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Navigators Across the Nation Receive the Most Current Maps

Safety is of paramount importance in aircraft navigation; and crucial safety measures prevent inadvertent or hazardous operations.  One of the best means for protecting against aeronautical accidents or failure is the Defense Logistics Agency’s ongoing updates and map products distribution to aviation customers.  For years, the DLA has been on a 168-day production cycle.  In February, the Federal Aviation Administration announced that the 168 days in between cycles was too long and could potentially lead to safety issues in aeronautical navigation. 

The production timeframe has been modified to a 56-day cycle, which is nearly three times shorter than the original production cycle, and impacts approximately 96 map products that include sectional aeronautical visual flight rules; terminal area charts; Visual Flight Rules flyway planning; VFR aeronautical and helicopter route charts. 

A map product produced by the Flight Information Publication (FLIP) gives up-to-date information that includes: new wind power generators under construction; design changes to airports and runways; no fly zones; route changes; and frequencies that pilots need to check in with air traffic controllers.

Julio Bultron, FLIP program manager in the mapping division of DLA Aviation’s customer operations directorate, said that his team learned of the shortened cycle time three months before the effective date and immediately began to reach out to their government and other federal agency customers to revalidate their requirements for digital and printed products.  Once contacted, several customers decided to decrease their hardcopy quantities because they increasingly rely on digital navigation means.  By proactively updating customer needs before the new cycle became effective prevented inventory overages, reduced overhead expenditures by 7 percent, and saved $40,000 in printing and shipping costs. 

DLA Aviation and DLA Distribution work together to ensure the right quantity of maps meet customer demand.  Vincent Price, DLA distribution facilities manager, said “During a production cycle we can process up to 36,000 customer requests within two weeks, with orders ranging from 1-500 maps per order.”