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John Gaitskill, 0A7
Top Gun


Reged: 05/15/04
Posts: 1412
Loc: hendersonville, nc
end of free chart downloads
      #329066 - 11/14/11 09:06 AM

Found this news on Avweb this morning. Another free lunch gone away.

FAA To Charge Companies For Online Charts, No Access For Individuals

The days of inexpensive navigation and chart apps for your mobile devices appear to be numbered with the FAA's announcement that it will begin charging for downloads that were previously free starting April 5, 2012. A story in the December issue of our sister publication Aviation Consumer says the Aeronautical Navigational Products Directorate (Aeronav), which currently makes the latest charts and other navigational products available online for free, says it has to recover the costs associated with developing and hosting the products. That means charging fees to companies for those downloads and no longer allowing individuals access them at all. As of April 5, only those with distribution contracts with Aeronav will be able to download the data. The most noticeable impact will likely be on the small but increasingly popular industry segment (like ForeFlight and WingX) that develops flight-related apps for iPads and other consumer electronics. It will also have an impact on websites like RunwayFinder that use the data for their online products, some of which are currently available for free. How much impact isn't known because the FAA hasn't announced what it intends to charge for the data. Affected companies have been invited to a meeting Dec. 13 in Washington to hear details of the FAA's proposal and offer input to the final pricing structure and the distribution contract.

Industry officials told Aviation Consumer that the market will likely reject significant increases in cost for apps and online products. Smaller providers and free websites may simply go out of business. Larger companies may try to keep their subscribers but with higher subscription prices. The pervasive fear in the industry is that this could lead to only one or two entities controlling the market for the distribution of government-produced information that is essential for flight safety. Aeronav spokeswoman Abigail Smith told Aviation Consumer the agency is determined not to let that happen but the new fees, whatever they are, will have to be enough to cover costs. "Because we're legislated, we can't collect more money than our cost," she said. "We're committed to the most affordable product line for the end user. But if revenue diminishes, the product line diminishes." Under the new contract structure, the FAA will also set standards for those using FAA data to create their products. There have been issues with data being made inaccessible in the production of some apps and the standards will ensure that all information on printed charts is available in any digital version.


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John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]
Top Gun


Reged: 09/13/01
Posts: 5059
Loc: Minnesota
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: John Gaitskill, 0A7]
      #329070 - 11/14/11 11:21 AM

Quote:

Found this news on Avweb this morning. Another free lunch gone away.

FAA To Charge Companies For Online Charts, No Access For Individuals




Free Lunch, or was it a lunch already paid for? The FAA has been publishing charts for years. The only possible new costs are additional bandwidth for many different folks to get the data, or for some customer service for the individual users. I have been a direct FAA chart purchaser for years. Of course, this year I've let that charts expire as I'm now paying for the data via Foreflight.

As Paul mentions in his editorial, perhaps the charting costs have gone way up due to the huge increase in the number of approaches available. Perhaps they haven't accounted for the increased cost to develop the approaches (regardless of if the end result is printed or just offered electronically).

What is interesting are all the comments on Avweb talking about how many folks fly with expired charts. There must not be a lot of IFR flyers in their comments section.

I especially am frustrated by the comment that individuals will not be able to download the data. That seems in conflict with what I would expect from a Government agency.

Where is AOPA on this issue? EAA? NAFI? I'm wondering where all my membership fees are going...

Edited by John O'Shaughnessy [FCM] (11/14/11 11:22 AM)


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Bill Bridges - 9S1
Top Gun


Reged: 05/17/04
Posts: 6008
Loc: 9S1
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]]
      #329079 - 11/14/11 12:24 PM

John,

I don't like the idea of not being able to have access to the charts as an individual. I don't mind paying for them.

Something just doesn't seem right to me about this whole deal?

the other bill


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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member


Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]]
      #329080 - 11/14/11 12:44 PM

Quote:

Free Lunch, or was it a lunch already paid for? The FAA has been publishing charts for years. The only possible new costs are additional bandwidth for many different folks to get the data, or for some customer service for the individual users.




And if they're only distributing to a couple of companies, the cost is minimal. How much does it cost to snail-mail a DVD? Or set up a FTP server?


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Terry Carraway
Top Gun


Reged: 06/02/04
Posts: 7098
Loc: Maryland
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: Bill Bridges - 9S1]
      #329083 - 11/14/11 02:05 PM

It means you will have to pay a thrid party for them.

--------------------
Terry
Mostly 0W3


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
end of free chart downloads [Re: John O'Shaughnessy [FCM]]
      #329084 - 11/14/11 02:11 PM

John -- With the budget problems, and no ability to enhance revenue through
taxation, I think we'll see a lot more of these fees across the range of
government services. Between fees for charts and food for the poor, I can
see the FAA's point in charging. It's not like they have any reasonable
prospect of getting even current appropriations for charting maintained.
While I'd rather not have to pay for charts that's the situation our leaders
have put us in.

(Note that this is an apolitical statement, recognizing fiscal reality, and
not a show of support or opposition for or against any political party,
movement or organization.)

Not allowing individuals to buy what they need a la carte is, well, strang.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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Bill Bridges - 9S1
Top Gun


Reged: 05/17/04
Posts: 6008
Loc: 9S1
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #329085 - 11/14/11 02:47 PM

I called AeroNav today to see if the DVD with the approach plates will still be available after March, 2012. The ladies working there knew less about this situtaion than we do?

As I said earlier, I don't mind paying for the data, I just want the ability to purchase it from AeroNav.

the other bill


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Bill Bridges - 9S1
Top Gun


Reged: 05/17/04
Posts: 6008
Loc: 9S1
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: Terry Carraway]
      #329086 - 11/14/11 02:53 PM

Quote:

It means you will have to pay a thrid party for them.




Terry,

Maybe, or go back to DOD plates and paper. <G>

the other bill


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Reams Goodloe
Top Gun


Reged: 05/07/04
Posts: 2582
Loc: Kent, Washington
Re: end of free chart downloads [Re: Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]]
      #329089 - 11/14/11 03:37 PM



Scott -
What is the unfunded government cost ?
What services would be provided or enhanced with fees ?

It seems simply an opportunity to (a) limit access, and (b) collect fees, with the obvious probability of decreasing safety. Bad trade.

As usual, government doing LESS for MORE $$.
Really, completely backward to what government should be doing...

- Reams -


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Scott Dyer [HPN/NY]
Top Gun


Reged: 01/11/03
Posts: 20065
end of free chart downloads [Re: Reams Goodloe]
      #329090 - 11/14/11 03:50 PM

Reams -- I dunno. They must be losing a lot of paper sales these days, I
know I'm buying a lot less from them than I was.

--------------------
www.scottdyercfi.com


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