When you buy a book of government approach plates, or a Terminal Procedures Publication (TPP) it comes with a legend and other supplemental documents along with it. Now that a lot of pilots are using digital flight bags like ForeFlight it's easy to overlook this stuff.

What I need is a PDF of these materials, but after a lot of searching I'm just not finding it. Does anyone know if the FAA publishes this digitally? This page mentions that it's available, but I don't see the download for it.


Apparently the file you are looking for is FRNTMATTER.PDF, located in the "D" download file.


(but it still looks like you have to download the 900MB ZIP file just to get that one important file)

The file that @JonathanWalters referenced has very similar information in a much smaller download and a different format. But there are differences between the two.

I recommend downloading both the Chart Users guide at the FRNTMATTER.PDF file, and judging for yourself which one (or both) best has the info you are after.

  • $\begingroup$ Downloading this huge file is not necessary. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Feb 24 '16 at 23:45
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Was the down vote really necessary? $\endgroup$ – ryan1618 Feb 25 '16 at 16:31
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'm assuming that @JonathanWalters downvoted me because he found a smaller download that has the same info. Thats fine. I still consider my answer valid and correct, even if it is less than optimal. Thanks for the upvote as well. (The Voting Lords giveth, and taketh away....) $\endgroup$ – abelenky Feb 25 '16 at 16:36
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer is valid to be sure. I think this question is properly answered only by the combination of the two answers. $\endgroup$ – J Walters Feb 25 '16 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ FRNTMATTER.PDF can be downloaded independently at aeronav.faa.gov/d-tpp/FRNTMATTER.PDF $\endgroup$ – pericynthion Mar 17 '17 at 18:54

Much of the information is available on FAA.gov, in a handy web-based format in a document called the "Aero Guide", or as a PDF download called the "Aeronautical Chart User's Guide".

The Aero Guide provides a digital document of the reference information provided with both the VFR and IFR paper aeronautical charts and publications, as well as other information not included with the charts. For example, much (if not all) of the same information on Approach Lighting Systems is included in the Guide. However, some other information found in the TERPS publications is not available, such as the Inoperative Components Table.

Here is a screen cap of one of the legends available in the Aero Guide on the TPP Symbols tab (or in the PDF):


For a web-based version follow the link to the Aero Guide and click on the TPP or TPP Symbols tabs for the TPP information you want.

For the PDF: as quoted from the 'product description' on the Aero Guide page:

Provided here is the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide in a web-based format. This web-based version is designed to easily reference chart symbology while providing access for all devices. For now, the downloadable PDF version is still available at the bottom of this page.

That link to the downloadable PDF is found at the bottom of the Intro tab. This is the current direct link. Go to the bottom of that page (although not all the way down into the generic FAA.gov info) and look for the "Aeronautical Chart User's Guide" link. This document is about 22 MB in size.

  • $\begingroup$ I'm familiar with the Aeronautical Chart User's Guide, but there are a lot of things it lacks that the legend has. How to read the ALS section is one example. $\endgroup$ – ryan1618 Feb 25 '16 at 16:32
  • $\begingroup$ If you're looking for Approach Lighting System legend, you'll find it around page 16 of the file mentioned in my answer $\endgroup$ – abelenky Feb 25 '16 at 16:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.