Reading Sectional Charts

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Sectionals are fairly complex, and contain a lot of information. Probably the best way to learn them is to get one for your area, go to the key, and find an example of everything in the key. Good chance you'll be surprised by all the air activity around you that you never knew about.

To get a sectional go to your local pilot supply shop located at most airports.
 
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The sectional charts are great and at first appears intimidating but as Ed mentioned go to the key which helps decipher the various symbols and characters. I buy my charts from www.mypilotstore.com and another good resource I use before I fly either helicopter or drone is www.skyvector.com which normally has the latest sectionals along with METAR information from local airport and airfield weather stations. Also skyvector will show any TFR's that may be active or soon to be active with information as to altitude and duration.
 
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The sectional charts are great and at first appears intimidating but as Ed mentioned go to the key which helps decipher the various symbols and characters. I buy my charts from www.mypilotstore.com and another good resource I use before I fly either helicopter or drone is www.skyvector.com which normally has the latest sectionals along with METAR information from local airport and airfield weather stations. Also skyvector will show any TFR's that may be active or soon to be active with information as to altitude and duration.
You can also see what other DROTAMS (Drone Notams) have been filed in your area.

Chuck - I've been poking around skyvector off and on for a couple months. Is there a way to pick off a radial/DME?
 
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You can also see what other DROTAMS (Drone Notams) have been filed in your area.

Chuck - I've been poking around skyvector off and on for a couple months. Is there a way to pick off a radial/DME?

Honestly I have never messed around with any radio nav aid like VOR/DME or VORTAC on skyvector.
 
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Honestly I have never messed around with any radio nav aid like VOR/DME or VORTAC on skyvector.
Just wondered. I pick them off using a sectional I downloaded and open in Adobe Acrobat. It gives me direction and distance. I just have to convert the true bearing to a mag bearing.

Thanks though,
 
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The sectional charts are great and at first appears intimidating but as Ed mentioned go to the key which helps decipher the various symbols and characters. I buy my charts from www.mypilotstore.com and another good resource I use before I fly either helicopter or drone is www.skyvector.com which normally has the latest sectionals along with METAR information from local airport and airfield weather stations. Also skyvector will show any TFR's that may be active or soon to be active with information as to altitude and duration.
I highly recommend skyvector...I use it for my cross country flight planning..I link skyvector to my 1800wxbrief.com account (this is the FAA flight service station...your tax dollars pay for it) so I can file flight plans AND file my drone flight plans so a NOTAM will show up where I fly a mission....especially important in the airspace in the Houston area.
 
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You can also see what other DROTAMS (Drone Notams) have been filed in your area.

Chuck - I've been poking around skyvector off and on for a couple months. Is there a way to pick off a radial/DME?

Yes...1) draw your flight path in Skyvector...then 2) add a vector from a spot on your course to the VORTAC of interest...and the direction TO will display on the newly drawn vector and in the flight plan waypoint list. (see attached)
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3) delete the vector after you note the radial from your waypoint or POI.
If you use a Garmin 430/530 or newer series Comm/Nav VHF radio onboard your (manned) aircraft you will see the VOR radials display the Radial (FROM) the VOR site your are tuned to....and you can reference these as your skyvector-built course is followed. In the cockpit I use Naviator running on my "aviation tablet" (the one I use for my 3DR drones and in the cockpit) to display my flight plan on a moving chart system..since I cannot read a paper chart without switching glasses (not a good idea)...yup..zooming in on a tablet is a huge aid to single pilot resource mgt!
 
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Just wondered. I pick them off using a sectional I downloaded and open in Adobe Acrobat. It gives me direction and distance. I just have to convert the true bearing to a mag bearing.

Thanks though,
Ed - so, how accurate is that to use an Acrobat file to get angles? That's one reason I use Skyvector because they do the calculations and True-Mag heading conversions based on local magnetic variation etc. As well, they calculate the winds aloft at your desired cruise altitude, WCA, the whole nine yards.
 

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