Thursday, August 13, 2015

IFR Charts (reprint)

IFR Charts

DC-3 taxiing

As might be expected, IFR Enroute Low Altitude charts differ significantly from their VFR counterparts. Since an aircraft on an IFR flight plan is likely to be touting about in the soup, terrain features are not too important. A quick glance at an IFR chart verifies this. Lakes and rivers are vaguely visible; essentially no other terrain features are shown.
The IFR chart and the VFR chart differ to the degree that one could almost believe that the two issuing departments don't speak to each other. Start with the coverage map on the front panel.

IFR Chart Coverage 

Coverage of Low Altitude Enroute Charts. Click image for larger view.

To begin, gone are the symmetrical areas covered by sectional charts. Some charts cover very large areas, such as L-9, while others cover a small area, see L-3. No grayed-out areas to indicate which chart is in hand, either—been replaced with a heavy border.
Note that low-altitude chart titles begin with the letter "L," and of course the high-altitude chart titles start with the letter "H." Forget about a cool name to help understand the coverage area, too. Just numbers.
Maybe not so surprisingly, IFR Area Charts are also available. The note below explains: (More easily understood viewing the larger image of the chart coverage.)

IFR Chart Note 

This note is on the lower left of the coverage chart.

Looking at the expanded view of the coverage, note that twelve area charts are available. Surprisingly, there isn't one for the New York area. Presumably all traffic is under such rigid ATC control there that an area chart would only be an amusement.
One very important point before moving to the inside. The scale of IFR charts. No more 1:500,000, etc. L-25 is one-inch equals eight nautical miles. At last, distances that can be measured with a common ruler. But wait. L-26, which is on the reverse side of the chart, has a scale of one-inch equals sixteen miles.
L-26 has a Boston – Nantucket – Yarmouth inset with a scale of one-inch equals 40 nm.
Not to worry, though. All pertinent distances (in nm) are printed on an IFR chart. Just be careful when "eyeballing" distances because of the way the scale bounces around from chart to chart.
On to the inside. Like the sectional, IFR charts are printed on both sides, but with a difference. One "L" chart is on one side, and another "L" chart is on the other side. Unlike the sectional chart, which one flips vertically when navigating from the front of the chart to the rear, one flips an IFR chart horizontally. Flip it vertically and you'll be reading it upside down. Well, maybe "reading" is too strong of a word. Cussing may fit better if you fly both VFR and IFR. Apparently what's good for the goose is not good for the gander.
Let's stay near the Nantucket airport.

IFR Chart excerpt near Nantucket

IFR Chart excerpt near Nantucket. Click on image to download and print
high-resolution pdf file.

Many of the features on the IFR chart are similar to those found on the sectional chart. Compass roses are shown for VORs and the NDB symbol remains unchanged, also.
The navigation boxes for ACK VOR and TUK NDB are very similar to sectional chart notation, but with one addition. The longitude and latitude of these nav-aids are listed so that pilots may enter that data into their GPS receivers.
The information adjacent to the Nantucket Airport is in slightly different format, but still easily deciphered: name, Nantucket Memorial, it's in Class D airspace, 48 ft. field elevation, lighted runways, longest runway 6300 ft., ATIS available on 127.5 MHz.
Restricted area R-4105A,B is shown southwest of Martha's Vineyard.
The Bold 2o NE of Martha's Vineyard is the obstruction clearance altitude for that grid on the chart.
The Victor airways are identified. Note V 146. Still shows the 27 nm. from ACK to MVY. The 2000 above the V 146 is the minimum altitude on that airway to guarantee obstacle clearance and reception of signals.
The triangle along V 46, the 270° radial from ACK VOR is an intersection. It is named "CLAMY" and is defined by the 180° radial from MVY. It is 24 nm. from ACK.
The next feature is not seen often. Move to just west of the ACK VOR, to the TUK NDB. Note the airway inbound to the NDB with a 324° bearing. It is named A632. That is a Low Frequency Navaid airway. In this case, an oceanic airway. Minimum reception altitude is 18,000 feet and it is 195 nm. to the SLATIN intersection.
Move to the 349° radial of ACK. Note the GROGG intersection on that radial, 12 nm. out from ACK. CRACO is the next intersection on the same radial, another 5 nm. out from the VOR. The distance of the two segments, 12 nm. to GROGG and 5 nm. to CRACO is 17 nm. CRACO intersection can be established two ways: the intersection of the 080° radial from MVY with the 349° radial from ACK, or the 17 DME point from ACK. The 17 enclosed in the box as shown near CRACO denotes a DME fix.
Any intersection with an arrow adjacent to it can also be established by the DME mileage from the VOR.


thank-youAlthough I did the keyboarding for this site it contains the fine contributions of many people.
With no prior experience in building a website I was overwhelmed at the generosity of those that I asked for permission to either reproduce their work, or for their technical help, or to use their designs, artwork and descriptions.
Many thanks to those listed below in alphabetical order, who so willingly shared their talent so that I could assemble these webpages:
Bob Austin, of Mission Viejo, California. A scenerio in the VOR Approaches section required an over-kill list of mountaineering equipment for Mr. Benjamin Counter. Counter intends to "scale" southwest New Hampshire's 3165 ft. Mt. Monadnock, the second-most climbed mountain in the world, behind only Mt. Fuji in Japan. Since Florida's highest "mountain" just reaches 345 ft. I had to look elsewhere for an expert. Bob Austin jumped right in, providing an awesome equipment list, which I had to shorten. Any omissions are my work, not his. Bob has the credentials to provide an accurate and complete list, too. In his climbing he's completed six big-walls including two El Capitan routes—The Nose and Triple Direct. Thanks, Bob. Just reading your equipment list I could imagine the wind fiercely blowing off the face of the mountain, daring any climber to move higher.
Wagner Beskow, for his Handy Sheet 3.0. Wagner, a Brazilian in New Zealand taking his Ph.D., assembled this one-page compendium of useful facts for the flight-simmer. "It takes a while for a beginner to find all that information and when he does it's all scattered and difficult to refer to. The idea was to produce something useful that could stay around without cluttering the 'cockpit' too much." Thanks, Wagner. I wish I could say my cockpit was uncluttered now.
Boeing Company, photo of 40-A mailplane. The 40-A, a fabric-covered mail plane, was Boeing's first commercial success. Built in 1927 (the year Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic), it carried mailbags and—load permitting—two passengers.
Tom Christine, Electrical Engineer, Federal Aviation Administration. Tom was very helpful on specifics about present-day Non Directional Beacons, including their power levels, uses, their friendly coexistence with GPS, and frequency limits of the LF band. Thanks Tom.
Mario Corral, Sydney, Australia, who sent me the sketch of the homing pigeon. Mario patiently explained to me some similarities and differences between homing pigeons, racing pigeons, and carrier pigeons. Thanks Mario for keeping me on the right track.
Rick Covington, photos of the Piedmont DC-3 in the "On the Beam" section. Thanks Rick ... an excellent photo. You can find more of his photographic expertise at He photographed the Piedmont shown here in Durham, N.C.
Mike Genovese for the finest interior shot I've seen of any aircraft. "The shot was taken in Nassau in the early 90's... the plane was just sitting there unattended as we (crew of a major airline) walked by on the ramp... I could not resist the opportunity for the 'Kodak Moment!' ... " Great pic Mike and keep your camera handy as you jet to all those tough destinations. See for more of Mike's work.
Jesse Kempa for his virtual E6-B calculator program. This program does it all, and best of all, it's freeware. Input True Course, TAS, wind speed and direction and on the click of a button it returns the Wind Correction Angle and Ground Speed. It will calculate distances between points with known lat. and long. coordinates, and on and on. Thanks Jesse for a great
Brian Kostick, the gauge programmer of the very-useful digital Elevator Trim indicator. With it the pilot has repeatability in elevator trim settings. Thanks to Brian,, for an instrument that I rely on and for his quick willingness to let me use it in this panel.
Paul Lutus ... who wrote the freeware HTML editor "Arachnophilia" which I used in assembling these webpages. Arachnophilia is a full-featured, nearly perfect editor—and now v4.0 is even better with a 120,000 word spell-checker. Paul has an outstanding philosophy on life, too. Thanks, although we've never "met."
Alice Marks ... for the extraordinary sketch of McGirr field. That picture is the essence of the intermediate fields that Air Mail pilots aimed for when facing an emergency. Her artistry instantly backed me onto McGirr field—into the new era of Air Mail, with the wind sweeping across the plains, striking me in the face. But then, it should have because Alice Marks's father was McGirr field's caretaker and Alice grew up there. She has a wonderful first-person account of the activities at the field that beats anything you'll read in stuffy history books. Take five and go to her site and relive the experience. Thanks Alice, twice ... for sketching McGirr field to keep that kernel of history alive and for letting me share it with others.
Ned Preston, Agency Historian, Federal Aviation Administration. Ned provided the chronology on when VORs were introduced, a whole wealth of information on the four-course radio range and on the light-beacon system used to identify the airways at night before radio navigation facilities were in place. Never met a more helpful person. Thanks Ned.
Bill Rambow for his many e-mails answering so many questions. Bill designed the incomparable dual panel for the Douglas DC-3 / R4D / C-47. A restored, flyable U.S. Navy R4D at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pa. was the model for his work. A finer piece of work I've never seen. Thanks for the encouragement, Bill.
Tom H., "Rumple," a gentleman who always sets his work aside to answer the other fellow's questions. I reaped the benefits of his very-methodical air-file testing. He also designed the manifold pressure gauge for the training panel in my Virtual Airline. Tom is very visible on newsgroups and forums patiently answering questions that are asked over and over. Thanks for being there, Tom.
Sarah at Airline History Website for the photo of the KLM Douglas DC-5 which opens the VOR Navigation section. I only recently learned that a DC-5 had ever existed and wanted to include a picture of it. Since Sarah's site has 350 Airline Histories, 1700 Airline Pictures, and 150 Airliners from 1920 to 1999, I knew it would be there. Why is Sarah interested in all this stuff? ... because she's a pilot—and more. She writes software for and sells IFR flight Simulator programs for real IFR training. Thanks Sarah for the great work that you put into your
Chris Sheldon,, from the U.K. He photographed G-AMPZ at Manchester Airport, and it appears here in the IFR Charts section. The aircraft belongs to Atlantic Airways (previously called Air Atlantique) who are based at Coventry Airport. The first letter in the registration number, "G," denotes a U.K. aircraft. Chris exhibits his work at Thanks Chris.
Russ Strine, Mid Atlantic Air Museum in Reading, Pa. Here's another fountain of information. A very busy man at the museum, he pushed his papers aside and spoke with me for an hour on the telephone about aviation in the old days and VORs and NDBs and answered questions that I just wasn't savvy enough to ask. He gave me some anecdotal stuff, too, that you can't find in books. Thanks for your time, Russ, and all the information.
Barry Thomas, Silversmith, who created the magnificent chalice pictured in the section on tracking ADF's inbound. That section's lead-in story centers around Mr. Benjamin Counter's desire to fly to Meriden, Connecticut, 'The Silver Capital of the World' to buy some silverwork. The chalice pictured was not created in Meriden, nor even in the U.S. Barry Thomas is a silversmith in rural Derbyshire, England. Meriden earned the Silver-Capital title in the late 19th century and it is doubtful that it still retains the rights to that sobriquet. Thanks Barry for the great picture, too. More of his masterpieces can be found at
Rod Watson, for his stunning photograph of the Gay Head Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. Rod has visited over 170 lighthouses in the US. and the Lighthouse Gallery section of his website, Rod's Photo Gallery, includes photographs of most of those lights, organized by geographic locations. He photographs more than lighthouses, too. Thanks, Rod, for a great picture.Rod's Photo Gallery
Roland Zuiderveld, from Sweden, for his totally awesome picture of a DC-3 descending out of the clouds at dusk to land. Roland also displays his work Thanks Roland, and if you take any more pictures like this one I want to hear about them.
Many others contributed to my virtual airline webpages and were just as generous. They are identified on that site. Assembling a webpage is so much easier with the assistance of people like these.
With thanks,

Charles Wood 

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