Version 1. - May 2006
Aviation charts are available from Airservices Australia, and are updated every six months. You must have access to a current chart of your flying area; the best chart to use is the most detailed one available. The different types of charts are listed below in order of suitability for ballooning:
VTC (Visual Terminal Charts - scale 1:250,000) VNC (Visual Navigation Charts - scale 1:500,000)
both of these are good for balloons
TAC (Terminal Area Charts - various scales) ERC Low (En Route Low charts - various scales)
only use if VTC or VNC are not available
WAC (World Aeronautical Charts)
if no other chart exists
Together, these charts cover major aerodromes and the routes between them. The ‘visual’ charts VTC and VNC are designed for visual rather than instrument flying, and show key airspace details and radio frequencies with some easily recognised topographical features. TAC and ERC Low have little topographical detail.
You must be familiar with symbols used on VTC and VNC charts. You must be able to interpret the boundaries and dimensions of various kinds of airspace, particularly on VTC and VNC charts, and be able to transfer these details fairly accurately onto the topographic map you use in flight. Note that ‘CTAF’ aerodromes no longer have defined airspace boundaries as CTAF now refers to procedures only.
WAC charts cover all of Australia at a scale of 1:1 million, and due to their scale are really only useful for remote areas not covered by other charts or for very long distance balloon flights. Airspace boundaries are not shown on them, but aerodromes are shown by name and further details of these can be found in ERSA.
Planning Chart Australia (PCA) is a guide to all the WAC charts. It also shows boundaries of aviation forecast areas (also shown in ERSA), and indicates the likely range of VHF radio reception.
Topographic Survey Maps produced by government mapping authorities are far more practical for balloon flying and retrieving, and are available from good map shops. The most suitable scales are 1:50,000 (2cm on the map equals 1km) and 1:100,000 (1cm equals 1km), as they show sufficient detail to clearly identify your position in relation to
© Australian Ballooning Federation Inc
ABF Pilot Training Manual Part 8