couple of GPS approaches been a lot more cost effective?
We have a new half billion unwanted airport in Panama City, FL now. The new airport KECP is 10 mile NW of the old closed airport KPFN with a VOR on site. A new VOR was installed 5 miles SW of the OLD airport in the opposite direction so is now 15 mile from the new airport. New airport has GPS and ILS approaches. The VOR might only be used for navigation and is located on Air Force property at Tyndall AFB KPAM.

New airport was all political with St. Joe Paper Company donating 4000 acres in the middle of their holdings. People here voted AGAINST the new airport as we had a fine airport right in town. It lacked runway over-run in one direction and could have been extended into the bay on pilings for about 20 million at most. EPA and some local environmentalist did not like the idea, although fish and wild life would have loved the shade. So instead, 1/2 billion dollars of tax payers money was wasted on a airport to nowhere.

The people that we elect or very irresponsible. They have NO consideration for the taxpayer at all. Waste all over, everywhere one looks.

Hal (Harold)
IMC Club International Blasts FAA Chart Fee Proposal | Aero-News Network:
Why are you all complaining... you are getting JUST what you Republicans want.... LESS Government. Oh ya I forgot you only want LESS Government when it does NOT cost YOU!!!
I don't want more government anytime, not even if they GIVE me something. With less government, it should not cost anyone and permit folks to spend locally and help the economy, rather than the politicians siphoning it off - both Republicans and Democrats. We did not need a new airport or wanted one. Now it cost us 3 times more to house an airplane. Gas price has increased to $6 gal as the airport management needs some of it to help pay for the new airport expansion that we did not need. Politicians shove crap down our throats whether we want it or not. Obama care is a good example.


Anyway, there's another petition to sign, and this one goes straight to the POTUS:!/petition/ask-faa-reversal-charge-government-approach-data-downloads-and-not-allowing-individuals-access-them/Hg1nqTJy?

Goal is 25,000 signatures. I'd recommend to sign this one, or if there was a way, combine the petition with this one here.
The days have passed when the Civil Aviation Dpt in Australia, when I used to fly, gave you everything for free including a nice plastic carryall to store your charts in. They were the days, now at last the FAA is following suit unfortunately for you guys.
It has been "User pays" down under for ages including landing your aircraft at most airports here.
The FAA promtes SAFETY at the highest level. This surely will decrease the number of GA pilots with up to date charts in their airplanes. What a shame.
We pay for paper charts, why should electronic charts be free? We pay for the info, not the paper. Kindle owners pay for books even though its just bits. Free charts is a not a right. Without collecting these fees the charts might just disappear and we'll be paying profit focused firms whatever the market will bear.
We can save money by firing the person that made this decision.
So I guess that none of you own boats, the nav charts are not free and if you have an automobile nav system they charge too so grow up folks!
to all the MS flight sim pilots and pilots who use flight sim, don't worry about your charts. Flight sim is a static model and doesn't change with the times. I suggest you continue to use your existing charts or buy from sportys the us terminal procedures dvd. this will have everything you need in charts at a reasonable price. I have brought high/low and sectional charts that have expired but work just find for most of my collection of MS flight sims.
I'd add that you still have until April to download anything you need for free from the current FAA site. Approach plates, AF/D, VFR,IFR, and WAC, it's all on there. Print off only what you need, it's pretty handy.
I had Jep books for years. I started buying the NOS approach procedures (now Faa) and have for years. I purchase the areas that I normally need, and get the areas for special flights from Sportys. I want the option of having all the procedures for my route of flight. The price is a bargain for the peace of mind and the folks that take care of the subscription are nice to deal with!
yet another Tax on the 1%
Wrong. Another tax on United States citizens. How many CFIs do you know making $250,000 a year?
Agree...the guys affected by this are the small time pilots/CFIs/etc.
this is what i get for throwing short punchlines..

The FAA wants this to be portrayed as another tax on the 1%.
indy2001 0
While this may appear to affect just the "real" flying world, it will also have an impact on the thousands of flight simulation fans who use these charts to make the experience as authentic as possible. Many FlightAware users may not be aware of this site's popularity in the simming world because it provides easy access to current charts. As a member of that community, I would like to ask FlightAware to keep us in mind. If a small subscription fee becomes necessary to make up for the fees that you will be paying to continue providing access to these charts, please keep that fee as small as possible.
I second that thought. I'm a private pilot, but also spend time flying advanced aircraft with highly modified flight simulator programs. This would be quite a loss in many ways.
This has nothing to do with socioeconomics. There are many aviators who use these services that the government is setup to provide. How many CFIs, F/Os, and Captains do you know who are making over $250,000 a year? Come on now.
that would be the 4%.. this is just pandering to the masses who complain of Corporate Aviation & maybe a gift to Boeing/Jepp.

this proposal, along with User Fees, would create a great safety concern for all.
How many years has the FAA been providing charts by mail for the cost of shipping? As far as I know, that's roughly 60 years (it was founded in '64). Now, AeroNav stops mail distribution, switches to an "all green" online distribution, and then locks out distribution altogether. This is total nonsense. If they're so concerned about the cost of distribution, distribute the charts FREELY to third parties like this site and others, and therefore limit the costs to development of the charts, which is one thing the FAA was originally set up to do in the first place.
n111ma 0
Not sure what you mean about "the FAA providing charts by mail for the cost of shipping". As far as I can remember, there was Jeppeson (now owned by Boeing)who charged a subscription fee for their enroute charts and approach plates...and then there was NOS (the US Gov)who also charged "a fee" for their version of the same. Anyway, this will ultimately become another source of revenue for the gov, just like the FAA user fees, which are around the corner.
I don't know very much about the printed plates, but the FAA provides the digital versions (that you download from FlightAware, for example) for free (the provider just pays media/shipping costs) with unlimited redistribution permitted to the general public. That's what they're trying to change.
re torn 0
Those no cost products are in reality BETA products. It is not just the contents but the delivery and formats as well. It looks like they passed the tests.
Jeppesen/ Boeing, LIDO and others are charging for the intellectual property, not the paper.
No one is forced to fly. For comparison look at what other parts of the world have to pay. No bucks, no Buck Rogers.
Oh well, I needed a reason to go to Jepp. Maybe this is the one.
I guess Jepp's government lobbying is paying off.
if we end up having to pay 'Jepp' pricing, it's going to be expensive!
chalet 0
Have you checked the prices Jeppesen charges for the same charts that the FAA used to sell, it is like 10 to 15 times more expensive. Just what is it going to happen to the week-end flyer if they are not going to sell them to.
klimchuk 0
Very bad news indeed
As a CFI I am at a loss as to how the same FAA that constantly laments the GA safety record can decide that this round of genius will help. It's hard enough to convince the average GA pilot of the importance of current charts even with all the free resources available today. This will only make it worse.
My problem isn't with them charging for the data - heck, in this political environment, nobody's getting additional funding to offset increased costs. My problem is with them no longer offering access to individuals. I'd happily pay the FAA a cost-proportionate fee for charts - say, five cents a chart, or a $25/year subscription. But I don't trust a third party to only charge me what it's costing them; and I balk at the concept of paying someone additional money just to repackage something my taxes are already paying for, and something I should be able to access myself.
We have been through this before they will never stop trying to penalize General l Aviation.
Say no to the cost!
Is there another petition on behalf of actual pilots?
This has been changed to reflect Private pilots, and student pilots (myself included).
You are completely missing the point...nobody (either signing or reading) the petition will take it seriously if it starts out with, "people, enthusiasts, students, private pilots, etc," much less the emphasis on vatsim and other software programs.
re torn 0
Welcome to the rest of the world. Why shouldn't the feds give every driver maps of the US whenever they go somewhere?
A tax is money paid with no direct benefit. A fee is for something you get when you pay.
The free ride is over and expect weather services and flight planning to be next.
Why not start charging tolls on interstates?
That bill passed two or three years ago. Some states do unfortunately. They timed this pretty well. A week or so earlier and we could have gotten language on the conference report to block implementation. Still a few chances to do that, though. The next CR expires on the 16th.
Why not create fees for GPS services, bring in revenue from the rest of the world!
olseric 0
Rest of the world? Yeah, Canada charges, but you can get any chart from Western Europe, who are notorious for over-taxation of their citizens, for FREE.
I guess this would be a good deal if there was an offsetting reduction in taxes elsewhere (federal excise tax on Jet A and Avgas in particular), but that's not likely to happen. I
Hmmm it does say for mobile devices. Maybe us PC users are still safe.
I think it just uses mobile devices as an example since they're popular in the cockpit. The change will affect any digital (e.g., not printed) distribution of charts.
Do they still print paper charts?
calbert 0
Yes they still do, but not sure how many more years this will be done since most things seam to be going electronic of some kind. The local pilot shop over here has all or most FAA/NOS charts in it.
chalet 0
Only certain charts and as I understand it, they are stopping altogether soon. Too bad.
Wow, our crazy government has found a way to lay more taxes on us. This does not have to be. Government needs to stop spending enormous amounts of money on endless programs in every degree of living. It will never stop unless something gets done.


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