An update to ForeFlight Mobile – version 4.8 – is available for download in iTunes App Store. This release introduces three big new things: a fresh new design for the iPhone, background downloading support for database and charts, and support for the Military Flight Bag Procedures Database format, enabling pilots who defend our freedom to load worldwide Department of Defense terminal procedures directly into ForeFlight Mobile.
ForeFlight Mobile for iPhone, Reinvented
No question the iPad had changed aviation and is one of the most quickly adopted technologies to hit the cockpit. But the iPhone remains very popular and accounts for a high percentage of the devices that ForeFlighters use on a daily basis. The phone is always with you and is great for quick weather lookups, drafting a flight plan, searching for airport information, and filing before blasting off.
ForeFlight’s roots are in the iPhone. We released the first aviation app available in iTunes App Store in July of 2008 and have continued to refine the iPhone version ever since. With this latest release, we challenged ourselves to deliver a user experience that would make moving between different views within the application faster, more fluid, and require fewer touches of the screen. We also wanted to make sure that information – like recent airports, weather, flight plans, planned routes, and recent searches – were accessible at a glance. The result is a new user interface for iPhone we call “Slider”. It is a joy to use and will make assessing conditions and planning flights faster than ever before.
The latest release introduces background downloading. What this means is that you can start a download of plates and charts, switch to another app, and ForeFlight Mobile will continue to download in the background. When complete, if your iPad is still awake, iOS will display a notification badge alerting you that downloads are complete. This is a huge improvement to the download process – previously, you had to keep ForeFlight running on your iPad while a download was completing.
Note that sometimes the operating system will interrupt a background download after a while, depending on what other apps are running, how much data is being downloaded, or if the iPad loses WiFi connectivity. If this happens, ForeFlight will display an alert indicating that downloads were interrupted.
Military Flight Bag Support
ForeFlight 4.8 also introduces Military Flight Bag (MFB) support. Pilots flying for the armed forces and certain federal / government agencies now have the ability to side-load a worldwide terminal procedures database directly into ForeFlight Mobile. The first specification supported by ForeFlight Mobile is the Military Flight Bag Procedures Database format (MFB PDB). This specification, which we hope will be adopted by other app makers in the future, allows pilots who have access to DOD Digital Flight Information Publications to view those terminal procedures in ForeFlight Mobile. By creating an set of open standards, we hope to help the Military achieve cost reduction goals by reducing the amount of paper they shuffle around every 28 days.
More information about our Military Flight Bag support is available at http://www.foreflight.com/military. The new features are free to use, but require a valid and verified .mil or .gov email address.