Under review

Sectional Chart

Ronald K 4 years ago updated by Edward M 2 years ago 15

Love the planner, but those of us that fly low and slow a sectional chart supplies more detail.


Hate to be negative, but don't see the point, and would only add more clutter. There's almost all the VFR info one needs, except perhaps airspace altitudes (which could be added), and frequencies, etc. However, one would have that info onboard anyway and wouldn't necessarily be handy for planning. Am I missing something?

Example of important but missing item that is on the sectional and very useful for planning - at least for this low and slow pilot: VFR checkpoints such as the one called Kingsbury Grade near Lake Tahoe. I searched for it in the search window and could not find it that way either.

Seems to me both VFR and IFR charts (both LO and HI) would be great, as well as charts for Mexico and Canada. Then make it available to select the chart you prefer for the selected flight plan or the current base map if that's what you want.

This is a very important missing feature. I'm trying out different flight planning tools and this caught me by surprise. Missed a lake with a dam! It's on the sectional, but not in the AOPA map. Planning VFR at 3500-4500 ft for a mock check ride and this bit me. Over large flat land with few references, such a lake + dam makes a good waypoint, but I'd have missed it if my CFI hadn't pointed it out on a sectional.

You have a great planner here,BUT-It needs a sectional overlay. Avare is a wonderful FREE Android app that does just that. COME ON GUYS!!!

Under review

We would like to include sectional charts as an option but the Jeppesen engine whcih provides the charts was never designed to provide image-based charts and maps. The vector charts used by our flight planner are generated on-demand so there isn't really a method to include a raster based chart like sectional charts are provided in. To modify the rendering engine to include this capability would basically require a complete re-write. We are looking at alternatives and are hopeful that something can be implemented in the future.

The downside of sectional charts is that they require constant zooming and panning to be able to read the information on the chart. While this is ok in an EFB app, online flight planners like the AOPA Flight Planner are used more for preliminary planning so being able to read text at any zoom ration can be helpful. With the previous flight planner we had that used sectional charts, we received just as many comments about not being able to read the information on the chart and had frequent requests to bring back the vector-based charts that Jeppesen provides.

We're hoping to implement a solution that provides the best of both worlds at some point.

How hard would it be to use a chart as the background and let the vector chart information show on top of the background? Of course, the background chart would have to be aligned with the vector chart by actual lat/long.



Thanks for the explanation. For my use case, perhaps a better way to look at this is as follows: if I could be confident that the vector charts provide all the detail currently in the sectional charts -- such as the landmark I mentioned -- then I would have no need for the sectional.

Is that more feasible? i.e. getting Jeppesen to include more data in the vector charts, rather than re-writing the engine?

I agree. This is basic quality assurance. The sectionals are the original source document. I have complete trust in them. The AOPA planner view is NOT the source document. There is room for transcription error and omissions in the AOPA view. I prefer to be able to refer to the source document at MY OWN discretion as necessary, as I can easily do with Garmin Pilot.

I would also like more detail.  At least more roads and a differentiation between interstates and smaller roads,

I agree that having sectional chart features shown is really needed.  I have recommended that my students use the AOPA flight planner and am happy with the log that is produced for their use, but recent experience in VFR flight planning and the ability to choose visual checkpoints to use has me shifting toward using SkyVector instead since it faithfully reproduces the sectional.

We are working on adding VFR Waypoints (VPxxx) to the AOPA Flight Planner. However, Visual Reporting points are not something we can currently implement. The FAA does not publish the raw data for visual reporting points so we have no way to import any of them into the navigation or charting database. We have requested that Jeppesen look into alternate methods for obtaining the raw data for visual reporting points and we will be contacting the FAA as well and see if there are any options.

Both Garmin Pilot and Foreflight provide sectional view. If AOPA flight planner cannot provide this capability then this is a strong reason for me not to use it. I'd like to have it as an available option, but it currently lags the competition.

The Jeppesen flight planning and charting engine used by the AOPA Flight Planner was never designed to use image-based charts like sectional charts. It is a pure vector-data driven charting engine. I completely understand the purpose that sectional charts offer but unfortunately, the flight planner will not be able to provide them in it's current form.

That being said, as an AOPA member, the flight planner is included with AOPA membership as a standard, member benefit and it offers unique features not found in any of the EFB apps currently available. It can also send flight plans to 6 of the most popular EFB apps including Garmin Pilot and Foreflight so it can be used along with EFB apps to enhance their functionality as well.

I personally prefer doing my long-range planning using the AOPA Flight Planner on a desktop computer with a nice, large screen and a keyboard and mouse. Then before heading out to the plane, I send the planned route to either Foreflight or Garmin Pilot (depending on which I am planning to use that day) so I then have the benefit of using sectional charts for the actual flight.

Everyone has different methods but at the end of the day, use whatever methods and apps that you are most comfortable with and that meet your mission requirements.

Blue skies!


2 years ago, I commented on the lack of a sectional overlay. Avare, Foreflight, Garmin, and FlyQ all have this overlay. This puts AOPA's planner at the bottom of the list. VFR flight planning is incomplete without it.