Bulletin: March 5 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the March 5, 2015 – April 2, 2015 and March 5, 2015 – April 30, 2015 periods:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams
  • North American Obstacles

From the FAA:

  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Caribbean High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Ocean Planning Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams
  • Documents

For our ForeFlight Mobile Pro Canada customers:

  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • 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.

MOS Forecast Extends Now To 3 Days

Back in December we announced a new forecast tool in ForeFlight Mobile called Model Output Statistics or MOS. A TAF-like forecast, MOS provides site-specific weather guidance to pilots for hundreds of airports where a TAF is not provided by the National Weather Service (NWS). We’re happy to say that we’ve taken MOS even further.

Now Even More MOS

Not only have we added over three hundred additional MOS airports to ForeFlight Mobile, but we’ve extended the MOS guidance from 24 hours to 3 days. That’s right, in ForeFlight Mobile 2,032 stations throughout the U.S. and its territories now have a TAF-like MOS forecast with site-specific weather guidance out to 3 days in the future. Pilots can now get a forecast of wind direction and wind speed, ceiling height, ground visibility and precipitation similar to what you might see in a TAF, now extended to 84 hours for over 2,000 airports. This means that even when the TAF stops at 24 or 30 hours, MOS continues to provide site-specific weather guidance beyond the forecast timeframe of over 700 NWS TAFs.

Finding MOS in ForeFlight

The MOS forecast option is available to all subscribers with ForeFlight Mobile 6.6 and to find it in the app, simply select an airport or station from the Maps view. In the pop-over window, tap the Forecast tab at the bottom. Then press the MOS button to reveal this forecast product and scroll through the MOS forecast over the next three days.

Access the MOS forecast in the Maps view by tapping on an airport.

Access the MOS forecast in the Maps view by tapping on an airport.

Flight Rules Thrown Out of the ForeFlight Mobile App

No, we didn’t convince the FAA to change the regulations; however, in ForeFlight Mobile we’ve stopped using the term Flight Rules when referring to weather conditions for an airport. Flight Rules has now been replaced with a more appropriate term, namely, Flight Category which appears as a selection below TFRs. Same useful information, just under a new name.

Flight Category selected in the Map overlay selector

Flight Category overlay is shown selected in the Maps view menu.

Flight rules refers to the regulatory requirements defined in 14 CFR Part 91, Subpart B. These include Visual Flight Rules (VFR), Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) and Special VFR. Although derived from Flight Rules, Flight Category describes the observed or forecast weather conditions at the airport based on the combination of prevailing ground visibility and ceiling. Using a color-coded marker, flight categories include VFR, Marginal VFR (MVFR), IFR and Low IFR (LIFR) as shown below. Although not implemented in ForeFlight, the National Weather Service (NWS) uses a fifth category to represent Very Low IFR (VLIFR) conditions which includes a ceiling less than 200 feet and/or visibility less than 1/2 statute miles.

Flight Category legend.

Flight Category legend used in ForeFlight Mobile.

In the app, you can also display the ceiling and visibility markers separately on the ForeFlight Map. Similar color coding of these markers will occur based on the criteria shown above. For example, ceilings markers are being displayed on the Map below. Notice for Topeka, Kansas,  a marker labeled “26” representing a MVFR ceiling of 2,600 feet so the marker is shown in blue. It is critical to understand that this does not imply that the Flight Category for the airport is MVFR since this marker does not also factor in the reported visibility.

Ceiling marker view.

Ceiling markers do not factor in the reported visibility relative to Flight Category color coding.

In this case, tapping the marker for Topeka as shown below indicates that the surface visibility is reported at 1 statute mile representing an IFR Flight Category. Hence the coded observation is colored red accordingly.  Similarly, when displaying the visibility markers on the Map, the color shown does not also factor in the reported ceiling.

Weather station details in the Maps view.

Tap on the marker to reveal the Flight Category, indicated by the highlighted observation text, when using the Ceiling and Visibility overlays.

Lastly, ceiling markers are unique in that a marker will only be displayed when the observation is reporting a broken, overcast or indefinite ceiling. In other words, if the sky is clear or there are just scattered or few clouds in the report, a marker will not be displayed on the Map.

While the departure from Flight Rules seems pretty subtle, using Flight Category in the ForeFlight Mobile app now matches FAA documentation and other official weather guidance provided by the NWS.

ForeFlight Mobile Connectivity with Dynon SkyView, ScratchPad Upgrade, Graphical Winds Aloft in ForeFlight Mobile 6.7

With ForeFlight Mobile 6.7 we are excited to announce wireless connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile and the Dynon Avionics SkyView system. The integration with Dynon expands our ForeFlight Connect capability ‒ a set of features that allows ForeFlight Mobile to connect to portable and installed avionics to enable capabilities like flight plan transfer, ADS-B weather (currently Stratus only), and more.

We also re-invented the ScratchPad view to provide much more capability. Use the helpful new templates feature for quickly jotting down clearances and PIREPs, save and share multiple ScratchPads, and swipe between ScratchPads with a simple gesture. ScratchPads are integrated into the ForeFlight Sync system so all your notes are automatically backed up across your iPads.

In the Maps view we added a global graphical Winds Aloft layer that shows wind barbs on the map for altitudes from 3,000′ to 54,000′. The new altitude slider lets you easily see how the winds change across the world and across the flight levels.

ForeFlight Mobile version 6.7 is now available on the App Store.

Wi-Fi Connectivity Between ForeFlight Mobile and Dynon Avionics SkyView Enables Seamless Flight Planning Capabilities

We are delighted to work with Dynon Avionics to bring Wi-Fi connectivity between your iPad and iPhone and the SkyView glass panel system. ForeFlight Mobile can send and receive flight plan routes on the ground and in the air and can receive SkyView WAAS GPS and AHRS data to feed Synthetic Vision and the moving map display.

Update your route on ForeFlight Mobile then push the changes to SkyView using the Send To icon in the Route Editor:

Send to the panel-mount avionics from the route editor

In the Route Editor on the Maps view, use the Send To button to transfer route plan changes from ForeFlight to SkyView.

Route changes made on SkyView are easily updated on the iPad with a single tap on the Connect icon:

Pull flight plan changes by tapping the Connect icon.

To pull flight plan changes from SkyView into ForeFlight tap the Connect icon in the top menu bar.

In addition to transferring flight plan route changes, ForeFlight Mobile receives SkyView’s built-in WAAS GPS to drive aircraft position on the Maps or Plates view. This is a great GPS solution if you have a Wi-Fi only iPad, or if you just want the reassurance of an additional GPS source. ForeFlight Mobile also uses the SkyView AHRS to display pitch and roll information on the Attitude Indicator and Synthetic Vision views.

ForeFlight receives the SkyView GPS and AHRS data.

ForeFlight Mobile receives the SkyView GPS and AHRS data to feed the moving map and Synthetic Vision views.

The wireless connectivity feature between ForeFlight and Dynon SkyView requires a ForeFlight Mobile Pro subscription and a Wi-Fi Adapter for each SkyView screen. Read this blog post for more details on how to setup and use the wireless connection between ForeFlight Mobile and Dynon SkyView.

Also check out our ForeFlight Connect page to learn more about our growing wireless connectivity capabilities.


New ScratchPads Sync to the Cloud and Make it Easier to Take Notes in the Cockpit

The ScratchPads feature was re-written for v6.7. Now you can choose from six different templates, including a PIREP template to help you transmit the perfect PIREP with confidence.

The CRAFT layout makes it easy to use the well-known aviation mnemonic for copying down departure clearances from ATC:

And by popular demand, you can add, edit, rename, and delete multiple ScratchPads:

ScratchPads thumbnail view.

Add, edit, rename, and delete multiple ScratchPads.

If you prefer to write with a stylus versus your finger, check out this popular one from Sporty’s. ScratchPads is available on the iPad to ForeFlight Mobile Basic and Pro subscribers.


New Winds Aloft Layer in Maps View

A global graphical Winds Aloft forecast is now available as a weather overlay option in the Maps view. The new Winds Aloft layer is available to all ForeFlight Mobile subscribers.

Global graphical Winds Aloft map layer.

Global graphical Winds Aloft map layer is available in the map selector dropdown menu.

Winds Aloft markers are color coded to the following scale:

Wind marker color scale.

Winds Aloft marker color scale.

Use the slider on the lower right of the screen to select the desired altitude or flight level. Tap on a marker to view forecast details: wind speed and direction, altitude, temperature, and the winds aloft report time stamp.

Winds Aloft slider and marker details.

Use the slider on the lower right to change the altitude. Tap on a wind marker for details.

Resources

How To Use ForeFlight Mobile and Dynon SkyView Wi-Fi Connectivity

We are delighted to announce an integration with Dynon Avionics to bring you secure Wi-Fi connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile on the iPad and iPhone and the SkyView glass panel avionics system. This integration expands our ForeFlight Connect capabilities and delivers more ways to make flying easier and more efficient.

Getting Started

The wireless connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile and the Dynon SkyView system is enabled by a Wi-Fi Adapter for SkyView. The USB adapters may be purchased from an authorized Dynon Avionics dealer or directly from Dynon Avionics. Please see the Dynon website for current pricing.

For software, you will need SkyView version 12.0 or later and ForeFlight Mobile Pro 6.7 or later. Once configured, ForeFlight connects to SkyView via a Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) connection.

Your checklist for ForeFlight Mobile + Dynon SkyView Connectivity hardware and software requirements:

  • Wi-Fi Adapter for SkyView for each screen you have installed
  • SkyView version 12.0 or later
  • ForeFlight Mobile Pro version 6.7 or later

After the Wi-Fi Adapter(s) are installed, configure the SkyView Wi-Fi network though SkyView’s Setup Menu. Refer to the current SkyView System Installation Guide for full instructions.

Connect ForeFlight and SkyView

With SkyView turned on, locate the Wi-Fi network in the Settings menu on your iPad or iPhone and connect. You can verify connection in ForeFlight Mobile in the following places: 

  • When ForeFlight is connected to the SkyView network you will see the Connected logo along the top menu bar: 
Pull flight plan changes by tapping the Connect icon.

To pull flight plan route changes from SkyView into ForeFlight tap the Connect icon in the top menu bar.

  • Navigate to the Maps view and tap on the Settings menu cog icon in the top menu bar and scroll down to Devices. 
  • From the Route Editor, tap on the Send To icon to see the panel Connect icon:
Send to the panel-mount avionics from the route editor

In the Route Editor on the Maps view, use the Send To button to transfer route plan changes from ForeFlight to SkyView. 

  • Navigate to the More view > Devices > tap on the SkyView box on the right for connection details.
Connect status in the More view

Navigate to More > Devices to see the SkyView connectivity status.

 ForeFlight Mobile and SkyView Connectivity

 ForeFlight Mobile and SkyView connectivity has the following capabilities:

  •  Send and receive flight plan routes between ForeFlight Mobile and SkyView
  • ForeFlight Mobile can receive SkyView’s WAAS GPS data to drive the moving map display and information in the HUD instrument panel.
  • ForeFlight Mobile can receive SkyView’s AHRS data to drive pitch and roll in the Attitude Indicator and Synthetic Vision views.

Bulletin: February 5 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the February 5, 2015 – March 5, 2015 period:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams
  • North American Obstacles

From the FAA:

  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams
  • Documents

Data updates are also available for our Military Flight Bag customers:

  • Global airport, navigation, and airway coverage from the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File
  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Terminal Procedures
  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Airport Diagrams
  • EEA High Enroutes, Area Charts
  • ENAME High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • 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.

Automated Reports of Blowing Snow in a Blizzard

In a bona fide blizzard you would certainly expect to see a fair amount of blowing snow, right? Well, take a look at the conditions for these three airports at the height of the nor’easter that recently pummeled the Northeast with a record snowfall.

KEWB 270539Z AUTO 03030G46KT 1/4SM R05/1600V2200FT +SN FZFG SQ VV004 
     M02/M02 A2958 RMK AO2 PK WND 03046/0538 P0000 T10171022

KTAN 270552Z AUTO 01018G32KT 1/4SM +SN FZFG VV003 M02/M03 A2962 
     RMK AO2 PK WND 04040/0536 SLP031 

KFMH 270535Z AUTO 03032G52KT 1/4SM SN OVC002 M01/M02 A2955 
     RMK A02

In the belly of this storm, these airports observed strong, gusty winds, moderate to heavy snow and even a squall, but no hint of blowing snow (coded as BLSN) in any of these automated reports. This seems rather odd, but an Automated Surface Observing System (ASOS) is not designed to report blowing snow in the middle of a blizzard. You read that right; it’s designed to report blowing snow only after the winter storm has departed as seen here for the observation at Worcester, Massachusetts the following morning.

KORH 280947Z AUTO 31020G26KT 2 1/2SM BLSN CLR M14/M18 A2972 
     RMK AO2 PK WND 29028/0913 VIS 3/4V5 T11391178

Before an ASOS can report blowing snow (even when blowing snow conditions are detected by the precipitation sensors), all of the following conditions must also be met –

  1. Visibility must be less than 7 statute miles
  2. Ambient temperature must be less than or equal to 14 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Sky cover must be less than overcast or the ceiling height must be greater than 10,000 feet
  4. Wind speed must be greater than 22 knots.

From the surface observations during the recent blizzard, only two of the four conditions were met, namely, wind speed and visibility. As a result, BLSN wasn’t reported in the automated observation. Keep in mind, at airports or stations with a human observer, the observation may be augmented to include BLSN like it was here for Providence, Rhode Island during the storm.

KPVD 270551Z 01025G34KT 1/2SM R05/3000VP6000FT SN BLSN FZFG VV012 
     M07/M09 A2965 RMK AO2 PK WND 01038/0538 SLP039

Automatically Pack Weather and NOTAMs in ForeFlight Mobile version 6.6.1

ForeFlight Mobile’s Pack feature simplifies your pre-flight preparation and enhances your safety by ensuring that you have all of the current charts, data, NOTAMS, fuel prices, and the latest pre-departure weather information stored on your device for inflight access. ForeFlight Mobile 6.6.1 introduces a refinement to Pack which automatically keeps the most current weather, TFRs, fuel prices, and NOTAMs refreshed and downloaded onto your device during your preparation for flight.

After planning your route, tap the Pack suitcase to ensure you’ve downloaded all the data you will need for the trip:

Tap the Pack suitcase and download the data to initiate the auto-packing feature.

Tap the Pack suitcase and download the data to initiate the auto-packing feature.

After the initial ‘Pack’ is completed, then Pack will continue to refresh every 30 minutes with the latest METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETs, TFRs, fuel prices, and NOTAMs (based on each of these you have selected to Pack). The automatic refresh only runs while you are connected to the Internet and the app is open, not running in the background. If you leave the app and come back, the weather, TFRs, fuel prices, and NOTAMs will update automatically, without the need to manually tap the Pack suitcase again. This ‘auto-pack’ feature will continue to run for 24 hours or until you change the route. The red badge alert for Pack will then only show if you make significant changes to your route.

There are no settings required to make this work and Pack is available to both Basic and Pro subscribers. We recommend that you tap the Pack suitcase one final time before leaving your Internet connection prior to flight. When you see the All Packed! message, you’re ready to fly:

A final check on Pack: All Packed! means you are ready to fly.

A final check on Pack: All Packed! means you are ready to fly.

ForeFlight Mobile Version 6.6.1 Is Available On The App Store

ForeFlight Mobile version 6.6.1 is a free download for subscribers via the the App Store. For additional information, be sure to review our Pilot’s Guide. You can also download the Pilot’s Guide onto your device using the built-in catalog in the Documents view.

We’ve refined the Internet radar color bar

Of all of the weather layers available on the ForeFlight Maps view, the radar mosaic is likely the most frequently viewed. With such a high glance value, even the most inexperienced pilot can quickly identify where the significant adverse weather is located and plot to avoid it. This is because radar reflectivity (or the amount of energy returned to the radar) is strongly correlated to the size and concentration of the hydrometeors (rain drops, snow flakes, hailstones, etc.) present in the radar’s view. Large raindrops or hailstones are indicative of intense updrafts and a high probability of severe or extreme convective turbulence. So it’s important that the radar mosaic be depicted in a balanced way that engenders caution without over-warning the pilot when the weather is benign. To that end, we’ve made a subtle change to the Internet radar color map as shown below.

Internet-Radar-Colors

Comparison of new and old Internet radar colors.

The primary goal was to modify the mid-range reflectivity (dBZ) values. This provides better awareness during the early stages of convective growth that were previously being shown as a dark green. Consequently, we shifted yellow and orange by 5 dBZ. For instance, yellow used to begin at 40 dBZ, but now it begins at 35 dBZ with orange beginning at 40 dBZ. We kept red at 50 dBZ and added a darker shade of orange to fill the void. This subtle modification won’t significantly change the look and feel of active thunderstorm regions, but will help highlight an area of developing convective weather much sooner.

For example, take a look below at this thin line of precipitation just east of Beaumont, Texas. There is a distinct “weak” region in this line just southeast of Beaumont. This part of the line is characterized by mostly green contours with just a hint of yellow. At a quick glance, it may be very tempting for a pilot to flight plan through this thin convective line at this weak region. Take notice of the storm track that has also been depicted within this part of the line. Storm tracks shown by the straight lines denote distinct cells that have been identified by the NEXRAD software algorithm. In this case, this part of the line was beginning to strengthen and was rapidly becoming a significant threat to aviation.

Old-Color-Map-2

As a comparison, below is the same line with the new color map applied. Notice the area looks much more pronounced given the warmer colors of yellow and slight hint of orange now being displayed. While there are still a few “soft” spots along this line, the newest depiction represents the threat more accurately. Notice, however, the more intense cells along the northern and southern extent of this line don’t change appearance significantly preserving the original ForeFlight characteristics.

New-Color-Map-2

Bulletin: January 8 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the January 8, 2015 – February 5, 2015 and January 8, 2015 – March 5, 2015 periods:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams
  • North American Obstacles

For ForeFlight Synthetic Vision customers:

  • Updated Synthetic Vision data for the United States
  • Updated Synthetic Vision data for Canada

From the FAA:

  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Caribbean High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Ocean Planning Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams
  • Documents

For our ForeFlight Mobile Pro Canada customers:

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

For our Military Flight Bag customers:

  • Global airport, navigation, and airway coverage from the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File
  • 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.