Apple Announces Smaller iPad Pro

At their March 21 Keynote presentation, Apple announced the release of a new 9.7 inch iPad Pro, which delivers the enhanced performance and features of its full-sized predecessor in the more space-conscious size of the iPad Air 2. Apple reports that the new screen reduces reflectivity by 40 percent and increases brightness by 25 percent compared to the iPad Air 2, and automatic white balance adjustments allow colors to stay accurate in different levels and kinds of lighting. Combined with iOS 9.3’s Night Shift, which adjusts colors after sunset to ease strain on the eyes, these features will likely make the new iPad Pro’s viewing experience the best for use in the cockpit.

What we’re most excited about with the new iPad Pro is the ability to use it with Apple Pencil, introduced last year alongside the original iPad Pro. Made for the iPad, Pencil brings incredible precision to ForeFlight features like Scratchpads, annotations on plates and documents, and Logbook endorsements. Using the Pencil for these tasks helps you perform them faster and with better legibility over using a finger or a generic stylus.

Using the Pencil allows faster and more legible writing on the iPad Pro

CRAFT Scratchpad completed with an Apple Pencil on the original iPad Pro

The ability to use this helpful tool with a smaller iPad makes owning a Pencil far more practical for pilots than when it required the full-size iPad Pro, which is over-sized for most cockpits. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback on using the Pencil once the new iPads start shipping at the end of this month.

Annotating plates and documents is also easier with a Pencil

Plate annotations made with an Apple Pencil on the original iPad Pro

New Canadian and International NOTAMs Available in ForeFlight

ForeFlight customers now have access to a wealth of new international NOTAMs in the app. In particular, all Canadian NOTAMs available on the NavCanada website are now available in ForeFlight, saving our Canadian and cross-border customers valuable flight planning time.

Canadian NOTAMs now included all NOTAMs provided listed NavCanada's website

Most international airports now include NOTAMs for their FIR (Flight Information Region), which can be found under the ARTCC NOTAMs tab, as well as additional airport, obstacle, and TFR NOTAMs. The rate at which NOTAMs update in ForeFlight is also faster.

New NOTAMs are also available for many international airports

Although the number of NOTAMs available in ForeFlight has expanded greatly, it is not exhaustive, so be sure to check other sources for relevant NOTAMs when planning a flight outside the US.

Logbook Enhancements and New Garmin and Avidyne Connectivity with ForeFlight 7.6

ForeFlight 7.6 includes Logbook enhancements and expanded connectivity options with Garmin and Avidyne panel-mounted avionics.

Log Your Flights with Photo Memories

Photos take center stage in the Logbook enhancements delivered in ForeFlight 7.6. Now you can attach unlimited images—from your Photos app or fresh from your device’s camera—to flight entries, aircraft profiles, certificates, and endorsements. Use photos to capture the view on approach to the runway, keep a visual record of squawks, or take a selfie of you and your passengers. Once in Logbook, images can be cropped and rotated to your liking. As with all your Logbook data, these images are stored securely in the ForeFlight Cloud so you can access them from all of your devices.

Record your flights with photo memories

Crop and rotate photos from your device or camera

We’ve also added an FAA 8710 report to serve as a guide for filling out your Airman Certificate/Rating Application. Both the 8710 and flight experience reports can be accessed from the new Reports section of the Logbook menu. You also have options to export to email or AirPrint from within the app.

Export reports to email or print

Finally, medical and knowledge test certificates with issue and expiration dates can be added in the Qualifications section, along with new custom type ratings.

Specify the class, and the issue and expiration dates for your medical certificate.

Expanded Connectivity with Garmin and New Integration with Avidyne

ForeFlight 7.6 includes full support for Garmin’s new GTX 345 ADS-B Out transponder, which can supply ForeFlight with ADS-B weather and traffic, WAAS GPS, and AHRS information, all while helping you meet the FAA’s 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The GTX 345 connects to ForeFlight directly via Bluetooth — no Flight Stream required!

We’ve also partnered with Avidyne to enable connectivity between ForeFlight and the IFD540/440 FMS. The Wi-Fi connection sends GPS position data to ForeFlight and enables flight plan transfer from the IFD to ForeFlight.

Learn more about the ForeFlight Connect platform here.

Receive GPS and flight plans sent from the Avidyne IFD 540/440

6 Great Reasons to File in ForeFlight

The File & Brief view is full of great features to get you to the runway fasterWhen was the last time you filed a flight plan using ForeFlight? For some of you the answer may be “10 minutes ago”, and for others it may be “You can file in ForeFlight?” Regardless of how many times you’ve tapped the File & Brief tab, or how you currently file, filing in ForeFlight has many great features that will get you to the runway faster and with maximum preparation for the flight ahead. Here are six of the most compelling reasons to start using ForeFlight as your all-in-one flight plan filing solution today.

Smart Flight Plan Form Entry

ForeFlight’s File & Brief view makes completing a flight plan form as simple as a few taps: copy your route details from the Maps view using the Send To button, then set the departure time and tap File. Integrating with the flight planning engine saves you the time and effort (and possible mistakes) of re-entering flight details in the form, especially IFR flight plans with lots of airways and waypoints.

The File & Brief view makes flight plan entry as easy as a few tapsSmart flight plan form entry shines when you file with the ICAO flight plan form, soon to be required for all VFR and IFR flights in the US. You don’t have to keep track of the difficult formatting rules, as ForeFlight automatically handles this for you.

You can amend a filed flight plan in the same form that you originally entered it inAmend / Cancel / Activate

You’ll never have to call flight service again to amend, cancel, or activate a flight plan, as you can accomplish all of these things right from the File & Brief view. To change a filed flight plan, tap Amend, edit your flight information, then tap File Changes. Flight plans can also be cancelled or activated with a tap of a button. ForeFlight gives you the tools to take control of your flight plan without delays.

Automatic Flight Notifications

ForeFlight will notify you of weather and NOTAM changes along your routeOnce you’ve filed your flight plan, weather conditions and NOTAMs can change, sometimes significantly enough to affect your go/no-go decision. ForeFlight will notify you when changes occur with the Flight Notifications feature, available with Pro and Pro Plus subscriptions. Flight Notifications provide text and graphical depictions of AIR/SIGMETs, TFRs, NOTAMs, urgent PIREPs, and more. ForeFlight begins monitoring your filed route for changes two hours prior to your scheduled departure time, and notifies you of the changes with a red badge on the File & Brief tab and a prominent banner at the top of the view.

Flight Notifications include both text and graphical representationsWith IFR flight plans, ForeFlight will also notify you when ATC issues an expected route or acknowledgment for your flight plan. These are sent by the ForeFlight servers directly to your device, even when the ForeFlight app is closed.

Graphical Briefing

ForeFlight’s Graphical Briefing delivers the next generation of preflight briefing, with translated information presented in a visually elegant design to enhance readability. It has all the elements of a standard preflight briefing, including AIR/SIGMETs, TFRs, NOTAMs, forecasts, current conditions, and more, without the tedium of page-after-page of coded text. The briefing serves as the perfect complement to the simplicity and ease that characterizes the rest of ForeFlight’s filing process.

ForeFlight Graphical Briefing delivers translated and visual information for enhanced readability

Cloud Protection

Your flight plans and briefings are stored in the cloud in case you ever need themEvery flight plan you file and briefing you retrieve are saved securely both on your device and in the ForeFlight Cloud. This is important for more than just record-keeping — if you ever have to prove that you obtained weather and pertinent NOTAMs in compliant manner with 14 CFR 91.103(a) preflight action, your briefing will be available and timestamped to provide this proof.

Consolidate Your Resources

While all the features listed above are great on their own, perhaps the best reason to file with ForeFlight is that they’re all available in one place, building on each other to provide the smoothest filing experience. Consolidating your flight planning, filing, and flying resources into a single location guarantees maximum efficiency, a sentiment we have heard from many of our customers in Part 135 operations, where efficiency is required to stay in the game.

You can get the details of filing in ForeFlight in the Pilot’s Guide to ForeFlight Mobile, or in the Filing with ForeFlight Mobile guide, which focuses on ICAO flight plan filing.

Brief Easy with ForeFlight Graphical Briefing

ForeFlight Graphical Briefing is a comprehensive briefing with content derived from approved government sources. It includes all the elements of a standard preflight briefing prescribed by the FAA—adverse conditions, synopsis, current conditions, enroute and destination forecasts, NOTAMs, and more—delivered in a visually elegant design for enhanced readability. With this next generation briefing format, we believe you will enjoy and get more from the preflight briefing.

The Graphical Briefing is seamlessly integrated into the ForeFlight Mobile app and is presented in clearly organized sections, making it simple to tap through each element of the briefing in a logical sequence. Translated and raw text options are available, as well as full-color graphics, which help you better understand and consume briefing information.

ForeFlight Briefing organized into logical sections

Some helpful aspects of the new briefing include color-coding and notations to indicate if an advisory will be active or inactive during or near your passing time:

ForeFlight Briefing with active and inactive AIRMET alertAlso, colored dots used in conjunction with METARs and TAFs give you an at-a-glance view of current and forecast weather. In the first screenshot, green represents VFR, blue is marginal VFR, red is IFR, and magenta is low IFR.

In the TAF view, color-coding is again used to indicate the forecast flight category. Based on your planned departure time and aircraft profile, your passing time at each station is automatically calculated and plotted on the TAF:

ForeFlight Briefing on the iPad and iPhoneThe briefing is mobile and portable—once the briefing is retrieved, you do not need an Internet connection to access it again on the go. You can also view the briefing on any web browser by clicking the link in your confirmation email after you file your flight plan.

In addition, Graphical Briefings are timestamped and stored on your iPad and iPhone, and in the ForeFlight cloud, to record that you obtained weather and pertinent NOTAMs in compliant manner with 14 CFR 91.103(a) preflight action.

Graphical Briefing is available to all customers with ForeFlight Mobile 7.4 and beyond on both the iPad and iPhone. You can enable the briefing at any time by going to More > Settings > File & Brief, and tapping the ForeFlight Briefing slider so that it turns blue.

For more information visit foreflight.com/briefing/.

Four Things You May Not Know About ForeFlight Lightning

The lightning layer now in ForeFlight has been switched to use a much improved lightning source called the Earth Networks Total Lightning Network (ENTLN). This is the world’s largest lightning detection network with over 1200 sensors worldwide. This is the same lightning network that has been used by the NTSB when investigating aircraft accidents. Here are four facts about the lightning displayed in ForeFlight.

#1 – The lightning depicted in ForeFlight is worldwide

It is estimated by research meteorologists that at any given moment in time, there are nearly 2,000 thunderstorms occurring around the world. This includes about 100 strikes for every second that passes. This is important since the presence of lightning is indicative of dangerous convective turbulence and the potential for low-level wind shear. Ground-based radar such as NEXRAD has a limited range and only covers a small portion of the earth. Lightning detectors, on the other hand, can sense strikes from a thunderstorm that is a thousand miles away providing coverage in regions where ground-based radar does not reach.

#2 – All forms of lightning are included

The Earth Networks lightning sensor is a wideband system. This enables the sensor to not only detect strong cloud-to-ground strikes, but detect weak in-cloud pulses as well. With a detection efficiency of nearly 95 percent, the lightning depicted in the distinct ForeFlight layer includes just about all of the natural lightning that is occurring around the world.

#3 – Radar layer includes lightning

While connected to the Internet, there are two ways to display lightning in the ForeFlight Mobile app. By default, lightning is included as part of the radar layer. So tapping on the radar layer in the dropdown menu will also overlay the latest lightning. However, it is important to understand that this lightning depiction overlaid on the radar has not been upgraded to use the new ENTLN as of yet.

To get the higher density lightning, you must tap on the Map mode button and select Lightning from the dropdown menu. This unique lightning layer is useful when also displaying the color-enhanced satellite layer. Areas of thunderstorms typically have very cold (high) cloud tops. Blue, yellow, orange and red colors on the satellite layer depict regions with cold cloud tops. However, not all cold cloud tops indicate an area of deep, moist convection (thunderstorms). So the lightning layer as an overlay is a good way to confirm where the truly nasty convection is occurring.

#4 – Latest 5 minutes of lightning are depicted

Regardless if you are viewing the lightning overlaid on the radar layer or the separate lightning layer, the age of the strikes depicted typically ranges from 3 to 8 minutes. Then, this lightning continues to age as it is cached in the app for the next five minutes. After this five minute period, the app automatically removes the older strikes and refreshes the display to include the latest strikes.

foreflight-lightning

Pilot Reports Get A Facelift

Pilot weather reports are the eyes of the skies. They are not only consumed by pilots, but they are critical data for meteorologists as discussed in this earlier blog post.  For example, SIGMETs for turbulence and icing often live and die by pilot reports. It’s rare to see a SIGMET issued for severe or extreme turbulence until pilots begin to report those conditions. As such they are an important part of any preflight briefing and are even more valuable as they trickle in over ADS-B while en route. That’s why we’ve given pilot report symbols used in ForeFlight a much needed facelift.

ForeFlight PIREPs

The new ForeFlight pilot weather report symbols help to quickly identify adverse weather along your proposed route of flight.

The hunt is over

In ForeFlight Mobile 7.5.2, we’ve significantly enhanced the way you see pilot weather reports displayed in the Map view. Prior to this release, pilot reports were loosely organized into three types, namely, turbulence, icing and sky & weather – each represented by a single pilot report symbol (chevron, snowflake and eyeball, respectively). However, this required you to tap on each and every PIREP marker to see important details such as altitude and intensity. Moreover, routine (UA) and urgent (UUA) pilot reports looked exactly the same. Now, standard pilot report symbology used in this release makes it clear as to the type of report, intensity, altitude (when known) and whether or not it’s an urgent pilot report without the need to tap on the pilot report symbol. So the hunt is over; with the added glance value, the truly nasty weather conditions reported by pilots jumps right out of the glass.

The good, the bad and the ugly

Pilots can include all sorts of things in a report, like seeing a flock of geese or even critters camping out on the runway. But reports of adverse weather (or lack thereof) of turbulence and icing are typically made through a subjective estimate of intensity. In order to enhance the glance value and minimize taps to get information, ForeFlight now uses standard pilot report symbols for turbulence and icing reports. Reports that do not contain turbulence or icing details are defaulted to use the legacy sky & weather “eyeball” symbol. These may contain reports of precipitation, cloud bases and cloud tops as well as outside air temperature and winds aloft (speed and direction).

New Icing PIREP Symbols New Turbulence PIREP Symbols

Each icing and turbulence pilot weather report is shown in the ForeFlight Map view with one of the symbols above that depict the reported intensity.  From left to right, the top row includes icing intensities of null (negative), light, moderate and severe. Also from left to right, the bottom row includes turbulence intensities of null (negative), light, moderate, severe and extreme.

Some intensity reports are “rounded up” to minimize the overall number of icons to remember. For example, you may notice in the symbols above that ForeFlight doesn’t use the official symbol for trace icing. Consequently, a report of trace icing is rounded up to use the light icing symbol. Similarly, we’re not providing a symbol for reports that straddle two intensities such as “moderate to severe.” Therefore, a “light to moderate” turbulence report will be rounded up to use the moderate turbulence symbol; a report of “moderate to severe” turbulence will be rounded up to use the severe turbulence symbol and so on.

Urgent-Report

All urgent pilot reports and reports of a severe nature will be tagged with a red badge to add increased glance value to those reports. For example, shown here is an urgent pilot weather report for severe turbulence at 8,000 ft MSL in the Florida Panhandle.

Above and beyond the different turbulence and icing symbols and to further attract your attention, urgent pilot reports in ForeFlight contain a red badge in the upper-right corner like the turbulence report shown above. These badges will typically be included on a turbulence or icing symbol for a report for severe or extreme turbulence and/or severe icing, respectively.

However, you may also see a red badge included with a weather & sky report like the one shown below. This is typically an urgent pilot report for low-level wind shear (LLWS) or mountain wave activity that did not also include any turbulence or icing details. Also, reports of hail, tornadoes, waterspouts or funnel clouds will be classified and tagged as urgent.

Sky & Weather Urgent

A red badge on a sky & weather (eyeball symbol) pilot report means that the report was tagged as urgent even though no icing or turbulence details were provided. Most of the time this means that low-level wind shear or mountain wave activity was reported by the pilot.

Altitude at a glance

If the pilot report contains a flight level (MSL altitude), this flight level is displayed below the symbol using three digits. For example, from the icing pilot report shown below, 057 is added below the symbol which identifies the reported altitude of 5,700 feet MSL.

PIREP Altitude

A light icing pilot weather report at 5,700 feet MSL (FL057).

On the other hand, when the flight level is unknown (FLUNKN) as it is in the icing pilot report below, we will just show the appropriate symbol (turbulence, icing or sky & weather) without an altitude. Even so, there may be specific altitudes reported, but you’ll have to tap on the pilot report marker to examine the raw report for those details. In this case, light rime ice was reported between 6,000 and 4,500 feet MSL, for example.

No Altitude PIREP

Flight level in this light icing report is unknown (FLUNKN). Tapping on the report reveals more details.

I see double

If the pilot reported both icing and turbulence in the same report, you will see a pair of symbols side by side like the ones shown below with the center of the symbol pair representing the actual location of the report. This pair of report symbols indicates light icing and light turbulence at 16,000 feet MSL.

Pair Of Symbols

A pair of reports means that both icing and turbulence details were provided for the altitude shown in the marker.

Spreading the wealth

To keep everything consistent you will also see these standard symbols show up when tapping on the Map with the AIR/SIGMET/CWAs layer displayed. AIRMETs for turbulence and icing are displayed with their respective moderate symbol and SIGMETs for turbulence and icing will be displayed with their respective severe symbol. For example, in the list below, it’s very simple now to see that the last item in the popover is a SIGMET for turbulence.

AIRMET/SIGMET Icons

Standard symbology is also used in the display of AIRMETs and SIGMETs for icing and turbulence.

Even though there’s now more information available at first glance, you will still want to examine the details of any relevant pilot reports by tapping on the specific markers. Like anything new, it may take a little while to get used to the new pilot report icons. But we feel that the use of standard symbology is critical for flight safety and these changes will provide less taps and a much higher glance value for determining the location and altitude of the most nasty weather being reported by pilots. Lastly, keep those pilot weather reports coming; they are important for all stakeholders in aviation safety.

 

ForeFlight is Ready for iPad Pro

Apple shipped the new iPad Pro this week and our dev team is already logging time with it in the cockpit. So far we are impressed with its performance. We also released ForeFlight 7.4 this week which is compatible with the new hardware.

ipads

We designed the 7.4 release to take advantage of the expanded screen real estate and display more information at once, including two more instruments in the Instrument Panel and expanded sections in the Weight & Balance view. Apple’s new A9X chip also provides incredible processing speed and graphics performance, making your flight planning more immersive than ever.

Flight testing with iPad Pro

Flight testing with the iPad Pro!

If you can find room for it in your cockpit, you can view more of a chart at once, and going split-screen with Synthetic Vision still provides the same amount of chart space as an iPad Air. The Pro in landscape orientation is equivalent in screen size to two iPad Airs side-by-side! And despite the large screen, we’ve seen great battery performance out of it so far. We are looking forward to all the new possibilities on this platform.

New Graphical Preflight Briefing, Track Log and Weather Upgrades in ForeFlight 7.4

For years, pilots have endured a cryptic, wall-of-text preflight briefing. With ForeFlight Mobile 7.4, we are thrilled to introduce ForeFlight Briefing—a graphical, translated, interactive briefing that helps you better visualize weather and related flight information along your proposed route. This release also delivers an enhanced AIR/SIGMETs map layer and new Track Log capabilities that allow you to automatically record your flights.

You Can Brief Clearly Now With ForeFlight Briefing

ForeFlight Briefing is a standard briefing with content derived from approved government sources. It includes all the elements of a standard preflight briefing prescribed by the FAA—adverse conditions, synopsis, current conditions, enroute and destination forecasts, NOTAMs, and more—delivered in a visually elegant design for enhanced readability. With this next generation briefing format, we believe you will enjoy and get more from the preflight briefing.

ForeFlight Briefing is seamlessly integrated into the ForeFlight Mobile app and is presented in clearly organized sections, making it simple to tap through each element of the briefing in a logical sequence. Translated and raw text options are available, as well as full-color graphics, which help you better understand and consume briefing information.

ForeFlight Briefing organized into logical sections

Some helpful aspects of the new briefing include color-coding and notations to indicate if an advisory will be active or inactive during or near your passing time:

ForeFlight Briefing with active and inactive AIRMET alertAlso, colored dots used in conjunction with METARs and TAFs give you an at-a-glance view of current and forecast weather. In the screen shot above, green represents VFR, blue is marginal VFR, red is IFR, and magenta is low IFR.

In the TAF view, color-coding is again used to indicate the forecast flight category. Based on your planned departure time and aircraft profile, your passing time at each station is automatically calculated and plotted on the TAF:

ForeFlight Briefing on the iPad and iPhoneThe briefing is mobile and portable—once the briefing is retrieved, you do not need an Internet connection to access it again on the go. In addition, after you file your flight plan you can click the link in your confirmation email to view the briefing on any web browser.

In addition, ForeFlight Briefings are timestamped and stored on your iPad and iPhone, and in the ForeFlight cloud, to record that you obtained weather and pertinent NOTAMs in compliant manner with 14 CFR 91.103(a) preflight action.

ForeFlight Briefing is available to all customers with ForeFlight Mobile version 7.4 on both the iPad and iPhone. Customers with 7.4 installed will be automatically given the opportunity to use the new format the next time they brief a planned flight.

For more information visit foreflight.com/briefing/.

Global SIGMETs, New Graphical Center Weather Advisories

The refreshed AIR/SIGMET/CWAs Map layer now includes graphical Center Weather Advisories (CWAs) alongside AIRMETs and SIGMETs, giving you a better picture of current conditions. SIGMETs are also expanded to include global coverage.

Refreshed AIR/SIGMET/CWA map layer

A new interactive filter on this layer helps you single out adverse condition advisories based on type (icing, turbulence, IFR conditions, and thunderstorms), allowing you to declutter and get straight to the information you want to know:

AIR/SIGMET/CWA layer filter

Scott Dennstaedt, our in-house Weather Scientist, has written this blog post and this one to provide more insight on how to use these helpful weather resources in your everyday flight planning.

Capture Every Flight—Automatically

Have you ever been half-an-hour into a flight and realized you forgot to tap the Track Log record button? Now you don’t have to remember! With 7.4, we’ve made it easier than ever to record your flights.

Track Log shown in Google Earth.

Track Log shown in Google Earth.

Track Logs can automatically start recording when you take off and, after touchdown, automatically stop recording—ensuring that every flight is captured for your post-flight debrief. When you get back to Wi-Fi, Track Logs are also automatically uploaded to the ForeFlight cloud for safekeeping and for easy access from your other devices.

The Track Log includes your taxi time so you can have a complete record of your time in the cockpit — on and off the ground.

You can control the auto-record function in the app settings:
Track Log record settings

(Please note that Stratus Track Logs do not currently auto-upload.)

Apple iOS 9 Spotlight Search

ForeFlight Mobile 7.4 supports Spotlight Search, Apple’s smart search feature, which now displays relevant airport results from inside ForeFlight Mobile right on your device’s Home page.

ForeFlight and Apple Spotlight Search

To access Spotlight Search, swipe from left to right on the Home page of your iPad or iPhone. Begin typing an airport name, identifier, or city name and results from ForeFlight Mobile populate the search results list. Tap the desired airport search result and ForeFlight Mobile opens directly to that location in the Airports view. To continue searching, tap “Back to Search” in the upper left corner of the screen to return to the Spotlight Search view. Spotlight Search is available on iPhone 5 and up, all iPad Air models, and iPad Mini 2 and up.

App-Store-icon

ForeFlight Mobile 7.4 is a free update available on the App Store.