When you first learn to fly, you learn to follow Visual Flight Rules (VFR) which basically means you look out the window to SEE and AVOID other aircraft. It’s like driving a car, except pilots can also have Air Traffic Controllers looking out for them.
If you choose to further your flight training, you learn Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) which basically means you can fly without looking out the windows! This advanced training enables you to fly through the clouds by using your flight instruments to determine what you need to do to get where you want to go.
Until 1929, there was no IFR…pilots could only fly where and when they could see and avoid other aircraft. Airspace was “uncontrolled.” But when inexpensive flight instruments were developed, pilots could fly where they could not see and get where they wanted to go as long as they could avoid collisions. As technology improved, some airspace became “controlled” and air traffic controllers assisted pilots in that airspace with collision avoidance.
As instruments became more sophisticated and airspace became more crowded, controlled airspace became more complicated. Larger airports built control towers to keep airplanes separated. Airspace classifications were developed so pilots would know where they could fly based on flight rules.
Aeronautical charts provide information to pilots about the location of airports and the classification of airspace around the airports so pilots can plan their flights and stay safe.
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Want to learn more about aeronautical charts? Visit these websites:
ASOS gives weather http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ost/asostech.html
Unicom does when the control tower is closed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UNICOM