The aviation community depends on many things and among them are aeronautical charts. While the importance of these charts remains, the means of distributing them to the public and to pilots in particular is set to change.
Within the next three months, the FAA will discontinue their direct-to-the-public individual sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. The official release of this statement on the organization’s website reads:
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is taking this action to reduce costs, improve efficiencies and enhance and modernize the service provided our customers and the aviation community.
Effective July 1, 2013, as current subscriptions expire, we are discontinuing our direct-to-the-public subscription sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. Current subscriptions will be filled through their applicable expiration date and we will continue to offer individual (other than subscription) paper sales through our aeronav.faa.gov website until October 2013
Currently targeted for October 1, 2013, we will then discontinue all other direct-to-the-public individual sales of paper aeronautical charts and related paper products. Subsequently, all future individual purchases, and subscriptions of our aeronautical paper products will be sold expressly through the FAA’s worldwide network of authorized chart sales agents. A list of these agents is available at: Chart Agents in Your Area.
For additional assistance, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 800-626-3677. Additional updates will be posted as they are available.
Based on the above, you can see that like many businesses and/or organizations, the FAA is trying to streamline their operations. Obviously, with many processes of modern flight shifting toward the implementation of all things digital, this move is not really surprising. Also, everyone appears to be on a tighter budget these days, so any measures that cut costs and have things run more smoothly makes sense. It was a practical move and a logical progression given the constant need to upgrade due to newer technology.
So, how does this affect you, the consumer? It doesn’t really—at least not that much. Many of you are already tech savvy and for those who are more traditional with your charts, you will simply find that fewer places (brick-and-mortar especially) will carry it after October 1, 2013.
Don’t concern yourself too much. Fortunately, SkyGeek falls under the “authorized chart sales agents” designation. If anything, those of you who already subscribe to charts through our site are safe. Those who make individual purchases are safe too, however, you may just have more people vying for the charts we have in stock.