New Airport Diagrams from ForeFlight

Last week we launched over 400 ForeFlight-generated, geo-referenced airport diagrams as part of a mid-cycle 1404 data update. These new diagrams provide situational awareness at airports that would not otherwise have this type of information available. At unfamiliar destinations, large or small, we find it helpful to have ownship position as a tool for navigating on the ground. Especially at night.

ForeFlight airport diagrams are geo-referenced for position overlay, a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

ForeFlight airport diagrams are geo-referenced for position overlay, a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

In addition to geo-referencing, the diagrams integrate with all of the existing ForeFlight features like plates on maps, annotations, runway proximity advisor alerts, and the auto-display of the diagram upon landing.

The locations in this first batch were chosen based on a combination of airport operation count and frequency of flight plans filed to the airport; excluded are those airports for which the FAA already has a diagram. Here is the current list of airports for which ForeFlight has created a diagram, as well as the locations that are on deck for the next data update:

Here is the current ForeFlight Airport Diagram list. Locations in blue are slated for the upcoming May 1 data cycle (1405).

Here is the current ForeFlight Airport Diagram list. Locations in blue are slated for the upcoming May 1 data cycle (1405).

The order of creating diagrams for locations is modified if we have a reason to bump up the priority such as lots of requests for a specific airport or an upcoming fly-in. If you don’t see your airport listed, be sure to tell us to #ForeFlightMyAirport on Twitter or Facebook and we will adjust its priority for upcoming database updates (don’t forget to include the airport identifier).

Lots of improvements are planned and we’ll be sweeping back through each location to add taxi labels where applicable and other layers of information.

Please note that ForeFlight Airport Diagrams require ForeFlight Mobile 6 or higher.

As always, we encourage your feedback at team@foreflight.com.

Seven Reasons To Go ForeFlight Mobile Pro

Have you been considering the Pro upgrade? To help you determine if the upgrade is right for you, here’s a guide that lays out all the additional features you’ll get for the additional $75 per year. If you currently subscribe to the Standard version, we’ll automatically pro-rate the upgrade based on your remaining subscription time. Simply login to your ForeFlight Manage page, go to the subscription tab, and click Upgrade My Plan; or visit our buy page, enter the email address already associated with your account, and select ForeFlight Mobile Pro.

ForeFlight Mobile Pro contains all of our Standard features (listed below) plus these powerful additional features:

Ownship is shown here on a geo-referenced airport diagram.

 

Geo-referenced approach plates and airport diagrams for US. For greater situational awareness, see your aircraft position overlaid on approach plates and airport diagrams.

 

 

 

 

Approach plate on Map view shown with flight track overlay.

 

Plates on Maps takes geo-referenced charts to the next level and allows you to view approach plates overlaid onto the maps view, along with hazards and weather in one seamless view.

 

 

 

 

Annotations on the airport diagram are shown

 

Annotations allow you to add your own full-color annotations to approach plates, SIDs, STARs, airport diagrams and PDF Documents. Highlight important elements such as crossing altitudes or taxi instructions and add notes to your PDF documents.

 

 

 

 

Yellow and red highlighting in our Hazard Advisor tool.

 

Hazard Advisor is a terrain-based map, colored red or yellow based on terrain height relative to aircraft position (note: the minimum hardware for this feature is an iPad 2 or iPhone 4).

 

 

 

 

Profile view is shown.

 

Profile view is a side view of terrain and obstacles along your planned route. Dynamic color alerting shows you at a glance whether your selected altitude will keep you clear of terrain and obstacle hazards. In flight, Profile shows your current altitude in relation to obstacles or terrain ahead of your track.

 

 

 

Expected route received via Flight Alerts.

 

Flight Alerts send you real-time push and email notifications when expected route information is released from ATC.

 

 

 

 

 

Downloads view showing shared documents are current

 

Document syncing allows you to link your Dropbox account in order to share documents with other ForeFlight users tied to your account. This is helpful for keeping flight ops and crews on the same page.

 

 

 

 

Here are the ForeFlight Mobile Standard features at-a-glance:

  • All software, data, and chart updates.
  • Four data-driven global base maps.
  • All US terminal procedures and airport diagrams.
  • US IFR high and low enroute charts, VFR sectionals, and helicopter charts.
  • Mexico and Caribbean IFR high and low enroute and area charts.
  • Transoceanic planning charts for the Atlantic and Pacific.
  • A dozen dynamic weather, hazard, and fuel price map overlays.
  • Document management.
  • Build and manage plate binders.
  • Flight planning with altitude, route, and traffic pattern advisors.
  • Flight plan filing, including the ability to activate and close VFR flight plans, and amend and cancel VFR and IFR flight plans.
  • Search and rescue grids and search pattern builder.
  • Inflight moving map.
  • Integration with Stratus ADS-B Receiver for inflight weather and traffic, and split screen attitude indicator view.
  • ForeFlight Directory for more than 25,000 destinations worldwide.
  • NOAA, Nav Canada, and Mexico weather imagery.
  • Scratch pad.

Cleared As Filed: A Tip For Amending Flight Plans

One tip to make your flight preparation more efficient is to amend your filed IFR/YFR flight plan based on the expected route clearance sent via ForeFlight’s Flight Alerts (a Pro feature). This will set you up to be cleared as filed when you contact ATC. Here’s how:

Amend your ICAO flight plan right in the app.

Amend your ICAO flight plan right in the app.

Once you file your IFR flight plan and you receive an expected route notification (you won’t necessarily get one every time you file):

  1. Copy the new route from your expected route notification email to the iOS clipboard.
  2. Open ForeFlight to the File & Brief View and select the flight plan you wish to Amend.
  3. Tap Amend and paste the new route into the route field.
  4. Make any other modifications as needed, then tap File Changes.

Now when you go to contact ATC, the amended flight plan is on file and you’ll be cleared as filed. Taking a few moments to amend your plan in-app before you even start the engine(s) is a lot easier and less stressful compared to quickly copying down a new clearance in the cockpit.

Amend is a new capability in ForeFlight Mobile 6.0 enabled by our integration with Lockheed Martin AFSS.

How to add Filing with ForeFlight Mobile to your Documents.

How to add Filing with ForeFlight Mobile to your Documents.

To use amend, your flight plan must be filed through ForeFlight Mobile using the ICAO format. And to help with that, we have a new Filing with ForeFlight Mobile Guide available in the Documents catalog to guide you through every step to filing in the ICAO format.

IFR/YFR flight plans can be amended or canceled up to 30 minutes before the filed estimated time of departure. VFR/ZFR flight plans can be amended or cancelled up to 2 hours after the filed estimated time of departure.

ForeFlight Mobile 6.0 Now Available On The App Store

ForeFlight Mobile 6 is now available for download from the App Store. This release is full of new features and sets the stage for even more to come. This update brings a refined interface throughout the app, a new Profile view, additions to flight plan filing capabilities, enhancements to Stratus, and more. Please note this update requires iOS 7.1 or higher. Here are the new features in detail:

Refined Interface

Refine has been a theme for us and so we have gone through every page and view of the app to create a more consistent interface with better readability and contrast, without fundamentally changing the app experience. Here are some screen shots to help compare the previous look with the new refinements (click on the first image to start the carousel):

No Sneak Peaks With Profile View

The new Profile view takes our Hazard Advisor feature into vertical mode and gives you a side view of terrain and obstacles along your planned route. With dynamic color alerting you will know at a glance whether your selected altitude will keep you clear of terrain and obstacle hazards. In flight, Profile shows your current altitude in relation to obstacles or terrain ahead of your track. Profile is a ForeFlight Pro and iPad only feature.

Profile view in flight

Profile view in flight

Here’s a video to walk you through the new Profile feature:

To get started with Profile, open the NavLog/Route Editor box. You will see the new mode option in the lower right:

Profile mode button

Profile mode button

Planning With Profile

To use Profile for flight planning, begin by entering a departure and destination into the editor and tap the Profile button to view the vertical cross-section of your route. Tap and drag the altitude box up and down to adjust your altitude and you will see the dynamic interaction with obstacles and terrain.

Tap-hold to move the altitude box

Tap-hold on the altitude box, then drag up and down to adjust your altitude selection

Along the top of the Profile box, you will see three values to help you plan your route clear of hazards:

Top bar of Profile view displays your clearance status

The top bar of Profile view displays your clearance status

  • Highest is the height of the highest terrain or obstacle along your route.
  • Clearance is the amount of vertical clearance you have over that highest terrain or obstacle along your route.
  • First Strike is the distance in nautical miles from your origin or current position where your first impact with terrain or an obstacle would be based on your current planned altitude.

The text color (and terrain color) changes according to our standard hazard alerting feature: yellow for terrain or obstacle between 1000’ and 100’ below your aircraft and red for higher hazards.

The middle band of the Profile is the graphical depiction of your route. The Profile automatically scales to show your entire route. You can zoom in and out with a two-finger pinch and spread gesture; pan by swiping left or right; drag the altitude box up and down to adjust the altitude. If your proposed altitude intersects an obstacle or terrain ahead, the sky area will change from blue to red at the point of first strike.

To make planning easier, the altitude selected in Profile mode is reflected back in the Edit view.

Changing your altitude in the Profile view also updates the Edit view

Changing your altitude in the Profile view also updates the Edit view

Routes within North America will display obstacles along your route depicted as thick vertical lines that change color based on your clearance height. Be sure to download obstacle and terrain data for offline use in the Download manager.

Obstacles in the Profile view

Obstacles shown in the Profile view

Waypoints along your route are depicted as white vertical lines and the waypoint name appears along the bottom of the Profile view.

Waypoints in the Profile view

Waypoints shown in the Profile view

You can also view the Profile of a ruler selection on the Maps view. Activate the ruler with a touch-hold gesture with two fingers on the Map. The Profile view will change to encompass just the area of the ruler. Tap away from the ruler to reset the Profile.

Tap hold with two fingers to display a Profile view for the ruler tool.

Touch-hold with two fingers to display a Profile view for the ruler tool

Touch-hold with one finger in the Profile to display the clearance tool. Drag your finger across the profile to see your clearance at each point along the route. As you do that, notice that the “dot” progresses along your route line and its color changes to reflect the hazard clearance at that point.

Profile clearance tool

The Profile clearance tool allows you to zero in on points along your route

Profile In Flight

Once you are airborne (> 40 knots), the Profile offers two inflight modes:

  • Aircraft mode abbreviates the Profile to display 50 nautical miles ahead on your track.
  • Route mode displays your entire planned route.

These modes are selectable via the Profile mode controller. In flight, the Aircraft mode continuously updates AGL and MSL values as you fly along.

New HUD instruments include Height AGL and Height MEF

New HUD instruments include Height AGL and Height MEF

You will also see two new instruments in the HUD: Height AGL and Height MEF. Height MEF (or dynamic Maximum Elevation Figure) is similar to VFR MEF and tells you the height of the highest obstacle or terrain within a 0.5 degree box around your current position.

Please note that Profile requires that you download obstacle and terrain data for offline use.

More Ways to File Smarter With Amend, Close, Cancel, and Activate Options

ForeFlight 6 builds on our integration with Lockheed Martin AFSS and we now offer you the ability to Activate and Close VFR flight plans, and Amend and Cancel both VFR and IFR flight plans, directly from the app.

New options to Activate, Close, Amend, and Cancel in the File & Brief view

New options to Activate, Close, Amend, and Cancel in the File & Brief view

One tip for streamlining your workflow is to Amend your IFR flight plan based on the expected route clearance update you receive via Flight Alerts (a ForeFlight Pro feature). Refiling with your expected route will set you up to be cleared as filed when you contact ATC. That’s less stress in the cockpit compared to copying down a new clearance.

Please note that amend, cancel, close, and activate via ForeFlight Mobile is not currently available with plans filed via DUATS.

New Stratus Features

ForeFlight 6 also comes with a free firmware upgrade for the Stratus 2 which will enable two new features: a split screen attitude indicator view and Stratus Replay. Extending iPad battery life is an important consideration, and the biggest battery savers are turning off the screen and turning down the brightness. Stratus Replay can effectively double the battery life of your iPad by allowing you to turn off the screen between uses. When the screen is turned on again, Stratus automatically sends ForeFlight any ADS-B weather that was missed, including radar, METARs, TAFs and PIREPs. This is helpful on a long cross country, offering 6+ hour battery life for your iPad and Stratus.

Stratus Replay is only available on Stratus 2, however Animated ADS-B radar is available to both ForeFlight Standard and Pro subscribers and on Stratus 1 and 2. Also note that ADS-B weather (and Stratus) requires iPad 2 or newer or iPhone 4 or newer.

Stratus’s built-in Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) drives the new split-screen attitude indicator view, providing backup attitude information to ForeFlight–complete with pitch, bank, ground speed, track and altitude. The attitude indicator updates multiple times per second so it moves smoothly, and it can be used in either portrait or landscape mode. While Stratus’s automatic AHRS calibration works in most cases, there are in app options for manual adjustment.

Attitude Indicator with ADS-B Traffic and Weather

Attitude Indicator with ADS-B Traffic and Weather

With these features, you can now view ADS-B weather, traffic, moving map and attitude all on the same screen.

ForeFlight 6 is a free update from the App Store and is available to all current subscribers. Click here for instructions on updating to the latest version.

New Data Cycle, New Improved FAA Digital VFR Charts

The FAA has greatly improved its digital-Visual Chart (d-VC) production process and we are pleased to incorporate the new style of charts into ForeFlight Mobile with data cycle 1404 effective April 3. Previously, the digital raster files were produced by scanning a printed chart. The new style Sectional and Terminal Area Charts are created directly from digital files, resulting in a crisper, brighter image, improved geo-referencing, and slightly smaller file sizes. Here are some examples of the before and after shown in the ForeFlight Mobile maps view. These look especially nice on the iPad Retina display:

Tools To Help You File Smarter

Airspace systems all over the world are evolving every day and becoming more connected with real-time information. At ForeFlight, we believe that if you are connected to the most current data and conditions through mobile technology, then you can be more productive and efficient preparing for, and conducting, every flight. Modernized briefings and flight plan filing is an important goal of ours and we continue to build a foundation that streamlines those activities.

A good reference for illustrating this point is the FileSmart campaign, developed by, and in cooperation with, the National Business Aviation Association, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, and the National Air Transportation Association. FileSmart is a public awareness initiative “designed to educate aircraft operators on the importance of filing timely and accurate flight plans, helping them to avoid air traffic delays and operate more efficiently in the National Airspace System.”   Sounds good to us!

Be An Early Bird

When it comes to filing early, the main thing to remember is that more information sooner to the FAA results in better Traffic Flow Management (TFM) decisions. TFM uses “known demand” to plan for Traffic Management Initiatives (TMIs) -in other words, things like ground delays, reroutes, or miles-in-trail. Being counted in the known demand equation as early as possible can reduce the severity of delays you may experience down the line.departure-time

ForeFlight primarily files flight plans directly via the modernized Lockheed Martin Flight Services AFSS interfaces (we also continue to file via DUATS if that is your preference). A benefit of using the LMFS AFSS interface is that your flight plan is immediately released to TFM, up to 17 hours before your departure time. Your early filing feeds the stream of data to the planners so that better traffic flow, and potentially less restrictive TMI, decisions can be made.

How early is early? FileSmart recommends the day before or at least before 8am Eastern time the day of your flight. We understand it is not always possible, especially in on-demand operations, to avoid late filer status. But when every minute counts to get a flight plan filed, ForeFlight enables you to tap a route, brief, and get your plan into the system in a matter of minutes.

In addition, if you are coordinating with passengers and weather is a concern, the iPad makes it easy to show and share developing route conditions. Email a screenshot of the route with radar overlay, for example to help expedite communication, set expectations, and reach a decision on a realistic departure time.

Accuracy Counts

Filing blind (defaulting to Direct and letting ATC sort it out) can create workload issues as it requires manual coordination by ATC to move you into the correct route. ForeFlight makes it easy for you to choose upfront the standard published  procedures and routing that will most likely be assigned. For example, directly from the route editor you can select from recently ATC assigned or Preferred routing options. One tap and the waypoints are loaded to your NavLog and the route field of your flight plan form.route-advisor

ForeFlight now supports the ICAO format, which can be an advantage even when filing US/Domestic VFR. The ICAO format collects additional bits of information about your flight and aircraft profile that increase safety and may help with potential search and rescue efforts.

Circling back to the system planning concept, the additional fields communicate to ATC a complete picture of the equipment and capabilities of your aircraft and crew for a particular flight. Armed with this information in advance, ATC has an opportunity to issue a route or procedure that would reduce your flight time or ground delay.

Brief The NAS, Too

Using ForeFlight has freed up some time for you in the planning phase so consider giving a few moments to briefing the current conditions of the National Air Space. This is the final recommendation from the File Smart initiative and there are many good resources listed to view big-picture conditions and TMIs that may affect your flight.

Like a lot of things in life, flying relies upon effective communication to operate safely and efficiently. ForeFlight taps you into the real-time flow of data and information to more efficiently brief your route of flight and to more effectively communicate with ATC. No matter if you are flying VFR, IFR, in the congested Northeast corridor, or the wide-open West we encourage you to keep these communication tactics in mind so you can set expectations for yourself, for ATC, and for your passengers.

References And Resources

FileSmart.org

Code of Federal Regulations 91.103

FAA Air Traffic Technology

FAA ICAO Flight Plan Guidance

FAA ICAO Criteria for Use

ForeFlight Mobile 5.6: File Smarter, Fly More Places

ForeFlight Mobile 5.6 is now available for download at App Store. The highlights of this update include enhanced flight plan filing options – including ICAO flight plan form support –  as well as complete worldwide coverage for military pilots and all supplemental DOD/DFLIP/DAFIF data.

ForeFlight Mobile 5.6 requires iOS 6 or later.

Filing Smarter with ForeFlight Mobile and Lockheed Martin AFSS

We are always looking for ways to make you more productive and efficient during every flight, and modernized briefings and flight plan filing is an important goal of ours this year. With this update we continue to build a foundation that streamlines those activities.

ForeFlight now primarily files flight plans directly via the modernized Lockheed Martin Flight Services AFSS interfaces (we also continue to file via DUATS if that is your preference). One of the benefits when using the AFSS interface is that Flight Service specialists will see flight plan details and can therefore more quickly provide you briefings and open VFR flight plans. Another benefit is faster search and rescue response times in the event they are needed.

Due to FAA policy and technical limitations, when you file flight plans via the DUAT or DUATS systems, flight service is not able to easily obtain that plan information (it may already be ‘gone to Center’ and unavailable). That limitation results in your having to regurgitate your entire flight plan in order to get a briefing or open a VFR flight plan – that is frustrating on the ground, and even more frustrating when airborne, in turbulence, and busy. We worked around the limitation to improve service to ForeFlight customers by collaborating with Lockheed Martin and taking advantage of modernized AFSS interface capabilities.

You don’t need to do anything special to take advantage of the AFSS interfaces. Whether you have entered your DUATS credentials or not, the ForeFlight servers always send a copy of your flight plan to Flight Service whenever you file via ForeFlight Mobile. If you haven’t filed via ForeFlight Mobile before, take it for a spin. When you file with ForeFlight Mobile, you get better Flight Service support, flight alerts, and recorded briefings that prove you comply with Part 91.103.

What’s New in File & Brief

Once you have planned your route using the Airport and Maps view, you are only a few taps away from filing your plan via the app. Simply tap the Send To button on the Nav Log and select File & Brief. Or, go to the File & Brief view and tap “New Flight Plan”. On the flight plan form is a new field labelled ‘Form Type’ that allows you to choose between FAA/Domestic or ICAO flight plan forms.

Choose between

Choose between FAA/Domestic or ICAO flight plan forms in the File & Brief view.

Besides being immediately integrated with Flight Services, filing directly through ForeFlight gives you digital notifications, aircraft profile management, and stored access to previously filed flight plans. Email notifications from ForeFlight document and timestamp the filing process so you know your request is in the system. You will receive three emails after you Brief then File your plan:

  1. One is a summary and confirmation of your filed flight plan.

  2. The second email contains your weather briefing. This briefing contains much of the same information you would receive calling 800-WX-BRIEF and speaking with a Flight Service Specialist. You can also revisit the briefing anytime within the app by tapping ‘Brief’ in the File & Brief view.

  3. If you filed IFR, you will receive an email alert with your expected route of flight, if available, or a note that an expected route was not received from ATC.

iOS technology also allows us to deliver Flight Alert push notifications directly to all your iPads and iPhones. Flight Alerts notify you when an expected route is issued by ATC. Tap on the notification to automatically update your Nav Log and your in-flight moving map is ready to go with the changes.

Managing your aircraft profile(s) in the app is easy, and once established, your default values are automatically copied into your next flight plan. Previous flight plans may also be stored so you can copy, edit, and re-file without having to start from scratch.

It’s all about refining and streamlining the steps to get you in the air. There is more to come, but it starts with using mobile technology to do more of the work so you can focus on flying the plane.

File ICAO for US Domestic Flights

When flying internationally or crossing foreign airspace (common in the great lakes regions), you must file ICAO flight plans to be compliant with the regulations. However, there are reasons you may be required to file using the ICAO format for US Domestic flights, like Performance Based Navigation, RVSM, or ADS-B.

If you normally file using the FAA/Domestic format, we encourage you to consider the benefits of filing ICAO. The ICAO format collects additional bits of information about your flight and aircraft profile that increase safety and may help with potential search and rescue efforts. If you are flying over remote areas, you can indicate what survival gear or emergency radios you have onboard. Flying over the Great Lakes? You can report details about dinghy equipment.

By filing ICAO, you can note special flight status, such as medical flight, medical evacuation, fire-fighting, search and rescue, or humanitarian. Communicating these extra details to Flight Service before you even depart can make your flight handling go more smoothly.

File ICAO for IFR Flights to Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, and Everywhere In Between!

As we expand our geographic coverage, so does our flight plan filing support. Our support for filing ICAO flight plans lets you file IFR flights to and from the US and within Canada, Caribbean, Bahamas, and Mexico.

File from the US to any country

File from the US to any country

Complete Worldwide Coverage for Military Flight Bag with DOD Data

ForeFlight Mobile 5.6 introduces the completed worldwide coverage of Department of Defense DFLIP data including: approach plates, enroute charts, and DAFIF nav data. In addition to Central and South America, Pacific, Australasia, and Antarctica, ForeFlight’s Military Flight Bag now offers: Africa, Canada, Europe, Asia, Middle East, and United States.

Military Flight Bag is a service available to military, state and federal agencies, and DOD contractors who have approval to access the Department of Defense Flight Information Publications (FLIP) and who have an active ForeFlight Mobile subscription. For information on adding Military Flight Bag to your ForeFlight subscription, please email sales@foreflight.com.

Enable Ownship Setting

One final note for our customers with limited approval for use of the Ownship feature, we have modified the “Disable Ownship” setting to “Enable Ownship” and added an option for Ownship location to automatically be shown on the airport diagram when traveling at 40 knots or slower.

5.6 is a free update for current subscribers. Click here for instructions on updating to the latest version.

iOS 6 Required Starting February 1

Apple is introducing iOS development changes soon and we want to make sure you are aware of them. Starting in February, updates submitted to App Store by all app developers will require iOS 6 as a minimum version. After February 1, any app updates we submit to App Store will require iOS 6. Customers running older versions of iOS will continue to be able to download the last supported version of any app for their iOS version, but they will not be able to download new updates with new features. All customers will continue to receive data updates and support for existing features, but new features will only be available on iOS 6 or above.

iOS 6 is supported by iPad 2 and above, and iPhone 3GS and above.  However, iPad 1 isn’t able to upgrade to iOS 6. For those of you on iPad 1, we encourage you to consider an upgrade. The newest iPad hardware is up to 50x faster than the original iPad introduced in 2010. Technology has evolved very rapidly since then, bringing better screens, more efficient processors, 64-bit mobile computing power, improved wireless performance, wireless sharing of data, and fast cloud backups.

In addition, Apple’s release of iOS 7 was the most significant iOS operating system update in years. It brings a slate of new functionality that developers like ForeFlight can access to make app experiences better. We have seen a remarkable adoption rate as 75% of active devices utilizing ForeFlight Mobile now run iOS 7.0 or greater. We have put together an iPad and accessory buying guide for your reference here.

We are on frequency at team@foreflight.com to answer any questions you may have about ForeFlight Mobile or the coming changes to iOS development.