The latest release from ForeFlight, version 8.2, includes a number of enhancements to the app’s data-driven aeronautical maps, plus some impressive new audio alerts. Let’s explore how to customize these features so they match the type of flying you do.
New map data
ForeFlight continues to build out their global map engine, a feature that was announced at Oshkosh this year. In addition to airports, airspace, airways and cities, the app now shows mode C veils, airspace altitude limits, TRSAs, ADIZ areas, center frequencies and more. This makes the Aeronautical layer a pretty good replacement for sectional charts (although those are still available, of course).
With these new features, there are more options than ever for customizing how the map looks. Tap on the settings symbol at the top left of the Maps page, and you’ll see a variety of options. In previous articles, we’ve explored the theme and terrain settings. Here, we’ll look at four other important settings: airports, airspace, airways and ARTCC/FIR.
First up is airports. ForeFlight automatically shows public airports on the map, but the app allows you to hide or show less common facilities: heliports, private airports and seaplane bases. Heliports are shown as light-colored circles with an H; private airports are magenta circles with an R; seaplane bases are magenta circles with an anchor symbol.
Next is airspace, and this is an area where ForeFlight has added a number of new features recently. Class B, C and D are always on, since they require communications. But you can choose to hide other types of airspace, like Mode C veils or TRSAs. By default, class E airspace is off, but you can select this to show airports where class E airspace goes to the surface. Note that this will not show all class E airspace (as you’d find at 700 or 1200 ft. AGL over many airports), only the dashed magenta line variety.
Airways can be shown on the Aero layer, either low (victor airways) or high (jet airways). Choose which one you’d like to display (or neither), then tap on an airway for MEAs and MOCAs.
Also new in version 8.2 is the ability to view center frequencies. These are great for VFR pilots looking for flight following when there isn’t a nearby approach control, and they’re also helpful for IFR pilots who have lost contact with their last frequency. Zoom in on the map to find the boxes, and make sure you have the right ones displayed. Most flights below 25,000 ft. will use Low frequencies, while flights at 25,000 ft. and above will use high.
For more information on the new map features in version 8.2, check out ForeFlight’s video.
New audio alerts
One of our favorite features in ForeFlight is the suite of pop-up alerts the app provides – we think of it as a portable annunciator panel on your iPad. These are a good way of bringing your attention to important information, no matter what screen you’re on. In recognition of the growing number of alerts, ForeFlight now has a dedicated Alerts sub-menu on the Settings page.
All alerts will appear on the screen as an overlay in either orange (caution) or red (warning). If your iPad is connected to your audio panel or your headset, be sure “Speak All Alerts” is enabled. These are perfect for staying in the loop while keeping your eyes outside.
Below that setting, you’ll see the six alerts available: 500′ AGL, cabin altitude, runway proximity, sink rate, traffic and TFRs. When in doubt, it makes sense to have all of these turned on. Just remember that traffic alerts are only issued if ForeFlight detects ADS-B Out in the airplane (via Stratus or Flight Stream).
Three of these alerts are new or enhanced. First, sink rate provides TAWS-style alerts anytime the app determines you are descending too fast. These are smart alerts, based on your altitude AGL, so they get progressively more restrictive as you get closer to the ground. In particular, these will get your attention if you’re flying a steep approach close to the runway.
The 500′ AGL callout is also new. This isn’t a warning, just a reminder that you’re within 500 feet of the ground as you approach an airport. We use this callout as reminder to check “three green” in retractable gear airplanes. For fixed gear airplanes, the 500′ AGL callout can be used as a last minute check to ensure you’re stabilized (on speed and glide path). This alert is only active if you’ve been above 1000 feet.
Finally, the runway proximity advisor, while not new, has a powerful new enhancement. ForeFlight will alert you when you’re approaching a runway, then again when you enter the runway. Now, the app will also confirm which runway you’re on and how many feet are remaining. This is a fantastic upgrade in our opinion, especially for night or low visibility takeoffs. This feature probably would have prevented an accident like Comair 5191, a CRJ which attempted to take off from the wrong runway and crashed.
To see these features in action, watch ForeFlight’s video below:
As usual, there are a few other new features in ForeFlight 8.2. The app now supports Garmin’s tiny Flight Stream 510 wireless bridge, which sends ADS-B weather and traffic (plus flight plans) from the panel to ForeFlight. Note that this support does not include the database concierge service for wireless database updates – that remains a Garmin Pilot feature.
ForeFlight’s logbook feature has been upgraded as well. The app now offers smart suggestions for airports when you create a new logbook entry, saving time. Aircraft alerts also warn you when you haven’t selected all the options for an aircraft profile, which could prevent currency alerts from working properly. Finally, ForeFlight allows you to connect your digital logbook to your Sporty’s online courses. This is helpful for logging written test prep endorsements (complete with CFI signature) right from the course. We’ll cover these features more in a future article.
ForeFlight 8.2 is now available for download in the App Store.