Logbook Enhancements, Improved PIREP Markers in ForeFlight 7.5.2

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Our first release of 2016, ForeFlight 7.5.2, brings refinements to Logbook and improved PIREP markers on the Maps view.

Access & Print Logbook Experience Reports From the App

You can now view, print, or email your flight experience summaries right from the app. From the Logbook view, select the desired period of time from the Entries section (last 7 days, 30 days, 90 days, 6 months, or 12 months) and then tap the Send To button in the upper-right corner.

tap Send To to generate an experience report for the selected time interval

Tap the Send To button in the upper right corner to view the selected report summary.

Tap Send To again to AirPrint the report or email it as a PDF attachment. Also added is a flight time summary for the last 90 days, giving you another option in viewing or sharing your flight totals with others.

Tap Send To again to print or email the experience report

ForeFlight Logbook web exportIn case you missed it, you can also export your logbook data to a spreadsheet file from
ForeFlight Web. Log in to plan.foreflight.com/logbook and click the Export tab.

At-A-Glance Pilot Reports

The Pilot Weather Report (PIREP) layer on the ForeFlight Maps view received a facelift, and the newly styled markers can now convey important information even before you tap on them. Icons representing icing, turbulence, and general sky and weather reports change their appearances based on the severity of the hazard, and also indicate the altitude at which the report was made, if available. The icons you see when viewing AIR/SIGMET summaries have also been updated to match the new PIREP markers. Check out Scott Dennstaedt’s article for an in-depth look at the marker enhancements.

ForeFlight PIREP markers

Select PIREPs from the Map layer selector to view the newly styled PIREP markers.

ForeFlight Acquires JetFuelX

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JetFuelX on any device

We are thrilled to announce this exciting addition to ForeFlight. JetFuelX is a free web-based fuel card management service that makes it easy for owners and operators of turbine aircraft to save money by quickly finding the lowest prices available from their multiple jet fuel discount program memberships.

JetFuelX, A ForeFlight CompanyJetFuelX is designed to help everyone from individual pilots to large flight departments, including charter operators, quickly pinpoint the best jet fuel prices and eliminate the frustrating and time-consuming task of managing and comparing multiple fuel card and FBO discount programs. Customers can manage unlimited fuel card memberships and aircraft profiles, view all prices available at the planned destination, compare prices in real-time with nearby airports, and submit fuel releases in a matter of seconds. The simple search function returns discount pricing information at the planned destination, as well as the nearest airports, in a neatly organized list or interactive map view.

In addition, JetFuelX provides a solution for fuel providers and FBOs to efficiently distribute pricing data to their members. FBOs and fuel providers who are interested in integrating with JetFuelX, please contact info@jetfuelx.com.

Existing JetFuelX customers can continue to enjoy the benefits of this free service. If you are a ForeFlight customer, you can also login with your existing ForeFlight credentials and use the JetFuelX platform at no additional charge. New customers are encouraged to sign up for a free account at www.jetfuelx.com.

Be sure to check out our helpful videos to get you up and running:

 

As always, we are on frequency at team@foreflight.com if you have any questions.

Domestic Flight Plan Form to be Discontinued This Year

Last year the FAA announced plans to remove support for the familiar domestic flight plan form that most pilots use for filing within the US. The move will require all civil aircraft to file both VFR and IFR flight plans using the ICAO format. The transition is currently slated to occur October 1st of this year (see page 2 of the linked newsletter).

Although it’s a few months away, we encourage you to take time now to become familiar with the ICAO format. When October comes, you’ll be ready! ForeFlight makes it easy as the app already supports ICAO. All you need to do is fill in a few additional fields on your aircraft profile. This four-minute video walks you through how to do that.

For a more in-depth view of ICAO codes, Field 18, and other helpful ICAO flight plan fields, dive into Filing ICAO Flight Plans in ForeFlight written by John Collins, ForeFlight consultant and aviation writer.

Our “Filing with ForeFlight Mobile” guide is also available in the ForeFlight app under Documents > Catalog > ForeFlight or on the web here. Official FAA guidance on ICAO filing is available here and here.

Filing ICAO Flight Plans in ForeFlight

With the removal of the FAA domestic flight plan format coming later this year, all pilots currently filing both VFR and IFR domestic flights will need to switch to the ICAO format.

In this article, I recommend some simple tips that make it easy for someone who currently files with the domestic format to switch to the ICAO format. My main suggestion here is that you only file what is actually needed and can affect a clearance or availability of an ATC service in the US. Essentially, this approach allows you to replicate the clearances you would receive when using the domestic format.

If you currently use ForeFlight to file flight plans using the domestic flight plan format, there are just a few simple steps to get you set up to file ICAO. The first is to set up the ICAO specific codes for your aircraft. Navigate to your aircraft’s profile in More > Aircraft and tap the blue ‘i’, and set up at least these three fields:

You need to set up the ICAO Equipment, ICAO Surveillance, and Wake Turbulence fields

  1.     ICAO equipment
  2.     ICAO Surveillance
  3.     Wake Turbulence

The Wake Turbulence is the easiest to set up because the default value of ‘L’ fits the majority of GA aircraft. You would only change this if the max gross weight of your aircraft exceeds 15,500 pounds.

Next, let’s look at equipment codes. The three most common FAA/Domestic Equipment codes are:

  • /G (GPS and mode C transponder),
  • /A (DME and Mode C transponder), and
  • /U (No DME and a Mode C transponder).

Tap ‘ICAO Equipment’ to view the list of codes. ICAO equipment codes are more specific and many types of equipment have their own code. Since almost all aircraft have VOR, localizer capability (ILS), and a VHF COM, a standard code of ‘S’ is used to specify the combination of this equipment. Pretty much every aircraft is going to select ‘S’. If for some reason your aircraft does not have one of the standard avionics systems, then you can specify the individual codes for what you do have instead of using S. For example, select ‘O’ if you have a VOR, ‘L’ if you have an ILS or localizer, and ‘V’ if you have a VHF Com radio.

Most aircraft will only need S to replicate Domestic flight plan clearances.

Other codes that are common in GA aircraft are ‘G’ for GPS, ‘D’ for DME, and ‘F’ for an ADF. Some aircraft will have a WAAS GPS and are capable of flying LPV approaches and can also specify ‘B’ for LPV. There are many codes you can specify if you have the equipment, but to keep things simple I only specify something if it makes a difference. In line with that, my advice for an aircraft that is currently filing a domestic flight plan as /G is to specify ICAO equipment codes ‘G,S’. If you currently file /U, then ICAO equipment ‘S’ is all you need. If you currently file with /A, then file ICAO equipment ‘D,S’. Feel free to add the B (LPV), D (DME), or F (ADF) if you have the equipment, but they will not make a difference in terms of your flight plan being accepted or ATC providing a service. Once you have entered the ICAO equipment codes that reflect your aircraft, tap the ‘Aircraft’ back arrow to return to the main Aircraft Profile view.

Most aircraft will only require code C, though more can be selected depending on its capabilitiesNext, tap the ICAO Surveillance code to select the transponder type. Assuming you have a transponder with an altitude encoder, you can specify ‘C’. If it is of the mode S variety, you can change that to ‘S’, but it will not make any difference in your ability to file or use the ATC system, so specifying ‘C’ is the simplest way to do it.

And that’s all you have to do to set up your Aircraft profile for ICAO filing. You can make ICAO the default flight plan format by tapping More > Settings, scrolling down to the File & Brief section, tapping ‘New Plan Format’ and selecting ICAO.

Now you can move to the Maps view to set up your route. Enter your route the same way you always have using the Route Editor. When you are done, use the ‘Send To’ File & Brief button to create and review the flight plan form. Before you hit the ‘File’ button, here are a few additional considerations when entering information about your flight using the ICAO format.

ForeFlight makes it easy to enter your flight plan information by translating it into the proper formatIn the AIM and other documents, you will read about the need to specify certain information in Field 18 – Other Information. ForeFlight automatically fills out this field for you based on flight plan and aircraft profile data. This ensures the formatting is correct for what ATC expects. Even so, there are some considerations to take into account regarding Field 18 that can ensure your flight plans are filed as efficiently as possible.

The FAA guidance on filing ICAO states that if the airport identifier is not a four character ICAO identifier, then “ZZZZ” needs to be placed in the departure and/or destination airport fields of the flight plan, and the non ICAO identifier must be specified in Field 18 preceded by “DEP/” for the departure airport and “DEST/” for the destination airport. You don’t need to worry about this with ForeFlight as it does all this for you automatically. ICAO identifiers are all 4 alphabetic characters and in the US they start with the letter K, Canada with C, the Bahamas with MY, and Mexico with MM. Examples of non-ICAO identifiers are 60J, 35A, K60J, SFO. Remember SFO is not the ICAO format for San Francisco International, KSFO is the correct code. Either SFO or KSFO will work, but if you use the three letter identifier form, then ForeFlight will place “ZZZZ” in the departure or destination field and DEP/SFO or DEST/SFO into Field 18, although you won’t see these changes in the app itself. This plan will be accepted, but it is wasteful. In other words, specify the destination and departure airport identifier as a four character ICAO value whenever you can.

ICAO flight plans provide an ability to enter primary and secondary alternate airports. In the US, only a single alternate needs to be supplied on IFR flight plans that require one.

If you use the remarks field for domestic flight plans, it will be moved to Field 18 automatically and follow the REM/ keyword. So there is no real difference in how remarks are specified, with one caveat. These special characters may not be used in ICAO remarks: the forward slash “/”, the dash “-“, and left and right parentheses “(” and “)”.

The ICAO format also allows you to add specifications for emergency equipment such as dinghies, their capacity, the color, and if they are covered. Life jackets, portable radios, type of survival equipment and any survival equipment remarks that you would wish search and rescue to be aware of. Again, the remarks can’t include the special characters “/ – ( )”.

Finally, if your flight qualifies for special handling, you can optionally specify it on the File & Brief view in the STS Special Handling field. A few that may be of interest are: FFR for firefighting, HOSP for medical flights, HUM for humanitarian flights, and SAR for search and rescue. Any special handling will be included in Field 18 and formatted as required by ICAO.

Although the final switch to ICAO filing is still months away, I recommend you try this now so you can work out any kinks and get a feel for the format. As you become more familiar with ICAO flight plans, you can refine your profile information; but in the meantime, you should have no hassle using the tips outlined here. Happy filing!

New SIDs Published for KATL

The FAA recently approved a set of new departure procedures for KATL, and we included these in ForeFlight’s most recent data cycle update. The new SIDs are designed to make use of existing Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) technology, and will fully replace 16 of the current SIDs later this year. For now, however, these new SIDs are only to be assigned by ATC; flights out of Atlanta should continue to be filed with the current SIDs until the implementation is completed. A NOTAM to this effect has been published for KATL.

The new SIDs will fully replace the current ones later this year

In addition to these replacement SIDs, a new WIGLE1 SID was published for use during special events, and is also ATC assigned only.

A flight plan using one of the new SIDs may be accepted by ForeFlight, but will likely be rejected once it reaches the ATC computer, and even if accepted, will only cause coordination problems for both ATC and the pilot, so be sure to review the NOTAM before filing so you don’t accidentally use the wrong SID and have your clearance rejected. Of course, if ATC assigns you one of the new SIDs, you can use ForeFlight’s Procedure Advisor to load the route information onto the Maps view.

FAA Releases Advisory Ahead of Super Bowl 50

In preparation for the large amount of air traffic expected around San Francisco before and after Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, the FAA has released a set of guidelines for aircraft operating in the area. These include a requirement that pilots obtain ramp reservations at numerous nearby airports, as well as restrictions on what routes can be filed to or from those airports.

The notice from the FAA can be found in Documents > Catalog > FAA

For your convenience, the latest data release includes a document detailing these guidelines, which can be found in the FAA section of the ForeFlight Documents Catalog. The document outlines special traffic management procedures, and guidance on the NOTAMs and TFRs that will be in place prior to the event. This information can also be found online at the FAA’s website. We encourage any pilots who plan to fly in or out of Northern California over the next week to review this information before planning a flight.

Bulletin: February 4 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the February 4, 2016 – March 3, 2016 and February 4, 2016 – March 31, 2016 periods:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams, including updates to the following airports:
01M 1A5 E11 KAAS KAAT KADC
KAGC KAVP KBDR KBED KBFI KBFL
KBJC KBKF KBMI KBNA KBOI KBOS
KBQK KBTR KBWI KBXA KBYH KCFJ
KCLK KCMI KCOU KCWV KCYO KDEW
KDFW KDTW KEDW KEKN KELD KEOS
KEVU KFAR KFES KFFA KFFC KFFL
KFIG KFIN KFLY KFPK KFTK KGCK
KGED KGEO KGFK KGGI KGGP KGIC
KGNT KGRD KGVT KGYR KHIF KHLN
KHOC KIIB KIKG KJFZ KJMR KLAX
KMAC KMDD KMGE KMHE KMQJ KMQY
KMRY KMSL KMSP KMSS KOKH KOLF
KORD KOSC KOSU KPGV KPIA KPNM
KPTN KRCM KRDM KRIF KROA KROS
KRPJ KRWI KRWL KSAA KSAF KSAR
KSEA KSER KSLB KSTK KSTL KSUO
KSUS KSZT KTCL KTOI KTTF KTVI
KTYL PADQ TJSJ

From the FAA:

  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • World Area Charts
  • High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Caribbean High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Ocean Planning Charts
  • Heli Gulf VFR Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams
  • Documents, including the Super Bowl 50 Flight Advisory and NOTAMs.

For Canada region customers:

  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Visual Navigation Charts
  • High and Low Enroutes
  • Canada Flight Supplement
  • Documents

For our Military Flight Bag customers:

  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Terminal Procedures
  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Airport Diagrams
  • CSA High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • PAA High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • D-FLIP Publications such as Planning Change Notices, Area Planning Documents,
  • Chart Supplements, Enroute Change Notices, and Terminal Change Notices.
  • Airfield Qualification Program (AQP) diagrams
  • Airfield Suitability and Restrictions Report (Giant Report)
  • Airport/Facility Directory

All customers will be prompted to download these updates inside of ForeFlight Mobile.

How to Comply with Part 135 Air Ambulance Obstacle Requirement Using ForeFlight

You may be familiar with some of the regulations governing how FAA Part 135 aircraft operators prepare for and conduct flights, but did you know that helicopter air ambulance operators have a number of special rules all to themselves under Part 135? One of these requires the pilot of any VFR flight to identify and document the highest obstacle along the planned route (§135.615). This ensures that the pilot briefs this potential hazard and determines the minimum safe altitude for the flight.

While a good safety measure to prevent collisions, the requirement has been a pain point for some operators as the somewhat vague guidance to “identify and document” is left open to interpretation. Not to mention that some methods of complying with the requirement could take up a good chunk of a pilot’s preflight preparation time, which is at a premium with air ambulance operations.

Fortunately for air ambulance operators using ForeFlight, there is a fast and easy method of complying with the highest obstacle requirement in the app itself. This method employs ForeFlight’s Profile view (available with Pro and Pro Plus subscriptions).

Viewing obstacles along your route using Profile view

Start by entering departure and destination points in the Route Editor, then tap Profile to view the vertical cross-section of the planned route.

Terrain and obstacles are dynamically highlighted based on relative height to your selected altitude. Tap and hold anywhere in the Profile window (other than directly under the altitude box) and a vertical dotted line and box will appear showing that point’s altitude in MSL, the clearance in feet between the point and your planned altitude, and the distance of that point from your departure point. Dragging your finger right or left shows this information for any point along your route. The selected point is also displayed on the “top-down” view of your route below, revealing where the point is along your route.

Use Profile view to measure and document the highest obstacle along your route.

The profile window also allows for pinch-zooming and dragging so you can unclutter nearby obstacles. You can change the total width of the corridor shown in Profile by tapping the button at the bottom-right of the window and tapping “Corridor Width” at the bottom of the popup.

Using Profile view allows the highest obstacle along a route to be easily identified. As for “documenting” it, simply place the dotted line on the highest point and take a screenshot by pressing the iPad’s home and lock buttons at the same. The screenshot can then be accessed and shared from the iPad’s Photos app, or from a cloud storage app like Dropbox.

A number of air ambulance operators using ForeFlight have shared with us how this feature helps them comply with the highest obstacle requirement. We hope this helps you, too.

New ForeFlight Subscriptions Add Value, Basic Plan Options for Canada

Coupled with the introduction of Logbook, we announced new subscription plans for individual pilots that are designed to give you even more value from your ForeFlight experience. Logbook is an essential part of your flight bag and so we made it a standard feature in both of the new plans.ForeFlight Plans and Pricing

The new Basic Plus plan includes everything in the current Basic plan plus Logbook and Weight & Balance for $99.99 USD/year. (Basic plan options are now available for Canada!)

The new Pro Plus plan includes everything in the current Pro plan plus Logbook and Synthetic Vision for $199.99 USD/year.

If you are on an existing Basic or Pro plan, you can still renew those plans.

Should you decide to upgrade to Basic Plus or Pro Plus, you will receive a prorated credit from your existing subscription, towards the new purchase, during the checkout process.

Each plan comes with one geo-region (Canada or US). You can now add a second geo-region for $100 USD.

You can also use our Build-Your-Own-Plan tool to add Logbook or other features à la carte.

For more details about the new plans, visit foreflight.com/pricing. Or check out this helpful comparison table of all the plans: ForeFlight Plans and Pricing for Individuals (PDF).

For Business customers with multi-pilot accounts, the Business Pro plan details can be viewed here.

Bulletin: January 22 Data Updates

Data updates are available for the the January 7, 2016 – February 4, 2015 period:

  • Airport and Navigation Database (Jan 22 Update), including improved airways and corrected Runway Procedure Advisor areas for KMSN and KSGO.
  • The Pilot’s Guide to ForeFlight Mobile has been updated in the Documents Catalog.
  • For our Military Flight Bag customers, corrections to some CTAF and UNICOM frequencies.

All customers will be prompted to download these updates inside of ForeFlight Mobile.