ForeFlight Mobile and iOS 8

The next version of ForeFlight Mobile will require iOS 8 or later. By making iOS 8 the minimum iOS version supported, we can deliver new features that require iOS 8, deliver smaller application downloads, improve energy efficiency, add improved support for devices like the iPhone 6 Plus, and deliver faster application performance. The only device that is not capable of upgrading to iOS 8 that is currently also supported by iOS 7 (the current minimum iOS requirement for ForeFlight Mobile) is iPhone 4.

This support article on Apple’s website describes how to update your iOS device wirelessly or using iTunes if you are wanting to get ahead of the release: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204204.

Faster, Better Auto-router Now Available and DUATS service deprecated

Last night we released an update to our airway routing suggestion in Route Advisor by replacing our previous route provider, DUATS, with our integration partner Lockheed Martin. This enhancement brings quicker response times and more accurate and direct routing for user-provided origin and destination pairs. 

Lockheed Martin provides proper entries and exits onto and off of the airways so that clicking on the suggested route and loading it as a flight plan should be a seamless process. Previously this was not always the case with DUATS and some routes failed to load properly.

Below is a screenshot of an airway routing between KAXH and KLAL in preparation for our flights to Sun ‘n Fun 2015, as computed by the new router:

IMG_1777

In addition to leveraging Lockheed Martin’s routing engine, we implemented server-side caching on routes that will provide an instant response for routes that have been recently searched by other users. Give it a try for some of your favorite routes and let us know about your experience – it is fast! 

We are always working to improve our infrastructure to provide the most utility for your flight planning goals, and this is another great step forward!

DUATS Support Deprecated

With this release, we are also deprecating our support for DUATs based services in favor of the modernized web services technologies provided by Lockheed Martin. For those customers who still have DUATS credentials configured in ForeFlight Mobile, we recommend removing those credentials to take full advantage of the more advanced capabilities.

Sign out instructions are provided on page 153 of the ForeFlight Mobile Pilots guide and as follows:

  1. Tap More > Accounts.
  2. Tap on the “CSC DUATS” field.
  3. Tap the red “Sign Out” button on the next page.

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

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.

ForeFlight Synthetic Vision is Coming

Luminous terrain

We are excited to unveil our visually stunning, high performance synthetic vision platform for ForeFlight Mobile. With features like luminous terrain, night sky, FAA styled runway numbers, and a brilliant obstacle awareness system, we believe you will find flying with ForeFlight Synthetic Vision a joy. Synthetic Vision plans will be available on the iPad with ForeFlight Mobile version 6.6 or later and are available for United States and Canada coverages. ForeFlight Mobile Basic + Synthetic Vision will be $99.99/year, ForeFlight Mobile Pro USA + Synthetic Vision will be $174.99/year, and ForeFlight Mobile Pro Canada + Synthetic Vision will be $174.99/year. Synthetic Vision plans will be available soon after the Christmas holiday. Start the New Year with a significant upgrade to your flight bag! Until then, enjoy the ForeFlight Synthetic Vision highlights shown below or on our Synthetic Vision web page:

Synthetic Vision Comes Alive with Stratus

The Stratus 2* has a built-in AHRS that drives real time pitch and roll indications on the attitude indicator within the SSV-iPad-with-Stratusynthetic Vision view. The award-winning Stratus also delivers subscription-free weather, ADS-B traffic, and GPS position and attitude information—all from a wireless receiver that fits in your pocket. Because Stratus is made for ForeFlight, it delivers seamless app integration and simply works the right way.

It’s Not Too Late! Give yourself a last minute gift and be ready for Synthetic Vision. Order Stratus 2 by 5pm Central Time on December 23 for delivery on Christmas Eve. Order by Friday, December 19 to avoid expedited shipping costs.

Buy-Stratus-Now-button

 

 

Stratus is Made in the USA.

*Stratus is not required to run Synthetic Vision.

ForeFlight Mobile’s Helper Messages Make Filing Easier

ForeFlight Mobile has two kinds of helper messages to assist with the flight plan filing process. These messages ensure that you file with accuracy and avoid potential issues with ATC down the line.

The first type of helper message is a warning. Warnings are new in ForeFlight Mobile version 6.5 and appear when something doesn’t look quite right in the Route or Altitude fields.

In the route field, the main thing ForeFlight will be looking for is an invalid or mistyped fix. The warning gives you an opportunity to double-check that you have entered the route as intended before you file. There may be route codes or other route elements that the app is not familiar with and so you can still file your flight plan when this warning is triggered.

An example of a route element warning.

An example of a route element warning.

A warning will also be triggered if you select an altitude that does not agree with your direction or type of flight:

An example of an altitude warning where an altitude of 12,000 was chosen for an eastbound IFR flight.

An example of an altitude warning where an altitude of 12,000 was chosen for an eastbound IFR flight.

Similar to the route field warning, the altitude warning gives you a chance to ensure you have entered the proper altitude before you file.

The second type of helper message is an error. Errors are more restrictive in that they prevent you from filing a flight plan until they are corrected. Errors include things like: not enough fuel to meet required reserves, incomplete ICAO profile elements, and invalid departure times.

Not enough fuel error

An example flight plan error indicating not enough fuel to meet required reserves.

ForeFlight Mobile Adds Color-Enhanced Infrared Satellite

To celebrate fall, we’ve added a touch of color to our global satellite layer! The color-enhanced infrared (IR) satellite image is designed to visually highlight the coldest cloud tops. Cold cloud tops are often indicative of active thunderstorms that can produce severe or extreme convective turbulence. The animated satellite layer updates every thirty minutes and is accessed in the map mode menu in the Maps view.

IR-Satellite-1-fix

How IR Satellite Imagery Works

Any object that has a temperature warmer than absolute zero will emit radiation at many different wavelengths. Radiation produced by the earth and its atmosphere is emitted spaceward from land masses, oceans, lakes and the top of most clouds. Satellite sensors are used to measure this radiation that includes both visible light and those wavelengths that are invisible to the naked eye. The radiation emitted in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum is the source of data used to build our IR satellite layer.

To create this layer, five geostationary satellites look at the entire earth (with the exception of polar regions) and measure the amount of infrared energy being emitted. The infrared satellite sensor measures the amount of energy and calibrates it to temperature using a very simple physical relationship known as Planck’s Law.

High clouds are very cold and emit less infrared radiation than warmer clouds near Earth’s surface. Furthermore, land masses are usually warmer than most clouds. Since the satellite can’t directly distinguish between the earth’s surface and clouds, we employ a software algorithm that determines where it is cloudy and where the sky is clear. While this works well most of the time, snow cover, fog and even the oceans can sometimes fool the algorithm. We recommend using the Sky Coverage and the Satellite layers together to get the most accurate picture.

IR-Satellite-5-fix

How To Interpret IR Satellite Imagery

Data measured by the satellites is calibrated and colorized according to the temperature. Warmer objects emit more infrared energy and colder objects less. Shades of gray are used to represent the lowest-topped clouds; the darker the shade of gray, the lower the cloud tops. For higher-topped clouds, color is added. Just above the lightest shades of gray you may see blue and green colors introduced representing still colder and higher tops. Above this, shades of red, orange and yellow represent the coldest and highest cloud tops.

As the temperature of the atmosphere generally decreases with height, a pilot can get a pretty good idea which clouds are high-level and which are low-level based on the color or shades of gray depicted.

Global Coverage

The IR Satellite layer allows you to quickly locate the most dangerous weather anywhere in the world. Ground-based radar provides a multitude of information on the location and movement of convective weather, however it is limited to US and Canada. The IR Satellite layer gives you a global, at a glance view of significant weather. This is especially important if you are planning a flight over large bodies of water.

In this image over central Africa, you can quickly see where the most significant weather is located, especially in regions that have a cellular appearance depicted in deep red, orange and yellow colors.

IR-Satellite-6

One thing to note is that thick cirrus clouds at very high altitudes will also show up as very cold clouds even though they may not be associated with deep, moist convection. Most of the time these high cirrus clouds do not have the same cellular appearance as convective clouds and thus have very little variation in color.

ForeFlight and Comply365 Collaborate on Customer Solutions

This week ForeFlight team members are participating in the Comply365 Third Annual Connections365 education and networking conference in Dallas, Texas. Comply365 serves many industries, including aviation, as a leader in mobile enterprise optimization software. We are pleased to announce two integrations with Comply365 that simplify operations for flight departments.

Comply365 dashboard with ForeFlight quick link.

Comply365 dashboard with quick link to ForeFlight Mobile.

Comply365 Connector for ForeFlight Mobile is a software solution that enables a seamless first time sign-on and authentication capability for ForeFlight Mobile via Comply365’s MyMobile365 dashboard. The solution simplifies deployment of ForeFlight Mobile to large enterprise pilot groups. Customers using the Comply365 Connector tap a ForeFlight icon on the MyMobile365 dashboard and pilots are immediately authorized to use ForeFlight Mobile without additional setup steps.

Ownship position shown with ForeFlight Mobile's runway proximity advisor.

Ownship position shown with ForeFlight Mobile’s runway proximity advisor.

In addition to the Connector, ForeFlight and Comply365 collaborated on a solution to simplify the processes required to obtain FAA authorization for the display of aircraft Ownship position on airport maps. ForeFlight’s Taxi Data Recorder (built upon the Track Log platform) collects GPS taxi data from many pilots within an operation, uploads the data to the cloud, and exports it into the Comply365 MyMobile365 dashboard. The Taxi Data Recorder dashboard makes it easy to start workflows and support analysis for Airport Moving Map Ownship approvals.

At ForeFlight, we are always excited about finding ways to make a pilot’s work simpler and to make flight operations safer. Expanding the capability of our Taxi Data Recorder to Comply365 customers gives those operators a powerful solution to simplify the data collection and analysis work required to support Ownship authorization. The ability to have Ownship position for ground operations increases situational awareness and could lead to reduced runway incursions. We look forward to more innovations with Comply365 to make customers more productive and efficient.

If you are interested in using the ForeFlight Mobile Taxi Data Recorder to pursue Ownship position authorization, contact us at team@foreflight.com.

ForeFlight’s iOS 8 Preflight Briefing

Yesterday, Apple announced updates to iPhone, a new payment system called Apple Pay, the new Apple Watch, and the release date for iOS 8. We love new opportunities to build elegant apps – running on great hardware – that deliver exceptional experiences for pilots. Apple’s news makes more of this possible.

Focusing on iOS 8 for a moment, Apple’s operating system releases typically generate some discussion in the aviation community – everything from ‘the sky is falling’ to ‘it is amazing, do it’. Here is our take.

We want ForeFlight apps to work well with the new operating system on the day it is released. Customers upgrade to new app and iOS versions very quickly due to Apple’s automatic app update system (which most pilots have enabled) and over-the-air iOS update capabilities. To make sure we are as prepared as possible, we have tested early beta builds of iOS 8 on our developer and quality assurance devices since Apple announced it in June.

The days between Apple’s special events and release day – 10 days in this case – are a mad, mad rush. We re-test the app on the final iOS release version, fix any issues uncovered, run updates through our internal quality reviews, then submit an update to Apple. On the day the new iPhones land, we run to the Apple store, stand in line (or camp if necessary), buy new devices, then run back to the office to test in order to fix any additional issues uncovered running on the new devices. Developers get hardware the same time customers do, so it is ‘game on’ when it comes to getting new devices in hand.

Should you update to iOS 8? Ultimately, yes. In the near term, expect light to moderate chop from apps that have not yet optimized for iOS 8 or from unexpected operating system bugs. We recommend waiting for the first Apple iOS 8 update and until the apps you rely upon to fly safely are updated to support iOS 8. All new operating systems have undiscovered bugs that need fixing and may cause unexpected device or app issues. iOS is a very stable platform, however, and Apple has a track record of quickly releasing minor updates to address any major issues that are uncovered.

We will be at our stations on September 17th, ready to make any enhancements needed to make your first flight with iOS 8, ForeFlight Mobile, and any new hardware you purchase a safe and fun one. Fly safe, and drop us a note at team@foreflight.com if you hit any unexpected turbulence. We are here and ready to help!

ForeFlight Mobile Receives Operational Suitability Approval on iPad and iPhone

We are pleased to announce that the FAA’s Aircraft Evaluation Group completed an evaluation of ForeFlight Mobile as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution and found the app to be operationally suitable as a “complete flight deck solution for continuous accessibility for the pilot.”

The approval letter goes on to say: “[The] ForeFlight Mobile application includes airport flight directory information and instrument departure and arrival procedures and charts for all of the US and Canadian IFR National Airspace System. The mobile application was evaluated and found to be operationally suitable.”

The Operational Suitability evaluation was completed on an iPad 2, however the approval covers the iPad 2 or newer, iPad Mini, and iPhone 3GS or newer hardware. In related efforts, the co-developed Stratus 2 ADS-B receiver with Appareo Systems has received approval for use in Part 121 aircraft operations. The Stratus platform enables the display of ADS-B weather on iPad and iPhone running the ForeFlight Mobile app, as well as WAAS-grade GPS positioning for ownship display. Professional operators with access to inflight weather routinely report saving thousands of pounds of gas by being able to see ahead and work with flight operations on inflight re-routes.

In the United States, operators falling under FAR Part 91K, 121, 125, and 135 are required to have formal FAA authorization to use EFB solutions inflight. This letter makes it even easier for operators to obtain approval for use of ForeFlight Mobile on iOS devices. ForeFlight will share copies of the letter to interested customers seeking this approval.

For more information about obtaining ForeFlight Mobile and Stratus approvals, contact ForeFlight at sales@foreflight.com.

ForeFlight Launches Geo-referenced Approach Plates For Canada

NAV CANADA has recently taken steps to modernize the Canada Air Pilot (CAP) and Restricted Canada Air Pilot (RCAP) publications. One of the six key areas of improvement is making all published procedures to scale, which (we are excited to announce) enables us to geo-reference them for ownship display. The new charts are available in-app now as a late-cycle 1406 data update. Current Canada subscribers will see the new, geo-referenced publications automatically replace the old ones as part of the standard data update process.

Ownship on Vancouver airport diagram

Ownship display shown on Vancouver BC airport diagram.

For improved situational awareness and better decision-making, our Canadian customers can now take full advantage of pre-flight planning and inflight moving map features like Plates on Maps:

ForeFlight Mobile Pro Canada is available for $149.99 per year. For more information and to purchase, visit our Canada web page.