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3 Answers

AGL (above ground elevation)

Asked by: 2180 views Private Pilot, Student Pilot

hello.. how could i find my AGL(above ground elevation) from VNC (VFR navigation chart) ? (im doing my training in canada)

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3 Answers



  1. Dauntless Aviation Canada - CanadaPilot.com on Jul 24, 2015

    Hi CloudHunter,
    What are you trying to find the AGL of, exactly?

    (by the way, we, the sponsors of this site, also make Canadian theory exam materials at http://www.CanadaPilot.com – please check it out!)

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  2. Best Answer


    Brent on Jul 24, 2015

    I’m taking a guess that you’re asking how to use a VNC chart to determine your altitude above ground level (AGL) given your altitude above mean sea level (MSL) that you read off of your altimeter and your location that you can point to on the chart.

    One quick aside first, elevation refers to the height of the ground above MSL. So if you’re above the ground, you have altitude, but the ground has elevation.

    I’m not familiar with Canadian VNCs, but looking at some examples I found online, it seems they depict the ground’s elevation in a very similar fashion as US sectionals: using contour lines and shading. Page six of this FAA document describes these features of the chart:

    https://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/digital_products/aero_guide/media/Chart_Users_Guide_12thEd.pdf

    It should be clear from that document that you could only get a general sense of your AGL because the contour lines could represent as much as 500′ change in elevation and if they are closely spaced together it can be difficult to tell exactly which one you are over. If the reason you are trying to determine your AGL is to decide if you are flying at a safe altitude for terrain clearance, you might be better served using Maximum Elevation Feature (MEF) numbers described on page 7. I can’t be certain, but it looks to me like the VNCs also have a similar feature.

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  3. john winegart on Aug 05, 2015

    Easy fix, get a radar altimeter! But usually I would assume your question involves terrain clearance, so looking for MEFs is a good way, or using a low altitude chart and looking for MOCAs or MCAs along VFR airways.

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