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Chart Exercise 1 – Enroute/Sectional

Some of the symbols on the chart stick in my mind but I have trouble remembering others, especially the ones that are not as common. Before throwing away a chart, put it to use refreshing your memory on the symbols. Pick a grid section and highlight the different symbols. If you can’t name it, look it up. If you have to think about it, find more instances on the chart an highlight them. Your chart might look like the Jepp chart below. Here is a larger view.

Jepp enroute highlighted

On the first pass through, I found the the obvious symbols: Kingman airport in blue—an airport with an IFR approach, Peach Springs—VFR only, Peach Springs VOR—High altitude with DME and HIWAS, several intersections and crossover points, and distance measurements.

On the second pass I noticed the blue line for the Special Flight rules area around the Grand Canyon. That is actually one I’d never seen before. The WYLDD/COWBY fix is a bit unusual. First, it is not on an airway, being defined by the intersection of two off airway radials. Second, usually there is an airport nearby (within 30 nm) that uses the fix as part of the approach. Because Peach Springs is in green, we know it has no IFR approaches. Kingman is rather far away for this to be part of the approach to it. Boulder City is the VOR off to the left that defines it. It is 47 nm away and 15 nm from Las Vegas. There are no airports anywhere near, but it is right at the edge of the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area, so that could have something to do with it.

While I was trying to find out why it was there I stumbled on an interesting site that lets you look up waypoints (fixes). The easiest way to use it is to copy this following line into the Google or DuckDuckGo search box.

site:fallingrain.com fixname
site:fallingrain.com wyldd

There are a couple of things that aren’t obvious on the chart. The shaded gray area is Class G airspace. In the west, that usually means high mountains. The X on the right hand side of the chart on 562 is a mileage fix that is not a reporting point. They are not especially common. There are no MOCAs or MORAs, or Minimum Crossing Altitudes on this part of the chart, just a couple of MEAs. I’ve been able to find just about every symbol used on the charts except for MAA—Maximum Authorized Altitude. I suspect there aren’t any in western states because they are required to prevent interference from other navaids and the navaids are pretty far apart in most places in the west.

Here is the same section on the NACO chart

NACO enroute highlighted

You can do the same thing with the sectional chart. The symbols are printed on the Legend section of the chart. Find an old chart and go thru the symbol legend and find all of the symbols near your home airport. Then use another chart or a section away from your home airport and look for all of the symbols. See how many you can name without them looking up. Check off the symbols you have found and then look for the ones you haven’ seen yet. Since these are on VFR charts, look for the landmarks on your next VFR trip.

If you don’t have a sectional for the area you are interested in, you can look up the airport at AOPA or AirNav and click on the sectonal. Or you can go to SkyVector and click on the charts button to look up the any sectional for the US. You can also use this site to look up information on specific airports.

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