Recent Aeronautical Map Updates You Might Have Missed

One of the great benefits of our data-driven Aeronautical Map layer is that we can make significant updates and improvements to it without needing a whole new app release. Instead, we can just issue updates as part of our regular data-cycle releases, and the changes become visible after you download the new “Airport & Nav Database” at the top of the Downloads list. Over the past couple months we’ve made a number of major enhancements to the Aeronautical Map this way, so read on to learn about what those are and where you can find them.

Airway Label Improvements

One of the most prominent recent changes to the Aeronautical Map is that airway labels are now more prominent, and look similar to what you’d findon an IFR enroute chart. And like on an enroute chart, black and white labels indicate traditional, VOR airways, while blue and white labels indicate RNAV airways. One other improvement that pilots flying in Europe will appreciate: the Aeronautical Map now depicts directional airways using arrow-shaped labels.

The new airway labels mimic the familiar style found on IFR enroute charts 

 

 

 

The new airways also depict directionality

New KSFO Bravo Structure

Bay Area pilots are probably already familiar with the new Class B airspace structure enveloping KSFO. Even a massive change like this is very simple to make with the Aeronautical Map – we released an update to the Airport & Nav Database containing the new airspace structure about a week before it become effective. When the data-cycle turnover happened at 0901 UTC, August 16, 2018, ForeFlight swapped out the old database for the new one and updated the map instantly.

San Fransisco's new Class B structure was recently updated with a new data cycle

Most of the other recent updates we’ve made to the Aeronautical Map have been directly in response to feedback from our new customers in Europe. Europe has many types of airspace, airways, and VFR navigation features that are rare or nonexistent in North America, so we had to find new ways to depict all of this information to ensure that the Aeronautical Map would be useful to all of our customers.

New Airspace Styles

Control Zones (CTR), Radio Mandatory Zones (RMZ), different types of civilian Traffic Zones (ATZ/TIZ/TIA), and Military Aerodrome Traffic Zones (MATZ) were formerly depicted using a single style. Now there are four separate styles to help differentiate these airspaces. As with most of the features on the Aeronautical Map, we incorporated elements from ICAO charts when designing these styles so they would be familiar to pilots, while also ensuring that they fit within the Aeronautical Map’s overall design style.

Different types of airspace are now depicted differently on the Aeronautical Map

Different types of airspace are now depicted differently on the Aeronautical Map

Frequency Labels on FIS Boundaries

To make finding the right frequencies easier for pilots in Europe, we added prominent labels to all FIS boundaries providing the name and information frequency of each coverage area. You can find other frequencies by tap-holding on the map and tapping Details > Communication Details for the relevant airspace, or by tapping on an airport marker to access the frequency list, which often includes frequencies for the surrounding airspace.

FIS boundaries now have frequency labels to help pilots locate them

New Styles for VFR Navigation Data

All ForeFlight subscriptions that include the Europe region come with Jeppesen’s high-quality VFR navigation and airport data built directly into the Aeronautical Map, providing a valuable resource for VFR pilots across most of Europe. We’ve also recently made some styling changes to this VFR data, exposing data that wasn’t depicted before and improving the styling of existing data to provide more information at a glance. Conveniently, the screenshot below illustrates all of these changes.

A number of different VFR features are now depicted on the Aeronautical Map

In the bottom-right you can see a VFR Transit Route, which ATC uses to direct pilots through Controlled Airspace to minimize separation issues with IFR traffic. VFR Transit Routes have labels conveying important information about the route, including the type of transit route (Helicopter in this case, but other types are VFR and Military), the route’s altitude boundaries, the distance of each route leg (8nm), and the magnetic bearing in one or both directions. We styled VFR Transit Routes on the Aeronautical Map to match the color of VFR Waypoints so it’s easier to differentiate them from airspace boundaries and other route types.

Intersecting the Helicopter route in the screenshot and extending to the north of the airport are VFR Flight Corridors. These provide safe corridors for VFR traffic on approach and departure, and include labels indicating each corridor’s name and minimum altitude. The Aeronautical Map also displays IFR Flight Corridors, which can help VFR pilots avoid IFR traffic.

Lastly, the airport in the screenshot has two kinds of traffic circuits – a standard non-directional circuit in solid white, and the newly supported directional traffic circuit made up of white arrows. Both circuits show the traffic pattern altitude of 2,700 feet.

Get familiar with these changes to the Aeronautical Map so you can maximize your use of ForeFlight for planning and flying, and look forward to additional updates in the future. If you have any feedback or suggestions on how to make the Aeronautical Map, and ForeFlight in general, better suited to where and how you fly, feel free to email them to team@foreflight.com – we’re all ears.