On the web site of DFS one can see the ICAO maps of Germany, Austria and Switzerland (by going to Flight Preparation → VRFeBulletin and then selecting MAPS in the upper right corner and checking ICAO).
I was wondering if these maps are always current. For example, the ICAO maps of Germany and Switzerland were last replaced on March 6th, 2014. Looking at the map on the DFS web site, the new CTR EMMEN 2 in Switzerland is shown, so it seems to be current. Can anyone confirm that?
Yes – the ICAO map Germany on that site is current. One of the changes was that e.g. the inner part of the TMZ around Münster EDDG became airspace “D” from 2500-4500ft.
Same for Dortmund and Paderborn. A couple of days ago (6.&7.& 8 March) they had a note that their map wasn’t up to date – but that has changed by now and the note was withdrawn.
I would say the validity date you mentioned only refers to the validity of the VFReBulletin.
The underlying ICAO-chart is currently current , but only because – at the moment – we are within the “first” AIRAC cycle of the year (since the chart was published). But the DFS-charts are only published and amended once a year. So, technically, within a few weeks (once the April AIRAC cycle comes into force) the chart will no longer be 100% valid.
But it will be the same as the paper copy which is also issued once a year.
Well, yes. AFAIK, the DFS charts don’t currently exist as “vector charts”, so what you see on the DFS-site is merely a “scan” (said in simple terms) of the respective paper chart.
In Germany, many private pilots don’t receive regular AMDTs to their (VFR-)AIPs; hence, many have quite a few misunderstandings about the mechanism of AMDTs. An example: most PPLs in Germany buy the DFS-chart for their area each March. They then use this chart for one year and in February of the next year, they still assume they are flying with the “current” chart (just because no newer one has been published in the mean time) and think they can’t do anything wrong if they follow that chart. In reality though, there could be loads of changes notified through AMDTs.
But: the german authorities are quite pilot-friendly and “smart” and tend to make major changes to airspaces etc. (like the above mentioned TMZs) only at every March AIRAC cycle. That’s not something to be taken for granted…in Italy for example, there are often very significant changes to the airspace structure in the course of the year, often one month after the paper VFR charts have been published.
Seems like Germany and Switzerland work in a similar manner. I haven’t seen any “major” change in other cycles but they always discuss and publish such ones in March.
The interesting bit comes once one happens to be “ramp-checked”. The german regulations call for “adequate and current charts” to be carried.
Since there are no “current” 1:500000 paper charts being published within the course of the year, an eleven month old chart is then obviously considered “current”, even though it’s merely “the latest one out there”.
I personally correct my paper chart with a pen if there is something like the wrong reporting points around Bern in the 2014 map. I don’t know if that is officially an “adequate and current chart”.