GFS MOS Forecast Update

In this recent blog we presented a round-robin VFR flight from Oshkosh to International Falls. The concern was not the initial leg, but the return flight three days later. Would ceilings permit a VFR flight from International Falls back to Oshkosh on Saturday? The 75-hour GFS MOS forecast below provided clear guidance that a morning return would not be very likely given the IFR ceilings forecast along this route. But what really happened?

Ceiling forecast

Original 75-hour GFS MOS forecast valid at 1500 UTC for the return flight Saturday. This clearly shows that a VFR flight from International Falls to Oshkosh will not be possible in the morning.

Turns out the GFS MOS was spot on with the ceiling forecast as shown below on ForeFlight Mobile. While low IFR conditions were much more widespread than forecast, much of the region forecast to be in the marginal VFR flight category or lower were indeed at or below marginal VFR.

Actual Ceilings at 15Z

Actual ceilings at 1500 UTC as shown on ForeFlight.

How about later in the afternoon? The 81-hour GFS MOS forecast below valid at 2100 UTC suggested the low IFR ceilings would give way to VFR ceilings making a VFR flight possible later in the afternoon.

Afternoon CIGs

Original 81-hour GFS MOS forecast valid at 2100 UTC for the return flight Saturday. This guidance shows that ceilings were expected to improve later in the afternoon.

By 2100 UTC as shown below in ForeFlight, ceilings began to lift and mix out throughout the early afternoon giving rise to VFR conditions along a good portion of the proposed route of flight. However, there were some marginal VFR conditions still remaining in the vicinity of International Falls and Oshkosh with a few stations reporting ceilings slightly below 2,000 feet. It took a couple more hours before the entire route was truly VFR. Still, that’s not a bad forecast for 3 days out with an error of just a few hours.


The ceilings in the vicinity of the departure and destination airports remained slightly below VFR at 2100 UTC, but most of the route cleared as expected.

While the GFS MOS guidance won’t provide this kind of clarity every single time, it does a surprisingly good job most of the time. Give it a go on your next round-robin flight.

GFS MOS – Extended Ceiling And Visibility Forecast

Let’s say you are making a round-robin VFR flight; your plan is to leave in a couple of hours and return back home three days later. For the initial outbound leg, there’s a ton of weather guidance available to be sure you can make a safe VFR trip. This includes observational products such as ground-based radar (NEXRAD), satellite imagery, pilot weather reports and METARs, as well as forecasts such as prog charts, terminal forecasts (TAFs) and the area forecast (FA) along with AIRMET Sierra. But what about that return flight in three days? We’ll get to this trip a bit later.

No help available

The low-level SIGWX, area forecast, and terminal forecasts are fine for anticipating the weather for the next day or so, but they simply don’t extend out far enough in the future to tell you if IFR conditions might mess with your plans three days down the road. Prog charts go out to seven days, but only depict areas of precipitation out to 48 hours and say nothing about ceilings nor visibility; however, don’t cast out the prog charts just yet. A widespread low IFR event ordinarily doesn’t happen without some kind of large-scale synoptic support. So prog charts can provide some important clues.


To zero in on ceilings and visibility up to three days in advance, you’ll want to try a model-based forecast called GFS MOS (also known as the MAV). The GFS MOS ceiling and visibility forecast is available in ForeFlight Mobile’s USA Imagery collections. This forecast graphically depicts the expected ceiling and visibility over the next three days at three-hour forecast intervals for the conterminous U.S. Moreover, it’s refreshed every six hours.

Model Output Statistics, or MOS, is derived from numerical weather prediction models that meteorologists use to issue their forecasts—in this case the Global Forecast System, or GFS. This model doesn’t automatically produce a point forecast for a specific town or airport. Combined with geoclimatic data, MOS takes the “raw” model forecast and attempts to improve on it by making a more useful site-specific forecast complete with weather elements critical to pilots, such as ceiling and visibility.

MOS in several forms

MOS guidance can be displayed for specific airports, as seen in ForeFlight Mobile. However, to determine the widespread nature of the event, GFS MOS guidance can also be graphically contoured over a geographic area the size of the conterminous United States (shown below for ceiling height). Displaying the categorical ceiling height and/or visibility graphically in this way is perhaps the best approach to use MOS for extended guidance.

GFS MOS Ceiling Forecast

The categorical GFS MOS forecast for ceiling. Legend is located at the bottom of the forecast.

Definition of ceiling

Before we go any further, let’s do a quick review. A ceiling is the lowest cloud layer aloft that is reported as broken or overcast. If the sky is totally obscured (hidden), the height of the vertical visibility will be the ceiling. Ceilings are represented as above ground level, not mean sea level. So the GFS MOS forecast for ceiling is showing height above the ground. But keep in mind that ceilings can vary widely over rugged terrain.

Ceiling forecast

This forecast is a close cousin of the MOS forecast available in ForeFlight Mobile. Unlike the area forecast and TAFs that offer an absolute ceiling and prevailing ground visibility forecast, the GFS MOS guidance is a categorical forecast. It uses flight categories to include Very Low IFR (VLIFR), Low IFR (LIFR), IFR, Marginal VFR (MVFR) and VFR. The color-coded legend that depicts these categories for the contours on the map is located at the bottom of each forecast as shown below. Areas depicted in black on the map are expected to be clear below 12,000 feet AGL.

GFS MOS Ceiling Legend

Legend that exists at the bottom of each GFS MOS ceiling forecast annotated with ceiling flight categories.

Visibility forecast

Visibility is very similar. Keep in mind that this a forecast for prevailing ground visibility. Flight categories include VLIFR, LIFR, IFR, MVFR and VFR as well. Areas shown in black represent a visibility forecast greater than 6 statute miles.

GFS MOS Visibility Legend

Legend that exists at the bottom of each GFS MOS visibility forecast annotated with visibility flight categories.

Decoding the date-time stamp

Before using any forecast you must be certain how to decode the date-time stamp on the image. For the GFS MOS ceiling and visibility forecast, this is located in a banner across the top of each image like the one shown below. The date-time stamp is located on the second line of this banner. This forecast uses YYMMDD/HH as the format (annotated in white below). So in this example, the text 150828/1500 on the second line suggests the forecast is valid at 1500 UTC on August 28, 2015. The text at the end of the second line following “1500” or V075 is less important and simply states the forecast hour. In this case, it’s a 75 hour forecast—meaning that it’s a projection of what the ceiling (or visibility) will be in 75 hours from the time the GFS model was initialized. The GFS model is initialized four times daily at 0000, 0600, 1200 and 1800 UTC.


A proposed VFR round-robin flight

Back to our round-robin flight. It’s Wednesday and the plan is to depart Oshkosh (KOSH), Wisconsin this afternoon headed to International Falls (KINL), Minnesota with a return to Oshkosh three days later on Saturday morning. After examining the TAFs, area forecast and pilot weather reports, the weather is looking excellent for today’s flight. The layers overlaid on the ForeFlight Mobile Map view below include the latest satellite, current ceilings and AIR/SIGMETs. The satellite image shows a some scattered clouds in the vicinity of Oshkosh, but clear skies all the way to International Falls.

Outbound Leg

The ForeFlight Mobile Map view shows the latest satellite layer along with the AIR/SIGMETs and ceiling layers. Except for some scattered clouds in the Oshkosh area, no other weather concerns on the flight from KOSH to KINL.

So the outbound flight this afternoon has no real weather implications for a VFR flight, but what about the return leg back to Oshkosh on Saturday morning? Most of the public forecasts are showing a 30% chance of showers on Saturday as shown below, but nothing in this forecast mentions ceilings or visibility.

Public Forecast

GFS MOS comes to the rescue! This 75-hour forecast below is valid at 1500 UTC on Saturday and clearly shows that a VFR flight back to Oshkosh isn’t very likely. During the morning, a good portion of the route from International Falls to Oshkosh includes ceilings below a VFR flight category.

Return ceiling forecast

This GFS MOS categorical ceiling forecast valid at 1500 UTC on Saturday shows IFR conditions along the route.

But the news isn’t all that bad. The weather is expected to improve in the afternoon as shown in this 81-hour forecast below valid at 2100 UTC on Saturday. The entire route is forecast to be clear below 12,000 feet. Of course, it would be important to also check the forecast visibility at this time.

Afternoon ceiling forecast

This GFS MOS categorical ceiling forecast valid at 2100 UTC on Saturday shows ceilings improve significantly with skies clear below 12,000 feet along most of the proposed route.

Finding GFS MOS in ForeFlight

The GFS MOS ceiling and visibility forecasts are located in the ForeFlight weather Imagery. On the iPad tap on Imagery and then tap on the USA button on the lower left. On the left menu bar you will see selections for Ceiling Forecast and Visibility Forecast under the GFS MOS label. Forecasts on the right begin at 6 hours and run through 84 hours for both ceiling and visibility.

Check out the second half of this article series.

GFS MOS in ForeFlight

GFS MOS forecasts in the ForeFlight weather imagery.


Bulletin: August 20 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the August 20, 2015 – September 17, 2015 and August 20, 2015 – October 15, 2015 periods:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams

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
  • 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.

Oh Hail! Where’s That Cockpit Weather When You Need It?

As the old saying goes, in so many ways, a picture speaks a thousand words. By now you have probably seen the chilling photo like the one shown in this media report of Delta Flight 1889 parked safely at the gate after diverting to Denver International Airport. This was the result of a nasty encounter with hail at 34,000 feet while en route from Boston to Salt Lake City last Friday evening. It makes little sense with today’s proven technology that any commercial aircraft should ever encounter such a hazardous situation and risk the lives of those on board. The crew of this Airbus A320 did an admirable job getting the aircraft safely on the ground after this encounter, but there’s another side to the story that got them into trouble in the first place. A few simple pictures in the cockpit may have made all the difference in the world to avoid putting these passengers through such a harrowing experience.

It’s truly a shame that a pilot flying a single engine Cessna 172 can have significantly more weather information available to them in the cockpit than the crew of this A320 had. We woulda, coulda, shoulda this crew’s decision to fly into this developing area of convection, but that’s not the point. The simple fact is, aircrews flying paying customers today are not equipped with matured technology that will provide them with valuable weather data to make timely decisions during any phase of flight to avoid these kinds of encounters.

Think big picture

Sure, these aircraft are equipped with onboard radar and the crews they carry are highly trained and experienced pilots who know how to make use of that radar. Even when properly used, onboard radar has limitations. It is a real-time snapshot of what’s occurring right now out in front of the aircraft, and this is critical data for tactical decisions, but is simply a microcosm of the overall energy in the atmosphere. In events like this, it is the macro picture of what’s unfolding 100 or more miles away that is often just as important. This large-scale view is better suited to help make the proper strategic decisions, especially when it comes to a developing area of severe thunderstorms. But that information needs to get to the pilot-in-command.

The view from above

Air crews can and do get help from air traffic controllers. Controllers can tout about a “hole” that the last five aircraft recently traversed. But that doesn’t necessarily tell you how fast that hole is closing up and whether or not it will still be there when you arrive. The crew may also have access to their company’s dispatchers, but in the end, the captain may not have the complete picture in his or her head…and that’s where these strategic decisions are made.

IR satellite image valid at 0045Z

This color-enhanced infrared satellite image (also available in ForeFlight Mobile) valid at 0045 UTC shows two distinct areas of convection. Dark purple and white areas denote very cold cloud tops likely from strong updrafts. Flight path of Delta 1889 taken from Flightaware is shown in black.

The squeeze play

Even before Delta Flight 1889 departed Boston’s Logan Airport, two areas of convection started to blossom in Colorado, one in northeast Colorado and the other in southeast Colorado. At 0045 UTC, you can see two distinct systems on the color-enhanced infrared satellite image shown above. As the Airbus crossed over the Mississippi River (black line is the aircraft’s approximate track taken from Flightaware) around the time this satellite image was taken, both areas of thunderstorms had been designated as severe. Nevertheless, there’s clearly a gap between these two convective systems and that appears to be where the crew was headed.

IR satellite image valid at 0115Z

This color-enhanced infrared satellite image valid at 0115 UTC shows the gap between these two areas of convection beginning to quickly fill in with a rapidly developing line of severe thunderstorms.

The gap shrinks on satellite

By 0115Z, that severe line of thunderstorms to the south moved into western Kansas. A line of storms developed on the northern extent of this area of severe thunderstorms bridging the gap shown very clearly in the infrared satellite image above. At this point the flight was still in southwest Iowa just about to cross the Nebraska State line. Even if this image didn’t become available for at least 15 to 20 minutes later at 0130Z, it was plenty of time to notice this explosive area of convection was quickly filling this gap.

IR satellite image valid at 0145Z

About 20 minutes before Delta Flight 1889 penetrated this line of storms, the gap had completely closed with the color-enhanced infrared satellite image showing very cold (high) cloud tops along the route of flight.

The gap is all gone

About 20 minutes before the crew diverted to Denver at 0205 UTC, the image above shows the gap is now completely gone as these two areas of severe convection continue to mature and merge into one mesoscale convective system (MCS). Unfortunately, the crew of this Airbus A320 did not have access to critical weather data such as this. A simple three hour loop of this color-enhanced infrared satellite image could have given the pilots enough information to recognize the gap was closing and choose a better route to prevent this kind of encounter from occurring.

The view from the ground

The local ground-based NEXRAD that is updated every five minutes had even more details that might have suggested the gap would quickly disappear. Once again, this kind of strategic weather information is not available in the cockpit of these aircraft. The 2.5 hour 0.5 degree base reflectivity loop shown below is from the Goodland, Kansas WSR-88D NEXRAD Doppler radar. The loop ends right about the time the crew diverted to Denver, shortly after being pelted by hail.


This is a loop of the 0.5 degree base reflectivity out of Goodland, Kansas. This loop shows how the gap between these two convective systems begins to quickly disappear. Radar site is in the center of this image. Source: UCAR.

The catalyst

At the beginning of this loop, notice a crescent-shaped area of low reflectivity returns appears out of the northern edge of the southern-most area of severe storms. This is called an outflow boundary. According to meteorologist and thunderstorm researcher, Dr. Charles Doswell, III, “Cold, stable air is the ‘exhaust’ of deep, moist convection, descending in downdrafts and then spreading outward like pancake batter poured on a griddle. After spreading outward, the leading edge of this outflow – a ‘gust front’ – which often has ascent associated with it, can develop new storms.”

This is a perfect description of what transpires next. This boundary continues to push north-northeast and helps to initiate a new line of thunderstorms that rapidly blossoms into a convective barrier in extreme southwest Nebraska leaving the crew little choice but to use their onboard radar to tactically locate and penetrate the “softest” part of this line.

The crew of this Airbus didn’t have any ground-based radar loop such as this available to them in the cockpit. Even so, most of the in-cockpit radar mosaics that general aviation pilots use every day is a volume product constructed from a composite of all elevation angles of the radar. Composite reflectivity tends to mask out important details such as these outflow boundaries. Unfortunately, most in-cockpit weather providers have chosen not to broadcast the 0.5 degree base reflectivity product like the one shown above. This includes the radar mosaic that can be received through the FIS-B (ADS-B) broadcast with Stratus or through the Baron Mobile Link for XM-delivered satellite weather.

VIL Loop

Vertically integrated liquid or VIL is another volume product that can show the truly nasty part of the storm. This loop clearly shows how quickly the gap disappeared between these two convective areas. Source: Plymouth State Weather Center.

More is better

Furthermore, there are other NEXRAD products that can be very useful in flight. This includes another volume product called vertically integrated liquid (VIL) shown above. As mentioned earlier, composite reflectivity looks at all elevation angles of the radar for a particular volume scan and shows the highest reflectivity return in the column. VIL is similar, but is a summation of the reflectivity in the column. VIL is often an indicator of the storms’s updraft strength and has a strong link to observed hail size.

Convective SIGMETs

At 0055 UTC, two convective SIGMETs were active each describing an area or line of severe thunderstorms. Source: NOAA.

Severe weather and aircraft don’t mix

You might say hindsight is 20/20, but this isn’t about second guessing a pilot’s decision. Instead, it’s a plea that aircrews should have more information available to them to make better informed decisions. There’s no doubt this was a risky choice; not only a risk of hail damage, but the threat of dangerous convective turbulence. The weather on both sides of the flight path consisted of severe thunderstorms. At 0055 UTC, the Aviation Weather Center (AWC) had issued two convective SIGMETs (WSTs) covering both areas of severe thunderstorms. Whether thunderstorms are severe or not is determined by the local weather forecast offices, but was echoed in the text of these convective SIGMETs. Both advisories suggested the potential for hail up to 2 inches in diameter as shown below.

WST for severe thunderstorms.

The southern most convective SIGMET was issued for a line of severe thunderstorms with hail up to 2 inches in diameter with tops above FL450. Source: NOAA.

It’s time to end this madness

It’s the middle of the second decade of the 21st century and no airplane should end up flying into a thunderstorm and encounter hail and turbulence like that of Delta Flight 1889. Was this just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time? Not likely. Perhaps a bit of bad timing, but it was not some kind of surprise encounter that removed the paint and dented the nose cone of this A320. Not only that, but the hail nearly shattered the pilot and co-pilot’s front windscreen making it look like something you’d see in a Hollywood movie. As Stu Ostro, a senior meteorologist at The Weather Channel, commented: “hail shafts aren’t like lightning bolts from the blue shooting way out the side of a storm.”

It’s time to start requiring commercial aircraft to have unlimited access to weather information in the cockpit – more than just onboard radar. Many aircraft equipped with Wi-Fi could easily connect to any number of ground-based weather sources and display it on a mobile device such as an iPad. Even with a device like a Stratus, the FIS-B data broadcast is still lagging way behind the available technology. So it’s time to start providing pilots with more than just basic weather data that mimics the heavy textual weather of the 1980s. There’s no doubt that getting more graphical weather data in the cockpit along with some focused training will keep professional aircrews from flying blindly into a hailstorm. Fortunately for those on board Delta Flight 1889, this flight ended well.

However, right now airlines are stuck in this information-age purgatory. Is this due to cost? Probably, but there’s no encouragement by the FAA for airlines to equip pilots with this potentially live-saving guidance. This encounter should be a wakeup call to those stakeholders in aviation safety to allow, if not require, pilots to have unfettered access in the cockpit to whatever weather data is necessary to make every flight an uneventful one. What is it going to take to make this happen? Hopefully it will not be an event that has a tragic ending. But that’s usually the way it works.

Able Flight Delivers Our Most Memorable Oshkosh Moment

Able Flight pilot Randy Green

Able Flight pilots from the Class of 2015 on the Main Stage at this year’s EAA Airventure.

Amid the wall-to-wall schedule of activities at Oshkosh, the most memorable moment for us was the Able Flight Wing Pinning Ceremony. ForeFlight proudly sponsors flight training scholarships for Able Flight, a non-profit organization that enables people with disabilities to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training. Able Flight pilots achieve aviation goals some might say are impossible.

Tyson Weihs, our CEO and co-founder, had the honor of pinning wings on pilot Randy Green at this year’s EAA Airventure. Randy is an incredible gentleman who was born without hands or feet. His lifelong, unflinching desire to be a pilot and his many aviation accomplishments speak to how he doesn’t let his disability stop him from achieving his goals.

Able Flight pilot Randy Green about to get his wings

ForeFlight CEO and co-founder, Tyson Weihs, joins pilot Randy Green on stage for the Wing Pinning ceremony.

Able Flight pilot Randy Green gets his Able Flight wings

Able Flight pilot Randy Green receives his wings from ForeFlight’s Tyson Weihs.

Randy’s dreams of becoming a pilot began in an Ercoupe that his father purchased so he and his brother could learn to fly. Taking those childhood dreams and turning them into a career, Randy earned his Private Pilot certificate in 1994 and quickly continued on to gain instrument, commercial, multi-engine and flight instructor ratings. Randy doesn’t use any special adapted equipment to operate hand controls and in his first year instructing he logged more than 1000 hours teaching others to fly.

Randy’s ultimate goal was to become a Corporate Pilot and after logging the hours, ratings, and showing others that he could do just about anything, he set his sights on completing his Air Transport Pilot rating. With the help of the Able Flight Career Training Scholarship, Randy passed his ATP check-ride in April of this year.

A recent job opportunity took Randy, his wife, and two daughters to Idaho where he now flies a corporate plane for a locally based company. Randy’s story is truly inspirational and a testament to never giving up on your dreams. Congratulations Randy on all of your accomplishments, we know there will be many more to come!


When The Radar Lies

The ground-based radar mosaic displayed on the Map view in ForeFlight Mobile combines radar data from the National Weather Service (NWS) and Environment Canada. Its primary purpose is to provide pilots with a good estimation of where precipitation is occurring and where it’s not. While there are some holes in the coverage (especially in Canada) the radar mosaic is fairly accurate most of the time. Even so, non-precipitation returns generically called ground clutter can be displayed on the radar layer producing what looks like very real areas of precipitation.

Anomalous propagation, or AP, is perhaps the most annoying form of clutter. Essentially with AP, part of the side lobes of the radar beam are ducted or bent down toward the earth during certain atmospheric conditions. This causes it to strike objects on the ground (trees, buildings, cars, etc.) and some of that power from the beam is reflected back to the radar along the same bent path and gets recorded as areas of precipitation. When this occurs you might see on ForeFlight what looks like real precipitation. In fact, it can look remarkably like real convection at times fooling even the most seasoned pilot.

ForeFlight Radar Layer With AP

Anomalous propagation (AP) on the ForeFlight radar layer near Buffalo, New York.

What to do if you suspect AP

Since AP can look remarkably like real areas of precipitation (including thunderstorms), it’s important to always examine the observational data in and around the area. This includes cross-checking surface observations (METARs) to see if precipitation or thunderstorms are being reported. Also, without clouds, it can’t rain. So if clear skies are being reported all around the area, then either the precipitation shown on the radar is very isolated or perhaps it’s erroneous. Keep in mind that automated reports only show clouds that exist below 12,000 feet AGL.

Along these lines, the visible satellite imagery in ForeFlight Mobile can also be useful to identify non-precipitation returns during the daytime hours. If precipitation exists on radar, there should be clouds in that region even if it is isolated convection. If there are no clouds, the returns on the radar are likely ground clutter or AP.

Even when the area is cloudy, AP can still exist. If this is the case and you suspect AP, try looping the radar. Most real precipitation moves and evolves over time, but AP tends to stay anchored over the same area with little noticeable movement. Moreover, the radar loop may look erratic and the intensity may change in a way that’s unnatural.

While AP can occur the U.S. it tends to occur the most in the Canadian Provinces. A favored place is on the U.S. side of Lake Erie just onshore and also in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest in British Columbia. While AP can occur anytime of the day or night, it’s often favored during the morning hours just before and after sunrise. This the time of day where the atmosphere is generally stable near the surface which is a perfect environment to allow the side lobes of the radar to be ducted.

So why can’t AP be filtered?

Filtering the radar of non-precipitation returns is like walking a fine line. If you filter too aggressively, you may remove real areas of precipitation; if you don’t filter enough, you get clutter such as AP displayed. In the U.S., filtering can be automated since the Doppler portion of the radar is available. This can be used to help filter AP and other ground clutter. While Canadian radars are Doppler radars, Environment Canada does not export the Doppler data at this time. Also in the U.S., the NEXRAD ground-based radar systems are all fitted with a dual polarization (dual pol) capability which can provide additional information to filter non-precipitation returns.

At the moment the only way to guarantee that AP from Canadian radars won’t find its way into the ForeFlight radar layer is to add a gross filter before the data reaches the display. This is accomplished by our radar provider by manually turning off the data coming from the offending radar(s). This can be risky since it means that all returns shown from this radar will be eliminated, false or not. The folks at Barons who produce the XM-delivered satellite weather also face the same issue with Canadian radars. They don’t turn off specific radars. Instead they create a manual gross filter that eliminates all returns over regions that are highly unlikely to receive precipitation.

In the end, every piece of information you use to make preflight decisions should be scrutinized even if it comes from a trusted source. Take the time to cross-check the radar layer against other sources within the ForeFlight Mobile app so you won’t be fooled.

Bulletin: July 23 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the July 23, 2015 – Aug 20, 2015 period:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • Documents
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams
  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • World Area Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams

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
  • AFR High Enroutes, Area Charts
  • 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.

ForeFlight Announces Connectivity with Garmin Avionics

We are excited to announce connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin avionics. When connected to Garmin Flight Stream, you can now wirelessly receive ADS-B weather and traffic, precise GPS position data, and dynamic pitch and bank information on your iPad or iPhone.

ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin avionics

ForeFlight Mobile connects to compatible Garmin avionics via the Flight Stream 210/110, Garmin’s Bluetooth® wireless gateway, and displays the full suite of ADS-B weather and traffic information received from the GDL 88/84. The Flight Stream 210, with its internal attitude sensor, powers ForeFlight’s Synthetic Vision and adds a backup attitude capability with dynamic pitch and bank information.

WAAS GPS position information from GTN™ 650/750, GNS™ 430W/530W navigators, or GDL 88 with an internal WAAS receiver can also be used to power features like ForeFlight Mobile’s moving map and geo-referenced approach plates and taxi diagrams to enhance situational awareness in the air and on the ground.

Additionally, flight plan transfer capability is currently in development and will be available in a future app update.

Support for Garmin Flight Stream connectivity is available with ForeFlight Mobile 7.2, now available for download on the App Store. For more information, visit

Stratus 1S and 2S, Garmin Connext, Graphical Flight Notifications in ForeFlight Mobile 7.2

ForeFlight Mobile version 7.2 supports the next generation of portable Stratus ADS-B receivers, expands our Sync system to include Weight & Balance profiles, increases the temporal resolution of the global winds and temperatures aloft for more accurate flight plan calculations, and improves the delivery of critical flight alerts with Graphical Flight Notifications.

ForeFlight Mobile version 7.2 is currently available for download on the App Store.

ForeFlight Mobile Supports Next Generation Stratus 1S and 2S Receivers

ForeFlight Mobile 7.2 supports the next generation of Stratus portable ADS-B receivers, which were announced last week. Our close development partnership with Appareo and Sporty’s means that Stratus is built from the ground up to work with ForeFlight Mobile and simply works the right way. Pilots using Stratus and ForeFlight experience seamless one-button-push and wire-free operation, easy over-the-air firmware updates, and the flexibility to view and manage Stratus settings right from the app. The best part is, even if you haven’t equipped for the 2020 mandate yet, Stratus allows you to take advantage of ADS-B weather and traffic information for better inflight situational awareness and decision-making. This blog article and the video from Sporty’s both detail all the features in the new receivers.

For fleet operators, Stratus is an excellent addition to your electronic flight bag program. Stratus is a wireless, portable PED so no modification to the airframe is required. For more information contact

ForeFlight Mobile Connectivity with Garmin Avionics


We are thrilled to announce connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin avionics. When connected to Garmin Flight Stream, you can now wirelessly receive ADS-B weather and traffic, precise GPS position data, and dynamic pitch and bank information on your iPad or iPhone. Our blog post here details this exciting integration.

Graphical Flight Notifications Keep You Better Informed Before Every Flight

Graphical Flight Notifications list view

Flight Notifications shown in list view with new graphical thumbnails. Tap to expand the image.

We previously introduced Flight Notifications, a feature that monitors your filed flight plan and synthesizes flight condition alerts from ForeFlight systems and from others, including Lockheed Martin’s Adverse Conditions Alerting Service (ACAS). When a significant change in route or weather conditions is detected within two hours of your scheduled departure we send you a notification containing a summary and detailed description of the condition.

We now include a helpful graphic along with the flight critical information making it easier to analyze the alert and to stay better informed before every flight. Thumbnail graphics are shown next to each alert in the Flight Notification window; tap on an alert to view a larger version of the image.

Graphical Flight Notifications on an iPad

Flight Notifications include updates to: TFRs, airport/runway closed/unsafe NOTAMs, urgent PIREPs, SIGMETs, Convective SIGMETs, AIRMETs, Center Weather Advisories (CWAs), and Severe Weather Watches/Warnings that affect your filed route.

Flight Notifications are tied to ForeFlight’s Sync system, meaning the notifications are delivered to all of the devices on your account.

Easy Configuration Settings for Flight Notifications

To activate Flight Notifications, Sync must be ON. On the iPad, navigate to More > Settings, then scroll all the way down to Synchronize User Data. Before filing the plan, scroll to the bottom of the flight plan form on the File & Brief page and move the Flight Notifications switch to ON.

Once you file a flight plan, ForeFlight will notify you of any new conditions via a red badge (showing the number of notifications) on the File & Brief tab.

Flight Notifications require an active Internet connection and are a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

Weight & Balance Profiles Protected by ForeFlight Sync

Weight & Balance Profiles now Sync

We continue to advance our ForeFlight cloud system, Sync, with the addition of Weight & Balance profiles. Your aircraft load data now synchronizes between all your devices so you don’t have to enter the same information on multiple devices; add or edit a profile on one device and those changes are automatically applied to all devices on your account. This is especially helpful if you fly multiple aircraft and maintain several weight and balance profiles. Sync protected data also makes it easier to set up a new device if you are replacing an old one.

Weight & Balance is a Pro feature, however Sync is available to all customers and, in addition to Weight & Balance profiles, includes: recent and favorite routes, airports, and weather imagery, user waypoints, scratch pads, flight notifications, filed flight plans, and aircraft profiles.

Sync can be turned on by enabling Synchronize User Data, located in More > Settings, near the bottom of the page.

Enhanced global winds aloft.Improved Global Winds Aloft Enables More Accurate Flight Planning Calculations

ForeFlight Mobile 7.2 also introduces an increase to the resolution of the global winds and temperatures aloft. Flight planning calculations are now even more accurate with a forecast time step of three hours instead of the previous six hours. This blog article from Scott Dennstaedt discusses the enhancements to the global Winds Aloft layer.

Refinements to ForeFlight for Apple Watch

ForeFlight for Apple WatchThe Apple Watch is an exciting and evolving platform, and we will continue to develop ForeFlight for Apple Watch to expand the app in helpful ways. In 7.2, we introduce some refinements to the Airports page, allowing weather data from up to 30 airports to be viewed under three selectable tabs: Nearby, Recents, and Favorites.