All VFR aeronautical charts are now released on a 56-day publication cycle effective Thursday, February 25, 2021. This includes sectional aeronautical charts, VFR terminal area charts, VFR flyway planning charts, and Helicopter Route Charts, along with other en route, terminal, and supplemental chart products. In doing so, chart updates will be implemented in a much shorter time-frame as opposed to the 168-day to 2-year cycle that the charts were previously on.
The FAA expects the change to result in significant reductions in chart-related NOTAMs. According to the FAA, the change will also make the chart bulletins contained in chart supplement volumes unnecessary, since updates will be reflected on the charts themselves, and will be discontinued from the effective date.
Changing the publication cycle necessitated the FAA amending the publication date of some VFR navigation charts currently in effect, making them obsolete earlier than their published expiration dates. Affected charts will be listed in a charting notice expected to be released soon by the FAA.
In this transitional period for visual chart updates, all pilots are strongly urged to check the effective dates of their charts and check NOTAMs for all flights.
Written by: Ryan Jeff, Aviation Research Assistant