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Wed, Nov 16, 2011

IMC Club International Blasts FAA Chart Fee Proposal

Issues A Statement Strongly Opposing Plan To Charge For Chart Update Downloads

The FAA's recent announcement that it will begin charging for the download of airport and approach chart information used by popular mobile device apps like WingX has drawn sharp criticism from the IMC Club's board of directors.

At its meeting on November 14th, 2011 the Board of Directors of the IMC Club International, Inc. issued the following statement:

“IMC Club International Inc. strongly opposes the FAA's announcement that it will begin charging for NOS chart downloads that were previously free. The new policy will start beginning April 5, 2012. This means charging fees to companies for downloads and no longer allowing individuals to access them at all. As of April 5, only those with distribution contracts with Aeronav will be able to download the data. This action will put a severe financial burden on flight instructors, pilots and students. It will affect small aviation safety material distribution companies like ForeFlight. Only large aviation corporations will be able to offset these expenses.  This policy will have serious and wide ranging implications for the general aviation economy as it will restrict access to basic safety and proficiency materials.

"Besides its immediate impact on aviation safety, this FAA action will set a sad and dangerous precedent for the future of aviation in the United States. It will open the door to imposing future additional charges such as weather briefings, calls to ATC while enroute, and formerly free usage of the ATC system.

WingX Chart

"As an organization designed to promote safety among instrument rated pilots, IMC Club International Inc., its President and board members are deeply concerned by the FAA’s unfortunate decision to implement action that may impact the lives of many pilots, students, and already low paid flight instructors along with the safety of the flying public in general.

"During these tough financial times, where student pilot enrollments are already drastically reduced, one has to ask the simple question - How many flight instructors, students and pilots will have extra funds to cover additional expenses? Pilot safety is at risk. Forcing the General Aviation community, the very backbone of aviation safety, to incur additional expenses will surely lead to less proficiency, poorly educated pilots and will drastically compromise the safety of aviation. IMC Club International Inc. strongly opposes charging fees to companies for government airport and approach data downloads while no longer allowing individuals access to them without incurring substantial fees”

An online petition has been created at “We the People” to gather support against the new FAA policy.  If the petition receives 25,000 "signatures" by December 14, White House staff will review it, ensure that it’s sent to the appropriate policy experts, and issue an official response.

Radek R. Wyrzykowski the President of IMC Club International was the first to sign the petition.

FMI: http://wh.gov/jCZ, www.imcclubs.org

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