Does anyone dispute the need for paper charts for pilots? I hope not. Likewise, there can be no doubt about the rapid rise of digital chart usage. More and more general aviation pilots (and airlines and flight departments for that matter) are adopting “appified” navigation via [insert app here] on Apple’s iPad and a few other tablet devices. How dare anyone stand in the way of this progress. Yet that is exactly what the FAA’s AeroNav (Aeronautical Navigation Products) division is proposing.
If you are unaware, AeroNav held a meeting on December 13 “for companies interested in distributing our digital product line in the future.” The meeting had a stated goal “to collaboratively discuss options for FAA’s AeroNav Products to develop a proposal to best distribute digital products.” That goal seems right enough… yet highlights from the meeting tell a much different story. Five of the nine bullet points from AeroNav’s meeting highlights mention fees and/or revenue.