FAA to Begin Decommissioning VORs This Year

As part of the NextGen initiative to adopt a Performance Based Navigation (PBN) airway structure supported by GPS, the FAA is moving forward with plans to decommission approximately 30% of currently operating domestic VORs over the next 10 years. The VORs left behind will constitute a minimum operational network, intended to support conventional navigation in the event of a GPS outage, while not tying up resources maintaining unnecessary and underused VORs. The decommission process will take place in two phases, with the first phase lasting from 2016 to 2020, and the second phase lasting from 2021 to 2025.

Although the FAA has not released specific dates for when each VOR will be decommissioned, they have provided a list of the first 35 VORs that have been approved for decommissioning, and in what phase of the project each will be removed.

The removal of these VORs will have a large effect on the domestic airway structure and instrument procedures at many airports, and these changes will be reflected in the charts and data available in ForeFlight. Therefore we will continue to track this process and update you when specific dates are announced for each VOR.

New SIDs Published for KATL

The FAA recently approved a set of new departure procedures for KATL, and we included these in ForeFlight’s most recent data cycle update. The new SIDs are designed to make use of existing Performance-Based Navigation (PBN) technology, and will fully replace 16 of the current SIDs later this year. For now, however, these new SIDs are only to be assigned by ATC; flights out of Atlanta should continue to be filed with the current SIDs until the implementation is completed. A NOTAM to this effect has been published for KATL.

The new SIDs will fully replace the current ones later this year

In addition to these replacement SIDs, a new WIGLE1 SID was published for use during special events, and is also ATC assigned only.

A flight plan using one of the new SIDs may be accepted by ForeFlight, but will likely be rejected once it reaches the ATC computer, and even if accepted, will only cause coordination problems for both ATC and the pilot, so be sure to review the NOTAM before filing so you don’t accidentally use the wrong SID and have your clearance rejected. Of course, if ATC assigns you one of the new SIDs, you can use ForeFlight’s Procedure Advisor to load the route information onto the Maps view.

FAA Releases Advisory Ahead of Super Bowl 50

In preparation for the large amount of air traffic expected around San Francisco before and after Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, the FAA has released a set of guidelines for aircraft operating in the area. These include a requirement that pilots obtain ramp reservations at numerous nearby airports, as well as restrictions on what routes can be filed to or from those airports.

The notice from the FAA can be found in Documents > Catalog > FAA

For your convenience, the latest data release includes a document detailing these guidelines, which can be found in the FAA section of the ForeFlight Documents Catalog. The document outlines special traffic management procedures, and guidance on the NOTAMs and TFRs that will be in place prior to the event. This information can also be found online at the FAA’s website. We encourage any pilots who plan to fly in or out of Northern California over the next week to review this information before planning a flight.

How to Comply with Part 135 Air Ambulance Obstacle Requirement Using ForeFlight

You may be familiar with some of the regulations governing how FAA Part 135 aircraft operators prepare for and conduct flights, but did you know that helicopter air ambulance operators have a number of special rules all to themselves under Part 135? One of these requires the pilot of any VFR flight to identify and document the highest obstacle along the planned route (§135.615). This ensures that the pilot briefs this potential hazard and determines the minimum safe altitude for the flight.

While a good safety measure to prevent collisions, the requirement has been a pain point for some operators as the somewhat vague guidance to “identify and document” is left open to interpretation. Not to mention that some methods of complying with the requirement could take up a good chunk of a pilot’s preflight preparation time, which is at a premium with air ambulance operations.

Fortunately for air ambulance operators using ForeFlight, there is a fast and easy method of complying with the highest obstacle requirement in the app itself. This method employs ForeFlight’s Profile view (available with Pro and Pro Plus subscriptions).

Viewing obstacles along your route using Profile view

Start by entering departure and destination points in the Route Editor, then tap Profile to view the vertical cross-section of the planned route.

Terrain and obstacles are dynamically highlighted based on relative height to your selected altitude. Tap and hold anywhere in the Profile window (other than directly under the altitude box) and a vertical dotted line and box will appear showing that point’s altitude in MSL, the clearance in feet between the point and your planned altitude, and the distance of that point from your departure point. Dragging your finger right or left shows this information for any point along your route. The selected point is also displayed on the “top-down” view of your route below, revealing where the point is along your route.

Use Profile view to measure and document the highest obstacle along your route.

The profile window also allows for pinch-zooming and dragging so you can unclutter nearby obstacles. You can change the total width of the corridor shown in Profile by tapping the button at the bottom-right of the window and tapping “Corridor Width” at the bottom of the popup.

Using Profile view allows the highest obstacle along a route to be easily identified. As for “documenting” it, simply place the dotted line on the highest point and take a screenshot by pressing the iPad’s home and lock buttons at the same. The screenshot can then be accessed and shared from the iPad’s Photos app, or from a cloud storage app like Dropbox.

A number of air ambulance operators using ForeFlight have shared with us how this feature helps them comply with the highest obstacle requirement. We hope this helps you, too.

All FBOs Check-in with ForeFlight at 2016 NBAA S&D Conference

Team ForeFlight will be on hand at the 2016 NBAA Schedulers & Dispatchers Conference this week—stop by and visit with Jamie and Linda in Booth #100. Products on demonstration include ForeFlight’s FBO Directory, ForeFlight Web (our web-based flight planning platform), and JetFuelX (a planning tool that helps operators manage contract fuel memberships).

ForeFlight FBOs on Taxi Charts

More than 2700 FBO locations are mapped on ForeFlight Taxi Charts. Featured listings are highlighted in yellow and pilots can access listing details right from the taxi chart view.

Corporate, fractional, and charter operators use ForeFlight everyday for fuel stop and destination planning, and they are thrilled with our new FBOs on Taxi Charts feature. FBOs on Taxi Charts allow pilots to see exactly where your business is located on the field and to access FBO Directory listings right from the taxi chart view.

As an FBO, you have the opportunity to enhance your listing in the most widely used aviation app so that your business stands out above the rest. At the exhibit, we can show you a live demo of what your business listing looks like and what our customers see in real-time. In addition, check out this article from Linda Street-Ely, our ForeFlight Directory Manager, for pro tips on the features of Directory.

We also recently announced the acquisition of JetFuelX—a free web–based fuel card management service that makes it easy for owners and operators of turbine aircraft to save money by quickly finding the lowest prices available from their multiple jet fuel discount program memberships. FBOs and fuel providers benefit, too, as you can build your fuel discount program membership and efficiently distribute pricing data to customers. If you are interested in integrating your fuel discount program, contact info@jetfuelx.com to learn more.

See you in Tampa!

How To Find Valuable Planning Info in ForeFlight’s FBO Directory

As ForeFlight Directory Manager, I communicate daily with FBOs and other businesses of interest to pilots. I love to help businesses get the most out of their presence in the ForeFlight Business Directory, and to help ForeFlight subscribers know where to find that information. Here are some Pro Tips on ForeFlight Directory features that everyone can use:

Finding Fuel Prices
Fuel prices can be viewed as an interactive Map layer as well as within an FBO directory listing.

ForeFlight Directory listing on maps view.

ForeFlight Directory List view shown on the Maps view. Turn on the “Fuel: 100LL” layer and tap on a marker to view FBO details.

The price that is shown on the Fuel: 100LL layer in the Maps view and on the FBO List view (found by tapping the FBOs button in the Airport view or by tapping on a marker in the Maps view) is a summary of the lowest price options. An FBO that sells both full-service and self-serve 100LL will likely have two different prices. Tap on the business listing to reveal more information and ensure you are viewing all available 100LL fuel prices.

ForeFlight Directory detail view on Maps layer

In this example, tap directly on the ACI Jet listing to reveal more FBO details and all available retail fuel prices they offer.

We actively partner with FBOs to help them keep their listing information and fuel prices up-to-date. However, if you find the price you pay at the pump is different from our last update, you can help update the price right through the app. To submit fuel price updates, from the Airport view, tap FBOs, then tap on the FBO of choice. On the lower right corner, tap Update Fuel Prices. Enter the current price and tap Submit.

The ACI Jet detail view is shown here in the Airports view. The airport Comment and FBOs buttons are highlighted in the upper right. The Add Comment and Update Fuel Prices buttons specifically for ACI Jet are highlighted at the bottom of the listing window.

Many businesses add a custom description, tappable links to their website and social media, photos, affiliate service badges, and company logo. The Business Directory is rich with data and images to help pilots and trip planners make more informed decisions.

Sharing Your Experience With Comments
ForeFlight customers can submit two kinds of comments: feedback on the airport in general and feedback on the specific business they visited.

We hope you have a great experience to share with fellow pilots, however if there is an issue we encourage you to contact the FBO or other business directly first to resolve the situation. Comments are published unedited (with the exception of gate codes and special fuel prices) and identify you as the commenter using the part of your email address that is before the “@” sign.

Airport Comments buttonNotice there are two areas within the Airport Comments section: Remarks and Comments. Remarks are official Airport Remarks published by the airport manager or sponsor through the FAA. Comments are submitted by ForeFlight subscribers and are based on the subscriber’s personal experience at that airport.

FBOs on Taxi Charts
We have received lots of positive feedback on our FBOs on Taxi Charts feature. Fuel seller locations are mapped with an interactive marker right on the taxi chart. Tap on the FBO button in the upper left area of the taxi chart to turn the markers on and off. Tap the marker to see information about the FBO without leaving the chart view.

ForeFlight Directory listing shown on taxi chart

FBOs on Taxi Charts makes FBOs easy to find after the pilot lands. All of the Directory listing details are available right on the taxi chart view.

Questions about ForeFlight Directory? I’d love to hear from you! I’m on frequency at directory@foreflight.com.

ForeFlight Acquires JetFuelX

JetFuelX on any device

We are thrilled to announce this exciting addition to ForeFlight. JetFuelX is a free web-based fuel card management service that makes it easy for owners and operators of turbine aircraft to save money by quickly finding the lowest prices available from their multiple jet fuel discount program memberships.

JetFuelX, A ForeFlight CompanyJetFuelX is designed to help everyone from individual pilots to large flight departments, including charter operators, quickly pinpoint the best jet fuel prices and eliminate the frustrating and time-consuming task of managing and comparing multiple fuel card and FBO discount programs. Customers can manage unlimited fuel card memberships and aircraft profiles, view all prices available at the planned destination, compare prices in real-time with nearby airports, and submit fuel releases in a matter of seconds. The simple search function returns discount pricing information at the planned destination, as well as the nearest airports, in a neatly organized list or interactive map view.

In addition, JetFuelX provides a solution for fuel providers and FBOs to efficiently distribute pricing data to their members. FBOs and fuel providers who are interested in integrating with JetFuelX, please contact info@jetfuelx.com.

Existing JetFuelX customers can continue to enjoy the benefits of this free service. If you are a ForeFlight customer, you can also login with your existing ForeFlight credentials and use the JetFuelX platform at no additional charge. New customers are encouraged to sign up for a free account at www.jetfuelx.com.

Be sure to check out our helpful videos to get you up and running:

 

As always, we are on frequency at team@foreflight.com if you have any questions.

Got Echo Tops?

While not rare, it is a pleasant surprise to see a fairly quiet radar mosaic stretching from coast to coast. Unless you are specifically looking for nasty weather, a tranquil radar usually means decent flying weather, outside of cold clouds, in most locations that are not reporting low ceilings and reduced visibility due to a radiation fog event. This also means you may not see some of the other familiar markers you’d normally expect to be displayed on the Map with the radar layer on. One of these markers that is often missing is the echo top heights.

Benign Radar

Overall, a fairly benign radar with the most significant returns in southern California.

First, let’s get one thing out of the way; echo tops are not the same as cloud tops. Cloud tops are always higher. Second, echo tops represent the mean sea level (MSL) height of the highest radar echo of 18 dBZ or greater. Third, echo tops heights are added to the NEXRAD mosaic in ForeFlight only when the echo tops consistently exceed 20,000 feet MSL. In other words, you won’t see an echo tops report of 15,000 feet, for example. So it’s understandable for customers to believe echo tops may be “missing” from the radar mosaic when the radar is fairly benign. Moreover, there may be some intense-looking echoes in various locations, even some with storm tracks and mesoscale circulations shown, but no echo top heights anywhere to be found. Let’s take a look at a recent example.

In the image above, notice that most of the U.S. is enjoying an early evening free of any significant weather. A few light echoes in southeast Arizona, some light snow in Montana and Idaho, showery precipitation in western Washington and probably the most intense area of weather in southern California. Zooming in on that area below, there are some areas with reflectivity values greater than 40 dBZ (yellow and orange) indicating moderate precipitation. But there’s not a single echo top height displayed even though there are several storm tracks identified. The storm tracks are there since the cellular structure and the relative high reflectivity of the echoes has triggered the NEXRAD algorithms to generate one. However, this algorithm is completely independent of the echo top height.

Southern-CA

Cellular returns indicate showery precipitation. A few cells have storm tracks defined, but despite their intensity, no echo tops are shown.

Despite the intensity of these cells in southern California, the echo top heights are likely below 20,000 feet. Since cloud tops are higher than echo tops, let’s examine the cloud top height in this area. The best way to determine the height of cloud tops is to examine the satellite imagery in ForeFlight like the color-enhanced infrared satellite image shown below. This satellite image shows the cloud top temperature. Notice the pale green colors within the black circle where the most significant returns are located. Using the color bar at the top of the image, these solid pale green colors equate to a cloud top temperature of about -20 degrees Celsius.

IR-Image

The color-enhanced infrared satellite image shows the temperature of the surface of the earth or temperature of the cloud tops. In this case, clouds in southern California have cloud top temperatures of -20 degrees Celsius.

Once the cloud top temperatures are known, it’s a simple process to compare this cloud top temperature against the temperatures aloft using ForeFlight. Below are the Winds and Temperatures aloft for Bakersfield near one of the more intense cells at this same time. This clearly shows at 18,000 feet MSL the temperatures were -6 degrees Fahrenheit or -21 degrees Celsius. So cloud tops in this region were definitely below 20,000 feet.

Temperature Aloft

The ForeFlight Winds and Temperatures aloft show a temperature of -6 degrees Fahrenheit (-21 degrees Celsius) at 18,000 feet MSL over Bakersfield.

If you were paying close attention to the radar loop, you may have noticed that one lone echo top height marker appears (pointed to by the red arrow below) of 201 indicating an echo top height of 20,100 feet in this cell. So when you see a lack of echo tops reported, it just may be that those tops are below 20,000 feet.

One Lone Echo Top

A single echo top height of 20,100 feet MSL did pop up on the radar loop bolstering the idea that most echo tops were below 20,000 feet.

Getting Into The Forecaster’s Head

With ForeFlight 7.5 you’ll have the ability to peer into the minds of forecasters. Yeah, I know… scary thought! No, we haven’t developed a method for mental telepathy within the app; but, we now provide access to the forecaster’s thinking about the latest set of Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts (TAFs) they recently issued. These are referred to as Area Forecast Discussions or AFDs. Let’s take a look at how these can be used in your routine flight planning.

Let’s say you are planning to fly into Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT) arriving in the early afternoon around 1800 UTC and the latest terminal forecast issued at 1140 UTC shows good visibility (P6SM) with showers in the vicinity (VCSH) and a broken ceiling at 7,000 feet (BKN070) at the time of your proposed arrival. Does this worry you even a little bit? After all, high-base rain showers in the vicinity of the airport appears to be fairly harmless even for a pilot flying VFR? Actually, this should concern you – this may just be a forecast for thunder.

CLT-Terminal-Area

The red circle annotated here on the Charlotte TAC represents the 5 statute mile radius of the Charlotte Douglas Airport (KCLT) terminal area. This is the tiny region that forecasters consider when issuing a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast (TAF).

Just because you don’t see a forecast for TS, TSRA or VCTS in a TAF, doesn’t that mean you won’t see thunderstorms arriving or departing that airport. What it could mean is that the forecaster wasn’t confident enough at the time he/she issued the forecast that a thunderstorm would develop within or roll through the region referred to as the terminal area. The terminal area is the region of airspace within a 5 statute mile radius from the center of the airport’s runway complex like the one shown above for the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (KCLT). So it is common for meteorologists to use showers in the vicinity (VCSH) or rain showers (SHRA) as a placeholder for thunder when forecaster confidence is low.

Here’s the problem

The forecaster doesn’t have an obvious way to quantify his/her uncertainty in the actual body of the coded TAF. Quantifying uncertainty is paramount when constructing any forecast (especially one for thunderstorms) and is usually done with a probabilistic approach – you know, a chance of this or a chance of that.

What about the PROB group that you may have seen in a TAF? Sure, that would work, but NWS directives state that a PROB30 group can’t appear within the first nine hours of the terminal forecast. By the way, the NWS only uses PROB30 groups; although you may see PROB40 in TAFs when flying to other countries. So back to the issue – how does a pilot know that showers in the vicinity is a placeholder for thunder in the TAF issued for Charlotte Douglas International Airport?

AFDs to the rescue

First, AFD doesn’t stand for Airport/Facility Directory as you may have thought. It’s called an Area Forecast Discussion. Second, it’s not a discussion about the aviation Area Forecast (FA) issued by meteorologists at the Aviation Weather Center. Are you thoroughly confused yet? The AFD is one of the most commonly accessed products on NWS Web sites, however, very few pilots have even heard of them. Now they are available for you to read beginning to end in the ForeFlight Mobile app!

County Warning Areas

A map of the County Warning Areas (CWAs) across the United States. There is an Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) generated for each one of these CWAs.

The AFD is a discussion that is written by the same forecasters that issue the TAFs. Every NWS local Weather Forecast Office (WFO) throughout the United States issues terminal forecasts for airports that appear within their County Warning Area (CWA), hence the term Area Forecast Discussion. After TAF issuance, meteorologists are required to update the AFD with a plain english discussion explaining their thoughts behind the forecast which allows them a plethora of ways to quantify their uncertainty. AFDs were originally designed as technical discussions to enhance collaboration among NWS forecast offices and to convey uncertainty to a specialized audience. So the language can be quite technical at times, but still highly useful to pilots. Let’s get back to your flight into Charlotte.

The GSP AFD has some clues

For example, the AFD associated with this TAF for the Charlotte Douglas Airport is written by a forecaster located at the Greenville-Spartanburg WFO (GSP) in Greer, South Carolina. Here’s the pertinent part of the discussion that morning:

AVIATION /16Z TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY/…

AT KCLT…LITTLE CHANGE FROM 06 UTC PACKAGE AS A WEST WIND LESS THAN 8 KTS UNDER MOSTLY CLEAR SKIES WILL CONTINUE THROUGH MID-MORNING. EXPECT INCREASING WSW WINDS WITH LOW AMPLITUDE GUST POTENTIAL BY MIDDAY AND PERHAPS PERIODS OF VFR CEILINGS THROUGH THE AFTERNOON. SCATTERED SHOWERS AND A PERHAPS A THUNDERSTORM…ARE EXPECTED ACROSS THE NORTH CAROLINA PIEDMONT FROM THE AFTERNOON UNTIL EARLY EVENING AND WILL CARRY VCSH FOR NOW TO COVER THAT THREAT. DEEP CONVECTIVE ACTIVITY WILL DIMINISH BY MID-EVENING WHEN A WIND SHIFT TO NORTHWEST IS EXPECTED.

As stated in this AFD text that is highlighted above, the forecaster opted to use showers in the vicinity (VCSH) to cover the threat for thunder in the North Carolina Piedmont region where KCLT is located. Most pilots don’t realize or appreciate that showery precipitation is actually a convective process. So forecasters will often use showers as a placeholder when confidence of thunder is low. This is not to say that every forecast for showers is used in this way, but that is a common way the forecaster quantifies his/her uncertainty for convective events such as this.

For whatever reason, the forecaster wasn’t quite confident enough to impart a little meteorological risk and add thunderstorms to the Charlotte TAF. This is in part due to the relatively small size of the terminal area. If the thunderstorms in the area are anticipated to be of a scattered nature (as it was on this day), they will often omit a forecast for thunder until they are more certain thunderstorms will indeed impact the terminal area. In some situations they may use showers to hint that convection will be in the area without adding TSRA or VCTS to the forecast. As the convective weather event evolves and certainty increases, they will issue an amended forecast to add thunder. But these details are not part of the official forecast. For better or for worse, they are buried in the AFD. The AFD is the place where the forecaster can freely quantify his/her uncertainty and provide some background on why the forecast is constructed the way it is.

Moreover, meteorologists at the local weather forecast offices that issue forecasts for high impact terminal areas such as Charlotte Douglas have a fair amount of outside pressure from the airlines to avoid adding thunder to the forecast unless convection is fairly certain. A forecast for thunder at the proposed time of arrival means the airlines must file an alternate and carry extra fuel to get to that alternate.

So what actually occurred at Charlotte Douglas?

Did thunder ever affect the Charlotte terminal area? Yes, at 1813 UTC the observation (METAR) included a report for a thunderstorm at the airport as shown below.

KCLT 271813Z 07003KT 10SM TS SCT040CB BKN090 BKN200 16/09 A2956
RMK AO2 TSB13 OCNL LTGIC TS SE-SW-W MOVG E CB NW-N MOVG E

But, it wasn’t until 1739 UTC (a mere 34 minutes earlier) that the forecaster amended the TAF to include a forecast for light rain and thunder as shown below.  Some pilots might opine that the TAF issued at 1140 UTC was a bad forecast. However, given the scattered nature of the convection on this day (read uncertainty) the placeholder of showers in the vicinity was the method used to indicate the risk of thunder. The AFD was the place the forecaster documented this important piece of information.

KCLT 271739Z 2718/2818 26008G18KT 6SM -TSRA BR BKN045 OVC070CB
TEMPO 2718/2720 25010G20KT 5SM -TSRA BR SCT030 OVC050CB…

The AFD format

The raw AFD doesn’t have a rigid syntactical or semantic format that forecasters must follow. Moreover, that format may differ from one forecast office to the next. That’s both good and bad. At ForeFlight we do make an attempt to visually separate the discussion into sections with a header where it is possible. Although you may find that some WFOs do a better job than others sticking to a common format as described below; so don’t count on perfection with the AFDs.

AFD Synopsis

Most Area Forecast Discussions (AFDs) will contain a synopsis section followed by a near-, short-, and long-term discussion. Simply scroll the window down with your finger or stylus to see the rest.

Each AFD will typically start out with a SYNOPSIS section (as shown above) followed by a NEAR TERM, SHORT TERM and LONG TERM discussion. This is the accepted format for the NWS Eastern Region. In other regions you may just see one big DISCUSSION section. While not specific to aviation, these sections are important to read and often may describe the “big picture” and point out many clues and trends as to what adverse weather might occur over the next several hours or even several days. Of the most interest to pilots, every AFD will also include an AVIATION section like the one shown below. This is the section where the forecaster discusses the TAFs and aviation-specific concerns. Lastly, in some parts of the country you may find a separate section that discusses fire dangers and marine weather.

AFD Aviation

Every AFD should have an aviation section. The AFD is automatically scrolled to this section when first viewed. Also notice that key words or phrases may be highlighted in red to point out the discussion of various adverse weather elements.

While most of the sections in the AFD are word-wrapped, you may see some tabular sections like the confidence table shown below. In order to preserve the columnar format within this section, you can scroll these sections left and right with your finger or stylus (notice the horizontal scroll bar below this table).

AFD Tabular

Some sections in the Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) are tabular. In these cases, the section can be scrolled to the right to see the remaining part of the table.

Finding the AFD in ForeFlight

The AFD is available to all ForeFlight subscribers and to locate it in the app is as simple as finding a METAR or TAF. On the Map, bring up any airport-specific layer such as Flight Category and tap on the airport marker. Next, tap the Forecast tab at the bottom of the pop-over window then tap on the new Discussion button at the top to reveal the AFD for that airport’s CWA as shown below. The Discussion button will be located to the right of the MOS button.

AFD Location

The Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) is located under the Forecast tab on the station popover right next to the MOS button.

You can also view AFDs in the Airports view. With the airport of interest displayed, tap on the Weather tab, then tap on Forecast Discussion as shown below. However, be careful not to confuse this with the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD) tab.

AFD Airports view

The Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) can be shown within the Airports view similar to the way METARs, TAFs and MOS are displayed.

The Fine Print

When tapping on the Discussion button in the pop-over window, the AFD is auto-scrolled to the Aviation section. From there you can scroll up or down to read the rest of the forecast discussion. Similarly in the Airports view, the Aviation section is also displayed first by tapping on Forecast Discussion under the Weather tab. Tapping on Forecast Discussion again, will position it to the beginning of the discussion text.

While most of the discussion is in plain english, there will be times where abbreviations and acronyms will rear their ugly head. We’ve made an honest attempt to decode most (but not all) of these within the text. Moreover, you will see some words and phrases highlighted in red. Hopefully these will grab your attention since they sometimes point out discussion that includes more extreme adverse weather.

Mind the limitations

AFDs are only available for airports within the United States (including Hawaii and Alaska). So selecting any airport within the U.S. should result in retrieving the latest AFD based on the CWA that airport is located within. Consequently, airports outside of the U.S. won’t have a Discussion button on the pop-over or under the weather tab on the Airports view. Occasionally, the latest AFD may not be available and you’ll see a “No forecast discussion” response. This is a very rare occurrence, but it may happen from time to time.

While some forecasters put a fair amount of time and detail describing their thoughts, not all AFDs will have details you might be hoping to learn. The AFD isn’t their highest priority; when the weather is busy the AFDs will often get the short end of the stick. That same forecaster may have to help with radar and issuing severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings on a busy convective day, for example.

In the end, expect the AFDs to provide a complementary product to the TAFs. If you are not reading the AFDs, you are only getting half the story.

ForeFlight Web Moves to Open Beta

ForeFlight Web is now in open Beta, meaning that anyone with an active ForeFlight subscription can access it. Just go to plan.foreflight.com and sign in using your ForeFlight username and password.

ForeFlight Web

Plan a flight or view weather and airport information all from your web browser. Routes are synced to ForeFlight Mobile on all your devices, allowing you to pick up at the airport right where you left off at home.

As a Beta program, we’re continually refining and adding new features to ForeFlight Web, and we welcome any feedback you have about how it can be improved.

Learn more at foreflight.com/web.