The Demise of the Paper Chart

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If you are a fan of "Antiques Roadshow" or a saver of things with the barely recognized thought that they might someday be worth enough that a grandchild will remember you fondly, give some thought to stashing away any sectional charts you have sitting around. Roll them up neatly and store them, away from sunlight and insects, up in your attic.

There's probably room next to that old Erector set, alongside your collection of manual typewriters, those two rotary dial phones and that precarious stack of mahogany cigar boxes your dad gave you.

I am no futurist, and my prognostications have often been way off, but the writing, or should I say the pixels, are on the wall ... or tablet, or view screen, or smartphone: in the very near future paper charts will be curiosities, like the pay phone or TVs that are not flat.

Over the summer, the FAA announced it would no longer sell paper charts directly to the public. Since October 1, aeronautical charts have only been only available via FAA-authorized chart agents. The change is about "maximizing the efficiency of the FAA division that develops aeronautical chart products," the agency said in an online notice (read that as "a way to save money"), and it added that digital chart products will not be affected.

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