Interesting Things on the VFR Sectional Chart

Knowing how to read your chart is an essential part of your pilot training. Here at North Perry Airport and the Opa Locka base there are some interesting things on the chart. Since Miami International Airport is just a few miles away it’s really important for all our students to know what everything on the chart means. There are a lot of articles and blogs about the different types of charts and airspaces. If you want to specifically learn about those please refer to your aviation books or great sites like https://www.m0a.com/ or www.boldmethod.com. In this article we will focus on the Miami area and take a deeper look at the surrounding area. We’ll discuss some things you don’t see a lot on sectional charts and what they are. Let’s have a look.

Caution laser light activity


What is the first thing you think about when you read about laser light activity? Green flashes in the cockpit? Maybe getting problems with your eyes and even an FAA investigation? Let’s take a look as to why it says ‘caution laser light activity’ on our TAC chart.

“It’s not to warn that people use lasers to hit planes.”

First off; it says see Supplement which means we have to check out the chart supplement. All the way in the back of the chart supplement is a special notices section. In here it states the following under Miami Beach:

“A permanent Laser Light Demonstration will be conducted at the Amnesia Club, located in Miami Beach, Florida. Nightly from dusk till 2AM. Laser Light Beam may be injurious to eyes if viewed within 3500ft vertically or 2000ft laterally of the light source. Cockpit illumination-flash blindness may occur beyond these distances.”

So, it’s not to warn that people use lasers to hit planes. It’s for you to know that people are having a darn good time at 2am on South Beach, and certainly didn’t think their laser install would affect air travel.  If you go flying there is laser light activity along the Miami coast at those times.

H with an Anchor

Pretty simple actually, but you have to know this. The H stands for a heliport while the anchor means it’s a seaplane base. Put them both together and you have a Helicopter seaplane base! In this area of Miami this is done by a couple of charter companies that fly around the area. It is the historic Chalks seaplane base. It was the longest running 121 airline in history until recently when KLM over took it. Miami Seaplanes now flies C-182s on floats from this base to the Bahamas and Keys regularly. If you want to do some splashes in Biscayne Bay they are a great outfit to fly with. Similarly, helicopter tours and rotary flights down to the keys happen regularly. Always keep your eyes scanning for traffic, or let your passengers know to report any “traffic” they spot along the coast.

H with glider

This stands for hang gliding activity. Don’t confuse it with normal glider operations, which is the G! Be sure to check out the notams, talk to your briefer and check out your chart supplement before flying in that area.

Weird stripes at the bottom of the chart


This is actually a nuclear power plant called Turkey point operated by FPL which stands for Florida Power and Light. Yes, this is actually the plant that generates electricity for most of Miami. The vertical stripes are a visual representation of the miles of cooling canals through which the power plants flows water. You are allowed to fly over it, but be sure to look out for the air force base which ends at 2500ft. Don’t bust the airspace unless you want an F-16 escort!

Shark valley Observation Tower

This could be used for a visual waypoint, that’s why it’s on the chart. However on the VFR chart it is not clearly stated that it’s Shark Point Tower, just on the TAC.

                                 On the TAC                                                                                      On the VFR world chart


New chart addition

This is pretty interesting actually, as it is not charted on the older charts but it’s actually a shipwreck. If you think about it it does look like a shipwreck, right? There are some famous dive spots over there too.

shipwreck.jpegVpedy Andytown tollgate

VPEDY is a GPS waypoint and a visual checkpoint, easy to spot from the sky because it’s a intersection of two major highways US-27 and the I-75 which goes all the way to Naples. It is known locally as ‘Alligator alley’. This is the first waypoint for many students flying cross-country flights to the North and West. It is also a welcome sight for haggard students coming back from those same cross-countries. A “welcome home” for weary pilots. The waypoint is on the North end of the local practice area. Keep your eyes out for traffic as virtually every school in Broward and North Miami use this area for maneuvers.

Did you find any more interesting things on the VFR or IFR chart? Be sure to post them in the comments below! Next time we’ll discuss things on an IFR chart.