One of the major new features ForeFlight added in version 6.3 is track logging, which allows pilots to record their flight using a GPS source and then play it back in a variety of ways. There are plenty of potential uses for this tool, from IFR training to trip sharing. We even know a few pilots who use it to compare ground speed records. No matter what you plan to use it for, you have to understand how to set up track logging and connect it to other apps properly. Here, we’ll show the whole process in action.
First, you need to make sure to turn on track logging; it’s not automatic and if you forget to hit record you won’t have anything to share. Check that track logging is enabled by tapping More, then Settings. In the Track Log Control section there is an option to enable start/stop control. This should be on, but confirm that it is.
Then go to the Maps page, where you’ll see a REC button on the left side of the screen. Tap this button (it will turn blue) and you are recording your flight–as long as you have a GPS source. This could be the internal iPad GPS (if you have a 3G/4G model) or an external GPS like a Stratus ADS-B receiver or Bad Elf GPS. The app will continue to log even with the iPad screen off in most cases, but if you’re flying with a Stratus you should leave the screen on.
After tapping REC, you’ll see a timer beneath the button, which keeps track of how long the app has been recording the current log:
After you complete your flight, the first step is to add a few details about your flight. Go to More, then Track Logs and find the flight you just completed. You can add the tail number, pilot name and notes about the flight. Next, upload your track log to ForeFlight’s website so it is sync’d between all of your mobile devices. Just tap the cloud/arrow icon to do this. The files are pretty small (less than 300KB per hour), so this doesn’t take long at all.
Now it’s time to see your track log, and a good first step is to tap the blue “View on ForeFlight.com” button. This will take you to ForeFlight’s website (internet connection required obviously) where you can see a basic 2D map of your flight and the notes you entered. You can tap the layer icon at the top left to view your route on an aerial map, sectional chart and more. This is a fairly basic view, but it’s good for a quick overview:
For a more interesting view of your flight, you can export your track log to other apps. From the Track Logs page, choose your flight and tap the arrow button at the top right of the screen. This should look familiar, as it’s the standard “send to” button. You’ll first see options to share your track log via email, Facebook and Twitter.
To do a more complete debrief, choose “Open In…” to see a list of available apps that can accept your track log:
Google Earth is a great place to start. The app is free and offers a number of impressive 3D map options. It’s great for a big picture look at your flight, and is particularly interesting when reviewing ground reference maneuvers:
For a complete review, open the track log in CloudAhoy. This app has both free and paid versions, and is unmatched when it comes to aviation-specific playback options. You can view your flight overlaid on a sectional or IFR chart, plus a variety of flight profiles: altitude, vertical speed, groundspeed and more. This is an excellent way to review instrument approaches or short field landings.
What ways do you use track log? Add a comment below.