Sectional Charts, Terminal Charts, and IFR Charts. View charts for the entire US. A sectional chart, often called sectional for short, is a type of aeronautical chart designed for navigation under Visual Flight Rules. A sectional chart provides detailed information on topographical features that are important to aviators, such as terrain elevations, ground features identifiable from altitude (rivers, dams, bridges, buildings, etc.), and ground features useful to pilots (airports, beacons, landmarks, etc.). The chart also provides information on airspace classes, ground-based navigation aids, radio frequencies, longitude and latitude, navigation waypoints, navigation routes.

Sectional charts are in 1:500,000 scale and are named for a major city within their area of coverage. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the United States provides a series of over 50 charts covering the continental United States, Alaska, and Hawaii. Sectional charts are published by the National Aeronautical Charting Office of the FAA. A number of commercial enterprises, notably Jeppesen, produce compatible, certified sectionals.

The sectionals are complemented by Terminal Area Charts (TACs), produced at a 1:250,000 scale and depicting the areas around major U.S. airports in detail, and World Aeronautical Charts (WACs), produced at a scale of 1:1,000,000 and used for navigation by pilots flying primarily moderate speed aircraft and aircraft operating at high altitudes. The charts are updated at six-month intervals to ensure topographic, navigational, communications and obstacle information remains current.

The first sectional chart was published in 1930. It was not until 1937 that the full series of the lower 48 states was completed. These early sectional charts were printed on smaller sheets of paper and map information was only printed on one side while the reverse side contained the legend, index to adjoining charts, and airport diagrams.
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