New Firmware Update Available for Stratus 2 Devices

Appareo recently released a new firmware update for Stratus 2 devices, adding some features that were first introduced with the Stratus 2S. To update your Stratus 2:

  1. Connect to the Stratus Wi-Fi network.
  2. Navigate to More > Devices > Stratus inside ForeFlight.
  3. Tap the “Tap to Update” button next to the current firmware version.

This update adds a new item to the Settings section of the Devices > Stratus view: Wi-Fi Settings. Tap on the item to see the new settings.

Photo Dec 01, 3 59 07 PM

Disabling SSID Broadcast hides your network’s name from devices trying to connect to it, so the only way someone can access the network is if they already know its name. Another new setting is the option to enable WPA2 Security, which allows you to set a passcode on the network.

These settings make it harder for someone else to access your Stratus’ Wi-Fi network, though most pilots will probably not need this level of security. If you set a passcode but then forget it, you can perform a factory reset of the device by holding down the power button for 30 seconds. This will return the Wi-Fi Settings to their default states. Be warned, however, that a factory reset will also delete any Stratus logs saved on the device.

New Stratus 1S and 2S Deliver Solid Features and Better Performance, Shipping Soon

Stratus 1S and 2SIn partnership with Appareo and Sporty’s, we are happy to announce that the next generation of portable Stratus ADS-B receivers are available and shipping soon. Stratus 1S and 2S offer new features and better performance, with the same pilot-friendly design that has made Stratus the best-selling ADS-B receiver. Even if you haven’t equipped for the 2020 mandate yet, Stratus allows you to take advantage of ADS-B weather and traffic information for better inflight situational awareness and decision-making.

 

Stratus 1S, priced at just $549, is an affordable option that gives you subscription-free weather, single-band ADS-B traffic, and GPS position. Features on this entry-level option include enhanced ADS-B reception, the latest USB Type C connector for charging, and Stratus Replay, a feature that allows you to sleep your iPad screen and never miss a weather report.

Stratus 2S, ADS-B Weather and Traffic

Stratus 2S enhances the ForeFlight Mobile experience, especially for single-pilot IFR operations. Stratus 2S comes with a built-in barometric pressure sensor and integrated Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS). The pressure sensor drives ForeFlight Mobile’s Pressure Altitude instrument and Cabin Altitude Advisor alert, a helpful notification feature that keeps you safer at higher altitudes. The super-responsive AHRS provides a backup attitude display, a feature that really makes our Synthetic Vision come alive. In addition, flight data recording, a dual-band traffic receiver, and Stratus Replay are all a part of the $899 Stratus 2S value.

Here is a detailed comparison of what each receiver offers (click for a larger image):

Stratus 1S and 2S features.

Stratus 1S and 2S features.

For existing Stratus customers, you can feel confident that we will continue to support the first- and second-generation Stratus units. The Stratus platform is built from the ground up to work with ForeFlight Mobile, making it easy to develop and deliver firmware updates.

Stratus 1S or 2S can be purchased via Sporty’s Pilot Shop or Appareo. Customers who currently have an order placed for a second-generation Stratus will automatically receive a new Stratus 2S. Stay tuned for updates on the ship date. Customers interested in Fleet Sales should contact ForeFlight at sales@foreflight.com.

Learn more at foreflight.com/stratus.

Webinar: Weather Flying and the iPad

Recently ForeFlight’s own Weather Scientist, Scott Dennstaedt, and Sporty’s John Zimmerman hosted a webinar devoted to Weather Flying and the iPad. In this hour long session, learn about the basics of weather, discover how to utilize ForeFlight and the Stratus ADS-B receiver for the most informed and effective weather decision-making, and see ForeFlight and Stratus in action with real-world scenarios. This webinar is geared towards making you a safer, more strategic, and informed pilot in any weather situation.

More Sync and New Performance Planning in ForeFlight Mobile 6.4

ForeFlight Mobile version 6.4 is now available for download on the App Store.

New Performance Planning Capability

ForeFlight Mobile version 6.4 introduces taxi and take-off, climb, cruise, and descent performance data fields for aircraft profiles. Add these details to your aircraft profile for a more accurate fuel burn and time en route estimate (ETE) for the planned route.

To add this information, navigate to the aircraft profile (More > Aircraft). Open the profile, scroll down, and you will see the new data fields.

Add performance data to your aircraft profile.

Add performance data to your aircraft profile.

As you plan your route in the Maps view, use the Altitude Advisor to generate a current winds aloft forecast. The winds aloft forecast is intelligently integrated into your flight performance calculation, adjusting for things like more time in climb the higher your planned altitude and the winds at different altitudes during your climb and descent. These calculations give you a more precise fuel burn and time enroute estimate, especially for aircraft that spend more time in the climb phase to reach a higher cruise altitude.

For comparison, this table from our Pilot’s Guide shows the performance results for three different routes using the new performance planning fields (“Detailed”) versus just the average airspeed and fuel burn (“Simple”):

Aircraft performance comparison with example routes.

Aircraft performance comparison with example routes.

The Altitude Advisor also uses your aircraft performance data to make assumptions about how much time it will take your aircraft to climb to the selected cruise altitude before it needs to descend to the destination. The winds aloft entries are shown as dashes for altitudes above this point and no-wind performance data will be displayed in the NavLog.

Tap the Altitude button in the Route Editor to access the Altitude Advisor.

Tap the Altitude button in the Route Editor to access the Altitude Advisor.

Taxi and take-off fuel use is reported in the total fuel used for the trip. In the NavLog, the leg data will only include data for that leg, but the totals column will include the taxi and take-off fuel burn.

Total trip performance, including taxi and take off fuel, is shown along the bottom of the NavLog.

Total trip performance, including taxi and take off fuel, is shown along the bottom of the NavLog.

Sync Extended to Aircraft Profiles, Flight Plans

ForeFlight Mobile 6.4 brings aircraft profiles and flight plans into our cloud-based Sync feature.

6.4-iPad-iPhone-sync

Sync gives you more flexibility to move between devices during the flight planning and filing process. Your activity syncs and so each device is ready to pick up where you leave off. Plan your route and start your flight plan form on your iPad, then file or make changes on your iPhone. Each edit to the flight plan form or change to flight plan status is reflected on each device when it connects to the Internet.

No need to manually duplicate your aircraft profile information. Build your profile once on any device signed in to your ForeFlight account and Sync does the rest. The performance planning information you just added to your new or existing aircraft profile will also automatically sync across your devices.

To enable Sync, navigate to More > Settings > Preferences and turn Synchronize User Data ON.

Enable Sync in the Settings view.

Enable Sync in the Settings view.

In addition to these new capabilities, Sync reflects all of your recent and favorite routes, airports, weather imagery, and user waypoints across each device that is signed in to your ForeFlight account.

World Aeronautical Charts

World Aeronautical Charts (WACs) covering Continental US, Alaska, northern Mexico, and the northern Caribbean are now available as an overlay in the Maps view. Select the World Aeronautical layer from the drop down to view these charts:

World Aeronautical Charts shown in ForeFlight Mobile.

World Aeronautical Charts shown in ForeFlight Mobile.

In your Download Settings (More > Downloads), select World Aeronautical Charts in the United States and the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America coverages to enable bulk download of the chart type and to view them offline.

Select World Aeronautical Charts in the Downloads view.

Select World Aeronautical Charts in the Downloads view.

Customers with both USA and Canada subscriptions can simultaneously display the World Aeronautical and Canada VNC map layers for a complete VFR chart view covering all of the USA and Canada.

A tip for customers with both US and Canada subscriptions--select World Aeronautical and Canada VNC overlays in the Maps view for a full VFR chart view.

A tip for customers with both US and Canada subscriptions–select World Aeronautical and Canada VNC overlays in the Maps view for a full VFR chart view.

Tap on the Maps Settings button to turn Chart Legends ON. Then tap on an area of the chart to reveal the corresponding legend.

Display WAC legends on the Maps view.

Display WAC legends on the Maps view.

More Flight Recording Options Available with Stratus 2

ForeFlight Mobile 6.4 delivers firmware update version 1.6 to the Stratus 2 and unlocks the receiver’s flight data recorder making Stratus 2 the only available ADS-B receiver that has this capability.

Flight recording is a great tool for flight instructors and new pilots to visually debrief each flight. Students can see progress over time as they practice maneuvers and instructors can reinforce the effects of wind on performing those maneuvers. In addition, you always have a record of your flights to help with filling out your logbook.

Students and instructors can review pattern work using Google Earth.

Students and instructors can review pattern work using Google Earth.

Stratus 2 records position, speed, and altitude data throughout each flight onto the receiver’s built-in memory. Set the Stratus to record automatically when the unit is powered on and the built-in GPS senses motion.

In this mode, recording continues until the Stratus is turned off. After your flight, seamlessly transfer the Track Log data to ForeFlight Mobile where the logs are available to view, share, and debrief on all of your devices, as well as on foreflight.com.

Access Stratus recorder settings from the Maps view.

Access Stratus recorder settings from the Maps view.

The Stratus flight data recorder settings are accessible in two ways:

  1. From the Maps view: tap the Maps Settings (gear button along the top of the screen), then under Devices tap Stratus 2. Scroll down to Flight Data Recorder and slide the Enabled toggle ON.
  2. From the More view: tap Devices, then tap on the Stratus 2 box. Scroll down to Flight Data Recorder and slide the Enabled toggle ON.

Stratus 2 records approximately twenty hours of GPS and AHRS data and automatically deletes the oldest track log to make room for a new track log. The Stratus flight data recorder saves data regardless of whether you use ForeFlight Mobile’s Track Log record button.

To update the Stratus firmware, update ForeFlight Mobile to version 6.4, then connect your device to the Stratus 2 Wi-Fi network. Navigate to More > Devices > Stratus 2 > Firmware to apply the firmware update.

More Improvements and Fixes

  • The Weight & Balance setup interview now prompts a warning when the empty arm is entered instead of empty moment, or when a smaller than expected empty moment is entered (i.e. empty moment is divided by 100 or 1000 directly from the POH).
  • Bug fixes and performance improvements.
  • For the V-22 pilots out there, we’ve got your Tilt Rotor location marker:
Choose from a variety of location markers in the Settings menu.

Choose from a variety of location markers in the Settings menu.

Our Pilot’s Guide is up to date and contains full details on the new features. Download the Pilot’s Guide onto your device using the built-in catalog in the Documents view.

ForeFlight Mobile Receives Operational Suitability Approval on iPad and iPhone

We are pleased to announce that the FAA’s Aircraft Evaluation Group completed an evaluation of ForeFlight Mobile as an Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) solution and found the app to be operationally suitable as a “complete flight deck solution for continuous accessibility for the pilot.”

The approval letter goes on to say: “[The] ForeFlight Mobile application includes airport flight directory information and instrument departure and arrival procedures and charts for all of the US and Canadian IFR National Airspace System. The mobile application was evaluated and found to be operationally suitable.”

The Operational Suitability evaluation was completed on an iPad 2, however the approval covers the iPad 2 or newer, iPad Mini, and iPhone 3GS or newer hardware. In related efforts, the co-developed Stratus 2 ADS-B receiver with Appareo Systems has received approval for use in Part 121 aircraft operations. The Stratus platform enables the display of ADS-B weather on iPad and iPhone running the ForeFlight Mobile app, as well as WAAS-grade GPS positioning for ownship display. Professional operators with access to inflight weather routinely report saving thousands of pounds of gas by being able to see ahead and work with flight operations on inflight re-routes.

In the United States, operators falling under FAR Part 91K, 121, 125, and 135 are required to have formal FAA authorization to use EFB solutions inflight. This letter makes it even easier for operators to obtain approval for use of ForeFlight Mobile on iOS devices. ForeFlight will share copies of the letter to interested customers seeking this approval.

For more information about obtaining ForeFlight Mobile and Stratus approvals, contact ForeFlight at sales@foreflight.com.

Stadium TFRs

Graphical Stadium TFRs

Graphical Stadium TFRs are displayed on the Maps view.

Stadium TFRs are now graphically represented in the Maps view as part of the TFRs layer, both inflight using Stratus and on the ground over Internet. No additional Settings are required to view them.

ForeFlight monitors event schedules for Major League Baseball, the National Football League, NCAA Football, Indy Car, NASCAR Sprint Cup, and Formula 1 and integrates that information into the TFR layer on the Maps view.

ForeFlight looks forward seven days for events that match this criteria and the default duration for each event is set to six hours. Red TFRs are active or will be active in the next 8 hours. Yellow TFRs are inactive for at least the next 8 hours. As always, we recommend communicating with ATC inflight to steer clear of these areas when they are active.

In the Maps view, tap on the drop down menu in the upper left and select TFRs from the overlay options:

Select TFRs in the Maps overlay options

In the Maps view, select TFRs in the overlay menu.

One other thing to note about TFRs is that if the FAA publishes a TFR without graphical shape information, it may not appear in the Maps overlay. We encourage you to also check the Airports page > NOTAMs > TFRs, as well as with ATC, for any additional TFR information.

NOTAMs in the Airports view

Reference additional TFR information in the Airports view > NOTAMs > TFR.

Animated in-flight ADS-B radar is here

We are off and running into 2014 with the first release of the year. ForeFlight Mobile 5.5.1 is now available for download at App Store and brings you animated in-flight ADS-B radar via Stratus.

Animated ADS-B radar is available to both ForeFlight Mobile Standard and Pro subscribers with a first or second generation Stratus. Please note that ADS-B weather (and Stratus) requires iPad 2 or newer or iPhone 4 or newer.

ADS-B radar on ForeFlight Mobile

ADS-B radar on ForeFlight Mobile

In-flight animated ADS-B radar gives you another edge on situational awareness and informed decision making by providing strategic weather trending information. See if weather is building or dissipating, and the likely direction of travel.

When Stratus is connected to your iPad or iPhone, select the radar overlay option in the Maps view. You will now see an animation play button in the lower left corner of the screen. The animated set will play up to five frames of contiguous NEXRAD updates. Nearby NEXRAD precipitation maps update every 5 minutes whereas radar data further away from your aircraft updates every 15 minutes.

Also in 5.5.1, you will see a new zoom-to-route button above the Map view zoom control. A single tap re-centers your route in the Map view.

Zoom-to-route button shown in the Map view

Zoom-to-route button shown in the Map view

As always, we are on frequency at team@foreflight.com to assist with any questions you may have about animated ADS-B radar.

ForeFlight Mobile 5.5.1 is a free update for current subscribers. Click here for instructions on updating to the latest version.

[Updated] Pings, Pucks, and Traffic on Stratus

December 27, 2013 NOTE: We have a short video (linked here) that shows how to connect ForeFlight Mobile to Stratus, enable the traffic layer, and interact with a traffic target. You can find out more about the ForeFlight Mobile and Stratus integration by clicking here.

April 29, 2013 NOTE: ForeFlight Mobile was updated to show ADS-B traffic data (as of v5.1).  ADS-B Out adoption has grown over the last year, but all of the cautions from this post still apply.  Read on to learn about how the ADS-B traffic system works, and why having ADS-B Out installed in your airplane is critical to getting useful traffic data.


Original post from April 1, 2012:

Many pilots today – in our booth at Sun ‘n Fun and on Facebook and Twitter – have asked about whether or not the Stratus and ForeFlight Mobile support traffic.

Firstly, Stratus does receive the traffic stream. However, ForeFlight Mobile does not to display it (edit: as of version 5.1 it DOES show traffic, see notes above), and here’s why:

You’re flying along and an aircraft passes by. No alert. Another aircraft passes by, no alert. Then another, and another, and another. No alerts. Occasionally, you get an alert. But for the most part, day in and day out, traffic passes by, no alerts. In pretty short order, you lose confidence in your portable ADS-B “traffic” system.

Without certified ADS-B “Out” equipment in your airplane, the narrative above is likely to be your experience if your aircraft is not ADS-B “Out” equipped. ADS-B ground stations only send out traffic information when a properly equipped aircraft “pings” the station. To ping, an aircraft needs certified ADS-B avionics installed that are permitted to ping, receive air-to-air traffic broadcasts, and send traffic information into the national airspace system computers. This ping ability is essentially enabled by what is referred to as “ADS-B Out”.  Stratus is ADS-B In only, and does not provide ADS-B Out capability.

In response to ADS-B Out pings, an ADS-B ground station sends back traffic data in a hockey puck-shaped area centered around the transmitting aircraft. Ground stations aren’t always broadcasting traffic data – they transmit that when an ADS-B Out signal is received.

The “puck” sent is a customized set of traffic data – targets consisting of any aircraft transmitting ADS-B Out, Mode A/S/C, or targets being picked up by radar – observed within a 15nm radius of the ADS-B Out equipped aircraft’s current position (plus or minus 3,500′ in relative altitude).

If your aircraft is not equipped to “ping” you would only receive traffic data centered around other ADS-B Out equipped aircraft that happened to be nearby.  If you are on the fringe of that other aircraft’s puck, you’d be more than half blind.  Since there are few aircraft currently equipped with ADS-B Out, this “blindness” would be a very common situation.

Traffic on a portable ADS-B weather receiver creates a potentially dangerous false sense of security for pilots flying without ADS-B Out. They would not be seeing the whole traffic picture.

As we get closer to 2020, ADS-B out adoption will grow. However, until ADS-B Out adoption is more widespread, ForeFlight Mobile will not be showing traffic data from the system to avoid this situation.