Garmin Unveils New ForeFlight-Compatible ADS-B Transponders

ForeFlight connectivity with GTX345

Garmin announced today the release of two new options to help you meet the 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The GTX 345 and GTX 335 all-in-one transponders are compatible with ForeFlight and, depending on the model you choose, wirelessly deliver (via Bluetooth) FIS-B weather, ADS-B traffic, GPS position, and attitude information to your mobile device.

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Garmin and to offer ForeFlight customers flying with Garmin hardware the opportunity to unlock more value from their avionics investment and gain access to connectivity options that enhance the ForeFlight experience.

Visit foreflight.com/connect to learn about all of the ForeFlight connectivity partnerships.

Filing ICAO Flight Plans in ForeFlight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Viewing obstacles along your route using Profile view

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

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

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

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

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

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

New ForeFlight Subscriptions Add Value, Basic Plan Options for Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pilot Reports Get A Facelift

Pilot weather reports are the eyes of the skies. They are not only consumed by pilots, but they are critical data for meteorologists as discussed in this earlier blog post.  For example, SIGMETs for turbulence and icing often live and die by pilot reports. It’s rare to see a SIGMET issued for severe or extreme turbulence until pilots begin to report those conditions. As such they are an important part of any preflight briefing and are even more valuable as they trickle in over ADS-B while en route. That’s why we’ve given pilot report symbols used in ForeFlight a much needed facelift.

ForeFlight PIREPs

The new ForeFlight pilot weather report symbols help to quickly identify adverse weather along your proposed route of flight.

The hunt is over

In ForeFlight Mobile 7.5.2, we’ve significantly enhanced the way you see pilot weather reports displayed in the Map view. Prior to this release, pilot reports were loosely organized into three types, namely, turbulence, icing and sky & weather – each represented by a single pilot report symbol (chevron, snowflake and eyeball, respectively). However, this required you to tap on each and every PIREP marker to see important details such as altitude and intensity. Moreover, routine (UA) and urgent (UUA) pilot reports looked exactly the same. Now, standard pilot report symbology used in this release makes it clear as to the type of report, intensity, altitude (when known) and whether or not it’s an urgent pilot report without the need to tap on the pilot report symbol. So the hunt is over; with the added glance value, the truly nasty weather conditions reported by pilots jumps right out of the glass.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Pilots can include all sorts of things in a report, like seeing a flock of geese or even critters camping out on the runway. But reports of adverse weather (or lack thereof) of turbulence and icing are typically made through a subjective estimate of intensity. In order to enhance the glance value and minimize taps to get information, ForeFlight now uses standard pilot report symbols for turbulence and icing reports. Reports that do not contain turbulence or icing details are defaulted to use the legacy sky & weather “eyeball” symbol. These may contain reports of precipitation, cloud bases and cloud tops as well as outside air temperature and winds aloft (speed and direction).

New Icing PIREP Symbols New Turbulence PIREP Symbols

Each icing and turbulence pilot weather report is shown in the ForeFlight Map view with one of the symbols above that depict the reported intensity.  From left to right, the top row includes icing intensities of null (negative), light, moderate and severe. Also from left to right, the bottom row includes turbulence intensities of null (negative), light, moderate, severe and extreme.

Some intensity reports are “rounded up” to minimize the overall number of icons to remember. For example, you may notice in the symbols above that ForeFlight doesn’t use the official symbol for trace icing. Consequently, a report of trace icing is rounded up to use the light icing symbol. Similarly, we’re not providing a symbol for reports that straddle two intensities such as “moderate to severe.” Therefore, a “light to moderate” turbulence report will be rounded up to use the moderate turbulence symbol; a report of “moderate to severe” turbulence will be rounded up to use the severe turbulence symbol and so on.

Urgent-Report

All urgent pilot reports and reports of a severe nature will be tagged with a red badge to add increased glance value to those reports. For example, shown here is an urgent pilot weather report for severe turbulence at 8,000 ft MSL in the Florida Panhandle.

Above and beyond the different turbulence and icing symbols and to further attract your attention, urgent pilot reports in ForeFlight contain a red badge in the upper-right corner like the turbulence report shown above. These badges will typically be included on a turbulence or icing symbol for a report for severe or extreme turbulence and/or severe icing, respectively.

However, you may also see a red badge included with a weather & sky report like the one shown below. This is typically an urgent pilot report for low-level wind shear (LLWS) or mountain wave activity that did not also include any turbulence or icing details. Also, reports of hail, tornadoes, waterspouts or funnel clouds will be classified and tagged as urgent.

Sky & Weather Urgent

A red badge on a sky & weather (eyeball symbol) pilot report means that the report was tagged as urgent even though no icing or turbulence details were provided. Most of the time this means that low-level wind shear or mountain wave activity was reported by the pilot.

Altitude at a glance

If the pilot report contains a flight level (MSL altitude), this flight level is displayed below the symbol using three digits. For example, from the icing pilot report shown below, 057 is added below the symbol which identifies the reported altitude of 5,700 feet MSL.

PIREP Altitude

A light icing pilot weather report at 5,700 feet MSL (FL057).

On the other hand, when the flight level is unknown (FLUNKN) as it is in the icing pilot report below, we will just show the appropriate symbol (turbulence, icing or sky & weather) without an altitude. Even so, there may be specific altitudes reported, but you’ll have to tap on the pilot report marker to examine the raw report for those details. In this case, light rime ice was reported between 6,000 and 4,500 feet MSL, for example.

No Altitude PIREP

Flight level in this light icing report is unknown (FLUNKN). Tapping on the report reveals more details.

I see double

If the pilot reported both icing and turbulence in the same report, you will see a pair of symbols side by side like the ones shown below with the center of the symbol pair representing the actual location of the report. This pair of report symbols indicates light icing and light turbulence at 16,000 feet MSL.

Pair Of Symbols

A pair of reports means that both icing and turbulence details were provided for the altitude shown in the marker.

Spreading the wealth

To keep everything consistent you will also see these standard symbols show up when tapping on the Map with the AIR/SIGMET/CWAs layer displayed. AIRMETs for turbulence and icing are displayed with their respective moderate symbol and SIGMETs for turbulence and icing will be displayed with their respective severe symbol. For example, in the list below, it’s very simple now to see that the last item in the popover is a SIGMET for turbulence.

AIRMET/SIGMET Icons

Standard symbology is also used in the display of AIRMETs and SIGMETs for icing and turbulence.

Even though there’s now more information available at first glance, you will still want to examine the details of any relevant pilot reports by tapping on the specific markers. Like anything new, it may take a little while to get used to the new pilot report icons. But we feel that the use of standard symbology is critical for flight safety and these changes will provide less taps and a much higher glance value for determining the location and altitude of the most nasty weather being reported by pilots. Lastly, keep those pilot weather reports coming; they are important for all stakeholders in aviation safety.

 

Logbook Enhancements, Improved PIREP Markers in ForeFlight 7.5.2

Featured

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

Access & Print Logbook Experience Reports From the App

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

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

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

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

Tap Send To again to print or email the experience report

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

At-A-Glance Pilot Reports

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

ForeFlight PIREP markers

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

All FBOs Check-in with ForeFlight at 2016 NBAA S&D Conference

Team ForeFlight will be on hand at the 2016 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference this week—stop by and visit with Jamie and Linda in Booth #100. Products on demonstration include ForeFlight’s FBO Directory, ForeFlight Web (our web-based flight planning platform), and JetFuelX (a planning tool that helps operators manage contract fuel memberships).

ForeFlight FBOs on Taxi Charts

More than 2700 FBO locations are mapped on ForeFlight Taxi Charts. Featured listings are highlighted in yellow and pilots can access listing details right from the taxi chart view.

Corporate, fractional, and charter operators use ForeFlight everyday for fuel stop and destination planning, and they are thrilled with our new FBOs on Taxi Charts feature. FBOs on Taxi Charts allow pilots to see exactly where your business is located on the field and to access FBO Directory listings right from the taxi chart view.

As an FBO, you have the opportunity to enhance your listing in the most widely used aviation app so that your business stands out above the rest. At the exhibit, we can show you a live demo of what your business listing looks like and what our customers see in real-time. In addition, check out this article from Linda Street-Ely, our ForeFlight Directory Manager, for pro tips on the features of Directory.

We also recently announced the acquisition of JetFuelX—a free web–based fuel card management service that makes it easy for owners and operators of turbine aircraft to save money by quickly finding the lowest prices available from their multiple jet fuel discount program memberships. FBOs and fuel providers benefit, too, as you can build your fuel discount program membership and efficiently distribute pricing data to customers. If you are interested in integrating your fuel discount program, contact info@jetfuelx.com to learn more.

See you in Tampa!

How To Find Valuable Planning Info in ForeFlight’s FBO Directory

As ForeFlight Directory Manager, I communicate daily with FBOs and other businesses of interest to pilots. I love to help businesses get the most out of their presence in the ForeFlight Business Directory, and to help ForeFlight subscribers know where to find that information. Here are some Pro Tips on ForeFlight Directory features that everyone can use:

Finding Fuel Prices
Fuel prices can be viewed as an interactive Map layer as well as within an FBO directory listing.

ForeFlight Directory listing on maps view.

ForeFlight Directory List view shown on the Maps view. Turn on the “Fuel: 100LL” layer and tap on a marker to view FBO details.

The price that is shown on the Fuel: 100LL layer in the Maps view and on the FBO List view (found by tapping the FBOs button in the Airport view or by tapping on a marker in the Maps view) is a summary of the lowest price options. An FBO that sells both full-service and self-serve 100LL will likely have two different prices. Tap on the business listing to reveal more information and ensure you are viewing all available 100LL fuel prices.

ForeFlight Directory detail view on Maps layer

In this example, tap directly on the ACI Jet listing to reveal more FBO details and all available retail fuel prices they offer.

We actively partner with FBOs to help them keep their listing information and fuel prices up-to-date. However, if you find the price you pay at the pump is different from our last update, you can help update the price right through the app. To submit fuel price updates, from the Airport view, tap FBOs, then tap on the FBO of choice. On the lower right corner, tap Update Fuel Prices. Enter the current price and tap Submit.

The ACI Jet detail view is shown here in the Airports view. The airport Comment and FBOs buttons are highlighted in the upper right. The Add Comment and Update Fuel Prices buttons specifically for ACI Jet are highlighted at the bottom of the listing window.

Many businesses add a custom description, tappable links to their website and social media, photos, affiliate service badges, and company logo. The Business Directory is rich with data and images to help pilots and trip planners make more informed decisions.

Sharing Your Experience With Comments
ForeFlight customers can submit two kinds of comments: feedback on the airport in general and feedback on the specific business they visited.

We hope you have a great experience to share with fellow pilots, however if there is an issue we encourage you to contact the FBO or other business directly first to resolve the situation. Comments are published unedited (with the exception of gate codes and special fuel prices) and identify you as the commenter using the part of your email address that is before the “@” sign.

Airport Comments buttonNotice there are two areas within the Airport Comments section: Remarks and Comments. Remarks are official Airport Remarks published by the airport manager or sponsor through the FAA. Comments are submitted by ForeFlight subscribers and are based on the subscriber’s personal experience at that airport.

FBOs on Taxi Charts
We have received lots of positive feedback on our FBOs on Taxi Charts feature. Fuel seller locations are mapped with an interactive marker right on the taxi chart. Tap on the FBO button in the upper left area of the taxi chart to turn the markers on and off. Tap the marker to see information about the FBO without leaving the chart view.

ForeFlight Directory listing shown on taxi chart

FBOs on Taxi Charts makes FBOs easy to find after the pilot lands. All of the Directory listing details are available right on the taxi chart view.

Questions about ForeFlight Directory? I’d love to hear from you! I’m on frequency at directory@foreflight.com.

Got Echo Tops?

While not rare, it is a pleasant surprise to see a fairly quiet radar mosaic stretching from coast to coast. Unless you are specifically looking for nasty weather, a tranquil radar usually means decent flying weather, outside of cold clouds, in most locations that are not reporting low ceilings and reduced visibility due to a radiation fog event. This also means you may not see some of the other familiar markers you’d normally expect to be displayed on the Map with the radar layer on. One of these markers that is often missing is the echo top heights.

Benign Radar

Overall, a fairly benign radar with the most significant returns in southern California.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way; echo tops are not the same as cloud tops. Cloud tops are always higher. Second, echo tops represent the mean sea level (MSL) height of the highest radar echo of 18 dBZ or greater. Third, echo tops heights are added to the NEXRAD mosaic in ForeFlight only when the echo tops consistently exceed 20,000 feet MSL. In other words, you won’t see an echo tops report of 15,000 feet, for example. So it’s understandable for customers to believe echo tops may be “missing” from the radar mosaic when the radar is fairly benign. Moreover, there may be some intense-looking echoes in various locations, even some with storm tracks and mesoscale circulations shown, but no echo top heights anywhere to be found. Let’s take a look at a recent example.

In the image above, notice that most of the U.S. is enjoying an early evening free of any significant weather. A few light echoes in southeast Arizona, some light snow in Montana and Idaho, showery precipitation in western Washington and probably the most intense area of weather in southern California. Zooming in on that area below, there are some areas with reflectivity values greater than 40 dBZ (yellow and orange) indicating moderate precipitation. But there’s not a single echo top height displayed even though there are several storm tracks identified. The storm tracks are there since the cellular structure and the relative high reflectivity of the echoes has triggered the NEXRAD algorithms to generate one. However, this algorithm is completely independent of the echo top height.

Southern-CA

Cellular returns indicate showery precipitation. A few cells have storm tracks defined, but despite their intensity, no echo tops are shown.

Despite the intensity of these cells in southern California, the echo top heights are likely below 20,000 feet. Since cloud tops are higher than echo tops, let’s examine the cloud top height in this area. The best way to determine the height of cloud tops is to examine the satellite imagery in ForeFlight like the color-enhanced infrared satellite image shown below. This satellite image shows the cloud top temperature. Notice the pale green colors within the black circle where the most significant returns are located. Using the color bar at the top of the image, these solid pale green colors equate to a cloud top temperature of about -20 degrees Celsius.

IR-Image

The color-enhanced infrared satellite image shows the temperature of the surface of the earth or temperature of the cloud tops. In this case, clouds in southern California have cloud top temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius.

Once the cloud top temperatures are known, it’s a simple process to compare this cloud top temperature against the temperatures aloft using ForeFlight. Below are the Winds and Temperatures aloft for Bakersfield near one of the more intense cells at this same time. This clearly shows at 18,000 feet MSL the temperatures were -6 degrees Fahrenheit or -21 degrees Celsius. So cloud tops in this region were definitely below 20,000 feet.

Temperature Aloft

The ForeFlight Winds and Temperatures aloft show a temperature of -6 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 degrees Celsius) at 18,000 feet MSL over Bakersfield.

If you were paying close attention to the radar loop, you may have noticed that one lone echo top height marker appears (pointed to by the red arrow below) of 201 indicating an echo top height of 20,100 feet in this cell. So when you see a lack of echo tops reported, it just may be that those tops are below 20,000 feet.

One Lone Echo Top

A single echo top height of 20,100 feet MSL did pop up on the radar loop bolstering the idea that most echo tops were below 20,000 feet.

Tips for Entering Catch-Up Entries in ForeFlight Logbook

For those of us with significant flight experience, transitioning from a paper logbook to a digital one can seem like a daunting task. We know total time is not the only stat that requires accuracy. Day, Night, and IFR currency should be considered, as well as the ability to report on aircraft category, class, and model over time periods. How about turbine time? Retract? Let’s look at a few simple steps to “catch up” in ForeFlight Logbook, allowing you to obtain accurate totals for insurance forms, potential employers, or the FAA.

ForeFlight Logbook

Step 1: Assess your flying.

Are you a career pilot? Weekend warrior? Own and operate a turbine Grumman Goose (if so let’s talk…)? What does your next year in aviation look like? Your style and frequency of flying dictates how much detail you’ll need to get out of your logbook.

Step 2: Choose a resolution.

  • Total Time Only—If you’ve only flown one plane, or even just one type, this could be all you need. You know every hour you’ve flown is in your Cessna 182 RG, so there’s no need to break down your flight time further.
  • Time by Type (make + model)—This would suffice for most pilots. Aircraft type generally implies other variables we need for currency, such as category and landing gear type.
  • Time by Aircraft ID—You may want to track hours in each specific aircraft you’ve flown. Whether for financial reasons, rental requirements, or simply reminiscence, this method provides the most detail without entering every flight.

Step 3: Choose a timeframe.

How far back will you start logging individual flights?

  • Today—Start fresh.
  • 3 or 6 Months Ago—This will cover General, Night and IFR currency (part 91).
  • 12 Months Ago—Your aviation insurance agent will ask for your time in make and model over the last 12 months, so you may want to enter each flight for the last year.
  • Other timeframe—You may fly under another authority apart from the FAA, or your employer’s record-keeping requirements may come into play here.

With these decisions made, it’s time to take a trip down memory lane. Sit down with your logbook, calculator, and a notepad. Create a new ForeFlight Logbook entry for each grouping. For example, one each for C172, P28R, and BE58. While you’re at it, take time to remember all the adventures in your flying career, knowing that your history will be stored safely in the ForeFlight cloud for you to access anywhere, anytime.

ForeFlight Web Logbook import tool

Login to plan.foreflight.com and tap on the Logbook tab to download the ForeFlight import template.

If you already have your own spreadsheet, you can use our web import tool on ForeFlight Web. Log in to plan.foreflight.com with your ForeFlight app credentials, click the Logbook tab, and then drag/drop your file into the box. You can also download our spreadsheet template if you are starting from scratch.

If you need help creating a spreadsheet from your paper logbook, check out convertmylogbook.com.

Finally, if you have any questions during your transition to ForeFlight Logbook, email us at team@foreflight.com —we’re happy to help!