iPhone Design Upgrades, Select FBO in Flights, Graphical Briefing Sync, MFB Mission Planning Charts

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We redesigned the ForeFlight Mobile interface on the iPhone to more closely match the iPad, and that new interface is available now to all customers with ForeFlight version 9.5. Also in this release, your preflight Graphical Briefing automatically syncs across devices, view and select your destination FBO in the Flights view, ForeFlight Military Flight Bag (MFB) customers can download and view the worldwide DOD library of tactical mission planning charts, and more.

Familiar iPad Interface Now on iPhone

The biggest thing you’ll notice about the new iPhone interface is the Tab Bar at the bottom of the screen, which replaces the “Menu” button as the primary means of navigating around the app. Tab Bar navigation makes it much easier to move between different views in the app. And with the new Flights view on iPhone, you can plan, brief, and file flight plans faster than ever before.

The iPad has some notable changes as well. Favorite and Recent buttons throughout the app are consolidated under a single button and a new “slim” tab bar design increases usable screen space.

Finally, we redesigned the More view to group the tabs on the left into more logical sections. We moved frequently used features like Logbook and Checklist to the top and administration functions like Downloads, Account, and Settings to the bottom.

Military Mission Planning Charts and Graphical Chart Manager

ForeFlight MFB (the version of ForeFlight built for US government, military, and DOD aviation) is now the first and only mobile solution where authorized and authenticated customers can download and display the worldwide library of US Department of Defense military mission planning charts, including Joint Operations Graphics (JOG), Tactical Pilot Charts (TPC), Operational Navigation Charts (ONC), and Range charts.

A new interactive Graphical Chart Manager makes it fast and easy to select and download only the desired charts from the thousands available in the library.

The charts use the newest format standard in military digital chart technology, developed by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, called Enhanced Compression Raster Graphics (ECRG). The ECRG format combined with ForeFlight’s compression process technology results in faster over-the-air (wireless) downloads, less used storage space, higher resolution, and quicker load times.

All four mission planning chart types are geo-referenced and support display of ownship position, the overlay of weather and hazard information, and seamlessly integrate with all of ForeFlight’s innovative map features.

Select FBOs in Flights with Destination Services

A new section in the Flights view planning form allows you to select an FBO at your destination airport, making helpful functions and information easily accessible while planning and viewing your flight. The Destination Services tab opens the familiar ForeFlight Directory list where you can compare all the FBOs at an airport and view additional details like services, photos, comments, and fuel prices. Once you select an FBO, new buttons appear on the planning form to call or email the FBO, find its location in the Apple Maps app, or view its details.

ForeFlight also remembers your selection at every airport where you choose an FBO and automatically selects the same FBO the next time you plan a flight to that airport, saving you time and making useful functions quickly accessible.

Preflight Briefing Sync and Other Planning Enhancements

ForeFlight’s Sync platform now includes preflight Briefings, making critical weather information and NOTAMs quickly accessible on iPad, iPhone, and the web. As soon as you retrieve a briefing, ForeFlight makes it instantly available for viewing on any of your other signed-in devices. In addition, Briefings are now created automatically for every filed flight plan and stored permanently in the ForeFlight Cloud.

Access new forecast graphics in ForeFlight's Graphical Briefing.

Graphical Briefing now includes graphical area forecasts (replacing the legacy text-based area forecasts for CONUS regions). The new imagery for cloud cover, visibility, surface winds, and precipitation help you make better, faster analysis of the weather along your route. Tap on any graphic in the briefing to view it in full screen, then zoom in and pan for a better view of the details.

New Map Gesture: Tap on Route Leg

Tap on a route leg on the Maps view to see information about it.

A small but powerful enhancement, you can now tap on any leg in an active route on the Maps view to see information about it and take a number of actions. The popup includes values for leg distance, magnetic course heading, and MEA and MOCA information if the leg is part of an airway. You can also use the buttons to delete the waypoint at the end of the leg, fly direct to that waypoint, or “Fly Leg”. Tap Fly Leg to activate that leg in the Navlog, which is helpful if you need to manually advance to the next leg.

Support for iPhone X and 10.5-inch iPad Pro

ForeFlight adds support for the iPhone X's full resolution.

ForeFlight looks stunning on the iPhone X’s high-resolution edge-to-edge screen, with text and colors appearing sharp, smooth, and vivid. On the 10.5-inch iPad Pro, which has a slightly larger screen than 9.7-inch iPad models, ForeFlight now takes advantage of the screen’s full resolution to maximize every app view.

 

Historical Winds and Longer Range Forecast Winds Now in ForeFlight

ForeFlight customers now have access to more winds aloft data for more accurate long term flight planning.

Seven Day Winds Forecast
The winds aloft forecast data in ForeFlight now extends up to seven days in the future (previously 30 hours), giving you more accurate route performance calculations for flight plans within that timeframe, anywhere in the world. The additional high-resolution Global Forecast System (GFS) data is available now for all ForeFlight customers and is automatically incorporated into route performance calculations.

Historical Winds
When your flight is more than seven days away, ForeFlight now gives you the advantage of historical winds aloft data. Historical winds are derived from monthly average winds over the past 40 years. This means that when you plan a flight that uses historical winds, ForeFlight assumes the same wind speed, direction, and temperature for every day and time within a given month; move the departure time to a different month and ForeFlight automatically adjusts the value based on the average for that month. You’ll know when ForeFlight is using historical winds by the yellow banner across the top of the Flights view.

ForeFlight historical winds alert

It is worth noting here that, unlike the seven day wind forecast, currently only the Flights view uses historical winds. When planning in the Maps view, ForeFlight will assume zero winds if you’re planning a flight more than seven days in advance. However, you can easily send your route plan from the Flight Plan Editor in the Maps view to the Flights view and ForeFlight will automatically re-calculate route performance using historical winds. In addition, ForeFlight on the web uses historical winds for flight planning beyond seven days in the future.

ForeFlight use the Send To feature

Use the Send To button to move your route plan from Maps to Flights.

Seamlessly integrating the GFS seven day wind forecast and monthly historical winds provides ForeFlight customers with more accurate data for planning a flight, whether it’s next week, next month, or next year.

ForeFlight and Satcom Direct Announce SDR Flight Data Integration

ForeFlight and Satcom Direct (SD), the business aviation connectivity provider, announced today a new integrated data solution for joint Satcom Direct Router (SDR®) and ForeFlight Performance customers.

Customers can now use the SDR as a GPS data source to accurately depict aircraft “ownship” position on ForeFlight’s dynamic moving map display without the need for additional GPS hardware. With GPS location, ground speed, and indicated altitude information, passengers and crew flying with their iPad or iPhone can track the flight’s progress on the map, and see real-time information like time to destination, distance to destination, and local time of arrival.ForeFlight and SDR connectivity

When connected to the SDR’s Wi-Fi internet, ForeFlight customers can also receive and display high-resolution radar, icing, turbulence, winds aloft, and over a dozen other graphical weather layers. With access to all the latest weather, pilots can quickly and accurately change flight plans while in the air.

“Pilots rely on accurate, timely delivery of essential information to maintain secure operations. Integrating these solutions provides pilots with a clear, unimpeded view of their real-time situation,” said Jim Jensen, SD chairman and founder. “ForeFlight and SD are committed to improving the aviator’s professional experience, and we anticipate this development will be welcomed by business aviation pilots around the world.”

“We are excited to work with Satcom Direct and we look forward to future features that unlock more value from on-board connectivity,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight’s co-founder and CEO.

The SDR is a business aviation connectivity platform that allows customers to connect to on-board systems, make and receive calls, text, email, connect to the internet and stream data on the ground or in the air, anywhere in the world. The router automatically senses and selects the best connection available, either satellite network or 3G cellular, and uses cutting-edge technology to compress and cache data, ensuring the most efficient and cost effective transmission of information.

ForeFlight gives pilots everything they need to plan, file, and fly the safest, most efficient route, including up-to-the-minute weather, airport and FBO information, advanced terrain and obstacle visualization, and automatic safety alerts. The current SDR integration is available to ForeFlight customers on Performance Plus and Business Performance plans.

Global Icing, Turbulence, and Surface Analysis layers, Data-driven Jeppesen Enroutes, Easy Aircraft Manager for Group Accounts

Jeppesen Data-driven Enroute Charts Have Arrived

Jeppesen’s global, data-driven enroute charts are now available in ForeFlight for all customers who have purchased or linked a Jeppesen chart subscription. The global dataset of IFR High, IFR Low, and VFR enroute charts are available as a single download, at no additional cost and with no setup or configuration required.

Jeppesen enroute charts are dynamic, responsive, full paper-replacement capable, and seamlessly integrated into the ForeFlight app. Because the charts render using data-driven technology, you have the flexibility to customize what aeronautical data to show or hide on each map type or choose between a light and dark theme.

Similar to ForeFlight’s data-driven Aeronautical Maps, the Jeppesen charts also automatically change what information is shown based on zoom level and the ‘always-up’ label capability rotates text and information to make it easier to read the map in any orientation. And just like any other chart layer in ForeFlight, you can overlay weather, hazard, fuel, and custom content layers, as well as geo-referenced terminal charts and airport diagrams if you have a Pro subscription or above.

Global Icing, Turbulence, and Surface Analysis Forecasts on Maps

ForeFlight’s industry-leading weather visualization capabilities are now better than ever. Five new dynamic Map layers graphically depict global icing, turbulence, and surface analysis forecasts, giving you the tools you need for more informed flight planning. Check out this article for a deeper dive into these new weather features.

The Icing and Turbulence layers each have U.S. and global options, while the Surface Analysis layer provides global isobar and pressure forecasts with detailed weather features for the U.S.

Each layer has a Time Slider to loop animation or manually rock back and forth between forecast frames. The Icing and Turbulence layers allow you to quickly scrub through the available altitudes using the Altitude Slider. In addition, these layers are included in the weather data downloaded with Pack so you can view offline. For the cross-platform planners out there, all the new weather layers are available in ForeFlight Mobile and on the web.

We are introducing these five new forecast-based graphical weather Map layers to customers on Pro Plus, Performance Plus, and Business Performance plans.

Centrally Managed Aircraft for Multi-Pilot Accounts

Multi-pilot accounts are now easier to manage using the new Aircraft Manager. This capability enables account administrators to set up their ForeFlight account faster and ensure every pilot has access to the aircraft profiles they need for more accurate and consistent flight planning. For ongoing account maintenance, updating pilot iPads when there are fleet changes is easier than ever.

Using ForeFlight’s web application, account administrators can create and “publish” company aircraft profiles, including performance data and ICAO filing codes, to all pilots on the account, who can then use the shared aircraft for flight planning. This feature is available in the Business Performance plan.

U.S. RAIM Prediction in Navlog

For Performance Plus and Business Performance subscribers, ForeFlight’s detailed Navlog now includes RAIM prediction to alert pilots if GPS outages are expected along the route. The alert indicates the affected portion of the flight (departure, destination, or enroute) so pilots can modify the flight plan accordingly prior to filing. RAIM service coverage currently includes flights within Continental US, Alaska, and Hawaii.

Smart Airport Search on Flights + Route Preview Enhancements

The airport fields at the top of the Flights view now sport the same “Smart Search” capability that we previously introduced for Logbook. Start typing to see suggestions based on airport names, city names, and airport identifiers, as well as your recent and favorite airports.

The recently-introduced Route Preview map on Flights also now shows composite radar overlaid on the map, and allows you to enter an interactive “split-screen” mode by tapping on it.

More Detailed Time-Entry Fields in Logbook

New fields are available in Logbook for Time Out, Time Off, Time On, and Time In

For the most accurate flight logging, ForeFlight Logbook now has the option to use Time Out/Off/On/In fields. These fields are standard for most professional pilots and operators flying larger aircraft, and allows you to easily capture crew block time and aircraft air time. You can show or hide these fields on flight entry forms using a single toggle switch in the Logbook Settings menu.

Avidyne 550 AHRS Support

If you fly with Avidyne’s IFD 550 FMS you can now receive AHRS pitch and roll data in ForeFlight to power the built-in attitude indicator. Combine this with Synthetic Vision (available with Pro Plus and Performance Plus subscription plans) for a powerful backup attitude and terrain awareness solution.

Enhanced Data Pipeline for Satcom Direct Router

Performance Plus and Business Performance customers flying with the inflight Wi-Fi Satcom Direct Router (SDR) can now receive GPS and indicated altitude data for display in ForeFlight Mobile. The SDR connection can also deliver internet-based weather and enable other ForeFlight features that require internet connection. ForeFlight uses GPS latitude and longitude and ground speed to display your aircraft ownship position, and barometric altitude from the router to power the Pressure Altitude instrument (which is now a separate instrument from the Cabin Pressure).

Support for uAvionix Transceivers

Customers flying with uAvionix’s SkyEcho and EchoUAT ADS-B transceivers can now connect to them via Wi-Fi to receive inflight data in ForeFlight. SkyEcho provides dual-band ADS-B weather and traffic in ForeFlight for pilots flying in the U.K. EchoUAT provides dual-band ADS-B weather and traffic and GPS position in ForeFlight for light sport and experimental aircraft that have the device installed. Learn more about uAvionix.

Some New Features to Look for on the Web:

  • Global Icing, Turbulence, and Surface Analysis layers for Pro Plus, Performance Plus, and Business Performance subscribers
  • On small windows, the Flights view includes an inset Route Preview just like on mobile, allowing you to click on it to expand to a “split-screen” mode
  • Also like on mobile, Route Advisor on the web shows all route options on the map at once; mouse over each option in the list to highlight it on the map

New: Graphical Route Advisor, Performance-based Step Climb, Flight Notifications, and More

ForeFlight Mobile version 9.3 is now available on the App Store.

Plan Faster with Graphical Route Advisor

The Route Advisor tool now gives you a visual preview of all route options on an interactive map. Tap through the list to highlight each route on the map, then tap “Select Route” to add it to your flight plan. Simple and easy. The interactive Route Preview map also appears in the Flights view form-based planner to provide a quick visual reference of your route. Your departure and destination airports are shown overlaid on a simple basemap.

Performance-based Step Climb Legs in Navlog

ForeFlight’s performance planning now supports step-climbs. The flight planning engine calculates the highest possible initial altitude, then automatically creates step-climb legs as the aircraft weight decreases. Step-climb information is detailed in the printable Navlog, accessible from the Flights view by tapping the Navlog button. The step climb leg information is available in Performance Plus, Business Performance, and MFB Performance plans.Learn more about ForeFlight Performance planning.

Flight Notifications

After filing your flight plan in ForeFlight, you will receive a push notification to your device when ATC issues a revised expected route and when adverse weather conditions arise that may affect your flight.

Flight Notification adverse weather

Access weather alerts in the Messages tab in the Flights view. Flight Notifications are available to customers on all ForeFlight plan levels who file flight plans via ForeFlight.

 

 

 

Flight Planning Workflow Enhancements

The “Add Next Flight” button in the Flights view makes it faster and easier to plan multi-leg flights by carrying forward departure, aircraft details, payload, fuel policy, and more. In addition, you can now export your flight plan in the official ICAO format and print, email, share via AirDrop, or save a copy in ForeFlight Documents.

Faster, Sharper, Data-Driven Basemap & New Shaded Terrain Display

The ForeFlight map engine has a significantly upgraded basemap, which now renders more quickly, smoothly, and with sharper depiction of features such as major roads, railways, national parks, and state and national boundaries.

In the Map Settings menu, choose from multiple terrain presentations: Colored, Shaded, or None. Shaded Terrain uses grayscale shading to depict terrain, providing the same level of detail as the colored terrain option with less visual distraction.

Scheduled Flight Search in Maps View

Enter a tail number, aircraft call sign, or commercial flight number into the Maps view search box to see recently filed flight plans. ForeFlight displays filed flight plans for aircraft that are either currently enroute or depart in the next 24 hours. Simply tap on a result to load the route into the Flight Plan Editor. Great for commercial pilots who want to quickly load an upcoming flight, or for passengers who want to follow along in the air!

Weather Layer Time Slider

A new interactive Time Slider control provides frame-by-frame control over playback of Radar and Satellite weather layers. Use the familiar play button to automatically play through each frame. To manually control playback, tap-hold on the Time Slider and drag left or right to move between frames, or tap on the line to the left or right of the slider marker to advance it one frame at a time in either direction.

New for SiriusXM SXAR1: Turbulence, Icing, and Surface Analysis Weather Layers

SiriusXM SXAR1 turbulence layerFor customers flying with the SiriusXM SXAR1 aviation receiver, you will now see Icing, Turbulence, and Surface Analysis layers as part of your SiriusXM Pilot for ForeFlight subscription.

For a fast analysis of Icing and Turbulence conditions at each altitude, you can quickly scrub between altitudes using the Altitude Slider in the lower right corner of the Maps view. In addition, the Icing layer is enhanced with small red dots to indicate dangerous regions of supercooled large droplets. Refer to the Pilot’s Guide or the ForeFlight Mobile Legends Guide for more details on interpreting these new weather layers.

Better Logbook Workflow with Next Entry Button

Logbook Add Next Flight

Like the new “Add Next Flight” capability for the Flights view, the “Add Next Entry” button in Logbook allows you to quickly add a follow-up entry for any existing flight in your logbook.

The new entry uses the same aircraft as the previous flight, and auto-fills the departure airport and Hobbs/Tach time based on the details of the previous flight. The button is available at the bottom of every flight entry.

And a Few Updates to ForeFlight on the Web…

We continue to enhance our web planning experience with:

  • Detailed, printable Navlog syncs between web and mobile
  • Improved Navlog interface that expands for better viewing
  • Just like in ForeFlight Mobile, the Add Next Flight button improves multi-leg flight planning
  • Faster radar loading

Plan your 2017 solar eclipse experience using ForeFlight custom content features

On August 21, 2017, the day will briefly turn into night as the sun will disappear behind the moon during a total solar eclipse over the United States. ForeFlight has several options for viewing custom content, helping you pinpoint the path of this rare event (the last total solar eclipse was in 1991!) and fly to an ideal spot to catch this once in a lifetime experience from the best vantage point.

You can easily import custom content like User Waypoints or User Map Layers from the Apple Mail app, your browser, the Dropbox app, or send directly to your iPad or iPhone via AirDrop. NASA’s eclipse website has several shapefiles and eclipse coordinates available for download at no cost. After you import your custom data, select your file either from the User Content tab available in the More view or from the bottom right of the layer selector in the Maps view.

eclipse in bezel-min (2)

 

As eclipse day approaches, see where the weather will be clearest using ForeFlight’s industry-leading imagery collection, and remember to add the proper eye protection to your flight bag!

Learn more about importing User Map Layers with our helpful video tutorial:

New in ForeFlight: Checklist, Glide Advisor™️, Light & Dark App Themes, SiriusXM Audio, and More

ForeFlight 9 is full of features that enhance every phase of flying. Run through checklists with ease and reduce cockpit clutter with ForeFlight Checklist. Glide Advisor™️ helps you locate a safe place to land in the event of engine failure, choose from Light & Dark App Themes for day or night flight, helpful enhancements to Logbook, new SXAR1 integration features, and more. Read on for all the details of the ForeFlight 9 release, now on the App Store!

Consolidate Your Toolset with ForeFlight Checklist

ForeFlight’s integrated checklists keep important safety procedures organized and easily accessible. Your familiar paper checklists are transformed into customizable digital templates allowing you to reduce cockpit clutter and spend less time heads down searching for a particular checklist item. Checklists for every phase of flight are laid out in an interactive, intelligent interface that fits naturally into your flying workflow.

Select from one of the predefined templates derived from aircraft POH manuals or create and edit your own customized collection of checklists. Templates are provided for a variety of fixed-wing and rotorcraft models. A template for the IMSAFE pilot checklist is also available, allowing you to efficiently conduct a personal preflight health assessment.

To run through a checklist, simply tap an item and a green check mark appears. This visual feedback provides an easy way to pick up exactly where you left off with a quick glance. Tap “Skip” to move past an item; this is especially useful if you don’t move through a checklist from A to Z. If you experience an inflight emergency, tap the emergency button to jump immediately to emergency checklist procedures, saving you time and sparing you the hassle of flipping through a stack of paper procedures.

ForeFlight Checklist is a feature of our Basic Plus and Pro Plus subscription plans.

Learn more about ForeFlight Checklist at foreflight.com/checklist.

New Glide Advisor™️ Helps You Quickly Locate a Safe Landing Space

Using terrain, GPS data, winds aloft, and your aircraft’s best glide speed and ratio, ForeFlight shapes a glide range ring around your ownship icon on the moving map display. If you lose engine power, Glide Advisor helps you quickly assess your options. Enable Glide Advisor in the Map Settings menu. To enter your aircraft’s glide ratio and best glide speed, tap the Glide Settings field under Glide Performance. Pro Tip: Pair Glide Advisor with Distance Rings to quickly report your position to ATC. For the ultimate inflight situational awareness experience, combine Glide Advisor with ForeFlight’s Synthetic Vision and Hazard Advisor.

 

glide+SV+dist rings+haz

The Ultimate in Situational Awareness: Glide Advisor, Synthetic Vision, Distance Rings, and Hazard Advisor

 

Reduce Screen Glare with New Dark App Color Theme

We continue to make flying at night easier on your vision with the addition of a new Dark App Color Theme. Turn on the Dark App Color Theme in More > Settings to convert the background color throughout the app from white to dark blue. Important information remains easily visible through the use of highlight colors and prominent white text. Combine the Dark App Color Theme with Color Inversion and a Dark Map Theme for a powerful night setting.

 

color inversion+dark theme 2

A Powerful Night Setting with ForeFlight’s Dark App Color Theme and Color Inversion

 

Logbook Enhancements: Helpful Aircraft List Details and CFI Currency Tracking

When viewing your Aircraft list in Logbook, you will now see details including aircraft make/model, category/class, gear type, and total hours in that aircraft. It’s a helpful design detail that provides more visibility into your logbook data and also makes it easier to select the correct aircraft for your flight entry. Tap on any Aircraft to modify profile information or to view and edit any associated entries.

Logbook’s color-coded recency tracking now includes support for Certified Flight Instructors. To track your CFI currency, enter your instructor certificate number and expiration date in Logbook’s Qualifications section. You can view or edit your instructor certificate at any time by tapping on the summary in the main Logbook view. Recency tracking in ForeFlight Logbook is the fastest way to visually check the status of all of your currencies in a single spot.

Learn more about ForeFlight Logbook at foreflight.com/logbook.

New SiriusXM SXAR1 Features are Music to Your Ears

ForeFlight’s integration with the SXAR1 Aviation Receiver now includes support for streaming SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Pair your Bluetooth headset or audio device (like your aircraft’s built-in Bluetooth audio system) to the SXAR1 and use the ForeFlight interface to browse and select radio stations. The SXAR1 provides audio to one Bluetooth audio device at a time. The video above will get you started with setup.

In addition, SiriusXM’s Surface Wind weather layer is now available. To dive deeper into this new SXAR1 layer, check out this article written by our in-house Weather Scientist, Scott Dennstaedt.

Sfc-Wind-Analysis

Learn more about the SXAR1 and purchase information by visiting foreflight.com/siriusxm.

Create Custom Overlays With New User Map Shapes

Now you can import custom KML files into ForeFlight. KML (Keyhole Markup Language) is a file format used for geographic data that allows you to import shapes such as points, lines, and polygons into ForeFlight’s Maps view. User Map Shapes are more versatile than simple user waypoints, allowing you to designate specific areas on the map for your custom, navigation needs; flight schools or flying clubs can use User Map Shapes to delineate designated training areas or route lines on the map.

Import your KML files into ForeFlight via iTunes sideloading, then display them on the map by enabling them in the layer selector, just like with other map overlays. Watch our video tutorial above to learn more about importing KML files into ForeFlight.

Helpful New Device Disconnect Alert

In a perfect flying world, the wireless connections we use in the cockpit would never experience issues. But whether from a dead battery, connection issues, or human error, both portable and installed equipment can unexpectedly disconnect. ForeFlight’s new Device Disconnect Alert provides a prominent visual and audio alert that allows you to quickly troubleshoot and restore connection or switch to an alternative data source. This helpful new alert monitors both portable and panel-mounted avionics.

You can manage all alerts in ForeFlight in More > Settings > Alerts.

More Document Support: View Word, Powerpoint, and Excel Files in ForeFlight

ForeFlight Documents now includes support for Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and Excel files. Import and save your POH, local procedures, common radio frequencies, or any other .docx, .pptx, or .xlsx file for easy access in ForeFlight’s Documents view. Connect your Amazon S3, Dropbox, or Box account to securely deliver document files and updates via the cloud.

Import your Microsoft Office documents into ForeFlight via iTunes sideloading, and easily share documents with your friends or fellow pilots with the Send To button.

MS Docs-short

Learn more about ForeFlight Documents at foreflight.com/documents.

New Chart Color Inversion, Logbook and Weather Enhancements in ForeFlight 8.3

We are thrilled to introduce an innovative feature that we know you’ve been asking for – you can now invert colors on charts and documents for better viewing at night. On the weather front, we have a new Color IR Satellite layer, and, for SiriusXM SXAR1 customers, Cloud Tops and Echo Tops are now included in your SiriusXM Pilot for ForeFlight plan. Also, we hope you have fun with sharing your flights online using our new Logbook Entry Summary. Read on for all the details of the ForeFlight 8.3 release, now on the App Store!

Protect Your Night Vision with Color Inversion for Charts and Documents

Color inversion reduces the glare of bright charts and documents when viewing them at night by inverting white and black elements on IFR Enroute charts, VFR Sectionals, procedure plates, airport diagrams, and documents. Text and chart symbols are prominent and legible without the annoying glare while viewing them in a dark cabin, minimizing eye strain and fatigue.

White and black elements are inverted, turning the predominantly white background black, and the black icons and text white. All other colors stay the same – airspace frequencies and altitudes, MOA boundaries, and Class B airspace all retain their usual coloring, making them just as easy to identify as before.

When used in conjunction with ForeFlight’s “dark” map theme and the brightness slider, color inversion provides more options than ever for creating an ideal chart solution for night flying. The setting applies independently to each app view, so you can mix and match where you see or don’t see inverted colors.

If you have a Pro Plus subscription, the Plates on Maps feature slightly brightens the plate so it stands out against an inverted IFR chart. Toggle color inversion on and off in the Map Settings menu.

Share Your Favorite Flights with Logbook Entry Summary

First solo cross-country? Animal rescue mission? With our new Logbook Entry Summary feature, you can turn memorable Logbook entries into an interactive, visual scrapbook that you can easily share with friends and family. Create your flight entry as you normally would (be sure to include photos!) and then tap on View Entry Summary. ForeFlight creates an elegantly styled web page, complete with photos, flight details, and a map view of your route. When viewed on a desktop browser, the map becomes interactive, allowing you to zoom in to see the route in more detail or use the layer selector to overlay different map themes. Back in the flight entry, tap on the Send To button (upper right) to generate a link you can share via social media, email, or as a URL.

Share your Logbook Entry Summaries with friends, family, and fellow pilots to keep them up to speed on your most recent flying adventures.

Logbook Enhancements: More Ways to Streamline Data Entry and New Type Currency Tracking

We continue to streamline flight logging to save you time and taps. It is now easier to lookup and select airport approaches. In your flight entry, tap on Add Approach. You’ll see the destination airport field is already populated, and, if you tap on Autofill Approach, you can easily select from the list of approaches for that airport. When you choose an approach, the Type and Runway fields are automatically filled in. In addition, when selecting the aircraft for a flight entry, a helpful Aircraft list displays your three most recently logged aircraft first.

Do you have multiple type ratings to track? You can now add them to your Logbook Currency Tracking for better visibility into your flight status. Tap on Add Currency Summary then Aircraft Type Currency to choose between General and Night currency (or both) then select your aircraft from the list. The list includes all of the aircraft that you’ve added to your Logbook. You can also set up a multi-model type rating currency tracker by selecting multiple aircraft from the list.

If you add a new aircraft, Logbook automatically notifies you if there are any missing aircraft profile details, ensuring complete and accurate tracking. Currencies are color-coded, so you’ll know your status at a glance.

Learn more about ForeFlight Logbook at foreflight.com/logbook.

ForeFlight is Your SIC with Helpful Destination Weather Frequency Callout

Checking the weather report at your destination airport is an important step in your landing checklist. Like a good co-pilot, ForeFlight anticipates your needs and automatically displays the weather frequency approximately 20 nautical miles from your destination airport. In the More > Settings > Alerts view, you can set the Destination WX Frequency Alert to be an audio alert, visual alert, or both. The popup stays active on the screen until you tap on it, so you can still easily get the frequency if you happen to miss the callout in your headset.

Topping Off the Weather with New SiriusXM Satellite Layers

ForeFlight pilots flying with the SiriusXM SXAR1 Aviation Receiver can now view both Cloud Tops and Echo Tops as part of the SiriusXM Pilot for ForeFlight subscription. If you have been considering a portable satellite weather solution, check out the SXAR1. You can purchase from Sporty’s or SiriusXM and take advantage of limited-time special pricing and rebates.

To learn more about how to interpret Cloud Tops and Echo Tops and also best practice on using the altitude slider, check out this article from Scott Dennstaedt (ForeFlight’s Weather Scientist).

New Full-Color Infrared Satellite Layer Gives You Better Awareness of Icing Conditions

The new Color IR Satellite layer is an alternative to the existing satellite layer (now called Enhanced Satellite) and is useful for identifying dangerous regions of supercooled liquid water that can cause airframe icing. This danger is especially present in the yellow and green depicted areas, which are just warm enough to support large amounts of supercooled water – turn on the PIREPs layer and you’ll notice that most icing PIREPs occur in these areas. This new layer is a powerful tool to add to your preflight planning, especially during the late fall, winter, and early spring seasons to help you avoid dangerous weather and icing conditions.

To dive deeper into the Color IR Satellite layer, check out this article written by our in-house Weather Scientist, Scott Dennstaedt.

New Climb Gradient Instrument
ForeFlight Climb Gradient Instrument

ForeFlight’s Climb Gradient Instrument uses GPS, ground speed, and vertical speed information to display your climb gradient in feet per nautical mile, allowing you to monitor your climb performance in real time. Activate this new instrument by tapping on the Instrument Panel and selecting Climb Gradient from the list.

ForeFlight Tops it Off with Two New SiriusXM Weather Layers

If you surveyed a group of IFR pilots, tops are likely one of the most requested features. Now, the wait is over. With ForeFlight Mobile 8.3, you can view both echo tops and cloud tops when connected to the SXAR1 SiriusXM satellite receiver. These two sought-after weather products are now included with the current ForeFlight Mobile SiriusXM pricing tier at no extra cost.

tops-selections

You can find the echo tops and cloud tops selections in between the radar and satellite layers in the ForeFlight Mobile app.

Cloud top height

First and foremost, the cloud tops depiction from SiriusXM is not a satellite image per se. Instead it depicts the height of the cloud tops in reference to mean sea level (MSL). Second, the cloud tops overlay does not infer the depth of the cloud layer. Consequently, a high overcast cirrus deck at 30,000 feet may mask one or more cloud layers below. Third, not all cloud layers may be shown, especially when there are regions of low-topped stratus or scattered to broken fields of fair weather cumulus clouds. So it’s important to always overlay the sky coverage markers to augment the cloud tops layer.

lowstratus-tops

Here’s a common limitation during a low-topped stratus event. Notice that the sky coverage markers around Houston, Texas indicate the presence of overcast skies, however,  the cloud tops layer shows the sky as clear. 

The cloud tops layer is always valid in the recent past since it’s based on observed data. It is typically updated with a new image once or twice an hour. Tops above 25,000 ft MSL are color-coded using blue, orange and red to visually enhance the highest tops. Tops below 25,000 ft are shown as simple shades of gray.

echo-tops-layer

The echo tops layer (left) may appear to look like a radar depiction (right) from a color perspective, However, it has a much lower spatial resolution than the composite or lowest tilt radar mosaic.

Echo top height

Like cloud tops, echo tops depict a height above mean sea level so it’s not a radar depiction per se. Simply put, echo top height is based on the highest elevation angles at which greater than 18 dBZ reflectivities are detected. Keep in mind that echo tops are primarily used by meteorologists to identify more significant storms by locating the highest tops. So it’s important know that echo tops are not the same as cloud tops. The actual top of the cloud is always higher than the echo top.

echotops

In this vertical cross-section of a thunderstorm, reflectivity is shown using colors similar to what you would see on a NEXRAD mosaic. Dark blue represents a reflectivity of 15-20 dBZ. So, the echo tops are likely found near the top of the dark blue regions on this image.

Filtering by altitude

On the ForeFlight Map view, both the echo tops and cloud tops can be filtered by altitude. When selecting either one of these layers, an altitude selector similar to the one that appears with the winds aloft layer is shown. This provides a quick way to determine tops that are above a selected MSL altitude. Initially, the altitude selector will be positioned at the lowest setting, namely, 0 feet MSL. This is the selection that will show all cloud or echo tops. Setting the cloud tops altitude selector to 10,000 feet, for example, will remove any clouds with tops below this altitude leaving only clouds with tops above 10,000 feet. Therefore regions without tops data are regions without clouds or tops that are below the selected altitude.

cloud-tops-filter

The altitude selector allows you to filter all of the cloud tops (or echo tops) below a specific altitude. In this example, all cloud tops below FL300 are removed leaving only those tops above that altitude. For convective tops, it’s also a good idea to overlay the lightning layer.

Echo top clutter

Echo tops received through SiriusXM do not go through a rigorous filter like you may see with the two radar layers. Therefore, it is normal to see echo top clutter around and near the various NWS radar sites as shown below. Typically these are not associated with real areas of precipitation and often occur during fair weather. Simply moving the altitude selector up to the next rung at 5,000 feet will remove many of these annoying areas of clutter.

clutter

Echo tops clutter showing tops below 5,000 feet will often occur around the various NWS radar sites. Here you can see clutter around the NEXRAD sites at Charleston, W. Va., Sterling, Va., Dover, De., and Mount Holly, N.J.

True Colors of IR Satellite

Now in ForeFlight Mobile 8.3, you have a choice between one of two satellite layers on the ForeFlight Map view. The legacy satellite layer was renamed to Enhanced Satellite and the new layer is appropriately named Color IR Satellite. For many, the new satellite layer will look quite familiar. That’s because it was created to generally match the infrared (IR) satellite images located within the ForeFlight Imagery view. Or you may have seen similar color images on aviationweather.gov. While there are some differences, this color IR satellite layer has a rather high glance value to depict the locations of significant adverse weather and help to locate the height of the cloud tops.

satellite-selection

The older satellite layer was renamed to Enhanced Satellite with the new layer now called Color IR Satellite.

Why another satellite layer?

Back in November 2014, you may recall that we added color to the global satellite layer. Color was added to enhance or highlight the highest cloud tops that are typically associated with significant large synoptic-scale weather systems and deep, moist convection or thunderstorms. This is especially critical when flying in regions where ground-based radar data is sparse or nonexistent. The new satellite layer takes this a step further by colorizing the entire satellite layer based on a discrete cloud top temperature (in degrees Celsius).

color-satellite-layer

The Color IR Satellite layer should be viewed along with the sky coverage markers. You will notice that many pilot weather reports of icing tend to occur in regions of yellow, green and very light blue.

As I discussed in this earlier blog post high clouds are very cold and emit less infrared radiation than warmer clouds near Earth’s surface. Satellite sensors measure this radiation and meteorologists calibrate this to appropriate temperatures. Knowing the cloud top temperature can help us determine the relative height of the cloud tops and more importantly it can help us understand when supercooled liquid water may dominate the clouds creating a nasty icing threat.

Cloud tops and icing

In this new color satellite image, purple and darker shades of blue are indicative of tops at high altitudes. At the other end of the spectrum, shades of red and orange are indicative of shallow clouds with tops near the earth’s surface.

color-scale-ir

Colors such as dark blue and purple on the left side of this scale (in degrees Celsius) represent the coldest (highest) cloud tops whereas colors on the right side of the scale represent the warmest (lowest) cloud tops.

To use the layer to determine the cloud top height over a particular region, zoom in on the area of concern in the Map view and note the temperature using the color scale above. Next, find the MSL altitude that corresponds to that temperature by referencing the local temperature aloft in that region. That gives you the cloud top height. For example, assume you were departing out of Garden City Regional Airport (KGCK) and wanted to know the height of the tops. Zooming in as shown below provides an orange color representing a temperature of approximately 0 degrees Celsius.

color-height-example

The color IR satellite when zoomed in over Garden City shows mostly orange in this area. This corresponds to a temperature of roughly 0 degrees Celsius.

Using the winds/temperatures aloft provided in the Garden City popover, find the altitude that corresponds to that temperature. Perhaps a more accurate approach is to use a tool called a Skew-T log (p) diagram like the one pictured below. Starting from the surface, work your way up the red environmental temperature line and find the first altitude that corresponds to a temperature of 0 degrees Celsius. In this case, that corresponds to an altitude of 4,285 feet as shown on the left. Additionally, the diagram confirms that saturated conditions occur below this altitude representing the presence of clouds with unsaturated conditions above. This kind of analysis will provide the necessary confidence that a climb to 5,000 feet MSL will get you on top of this cloud deck.

skew-t

A Skew-T log (p) diagram like the one shown here for the Garden City Municipal Airport is an excellent tool to help locate the cloud top height. This depicts a forecast model representation of temperature (red line) and dewpoint temperature (blue line) as a function of height.

The more important colors are perhaps shades of yellow and green and maybe even very light blue. Using the color scale below, clouds with fairly warm subfreezing cloud top temperatures are likely to be dominated by supercooled liquid water and represent a airframe icing threat.

icing-potential

The pale green, yellow and very light blue indicate regions where cloud top temperatures are in the  regime where the clouds below are dominated by supercooled liquid water representing an airframe icing hazard.

Don’t become complacent; clouds with colder (higher) tops can and do contain supercooled liquid water and may pack the threat of supercooled large drop (SLD) icing especially within deep, moist convection. However, these colder-topped clouds of darker shades of blue will normally be dominated by ice crystals or more likely be a mixed phase cloud (containing both ice crystals and supercooled liquid water). However, once ice nuclei begin to activate and ice crystals start to form in the cloud, the cloud tends to grow bigger ice crystals at the expense of supercooled liquid water which lessens the icing threat.

Masking out clear skies

As mentioned above, this layer is a close cousin of the static color IR satellite images found in the ForeFlight Imagery view. The static images show not only the temperature of the cloud tops using the same colors, but also the temperature of the surface of the earth. This can make it difficult to know where clouds exist and where the sky is clear. The main improvement is that the new satellite layer attempts to mask out regions where the sky is clear showing the map background in those regions instead of the surface temperature.

clear-vs-cloudy

Clear regions are masked out to show the underlying map below.

While this masking algorithm works a majority of the time, it can be difficult to get it right every single time simply using temperature alone. For example, anytime there’s a shallow low-topped stratus deck like the one shown below, the tops of the clouds may actually be slightly warmer than the surface of the earth courtesy of a surface-based temperature inversion. So the algorithm may have a difficult time discerning where it is cloudy or clear. So it’s important to always overlay the sky coverage markers to pick up on these issues when they occur.

bad-mask

For some low-topped stratus events, it’s not unusual for the masking algorithm to show clear skies as it did here in the Midwest. The best way to detect this condition is to overlay the cloud coverage markers or during daylight hours check the Enhanced Satellite which operates in the visible spectrum during this time.

So during the late fall, winter and early spring, give this new satellite layer a quick glance. It’ll provide you with a method to determine the tops of most clouds and to reveal where there’s a definite risk of airframe ice.