ForeFlight Mobile’s Helper Messages Make Filing Easier

ForeFlight Mobile has two kinds of helper messages to assist with the flight plan filing process. These messages ensure that you file with accuracy and avoid potential issues with ATC down the line.

The first type of helper message is a warning. Warnings are new in ForeFlight Mobile version 6.5 and appear when something doesn’t look quite right in the Route or Altitude fields.

In the route field, the main thing ForeFlight will be looking for is an invalid or mistyped fix. The warning gives you an opportunity to double-check that you have entered the route as intended before you file. There may be route codes or other route elements that the app is not familiar with and so you can still file your flight plan when this warning is triggered.

An example of a route element warning.

An example of a route element warning.

A warning will also be triggered if you select an altitude that does not agree with your direction or type of flight:

An example of an altitude warning where an altitude of 12,000 was chosen for an eastbound IFR flight.

An example of an altitude warning where an altitude of 12,000 was chosen for an eastbound IFR flight.

Similar to the route field warning, the altitude warning gives you a chance to ensure you have entered the proper altitude before you file.

The second type of helper message is an error. Errors are more restrictive in that they prevent you from filing a flight plan until they are corrected. Errors include things like: not enough fuel to meet required reserves, incomplete ICAO profile elements, and invalid departure times.

Not enough fuel error

An example flight plan error indicating not enough fuel to meet required reserves.

Flight Plan Acknowledgment Notifications From ATC

In our continued integration with Lockheed Martin AFSS services (LMFS), ForeFlight Mobile now sends an acknowledgment notification when ATC accepts your flight plan.

The acknowledgment is sent after your plan is filed and within the 3-hours to ETD window.

The acknowledgment notification is in addition to the existing “Filing succeeded: Your flight plan was filed” message that appears upon filing your flight plan, and is additional assurance that your flight plan has been accepted by ATC.

The filing succeeded message appears after tapping the File button, when your flight plan is successfully transmitted to Lockheed Martin.

The filing succeeded message appears after tapping the File button, when your flight plan is successfully transmitted to Lockheed Martin.

Push Notifications must be turned ON for ForeFlight in order to receive the ATC acknowledgment message. You can manage this in your iOS Settings by navigating to your Settings app, then Notification Center.

Within the Settings app on your iOS device, tap on ForeFlight in your Notification Center list, then select your preferences.

Here’s what you’ll see when you file your flight plan through ForeFlight Mobile using LMFS:

  • When your ETD is less than 3 hours, you will see the filing succeeded message after tapping the ‘File’ button, followed shortly by the ATC acknowledgment notification.
  • When your ETD is more than 3 hours, you will receive the filing succeeded message after tapping the ‘File’ button. The ATC acknowledgment will be sent at around the 3 hours to departure point.

IMPORTANT TIP: To set your filing preference to Lockheed Martin, you will need to sign out of your DUATS account from within the ForeFlight Mobile app. Navigate to More > Accounts > Account Logins. Tap on the CSC DUATS line and sign out if you have your DUATS account linked to ForeFlight. Please note that you will still receive your DUATS route briefing in the app.

Navigate to More > Accounts > Account logins to sign out of your DUATS account.

Navigate to More > Accounts > Account logins to sign out of your DUATS account.

ForeFlight Mobile automatically files all ICAO type flight plans through LMFS. FAA/Domestic flight plans are filed through DUATS if you have DUATS credentials entered on the Accounts screen.

The ATC acknowledgment notifications are available to both Standard and Pro subscribers.

Cleared As Filed: A Tip For Amending Flight Plans

One tip to make your flight preparation more efficient is to amend your filed IFR/YFR flight plan based on the expected route clearance sent via ForeFlight’s Flight Alerts (a Pro feature). This will set you up to be cleared as filed when you contact ATC. Here’s how:

Amend your ICAO flight plan right in the app.

Amend your ICAO flight plan right in the app.

Once you file your IFR flight plan and you receive an expected route notification (you won’t necessarily get one every time you file):

  1. Copy the new route from your expected route notification email to the iOS clipboard.
  2. Open ForeFlight to the File & Brief View and select the flight plan you wish to Amend.
  3. Tap Amend and paste the new route into the route field.
  4. Make any other modifications as needed, then tap File Changes.

Now when you go to contact ATC, the amended flight plan is on file and you’ll be cleared as filed. Taking a few moments to amend your plan in-app before you even start the engine(s) is a lot easier and less stressful compared to quickly copying down a new clearance in the cockpit.

Amend is a new capability in ForeFlight Mobile 6.0 enabled by our integration with Lockheed Martin AFSS.

How to add Filing with ForeFlight Mobile to your Documents.

How to add Filing with ForeFlight Mobile to your Documents.

To use amend, your flight plan must be filed through ForeFlight Mobile using the ICAO format. And to help with that, we have a new Filing with ForeFlight Mobile Guide available in the Documents catalog to guide you through every step to filing in the ICAO format.

IFR/YFR flight plans can be amended or canceled up to 30 minutes before the filed estimated time of departure. VFR/ZFR flight plans can be amended or cancelled up to 2 hours after the filed estimated time of departure.

ForeFlight Mobile 6.0 Now Available On The App Store

ForeFlight Mobile 6 is now available for download from the App Store. This release is full of new features and sets the stage for even more to come. This update brings a refined interface throughout the app, a new Profile view, additions to flight plan filing capabilities, enhancements to Stratus, and more. Please note this update requires iOS 7.1 or higher. Here are the new features in detail:

Refined Interface

Refine has been a theme for us and so we have gone through every page and view of the app to create a more consistent interface with better readability and contrast, without fundamentally changing the app experience. Here are some screen shots to help compare the previous look with the new refinements (click on the first image to start the carousel):

No Sneak Peaks With Profile View

The new Profile view takes our Hazard Advisor feature into vertical mode and gives you a side view of terrain and obstacles along your planned route. With dynamic color alerting you will know at a glance whether your selected altitude will keep you clear of terrain and obstacle hazards. In flight, Profile shows your current altitude in relation to obstacles or terrain ahead of your track. Profile is a ForeFlight Pro and iPad only feature.

Profile view in flight

Profile view in flight

Here’s a video to walk you through the new Profile feature:

To get started with Profile, open the NavLog/Route Editor box. You will see the new mode option in the lower right:

Profile mode button

Profile mode button

Planning With Profile

To use Profile for flight planning, begin by entering a departure and destination into the editor and tap the Profile button to view the vertical cross-section of your route. Tap and drag the altitude box up and down to adjust your altitude and you will see the dynamic interaction with obstacles and terrain.

Tap-hold to move the altitude box

Tap-hold on the altitude box, then drag up and down to adjust your altitude selection

Along the top of the Profile box, you will see three values to help you plan your route clear of hazards:

Top bar of Profile view displays your clearance status

The top bar of Profile view displays your clearance status

  • Highest is the height of the highest terrain or obstacle along your route.
  • Clearance is the amount of vertical clearance you have over that highest terrain or obstacle along your route.
  • First Strike is the distance in nautical miles from your origin or current position where your first impact with terrain or an obstacle would be based on your current planned altitude.

The text color (and terrain color) changes according to our standard hazard alerting feature: yellow for terrain or obstacle between 1000’ and 100’ below your aircraft and red for higher hazards.

The middle band of the Profile is the graphical depiction of your route. The Profile automatically scales to show your entire route. You can zoom in and out with a two-finger pinch and spread gesture; pan by swiping left or right; drag the altitude box up and down to adjust the altitude. If your proposed altitude intersects an obstacle or terrain ahead, the sky area will change from blue to red at the point of first strike.

To make planning easier, the altitude selected in Profile mode is reflected back in the Edit view.

Changing your altitude in the Profile view also updates the Edit view

Changing your altitude in the Profile view also updates the Edit view

Routes within North America will display obstacles along your route depicted as thick vertical lines that change color based on your clearance height. Be sure to download obstacle and terrain data for offline use in the Download manager.

Obstacles in the Profile view

Obstacles shown in the Profile view

Waypoints along your route are depicted as white vertical lines and the waypoint name appears along the bottom of the Profile view.

Waypoints in the Profile view

Waypoints shown in the Profile view

You can also view the Profile of a ruler selection on the Maps view. Activate the ruler with a touch-hold gesture with two fingers on the Map. The Profile view will change to encompass just the area of the ruler. Tap away from the ruler to reset the Profile.

Tap hold with two fingers to display a Profile view for the ruler tool.

Touch-hold with two fingers to display a Profile view for the ruler tool

Touch-hold with one finger in the Profile to display the clearance tool. Drag your finger across the profile to see your clearance at each point along the route. As you do that, notice that the “dot” progresses along your route line and its color changes to reflect the hazard clearance at that point.

Profile clearance tool

The Profile clearance tool allows you to zero in on points along your route

Profile In Flight

Once you are airborne (> 40 knots), the Profile offers two inflight modes:

  • Aircraft mode abbreviates the Profile to display 50 nautical miles ahead on your track.
  • Route mode displays your entire planned route.

These modes are selectable via the Profile mode controller. In flight, the Aircraft mode continuously updates AGL and MSL values as you fly along.

New HUD instruments include Height AGL and Height MEF

New HUD instruments include Height AGL and Height MEF

You will also see two new instruments in the HUD: Height AGL and Height MEF. Height MEF (or dynamic Maximum Elevation Figure) is similar to VFR MEF and tells you the height of the highest obstacle or terrain within a 0.5 degree box around your current position.

Please note that Profile requires that you download obstacle and terrain data for offline use.

More Ways to File Smarter With Amend, Close, Cancel, and Activate Options

ForeFlight 6 builds on our integration with Lockheed Martin AFSS and we now offer you the ability to Activate and Close VFR flight plans, and Amend and Cancel both VFR and IFR flight plans, directly from the app.

New options to Activate, Close, Amend, and Cancel in the File & Brief view

New options to Activate, Close, Amend, and Cancel in the File & Brief view

One tip for streamlining your workflow is to Amend your IFR flight plan based on the expected route clearance update you receive via Flight Alerts (a ForeFlight Pro feature). Refiling with your expected route will set you up to be cleared as filed when you contact ATC. That’s less stress in the cockpit compared to copying down a new clearance.

Please note that amend, cancel, close, and activate via ForeFlight Mobile is not currently available with plans filed via DUATS.

New Stratus Features

ForeFlight 6 also comes with a free firmware upgrade for the Stratus 2 which will enable two new features: a split screen attitude indicator view and Stratus Replay. Extending iPad battery life is an important consideration, and the biggest battery savers are turning off the screen and turning down the brightness. Stratus Replay can effectively double the battery life of your iPad by allowing you to turn off the screen between uses. When the screen is turned on again, Stratus automatically sends ForeFlight any ADS-B weather that was missed, including radar, METARs, TAFs and PIREPs. This is helpful on a long cross country, offering 6+ hour battery life for your iPad and Stratus.

Stratus Replay is only available on Stratus 2, however Animated ADS-B radar is available to both ForeFlight Standard and Pro subscribers and on Stratus 1 and 2. Also note that ADS-B weather (and Stratus) requires iPad 2 or newer or iPhone 4 or newer.

Stratus’s built-in Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) drives the new split-screen attitude indicator view, providing backup attitude information to ForeFlight–complete with pitch, bank, ground speed, track and altitude. The attitude indicator updates multiple times per second so it moves smoothly, and it can be used in either portrait or landscape mode. While Stratus’s automatic AHRS calibration works in most cases, there are in app options for manual adjustment.

Attitude Indicator with ADS-B Traffic and Weather

Attitude Indicator with ADS-B Traffic and Weather

With these features, you can now view ADS-B weather, traffic, moving map and attitude all on the same screen.

ForeFlight 6 is a free update from the App Store and is available to all current subscribers. Click here for instructions on updating to the latest version.

Sexy(er) Flight Plan Filing Confirmations

We applied some elbow grease over the weekend and polished up the ForeFlight flight plan filing email confirmations.  Let us know what you think!

Now, instead of a boring text email confirmation, you get a sexier confirmation that includes color coded METARs and TAFs for the departure and destination airports and is presented via nicely formatted rich HTML.

Customers using both ForeFlight Mobile and ForeFlight File will now see the newly formatted email confirmations.  A screenshot of the new design is below:

File confirmation screenshot

Announcing ForeFlight File: iPhone Flight Plan Filing

Today we’re proud to unveil ForeFlight File, our latest iPhone aviation app. If you haven’t been ready to take the plunge into our more full-featured iPhone aviation application, ForeFlight File is a great way to get an inexpensive peek at one of the many features available in the ForeFlight Mobile suite.

iPhone Aviation

ForeFlight File is a simple flight plan filing utility for pilots designed for iPhone and iPod touch. File can submit flight plans without any special setup requirements, or you can file plans using your DUATS Access Code and get the extra assurance some pilots prefer. File was designed with the same attention to detail that ForeFlight customers expect, including such user interface gems as our Intelligent Aircraft Color Picker, altitude corrections for VFR and IFR flight plans, detailed email confirmations, detailed status messages when a flight plan fails to file for any reason, and a Fix feature for correcting flight plans that could not be filed for any reason.

Finally, a simple iPhone flight plan filing utility designed for pilots, by pilots!

Other features include:

  • Intelligent Altitude Selector sets the proper altitudes based on type of flight plan filed
  • iPhone-style pickers for time en route, fuel aboard, departure time, and cruise altitude
  • Previous and Next buttons to quickly progress from field to field
  • Complete history of all flight plans filed
  • A copy function to file a new flight plan from an existing flight plan
  • A delete function to remove old flight plans
  • Email confirmations that include a flight plan summary, flight plan details, current and forecast weather observations, and ForeFlight confirmation codes

ForeFlight File is available for purchase in the iPhone App Store for $4.99. All of the functionality in ForeFlight File can be found in the Flight Plans tab inside ForeFlight Mobile, so existing customers of ForeFlight Mobile need not purchase ForeFlight File.

Visit our web site to explore features and learn more about the latest addition to the ForeFlight family.

ForeFlight File! – Flight Plan Filing, ForeFlight style!

The team is pleased – well, we’re doing backflips we’re so excited – to announce the beta release of a feature we have been working on for quite some time now:

ForeFlight File! 

ForeFlight File!

Filed plans listingFile! is the first flight plan filing application for the iPhone to hit the market and it is integrated with ForeFlight’s AF/D, weather and logbook features.  File! is relief for iPhone toting pilots who have been clamoring for a competent filing application that takes advantage of the iPhone’s unique user interface capabilities.    

File! allows pilots (with a valid CSC DUATS account) to create, save, edit, and file flight plans with the FAA. File! keeps track of every flight plan you’ve filed so that you can use any historical flight as a template for a new one.  It also builds a database of aircraft you use in the background so that you don’t have to go through a “setup” process to get started.  Just log in and start filing, and File! intelligently figures out how YOU fly.    
 
We’re especially proud of how easy it is to use – it works hard so that you can file plans on-the-go with minimal fuss. No more waiting on hold with 800-WX-BRIEF for 15 minutes – just tap and file! You’ll be able to see your filed flight in File! and we’ll also send you a confirmation via email.

Flight Plan editing

Want to try it out? You’ll need a DUATS account login as well as a ForeFlight account. Once you have those two fly on over to the beta sign up form to join our testers group. Then just log in to ForeFlight like normal and click on the new “More” link at the top. Click the File! icon to get started. 

Keep in mind that during the beta period you may experience bugs here and there so please stick with us as we sort them out. Make sure you give us feedback on File! so we know what you like and what you don’t!