We are excited to share that ForeFlight’s development team recently deployed technology that can recognize missing or corrupted graphical TFRs that are delivered via the NOTAM system. The new tool alerts ForeFlight’s TFR Desk team members, who then take immediate action to correct the TFR graphic and distribute it quickly to ForeFlight customers.
As a pilot, you rely on web, mobile, and data-link apps and services to display accurate and up-to-date TFR information. And, as Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight’s co-founder and CEO, explains: “From time-to-time, the NOTAM system publishes TFRs without the shape information necessary to depict them. We built the monitoring systems and established the TFR Desk so that pilots can have the highest-quality TFR information as quickly as possible. TFR incursions are still an important issue for the aviation community, and we are doing our part to help.”
In addition to identifying and creating or correcting TFR information, ForeFlight notifies the AOPA’s regulatory affairs team of the discrepancy, who then works with the FAA to correct the information in the NOTAM system. These corrections then make their way back to users via other channels, such as the ADS-B data link system.
The team will continue to improve the tool’s capability to also recognize misshapen TFR files. This effort helps us to quickly distribute the most accurate information and minimize the risk that a pilot will violate a TFR area.
Do you know what to do if you are intercepted by NORAD? No one plans to bust a TFR or wander into Restricted Airspace unannounced, but as PIC you should be familiar with intercept procedures just in case it happens to you. AOPA created a helpful Safety Card which provides flight planning tips for TFR avoidance and a quick reference guide on how to safely comply with standard NORAD / FAA intercept procedures. You can download the guide in the ForeFlight Mobile Documents view:
Or you can also download the guide here.
Last night our “Alerts” service was activated. Alert data comes directly from the FAA and is refreshed every few minutes. If you are curious if extensive unmanned aerial vehicle testing is happening today over the local patch in Afghanistan, now you’ll know.
When you click on the ‘Alerts’ tab in ForeFlight Mobile 2.0 while viewing airport information, you will see a nicely designed listing of obstruction, runway, taxiway, TFR and other alerts associated with that airport. We also lookup any TFRs for any airport within a 100 nm radius of the airport you are viewing and display those at the top. This is a convenient feature for our California pilots because most of the state is, well, on fire.
NOTAMs are decoded and translated for easy interpretation. We group them so you know when they were issued and highlight the really important ones. After all, that unlit tower five miles east of the airport has been broken for over a year. Maybe they’ll fix that.
Look for the helpful icons next to certain NOTAMs and the special shading of TFRs. These visual cues will help you quickly interpret what issues affect your departure or destination point.
No more excuses for not checking all the NOTAMs before a flight. See the screenshot gallery for pictures.
If you need an airspace refresher to help refine your preflight intelligence gathering process, AOPA’s online courses are a great way to start.