Latitude and Longitude

Latitude and Longitude

For the FAA exam, you are going to need to know how to locate a point on a sectional chart by using coordinates comprised of latitude and longitude. The FAA may ask you a question about a certain structure or airport located at specific coordinates, and if you don't know how to find that place on the map, you will be lost.

What are lines of latitude and longitude?

Lines of latitude and longitude allow people all across the globe to have standard reference points when referring to different locations. Imagine wrapping several strings all the way around the globe vertically, with every line passing through the north and south pole. Those are lines of longitude. The starting point for the lines of longitude is in Greenwich, England. Everything to the west of that point is considered the Western Hemisphere and everything to the east of that point is considered the Eastern Hemisphere.

Lines of latitude wrap around the earth in a horizontal direction and are all parallel to each other. The very center line of latitude is known as the equator. The equator is equidistant from the north and south pole. Everything north of the equator is known as the northern hemisphere, while everything south of the equator is known as the southern hemisphere.

How To Find Coordinates On Sectional Charts

Each degree of longitude and latitude can be further broken down into "minutes" and "seconds". There are 60 minutes (marked by a ') within each degree and 60 seconds (marked by a ") within each minute. The latitude coordinates are listed first, followed by the longitude coordinates.

The United States is in the Northern and Western hemispheres. This means that all the latitude lines you find on US sectional charts will be North and all longitude lines will be West. The numbers for lines of latitude will increase as you go north (up). The numbers for the lines of longitude will increase as you go west (left).

Reference Materials for Quiz

Also, use make sure to reference the FAA supplemental materials download for questions that ask you to "reference FAA-CT-8080-2H". If you don't already have a copy, you can download it at the following link:

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