There are many different aeronautical charts produced for different purposes. The two most commonly used in PPL aeroplane flying are:
The 1:500 000 aeronautical chart is used for the vast majority of PPL(A) flying and it is the chart we will use for this course (and your exam).
The scale is stated at the top of the chart. A scale of 1:500 000 means that 1cm on the chart represents 500,000cm on the Earth. A scale of 1:250 000 means that 1cm on the chart represents 250,000cm on the Earth.
So the 1:500 000 chart is a smaller scale than the 1:250 000 chart.
It is a legal requirement to carry an up-to-date chart for your planned flight. The charts are typically re-issued once per year so you will need to buy a new one when they are released – the changes can be significant!
In the UK, National Air Traffic Services (NATS) are tasked with producing aeronautical charts for VFR flying. Click here for information about VFR charts, including publication dates, on the NATS website.