FAA Digital Charting Issue Much Ado about Nothing
Reports that the FAA would begin charging for digital downloads and close the navigational products website to individuals have stirred an outcry from pilots and fostered a White House petition in opposition. But an FAA spokesman said the agency already charges for downloads, and that the site will remain open to individual users. “What you paid for before, you [still] have to pay for,” he said. “It doesn’t change anything in that regard. That’s where one of the misconceptions is coming in–that we’re somehow trying to make a profit, or charging more.” According to the FAA spokesman, the only thing that is changing is that digital distributors must have contracts with the agency to ensure the accuracy of the product. “The reasons for these contracts go directly toward safety,” he said. Only companies that have distribution contracts with the FAA’s Aeronav division for navigation and chart apps will be affected, and they have been invited to a meeting December 13 in Washington, D.C., to hear details. The new system is set to take effect on April 5, 2012.