SiriusXM Aviation Weather and Logbook Currency Details in ForeFlight 8.1

Featured

With ForeFlight 8.1 we introduce support for SiriusXM’s powerful SXAR1 Aviation Weather Receiver, which supplies ForeFlight with high resolution radar with storm cell attributes and tracks, lightning, METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETs, TFRs, and more. In addition, more of your logbook data is now in easy reach with Currency Details and access to Custom Field data in Reports. Download ForeFlight Mobile version 8.1 in the Apple App Store today!

Powerful, Portable Satellite Weather from SiriusXM

We’re excited to announce that we have partnered with SiriusXM to offer a portable XM weather solution to ForeFlight customers in the form of the SXAR1 Aviation Receiver. This compact, lightweight device wirelessly delivers a wide range of XM weather products to ForeFlight Mobile, including both composite and lowest-tilt NEXRAD radar, storm cell attributes like echo tops and tracks, AIRMETs and SIGMETs, TFRs, METARs, TAFs, winds aloft, and more, as well as GPS position. Future updates will unlock even more capabilities that will continue to make the SXAR1 a powerful inflight weather solution.

Check out Scott Dennstaedt’s article for some great insight and tips for using SiriusXM weather inflight.

SiriusXM SXAR1 and ForeFlight aviation weatherBecause it receives weather information from satellites, the SXAR1 bypasses many of the limitations affecting the delivery of FIS-B weather. The SXAR1 provides nationwide weather with no coverage gaps, minimum altitudes, or line-of-sight restrictions – all it needs is a clear view of the sky. The built-in rechargeable battery and Bluetooth connectivity eliminates the need for wires in the cockpit.

Coinciding with ForeFlight 8.1, SiriusXM is introducing the new Pilot for ForeFlight weather subscription package specifically designed for this integration. SiriusXM is also offering a $200 savings to pilots who buy the SXAR1 and activate the new subscription package.

Learn more at foreflight.com/siriusxm.

Currency Details and Custom Field Data in Logbook

ForeFlight Logbook continues to improve with new ways to access important flight data. Tap on Currency Summaries on Logbook’s main view to see in-depth information about which flights contribute to each currency type, and a brief description of the requirements for each currency type. Access to this neatly organized information makes it easier than ever to understand your currency and stay on top of it.

Tap on a currency summary to see detailed information about it

Logbook experience reports were also upgraded to include Custom Field data. Aggregated totals from any custom fields you’ve added to your logbook now appear at the bottom of experience reports.

Logbook custom fields in experience reports

ForeFlight and Apple iOS 10

Click here for the latest information regarding ForeFlight Mobile and iOS 10 compatibility.

Apple iOS 10 and ForeFlight

Featured

UPDATE September 26, 2016: ForeFlight 8.1, now available on the App Store, is all-clear for use with Apple iOS 10.0.2. We appreciate your patience during the testing process and hope you enjoy the new features in Apple’s biggest iOS release yet.

ORIGINAL POST September 9, 2016: Apple released iOS 10 to the public on Tuesday, September 13th. We are continuing to conduct thorough testing on iOS 10 to ensure full compatibility with ForeFlight.

Please stay tuned to our blog, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for updates and the all-clear notice. As always, please feel free to email team@foreflight.com if you have any questions.

Tips On Using SiriusXM Satellite Weather In ForeFlight

With the release of ForeFlight Mobile 8.1 you now have the opportunity to use the best portable en route weather system available courtesy of our partnership with SiriusXM Satellite Radio. The SiriusXM Pilot for ForeFlight subscription tier has been uniquely designed to provide all of the essential weather data during every phase of flight. In fact, within about 15 minutes of turning on the SXAR1 and connecting to the ForeFlight Mobile app, you’ll have seamless access to a comprehensive set of weather products well before you close the door on the cockpit and depart. Here are some of my tips to safely use this unique collection of weather data.

Hurricane Hermine

SiriusXM radar depiction of Hurricane Hermine as it approached the Florida coast in early September.

The SiriusXM source label

Knowing the source of the data you are using is paramount since weather data ages quickly. When connected to the SXAR1, you’ll see a SiriusXM label under the tappable timestamp button in the upper left of the Map view. Moreover, every weather product provided through the SiriusXM broadcast includes a source label in parentheses along with its relative age like the one depicted in the image below. This is similar to the ADS-B label shown when connected to Stratus. While connected to the SXAR1 in flight, always be sure to check for the presence of the SiriusXM label. Seeing this label will confirm that you are using the most current weather available.

siriusxm-tag-taf

Products received from the SiriusXM broadcast and displayed in ForeFlight will be labeled with a SiriusXM tag along side the product’s age as shown here for a terminal aerodrome forecast (TAF) for the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport.

Lightning

During the warm season, lightning from ground-based sensors is perhaps one of the most critical weather elements to have available in the cockpit. Any area of weather that includes lightning means there’s a darn good chance you will encounter severe or extreme convective turbulence in and around that weather. While most of the serious thunderstorms will be included within the boundary of a convective SIGMET, not all thunderstorms will meet convective SIGMET criteria. Moreover, thunderstorms often occur outside of these areas, especially during a rapidly developing convective event.

Lightning is broadcast over SiriusXM every five minutes and provides pilots with a birds-eye view of where the truly nasty convective weather is located. Moreover, both cloud-to-ground (CG) and intracloud (IC) lightning are part of this broadcast. It’s quite important that both types are included since many severe storms are often dominated by IC lightning.

With SiriusXM not every lightning strike is broadcast. Instead, a single lightning symbol is shown anytime one or more strikes have occurred within a generous 0.5 nautical mile grid. So when you pinch-and-zoom way in on the ForeFlight map as shown below, you’ll notice the lightning bolt symbols are aligned in this 0.5 nautical mile gridded pattern. ForeFlight retains the most recent 10 minutes of lightning data which tends to align with the most recent radar depiction very well.

SiriusXM Lightning grid

A zoomed-in view of SiriusXM lightning reveals it’s gridded nature.

Lightning is detected even in regions where radar coverage is not present. This can be extremely useful when flying outside of the NEXRAD radar coverage area. You’ll see lightning depicted in regions over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean as well as the coastal waters of the U.S. in the western Atlantic and eastern Pacific Oceans. It will also include lightning in Canada, Mexico, Central America and the northern-most regions of South America. Although there is SiriusXM NEXRAD coverage provided around Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (using the base reflectivity from the lowest tilt), having lightning shown in other locations in the Caribbean will help pilots avoid the nasty tropical convection that occurs in these highly traveled areas where there isn’t NEXRAD coverage.

lightning-south-america

SiriusXM radar coverage is available using the base reflectivity layer from the lowest tilt around Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. You will also see lightning depicted outside of the standard NEXRAD coverage area as far south as the northern portions of South America.

Storm attribute markers

Pilots have become accustomed to seeing echo top heights and storm track identification markers in ForeFlight. With SiriusXM you’ll get those same NEXRAD storm attributes. This includes a generic storm marker with an echo top height shown in 100s of feet in addition to cells that have signatures of hail, mesocyclone and tornadoes using the symbols shown below. Echo top heights are only shown for tops 20,000 feet and higher.

markers

Storm attribute markers include hail, mesocyclone and tornadic vortex signature. Under the settings, these SiriusXM Storm Markers can be switched on and off as desired.

In most cases these storm attribute markers will also contain a direction and speed of the cell being tracked. Similar to the other storm tracks you will see depicted on the radar mosaic in ForeFlight, SiriusXM tracks will contain an arrow showing the direction of movement as well as the speed. If the cell is moving at a speed of more than 10 knots, you’ll also see two black dots depicted on the arrow that loosely estimates the position of that storm cell in 20 and 40 minutes based on the cell’s current speed and direction provided. The arrowhead represents the estimated location of the cell in 60 minutes.

Confusing Storm Attribute Markers

During a rapidly developing convective event or when thunderstorms are dissipating, it’s quite common to see the storm tracks for adjacent cells point in opposite direction.

While these markers provide additional information about a storm cell, keep in mind that there will be times when the storm tracks for adjacent cells may provide conflicting information as you can see in the example shown above. It’s unlikely these cells are actually moving toward each other. This typically occurs during the initial stage of thunderstorm evolution especially when there’s an area of rapidly developing convection. Animating the radar is perhaps the best way to note the direction of movement of an area of weather.

tvs-hermine

Shown here are several storm attribute markers to include mesocyclone circulation and tornadic vortex signatures from Tropical Storm Hermine as it passed off the coast of South Carolina.

Radar layers

The SiriusXM composite reflectivity and base reflectivity from the lowest tilt have the same 2 km horizontal resolution as you may have experienced with the regional radar broadcast provided by ADS-B. On the left is the regional composite reflectivity mosaic broadcast by ADS-B using the Stratus 2 receiver. On the other hand, the right side is the SiriusXM mosaic just a minute earlier. While the mapping of dBZ levels to color may be a little different for the two composite reflectivity sources, the overall spatial resolution is the same.

ads-b-vs-siriusxm

Regional composite reflectivity from ADS-B shown on the left and composite reflectivity from SiriusXM shown on the right. Both have a similar resolution.

There’s no doubt that the overall qualitative glance value is practically the same between the two radar depictions above. You’ll find, however, that the latest SiriusXM broadcast will be about 5 minutes fresher on average than what you get through ADS-B.

Partial radar refresh

You may occasionally notice that both of the radar mosaics may take a short period of time to completely refresh the Map view for the entire radar coverage area when a new NEXRAD broadcast is being processed. During the refresh, it will be common to see “Radar not available” briefly depicted over regions where coverage is normally provided as shown below for the base reflectivity mosaic from the lowest tilt.

Partial refresh

Partial updates to both the composite reflectivity and base reflectivity from the lowest tilt should be expected when the newest radar broadcast is being processed.

This is because radar data received by the SXAR1 rarely comes as a continuous frame of data. Often this data is broadcast in blocks over a short period of time. This is especially true for the base reflectivity mosaic from the lowest tilt. To avoid holding back the entire radar mosaic until every single byte is received, we decided to provide the newest radar in pieces as it arrives. Whether or not this occurs and how long it takes to provide a complete picture, depends on the amount of radar echoes throughout the entire coverage area. During times of high convective activity or large-scale precipitation, expect the refresh to be a bit slower, typically 20 to 30 seconds.

If you believe in Murphy’s Law, this refresh delay will rear its ugly head at the most inopportune time. If the refresh takes uncomfortably too long while in flight, you can always switch to the other radar depiction in the short term.

Also includes Canada

Unlike ADS-B, the SiriusXM radar depiction from the lowest tilt does include Canadian Doppler radar information as well (Canadian radar is not included in the composite reflectivity mosaic). You won’t see any storm tracks or echo tops depicted by Canadian radar data, but this does extend the radar coverage to the southern most part of Canada for those pilots that fly to this area frequently. In addition to radar, you will see winds and temperatures aloft depicted in Canada as well as METARs, TAFs and PIREPs.

Winds and temperatures aloft

The winds aloft layer is populated by model-based winds (not observations) from the SiriusXM broadcast. These are an accurate representation of the current winds at 3,000 ft MSL up to FL480 at 3,000 ft intervals. This is a similar presentation to what you will find with the winds aloft layer when connected to the Internet. Tapping on any wind barb will provide the wind direction, wind speed and temperature at the altitude selected.

winds-aloft

While in flight, you will see updates to the current winds once each hour. At this time there are no forecasts of winds aloft provided through SiriusXM valid beyond the current time. Consequently, the SiriusXM winds are not used in performance calculations, so you should anticipate using the pack feature to have an estimation of winds aloft along your route while in flight.

ForeFlight Supports Intra-Canada VFR Flight Plan Filing

ForeFlight’s flight plan filing capabilities recently got a big boost with support for intra-Canada VFR flight plans.

VFR flight plans for routes within Canada are now sent directly to Nav Canada, allowing customers to both plan and file Canadian VFR flights entirely within ForeFlight Mobile or via the ForeFlight website. ForeFlight also supports cross-border VFR flight plans from the U.S. to Canada and all IFR flight plans within or between the U.S. and Canada, in either direction.

When filing a VFR flight plan within Canada, pilots are required to fill out the Destination Contact and Phone fields in the ICAO flight plan form. These fields specify who should be contacted if search and rescue actions need to be initiated. Pilots are also required to provide their license number, which can be entered after their name in the Pilot Name field (e.g. “Joe Pilot LIC 123456”).

Information required by Nav Canada can be entered in the Destination Contact and Phone fields

Pilots filing Canadian VFR flights are required to provide their license number, which can be entered after their name in the Pilot Name field as shown here.

As with other flight plan types, Canadian VFR flight plans can be amended or canceled within ForeFlight using the Amend and Cancel buttons at the bottom of the flight plan form. The Activate and Close functions are not currently available for Canadian flight plans, so a pilot must contact flight service to perform these functions. If a flight plan is not activated by phone, it will automatically activate at the estimated time of departure specified in the flight plan, as prescribed in Transport Canada’s Aeronautical Information Manual:

“A VFR flight plan should normally be opened with a Tower, a Flight Service Station, a Flight Information Center or a Community Aerodrome Radio Station upon departure to activate the alerting service. The pilot is responsible for extending or cancelling the flight plan if the flight is delayed or cancelled. If an extension or cancellation is not received by the proposed departure time, the responsible ATS unit will activate the flight plan or flight itinerary, using the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) as the Actual Time of Departure (ATD).”

ForeFlight Mobile 8.0.3 Available on the App Store

This minor release resolves a bug affecting low-memory devices that caused the app to periodically exit while connected to some external devices.

Apple has announced that it plans to release iOS 10 to the public on Tuesday, September 13th. We continue to conduct thorough testing on iOS 10 to ensure full compatibility with ForeFlight. Please stay tuned to our blog post, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for updates on our ‘all-clear’ notice. As always, feel free to email team@foreflight.com if you have any questions.

ForeFlight Mobile 8.0.2 Available On The App Store

ForeFlight 8.0.2 is a minor release that delivers a refinement in the Airports view to include more nearby weather stations, as well as some fixes in preparation for iOS 10 compatibility. Apple has announced that it plans to release iOS 10 to the public on Tuesday, September 13th. We continue to conduct thorough testing on iOS 10 to ensure full compatibility with ForeFlight. Please stay tuned to our blog post, Facebook page, and Twitter feed for updates on our ‘all-clear’ notice. As always, feel free to email team@foreflight.com if you have any questions.

Bulletin: September 15 Data Updates

Data updates are now available to download for the September 15, 2016 – October 13, 2016 and September 15, 2016 – November 10, 2016 periods:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams, including updates to the following airports:
07TS 0TX1 7N1 CYBR CYJN CYSH
CYTB CYUY CYYE CYYN CYYY CYZH
CYZT CZBM EDDF FA54 KAFW KBDL
KBFL KBIS KBLI KBOW KCAE KCLT
KCMH KDTW KFWA KGBG KGTF KGYL
KHMP KIAD KIAH KIGM KIJD KINL
KJQF KLWS KMAE KMAI KMCW KMYF
KORD KOSH KPDX KPIT KRED KROC
KSDY KSEE KSEG KSEP KSEZ KSFZ
KSGJ KSPG KSTS KSVE KTOP KTRI
KTRK KTSP KTTD KTTN KTUL KTUP
KTUS KTVL KTWF KTXK KTYR KUAO
KUDD KUES KUGN KUIL KUMP KUNV
KVAD KVBT KVGT KVIH KVIS KVPC
KVTN KVUO KVYS LFPG TNCB TTCP

From the FAA:

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

For Canada region 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.

Customer Notice: Guidance on a bug in ForeFlight 8

UPDATE September 2, 2016: ForeFlight version 8.0.1 is now available on the App Store, a minor release that addresses a bug that appeared in 8.0 involving TFR Alerts when connected to a Baron Mobile Link XM weather receiver. Although the majority of our customers are not affected by this, we recommend that all customers upgrade before their next flight as a preventive measure.

Version 8.0.1 also fixes a timezone issue leading to Logbook signature expiration dates being off by one day.

ORIGINAL POST September 2, 2016: We have identified an issue with ForeFlight Mobile following the release of version 8 earlier this week. Some customers experienced an app crash when connected to a Baron Mobile Link XM weather receiver. We have identified the root cause and are working hard to get an updated version of the app released as soon as possible to resolve this issue. Until then, the work-around to keep the app from crashing while connected to a Baron Mobile Link device is to turn off all TFR Alerts. To do this:

  1. Open Apple Settings
  2. Scroll down to ForeFlight and tap on it
  3. Scroll down in the ForeFlight Settings until you find Alerts, then tap on it
  4. Turn OFF all TFR Alerts. This includes “Visual Alerts”, “Audio Alerts”, and “Include DC SFRA/FRZ”

After you do this, the app should function normally when connected to your Baron Mobile Link. If you experience any other issues, please email us at team@foreflight.com with details. We will notify you when the updated version of ForeFlight is available on the App Store.

ForeFlight 8: Global Data-Driven Aeronautical Maps, Logbook Enhancements, TFR Alerts

The wait is over—ForeFlight 8 is here! Download on the App Store today to experience our groundbreaking data-driven Aeronautical Maps. New TFR Alerts help you steer clear of TFRs while inflight and upgrades to Logbook make flight logging even easier and more connected than ever. In addition, major enhancements to ForeFlight on the web make it possible to plan, file, and brief whenever and wherever it is most convenient. Read more about web updates here.

The Future Of Maps Is Here

Fast, powerful, and beautiful, ForeFlight Aeronautical Maps represent the next generation of mapping technology. Rather than using scans of paper charts, Aeronautical Maps are driven by data, opening up a huge range of possibilities for how information is displayed on the map.

In the Map Settings menu, new ForeFlight Map controls allow you to select from Light and Dark map themes and to turn the Terrain layer on or off. You will also see new Aeronautical Map Settings when the Aeronautical layer is selected in the Maps dropdown. The ability to customize the map is made possible by ForeFlight’s data-driven map technology. You can turn airspace on or off, set airways to High, Low, or Off, turn ARTCC boundaries on or off, and more. Use the text slider to adjust label text size for better readability. This set of controls for the Aeronautical Map is the first iteration of the choices you will have over what map elements you show or hide—future updates will bring more capability.

Aeronautical Maps settings

New Aeronautical Map Settings give you control over what map elements to show or hide.

In addition, Continuous Zoom™ and dynamic decluttering of map elements allows you to find useful information at any zoom level, and “always-up” labels make it easy to read text on the map no matter how it’s oriented.

A new feature called Smart Airway Labels provides information about segments of any airway in your flight plan. These labels start out small – only showing the name of the airway – but expand as you zoom in, showing additional information about the airway segment like magnetic heading and the MEA.

We’ve also taken our Plates on Maps feature to a new level by directly integrating ForeFlight’s airport diagrams into the Aeronautical layer. Zoom in on an airport and runways and taxiways materialize right on the map, complete with labels and FBO markers.

ForeFlight Aeronautical Maps are available with Basic Plus, Pro Plus, and Business Pro plans.

Logbook Is More Connected Than Ever

ForeFlight 8 adds a new feature to Logbook that busy CFIs and flight students might find useful – Remote Signing. Students can send draft logbook entries to their instructor who can review, send back edits, or sign the entry, whenever and wherever it is most convenient. The instructor can also opt to add the flight to their own logbook as ‘Dual Given’ time. As an added benefit, students take command and learn how to manage their logbook from the beginning.

We also introduce Logbook Connect, an ecosystem of third-party services that you can connect to your ForeFlight Logbook. Logbook Connect makes it easier to add flight entries directly from the other pilot services you use. Our launch partners, Redbird Flight and Schedule Pointe, allow you to send draft entries from their respective dashboards to your own logbook.

ForeFlight-Logbook-Twitter-Facebook-sharing

Sharing flights with friends and followers on social media is easy!

In addition, Logbook Progress Reports are available to help student pilots track the progress of accumulated flight time towards their PPL or Instrument rating.

Finally, sharing flight entries with your friends and followers on Twitter and Facebook is really easy. Simply tap the send-to button in an entry and ForeFlight will create a template post, along with photo attachments.

ForeFlight Logbook is bundled with our Basic Plus and Pro Plus plans.

TFR Alerts Keep You Aware In The Air

The new alerts watch for active TFRs near your current altitude and provide visual and auditory warnings as you approach, and again if you enter one. The alerts work whether or not the TFR layer is selected on the Maps view.

TFR ahead on data-driven light theme

Enhancements To ForeFlight On The Web

In conjunction with ForeFlight 8, ForeFlight on the web features a number of updates that are now available for ForeFlight subscribers, including the ability to file flight plans, generate weather briefings, and manage aircraft profiles. You can also access and plan flights with our new global Aeronautical Maps. Log in to ForeFlight anytime using your ForeFlight Mobile credentials and access ForeFlight’s powerful flight planning from your desktop computer. Read more about updates to ForeFlight on the web in this article.