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[flyte] - [Digital Sectional Charts]

Sectional Charts

Flyte Introduces Digital Sectional Charts; here’s a brief history.

Flyte are proud to announce the inclusion of Sectional Aeronautical Charts in the latest version of our flight planning and drone operations management platform.

Our digital airspace data, Powered by Airmap, punctuates the traditional sectional charts with TFRs and NOTAMs as well as unprecedented interactivity to add to your flight planning methodologies. Flyte can now quickly alert pilots to additional topographical hazards such as powerline locations and HIRTA or CTAF transmission frequencies.

Alongside our comprehensive hybrid and satellite imagery provided by Mapbox, sectional charts can be easily toggled on or off within the flight planning dashboard. They allow any pilot, especially one with a Part 107 trained eye, to quickly identify any other potential airspace users throughout the wider area.

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A brief history lesson:

Sectional Aeronautical Charts are defined by the FAA as the ‘primary navigational reference medium used by the VFR(Visual Flight Rules) pilot community’ and were specifically  designed for visual navigation of slow to medium speed aircraft traffic. 

If you’re reading this, it’s more than likely that you’ll know what sectional aeronautical charts are and what their general purpose is already. What you might not know is their genesis:

During the earliest days of aviation technology, when flights were confined to clear weather conditions pilots would using landmarks and railway tracks to navigate.  In the 1930’s Captain Elrey Borge Jeppesen took this a step further and began to take notes of relevant landmarks, railroads, heights of hills and keep them in a ‘little black book’.


Jeppesen also made sketches of the ground below his aircraft and began to circulate this information with other pilots creating the first primitive version of today’s Jeppesen aviation charts and data. The Jeppesen company now exists as a subsidiary of Boeing Commercial Airplanes following an acquisition in 2000.

The Museum of Flight in Seattle holds the Elrey B. Jeppesen Collection in its archives. Within this there is a carbon copy of the Little Black Book. If you are ever in Denver International Airport, make sure to seek out the 16ft statue of Jeppesen himself (there, the main terminal is dedicated named after him as well). 

Why sectional charts will always be relevant to drone pilots:

Although more crowded, updated less regularly and less interactive than the digital airspace data and maps which are central to Flyte, sectional charts have been frequently requested, especially by our users in the United States.

We believe this is for three reasons:

(i) the emphasis Part 107 places on them in methdology and testing,

(ii) many drone pilots having training and experience in manned aviation before using them for their drone flights.

(iii) quick and reliable access to information that is still challenging to find quickly elsewhere such as: heights of obstructions, types and orientations of run ways,  tower operation times, CTAF and HIRTA locations and frequencies 

And although complex at first glance, to a well-trained pilot, they contain a rapidly accessible wealth of information. If you can do this fast then you add a very powerful tool to your skillset as a drone pilot.

Below is the FAA’s breakdown of the current Part 107 exam:

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As increasingly large number of pilots are taking the Part 107 test, drone pilot forums are full of pilots discussing the surprisingly high number of questions based on airspace and emphasis on sectional charts (here, here, here, here and here for example!).

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Make sure to check out our our drone flight planning and operations management platform. If you sign up today you get a 30 day free trial and a 5 month early-bird discount. We have a lot up our sleeves, with news about our mobile app coming out very soon.  

Related Links:

Night Flying Post Part 107. 

Useful Links:

FAA Sectional Aeronautical Map Legend:

Offical FAA Sample Exam:

A great Part 107 Test Preparation by UAVCoach:





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