Flight Notifications and NOTAM Advisor Deliver Superior Awareness of Conditions Affecting Your Flight

As you well know, the wall-of-text preflight weather briefing we receive from the FAA has not changed all that much over the last several decades. We believe in a better way to deliver this information that is more targeted, easier to digest, and will help you stay better informed on every flight. With ForeFlight Mobile 6.5 we unveil two firsts in mobile flight planning capabilities that advance preflight weather briefings in two key areas: flight conditions monitoring and NOTAMs.

Flight Notifications Keep You Ahead of the Weather

The first new capability is Flight Notifications. ForeFlight monitors your planned flight and synthesizes flight condition alerts from its systems and from others, including Lockheed Martin’s Adverse Conditions Alerting Service (ACAS). When a significant change in route or weather conditions is detected we send you a notification containing a summary and detailed description of the condition.

1-Flight-Notifications

Flight Notifications shown in the File & Brief view.

A critical gap in communication can occur in the time between getting a flight briefing and taking-off when there is potential for you to miss updates to flight conditions. ForeFlight co-founder Jason Miller experienced this situation while preparing for a flight home from Ohio:

Icing Flight Notification

 

“A new icing airmet came in shortly after I filed. The notification came right to my iPad and made me aware of the change in weather conditions. I was able to take the new information into account before leaving the ground. Without the notification, I might have missed it.”

 

 

Flight Notifications addresses this pilot awareness gap by delivering any new or modified condition information to your mobile device as it occurs. Flight Notifications are also tied to ForeFlight’s Sync system, meaning notifications get delivered to all of your devices.

Flight Notifications detail view

Flight Notification detail view.

Notifications include updates to: TFRs, airport/runway closed/unsafe NOTAMs, urgent PIREPs, SIGMETs, Convective SIGMETs, AIRMETs, Center Weather Advisories (CWAs), and Severe Weather Watches/Warnings.

How To Receive Flight Notifications

There are two Settings in ForeFlight Mobile that control this feature.

Flight Notifications use ForeFlight’s Sync platform so you will need to turn this on in order to receive the notifications. Enable Sync by navigating to More > Settings, then scroll all the way to the bottom.

Synchronize User Data Setting

Turn Sync ON in the More > Settings view.

The second setting is found in the flight plan form. You can choose to turn Flight Notifications ON or OFF for each individual flight plan you file.

Flight Notifications flight plan form setting.

Turn Flight Notifications ON in the flight plan form.

Flight Notifications are delivered to flight plans filed via ForeFlight Mobile using Lockheed Martin as the filing service. Filing your flight with Lockheed Martin does not require any special action, simply tap ‘File’ from the File & Brief view. You will need to disconnect your DUATS account in order to receive Flight Notifications. Navigate to the More > Accounts view to sign out of DUATS.

Flight Notifications appear as an entry at the top of your flight plan form and a badge alert on the File & Brief tab notifies you that updates to route conditions are available to view. Each notification includes a brief summary, as well as a more detailed description.

Flight Notifications is a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

NOTAM Advisor for Instrument Procedures and Airports

The second capability is a feature we call NOTAM Advisor. When you display an instrument procedure or an airport diagram, ForeFlight cross checks its system for procedure and location specific NOTAMS and displays a warning banner that shows a count of relevant NOTAMs. Tap the banner to view the NOTAMs that are matched to the airport or instrument procedure.

NOTAM Advisor on airport diagram

A red banner on the airport diagram or instrument procedure alerts you to view related NOTAMs.

It is easy to miss a procedure NOTAM during planning. The FAA continues to work towards standardization, but the current state of the FAA’s NOTAM system and wall-of-text briefings make it difficult or very time consuming to ensure that you’ve caught everything. ForeFlight’s NOTAM Advisor proactively notifies you of relevant NOTAMs which may apply to the instrument procedures you intend to fly. It is not a guarantee that all NOTAMs can be matched due to the gaps in standardization that still exist, but we continue to refine our matching process.

Viewing the NOTAM Advisor

NOTAM Advisor filters notices based on the airport diagram, SID, STAR, instrument approach, or departure procedure you are viewing. Tap on the red banner for quick access to the notices.

Tap on the red banner to access NOTAMs.

 

Keyword highlight on NOTAM Advisor

 

When it is possible to detect them, key words are highlighted to indicate important information.

 

 

 

 

NOTAM Advisor is available to all ForeFlight subscribers.

More Improvements and Fixes in ForeFlight Mobile 6.5:

  • Optimization for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. Compatibility with the higher resolution screens enables ForeFlight Mobile to show more information without scrolling (e.g. favorites and recents lists).
  • Auto-show taxi is expanded to the Maps view. When turned ON and in the Maps view, Show Taxi on Map automatically switches to the current airport taxi diagram without leaving the Maps view. This allows you to continue in Track Up mode after landing.
  • Improvements to Stratus platform to ensure the integrity of secure communications between the Stratus 2 and ForeFlight Mobile.
  • Improvements to airport services information.
  • New helper messages when filing flight plans.
  • Improvements for better performance on iOS 8.1.

ForeFlight Mobile 6.5 is a free update from the App Store and is available to all current customers. Click here for instructions on updating to the latest version.

New Airport Diagrams from ForeFlight

Last week we launched over 400 ForeFlight-generated, geo-referenced airport diagrams as part of a mid-cycle 1404 data update. These new diagrams provide situational awareness at airports that would not otherwise have this type of information available. At unfamiliar destinations, large or small, we find it helpful to have ownship position as a tool for navigating on the ground. Especially at night.

ForeFlight airport diagrams are geo-referenced for position overlay, a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

ForeFlight airport diagrams are geo-referenced for position overlay, a ForeFlight Mobile Pro feature.

In addition to geo-referencing, the diagrams integrate with all of the existing ForeFlight features like plates on maps, annotations, runway proximity advisor alerts, and the auto-display of the diagram upon landing.

The locations in this first batch were chosen based on a combination of airport operation count and frequency of flight plans filed to the airport; excluded are those airports for which the FAA already has a diagram. Here is the current list of airports for which ForeFlight has created a diagram, as well as the locations that are on deck for the next data update:

Here is the current ForeFlight Airport Diagram list. Locations in blue are slated for the upcoming May 1 data cycle (1405).

Here is the current ForeFlight Airport Diagram list. Locations in blue are slated for the upcoming May 1 data cycle (1405).

The order of creating diagrams for locations is modified if we have a reason to bump up the priority such as lots of requests for a specific airport or an upcoming fly-in. If you don’t see your airport listed, be sure to tell us to #ForeFlightMyAirport on Twitter or Facebook and we will adjust its priority for upcoming database updates (don’t forget to include the airport identifier).

Lots of improvements are planned and we’ll be sweeping back through each location to add taxi labels where applicable and other layers of information.

Please note that ForeFlight Airport Diagrams require ForeFlight Mobile 6 or higher.

As always, we encourage your feedback at team@foreflight.com.

New Data Cycle, New Improved FAA Digital VFR Charts

The FAA has greatly improved its digital-Visual Chart (d-VC) production process and we are pleased to incorporate the new style of charts into ForeFlight Mobile with data cycle 1404 effective April 3. Previously, the digital raster files were produced by scanning a printed chart. The new style Sectional and Terminal Area Charts are created directly from digital files, resulting in a crisper, brighter image, improved geo-referencing, and slightly smaller file sizes. Here are some examples of the before and after shown in the ForeFlight Mobile maps view. These look especially nice on the iPad Retina display:

ForeFlight Mobile 3 Takes Flight on the iPhone

We are proud to announce ForeFlight Mobile 3, the latest edition of our flagship pilot productivity and Preflight Intelligence™ app for iPhone and iPod.  ForeFlight Mobile 3 was redesigned  from nose to tail. With innovations like HD NEXRAD Slip Maps™, future flight plan filing, and a new and flexible download manager, v3.0 lets you plan and visualize your flight faster and easier than ever before. Our improved weather presentation technologies improve pre-flight situational awareness and increase pilot confidence, helping us realize the ForeFlight vision of improving safety and making pilots more productive.  Hundreds of new features and a completely redesigned user interface make ForeFlight Mobile 3 the must-have companion for any student, private, instrument, commercial, airline transport, or military pilot.

New features in ForeFlight Mobile 3:

  • Brand new Slip Maps™ with slideable, zoomable maps for weather and charts.
  • Flight routes displayed over animated, QICP-certified  HD NEXRAD and satellite.
  • Full screen, downloadable, GPS-integrated moving map VFR sectionals.
  • Full screen, downloadable, GPS-integrated moving map IFR high and low enroute charts.
  • One-tap Intelligent Flight Briefings via DUATS with smart refresh, briefing email confirmations, and archival on ForeFlight servers for extra assurance.
  • Redesigned route planning with NAVAID support and wind-corrected flight plans.
  • New flight plan filing system with future flight plans more than 24 hours in the future, favorite aircraft, offline access, and automatic import from ForeFlight 2.
  • Brand new download manager with downloads of airport diagrams, procedures, and sectionals for the entire United States. Choose to download procedures for offline use one at a time, by airport, or by state.
  • Ability to pause, resume, and cancel downloads.
  • Redesigned airport interface for faster access to airports, weather, and imagery.
  • Global airport database with the best information from the FAA, AOPA Airport Directory, and Universal Weather and Aviation’s UVTripPlanner airport directories.
  • Redesigned NOTAMs organized by airport, TFRs, and regional ARTCC.
  • Local storage of all airport procedures, charts, briefings, and flight plans so you can view them offline.

ForeFlight Mobile 3 is the culmination of many months of hard work and collaborations with partners.  All of the new features are based on feedback from our passionate user community. We kept the best parts of ForeFlight Mobile 2.4, redesigned the rest from the ground up, and optimized everything. We spent months sweating pixels, testing out on the runway, and designing to fit the pilot workflow – all to create what we believe is the best aviation app for the iPhone.

ForeFlight would like to specially welcome aboard our newest partner, Weather Decision Technologies, whom we collaborated with for the past year to develop the technology that powers our new weather Slip Maps™. Thanks also go to our partners at the AOPA, Universal Weather and Aviation, and RunwayFinder.com helping us make ForeFlight Mobile 3 possible.

In July 2008, ForeFlight Mobile 2 launched alongside Apple’s new App Store to critical acclaim, becoming the highest rated iPhone aviation product in the App Store and a top five seller in the App Store’s weather category. In addition to a comprehensive airport directory, ForeFlight Mobile provides color-coded METARs, TAFs, winds aloft, infrared satellite, NOTAMs, graphical TFRs, FBOs, and flight plan filing.  ForeFlight users are part of a passionate community of aviators that enjoy the benefits of real-time support, quick fixes, frequent updates, and personable service. ForeFlight Mobile 3 builds upon this legacy of excellence, bringing more data, brilliant HD NEXRAD, and visual airport intelligence to pilots around the world.

ForeFlight Mobile 3 is available immediately in the iPhone App Store as a free download and includes the first 30 days of a ForeFlight Mobile Subscription. Subscription prices range from $49.99 for the first year for existing ForeFlight customers to $74.99 for the first year for new customers.

ForeFlight Charts: Now Includes Alaska VFR Sectionals

Last night we launched VFR sectional chart coverage for Alaska for our pilot friends up north. Alaska coverage presented unique challenges: the whole area is about 50% of the size of the contiguous US (thus a lot of disk space and additional processing required), and the mercator projection has interesting effects on geographical areas far from the equator (i.e. Alaska).

No update to ForeFlight charts is required.  Enter ANC (Anchorage) in the search bar to see an example.

ForeFlight Charts 1.0: iPhone Sectionals and Terminal Charts

We’re proud to announce our newest iPhone app: ForeFlight Charts 1.0! ForeFlight Charts makes exploring FAA VFR Sectional Charts and planning simple routes of flight a breeze! Effortlessly zoom through the airspace along a route of flight, compute the estimated time en-route and fuel burn, or calculate total trip distance.

  • Pinch, drag, and zoom FAA Sectional Charts in the continental United States, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico.
  • Zoom into major airports to see FAA Terminal Charts.
  • Draw a route of flight using two or more airport identifiers, ground speed, and fuel burn.
  • Airport elevation and tower/CTAF frequencies displayed within airport markers.
  • ‘Follow Me’ functionality that uses the iPhone’s location support to enable moving map functionality.
  • Display ground speed, true course, and altitude when in Follow Me mode.
  • Rotation support for browsing charts and routes in landscape mode.
  • Default settings for ground speed and fuel burn.

Give your Preflight Intelligence™ toolbox a boost and download Charts 1.0 today!  ForeFlight Charts v1.0 is available in the iPhone App Store for $9.99/year (USD).

ForeFlight Charts Thumbnails