Some of ForeFlight’s most useful Map features for day-to-day planning and flying have been around for years yet many pilots are still unaware of them, either because they’re hidden away in a settings menu, or their purpose isn’t immediately obvious. Below are ten of those high-value features and settings that may have flown under your radar but that can simplify your planning and flying in powerful ways.
Map Touch Action
This setting is available near the bottom of the Map Settings Menu (gear button in the Maps toolbar) when any raster chart (sectional, IFR high/low, etc.) is enabled. The third option, Bring chart to front with legend, allows you to tap on any chart to reveal its entire border and legend, just like you would see with an actual paper chart. It is useful when a piece of important information, like a frequency, is cut off by the app’s chart stitching or if you don’t want the app to automatically switch to a TAC when you zoom in to a metro area.
Multiple Layer Selections
This setting is just below Map Touch Action in the Map Settings menu. It’s disabled by default, but enabling it makes the Layer Selector stay open after toggling any layer, so you can toggle as many layers as you want without having to go back and open the Layer Selector each time. You can tap anywhere else on the map to close the Layer Selector when done.
Distance Ring Styles
ForeFlight’s Distance Rings default to an Automatic (Distance) setting, showing three concentric rings at different distances, which shrink or expand based on your zoom level. Tap on any of the ring labels to select from different styles, including fixed distance rings, as well as automatic or fixed time-based rings, which show how far you’ll travel in a given amount of time based on your current ground speed.
These settings are also available in More > Settings > Distance Rings Style.
Current Location Marker
Why use a generic airplane icon to represent your position on the map when you could instead use an F-22? ForeFlight has many location marker icons covering low-wings, high-wings, business jets, military aircraft, and helicopters. A secondary benefit of some of these icons is that they are much larger and easier to find on the map than the default aircraft icon. You can find this setting in More > Settings > Current Location Marker.
Auto Center Deactivate
You can tap the button in the top right corner of Maps to automatically center the map on your location. However, it can be easy to lose track of where you are by accidentally swiping on the map, which by default will deactivate Auto Center and move the map away from your aircraft icon. If this is a persistent problem, you can change the Auto Center Deactivate setting to Manual to lock the map to your position until you tap the Auto Center button again to unlock it. You can find this setting in More > Settings > Auto Center Deactivate.
Track Log Record Button
ForeFlight’s Auto-track Logging feature is a great way to record your flights without having to remember to start and stop the recording, but it doesn’t always work perfectly and sometimes captures too much information before takeoff or after landing (like your drive home). The Track Log Edit feature allows you to trim your track logs to mitigate these issues, but the most reliable way of getting good track logs from the start is by manually starting and stopping the recordings. You can do this by tapping the REC button on the left side of the Maps view, which turns blue when the recording is in progress.
You may not consistently remember to do this, however, so we recommend you include this as a step in your preflight and postflight checklists, which is an easy addition if you are using ForeFlight’s built-in Checklist feature. You can enable the manual start/stop button in Map Settings > Track Log Record Button.
When flying cross-country VFR you might decide to detour from the simple route you planned. By the time you’re ready to return to the planned route, you’re way off course. To update the remainder of the route to reflect your current position, tap the next waypoint in your route and tap Direct To in the top left of the Maps Sidebar. ForeFlight clears the entire route up to that point and replaces it with a direct line from your current position. Direct To does not change any part of your route after the selected waypoint, only the route legs before that point. You can also access Direct To by tapping any of your route’s waypoints in the Bubble Editor or tapping the right-facing arrow next to the waypoint name in the FPLNavLog.
Revising the previous example, let’s say you didn’t take a big detour but instead cut a corner between route legs. If you do this early enough, you might notice the route colors not updating to show your current, past, and future legs. Even worse, you look at ForeFlight’s Instrument Panel and see the ETE to Dest. time increasing, even as your distance to the destination is decreasing. By cutting the corner early, you confused ForeFlight into thinking that you did not complete the leg you were on, so its ETE calculation assumes that you’re going to fly back to the waypoint you skipped before continuing.
Instead of being stuck with unrealistic ETE estimates for the rest of the flight, tap the next leg in the route (the one you’re currently on, after cutting the corner) and tap Fly Leg. ForeFlight immediately updates the route colors to show your current leg as active, and the up-counting ETE problem disappears. You can also access this feature from the Bubble Editor by tapping the arrow buttons in the NavLog.
Airspace Auto Highlight
ForeFlight’s Profile View feature with airspace depictions is a great way to check if your planned route or current heading will intersect the airspace you would prefer to avoid, but it isn’t the only way to accomplish this. The Auto Highlight feature (accessible in Map Settings > Airspace > Auto Highlight) dims most airspace, decreasing the thickness and brightness of the lines that define airspace boundaries. However, it doesn’t dim any airspace that intersects your planned route or current heading, thereby “highlighting” that airspace to make it stand out.
Note that you need to have the Aeronautical Map layer enabled to expose this setting. The dimming/ highlighting only affects that layer’s airspace depictions, so this won’t change how the VFR Sectional, for example, depicts airspace.
The Send To button is one of the most important things in ForeFlight. It’s the final piece of the puzzle that turns the app from a collection of isolated features and workflows into a unified whole. This feature’s most obvious use case is sending planned routes from Maps to Flights and vice versa, allowing you to file without building them from scratch in the Flights view. With the new Flight Binders feature in Plates, you can send routes from either Maps or Flights to Plates to instantly select your departure/destination airports and the plates for any procedures in your route.
In addition, you can send routes to Logbook to automatically populate time and distance-based fields and speed up the logging process.You can share a planned route with any other pilot from the Flights tab by entering their email, and the flight will appear on their account if they accept the share. If you want to share the Navlog, Briefing, and ICAO flight plan form as a PDF, you can do so with Share PDF. If you like printing out your procedure plates or airport diagrams to include them with a paper checklist in a clipboard, you can do it by using the Send To button in Plates. So be sure to take a moment to see what options are available in each page’s Send To menu whenever you notice it.