Cloud Coverage, 3D Traffic, Additional Mountain Peaks, and more in ForeFlight 12.10

ForeFlight 12.10 brings Cloud Coverage Forecasts, Traffic in 3D Airports, additional Mountain Peaks, and more. 


Cloud Coverage Forecasts

Plan to steer clear of clouds at any altitude with the Clouds forecast weather layer. Cloud Coverage Forecasts is available as a map layer for Pro Plus, MFB Plus, and Business Performance plans and above, and it is integrated in Profile View and 3D Preview for Performance Plus subscription plans.

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Clouds uses data from the GFS Cloud Coverage product to provide a global 24-hour forecast of cloud coverage and altitudes. Rather than forecasting the actual positions of clouds, this layer depicts the likely extent of cloud coverage over a given area at the specified time and altitude, with each shade of gray roughly corresponding to standard cloud coverage intensities: few, scattered, broken, and overcast.

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Open the Maps view Layer Selector to find the Clouds layer just beneath the Icing and Turbulence layers. Like the other forecast layers, Clouds uses a time slider and altitude slider to view different forecast periods and altitudes.


Clouds in Profile View and 3D Preview

While the Cloud Coverage Forecast map layer is accessible to all Pro Plus subscribers and above, Performance Plus subscribers can view these forecasts from additional perspectives using Profile View and 3D Preview.

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Tap the Profile View layer selector in the bottom-left of Profile View to enable Clouds. In Profile View, you can see forecasts at multiple altitudes at once, and combine it with either of the Icing and Turbulence layers for an even more informative view of weather along your route. 

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In 3D Preview, select the Clouds layer in the bottom-left to display forecasts at any altitude. 

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Tap the RTE button to only show forecasts at your planned altitude. Like other weather layers in 3D Preview, the status bar in the top-left indicates the forecast intensity at your current position and altitude, even while viewing forecasts at different altitudes using the altitude slider. Like other forecast layers you can download Clouds for offline reference by Packing before your flight.

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3D Airport Traffic

Follow live approaches, landings, and takeoffs in 3D with FlightAware-sourced Internet Traffic in 3D Airports, available with Performance Plus and Business Performance subscription plans.

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To display 3D Traffic, open any airport in 3D and tap the Layer Selector button in the bottom-left and tap Traffic. This layer uses the same FlightAware-sourced data as the overhead map’s Traffic layer. 

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Traffic targets appear as blue diamonds and display their altitude and tail number if nearby, becoming progressively smaller the further away they are. Tap on any traffic target to reveal its flight path from the time you opened 3D View or enabled the Traffic layer.

Since ForeFlight interpolates aircraft movement based on discontinuous position reports, an aircraft’s immediate flight path may appear to shift in response to new position data. 3D View will only show Internet Traffic, not ADS-B Traffic, so an internet connection is required to use it. Unlike the overhead map layer, 3D View does not depict ground traffic, although aircraft on the ground may still appear depending on their speed and other factors.


Additional Mountain Peak Markers

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ForeFlight’s High Resolution Basemap displays more mountain peak markers near terminal areas and elsewhere for enhanced hazard awareness. Zooming the map into any terminal area will reveal all peaks and associated altitudes within 15nm of the airport, and zooming into any mountainous region will display a greater number of peaks as well.

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Download the High Resolution Basemap for different regions around the world in More > Downloads. Enable mountain peaks in Map Settings (gear icon at the top of the Maps view) > Terrain > Peaks, Passes, and Cables.


Airport Terrain Information

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Quickly get a sense of the terrain variations near an airport by tapping the new Terrain button in the Airport Summary view. The Terrain button appears just to the right of the airport’s taxiway thumbnail on the Airports view or in the airport popup elsewhere in the app. The button only appears for airports in mountainous areas to indicate the presence of major terrain features.

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Tap the button to view the maximum and minimum terrain elevations within 10nm of the airport, as well as the airport elevation.


New Street & Aerial Map Styles

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Both the Street Map and Aerial Map layers have improved styling to help you better identify features on the map. The Aerial Map has more prominent street and place labels, while the Street Map uses a new style that continues showing topographical information even at very high zoom levels. Both map layers require an internet connection to view. 

Garmin Unveils New ForeFlight-Compatible ADS-B Transponders

ForeFlight connectivity with GTX345

Garmin announced today the release of two new options to help you meet the 2020 ADS-B Out mandate. The GTX 345 and GTX 335 all-in-one transponders are compatible with ForeFlight and, depending on the model you choose, wirelessly deliver (via Bluetooth) FIS-B weather, ADS-B traffic, GPS position, and attitude information to your mobile device.

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Garmin and to offer ForeFlight customers flying with Garmin hardware the opportunity to unlock more value from their avionics investment and gain access to connectivity options that enhance the ForeFlight experience.

Visit foreflight.com/connect to learn about all of the ForeFlight connectivity partnerships.

ForeFlight Announces Connectivity with Garmin Avionics

We are excited to announce connectivity between ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin avionics. When connected to Garmin Flight Stream, you can now wirelessly receive ADS-B weather and traffic, precise GPS position data, and dynamic pitch and bank information on your iPad or iPhone.

ForeFlight Mobile and Garmin avionics

ForeFlight Mobile connects to compatible Garmin avionics via the Flight Stream 210/110, Garmin’s Bluetooth® wireless gateway, and displays the full suite of ADS-B weather and traffic information received from the GDL 88/84. The Flight Stream 210, with its internal attitude sensor, powers ForeFlight’s Synthetic Vision and adds a backup attitude capability with dynamic pitch and bank information.

WAAS GPS position information from GTN™ 650/750, GNS™ 430W/530W navigators, or GDL 88 with an internal WAAS receiver can also be used to power features like ForeFlight Mobile’s moving map and geo-referenced approach plates and taxi diagrams to enhance situational awareness in the air and on the ground.

Additionally, flight plan transfer capability is currently in development and will be available in a future app update.

Support for Garmin Flight Stream connectivity is available with ForeFlight Mobile 7.2, now available for download on the App Store. For more information, visit foreflight.com/connect.

[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.