I've been looking at Canadian VNCs (VFR Navigation Charts) and they look surprisingly different from US sectionals. A big difference seems to be how the airspace is designed, but there seem to be a lot of other differences in how information is displayed. For example, here is the Denver class B airspace:

FAA VFR Sectional - Denver Airspace

You have your basic upside down wedding cake, and a mode C veil.

Now here is the Calgary, Canada class B airspace:

Calgary class B airspace

Even though it's not a full picture of the airspace, there are some differences that jump out, like the choice of colors to indicate the airspace boundaries and elevation, and the fact that the airspace is HUGE! There is also no clear indication of a mode C veil, or the bottom/top of the airspace. Another thing I've noticed is the huge number of airspace boundaries, indicated by the lines that looks something like this: -_-_-_-_.

One more thing. There is no information about the Calgary or Springbank airports. Are airspace elevations, airport elevation, and frequencies all things you have to look up separately?


1 Answer 1


The short answer is the charts are different because they're made by different groups - NAV CANADA has different charting standards than the FAA/NACO uses.

Similarly Jeppesen makes VFR charts for the United States, and they look very different from a FAA/NACO chart: Jeppesen vs NACO chart
I have charitably described the Jeppesen VFR+GPS charts as "technicolor puppy vomit" on more than one occasion.

As far as I'm aware there's no comprehensive listing of all the differences between the US VFR Sectional format and the Canadian VNC format, but the NavCanada charts have a legend and there Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) contains a great deal of additional information - it's essentially similar to the US Airport/Facility directory.

Unlike the US charts, Canadian Aeronautical Charts--including the VNC--do not have a specific expiration date. They are revised periodically.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've made this answer Community Wiki in case someone who has spent significant time north of the border would like to fill in some of the differences and address the other points raised in the question. $\endgroup$
    – voretaq7
    Mar 21, 2015 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ This is a great answer. I had no idea there was so much variation in chart styles. The Jeppesen charts really take some getting used to after using the FAA charts. Do you know why there are so many routes in Canada that have a ceiling above 700feet? It looks like there is a path between all airports. $\endgroup$
    – Arel
    Mar 21, 2015 at 5:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Arel The US has sufficient radar coverage to make nearly all of CONUS class E down to 700/1200 AGL. Most of Canada, outside the cities, is non-radar and only has class E along airways, with ATC using position reports to provide separation. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Apr 25, 2023 at 14:07

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