The ForeFlight Mobile app aims to be your one-stop shop during the flight planning process, allowing you review weather, charts, NOTAMs, TFRs and airport information in a convenient, organized fashion. ForeFlight recently enhanced this capability by adding three new Advisors with helpful features that make flight planning and decision making simpler. Route Advisor, Procedure Advisor, and Altitude Advisor all work together to save you time and optimize your flight plan based on real-time weather conditions and anticipated ATC routing for IFR flights. You’ll find these features in ForeFlight Mobile version 4.6 and newer.
First set up your aircraft profile
To save time and get the most out of ForeFlight’s Advisor features we recommend that you first set up an aircraft profile. To do this, go the ‘More’ tab at the bottom right, and select Aircraft from the list of options on the left side of the screen. Here you can set up new aircraft and specify which N# to use as a default if you fly multiple aircraft. To add a new profile, press the ‘+’ symbol at the top right of the screen. Now tap in the first field to enter the tail number, and proceed down the list entering each piece of required data. When finished, press the ‘Done’ button at the top right of the window to save the profile. If you entered multiple aircraft, tap the one you want to use as the default aircraft during flight planning, and you’ll see a small checkmark at the right confirming the selection. Not only will this save you time when using the new Advisors flight planning feature, but it will also auto-fill most of the required aircraft and pilot data when using the File & Brief function.
Now head over to the Maps section of the app to start planning the flight. Start by entering the departure and destination airports. While you can still use the white route search box at the top right of the screen, you may find it easier to add waypoints with the Route Editor. To access this, press the NavLog overlay button at the top of the screen (third from the left, icon with 3 horizontal lines). Tap anywhere in the blank box, and the keyboard will slide up to allow typing. After entering the departure airport identifier, press the space bar and enter the destination airport ID, and then press the ‘return’ button on the keyboard. This sets up a direct flight plan between your selected airports and shows the direct route on the map. Next enter your estimated time of departure with the ETD button in the lower right corner.
When flying IFR in congested airspace you will rarely get a clearance from ATC to fly direct. The new Route Advisor helps you plan ahead by showing recently cleared ATC routes and altitudes between your specified airports. Tap the Routes button at the right side of the box, and select one of the routes to automatically add the waypoints to your flight plan. You’ll also see options to load routing based on Victor Airways and ATC Preferred Routes if available (the same ones listed in the back of the A/FD). Now is also a good time to take advantage of one of ForeFlight’s powerful features by displaying the radar imagery & TFRs directly over the VFR/IFR chart and routing. You’ll quickly see if any last route changes are necessary to avoid potential weather hazards or restricted airspace.
Need to enter an Arrival or Departure procedure into your flight plan? The new Procedure advisor makes this a snap, and no longer requires you to enter the procedure code into the route search box. Simply press the Procedure button at the right side of the route editor and select the departure or arrival airport in the pop-up window. Next select the procedure you want to load and finish by confirming which transition you would like. This will load the entire SID or STAR directly into your flight plan, including every VOR, intersection and waypoint. To see the full listing of all the waypoints, press the NavLog button at the bottom right of the route edit box. To remove the procedure, go back to the Edit view by tapping that button at the bottom of the box, tap the green procedure code, and tap the red Delete button.
The last step of the flight planning process with ForeFlight is to choose an altitude. At the top left of the Route Editor window you’ll see your default aircraft N# (if you entered one), along with that aircraft’s true airspeed, fuel burn and altitude. You can change either the airspeed or fuel burn at any time by tapping the respective button and entering a new value in the pop-up window. Tapping the altitude value will bring up the Altitude Advisor window, showing estimated headwind/tailwinds, time en route and fuel burn at each altitude. Use the VFR/IFR and Westerly/Easterly buttons at the bottom to display the correct altitudes for your flight. Tap on your optimum altitude, press Done, and you’ll now find estimated planning numbers for your flight at the bottom left of the Route Edit box, including trip distance, fuel burn, time en route and total tailwind or headwind. To see a detailed NavLog press that button at the bottom right of the box.
To see an actual demonstration on how to use the new advisors in the ForeFlight app, check out our Advanced iPad Webinar video recording.