How long are aeronautical charts valid for?

Flying with outdated charts is not only unsafe, it's probably illegal—pilots love to debate FAR 91.103, but if you bust Class B airspace with an expired chart, the FAA will likely be upset. Keeping track of all the different effective dates used to be a challenge, since VFR and IFR charts were updated on different cycles. Fortunately, in 2020 the FAA simplified its update schedule so that most, but not all, charts follow the same cycle. Here are the details.

56-day update cycle

VFR Sectional ChartThese are the most popular charts, including VFR sectionals and IFR approach plates. Because they are used for preflight planning and in-flight navigation, they are regularly updated to show the most recent information.

Annual update cycle

Some charts are more for large scale planning, not navigation, so they are only updated once per year. These make great wallpaper for your home office or hangar, and since they generally show less detail than sectionals or en route charts, fewer updates are needed anyway.

New chart dates

Want to plan your next big trip? Here are the dates for new chart cycles through 2025.


February 23

April 20

June 15

August 10

October 5

November 30



January 25

March 21

May 16

July 11

September 5

October 31

December 26



February 20

April 17

June 12

August 7

October 2

November 27

You can always check the latest expiration date for each chart at the FAA’s Dates of Latest Editions (DOLE) website.


How to stay up to date

If you're flying with an electronic flight bag (EFB) app like ForeFlight or Garmin, updating your charts just takes a tap on the screen. For paper charts, it's best to plan ahead and order a new chart about five days before the new date. Or take the worry out of keeping your charts current and let Sporty's do the work for you with a chart subscription: we can automatically send you new charts as they come available. Sporty's works directly with the chart printers to get the latest charts roughly a week before their effective date, so you can count on us to get you your chart before it becomes active. To start a chart subscription, just choose the specific chart you want and choose the subscription option from the drop-down menu. Or email us:

Don't forget to check NOTAMs before every flight, too. If there's a change to a frequency or a new obstacle that hasn't made it to the chart yet, NOTAMs are the place to find them. You can also check the safety alerts on the FAA's charting website.


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