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EAA Mission To Add Airport Identifies To WACS Almost Complete


February 12, 2006 — 3-letter airport identifiers now appear on the latest World Aeronautical Charts (WACs) covering the United States, and FAA's National Aeronautical Charting Office (NACO) reports that one chart remains to be updated. Upon issuance of WAC CJ-27 (Puerto Rico/Virgin Islands area) April 13, 2006, the EAA-led, pilot safety-enhancing effort will be complete.

At the suggestion of an EAA member, EAA asked for and received assurances from the FAA in 2004 that 3-letter airport identifiers would be included during the upcoming round of chart updates. WAC CH-25 (Florida area) was the first chart to include identifiers in December 2004, and the rest followed according to the regular aeronautical chart publication cycle, expected to conclude in late 2006.

EAA contends this change will enhance overall flight safety for pilots who use WACs for cross-country flight navigation. Air traffic controllers require pilots to refer to airports by FAA-assigned 3-letter identifiers, yet the main long distance navigational map-the WAC-didn't support this basic pilot/controller requirement before.

What's more, all modern GPS systems require data entry using 3-letter identifiers, not airport names. EAA reasoned that pilots should not be forced to open more maps or books in the cockpit in the event of deviations required due to emergency or weather, especially when there was ample space on existing WACs to include the identifiers.

EAA again thanks David Timms (EAA 160529) for the initial alert on this flight safety issue. EAA encourages members to alert the government services office at govt@eaa.org if they have a flight safety issue or concern.

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