ForeFlight released the much-anticipated version 9.4 update this week, which adds Jeppesen IFR en route charts and weather overlay features to the app. Pilots can now fly anywhere in the world and use ForeFlight as their primary EFB thanks to Jeppesen’s complete international en route and terminal chart coverage. Here’s our first look at the new features and how to use them in ForeFlight.
New icing, turbulence and surface analysis map layers
Even with all the advances in technology and online graphical data, one area that still presents a challenge for pilots is the preflight weather briefing. Apps like ForeFlight have pulled together most of the weather resources needed for this process, but you still need to visit 3 different parts of the app to get all the information for each flight: the map view for interactive weather along your route, the imagery tab for advanced graphics and forecasts and the weather briefing tool in Flights for a Flight Service briefing.
The latest update doesn’t attempt to fix this, but it certainly helps by bringing some of the core forecast graphics from the Imagery section of the app over to the moving map, allowing you to view Icing and Turbulence forecasts alongside your planned route of flight and other weather hazards.
There are actually two Icing forecast layers available in the map dropdown list, one for the U.S. and the other for the entire world. The U.S. layer uses the Forecast Icing Product (FIP), which uses computers modeling to forecast icing severity and the potential for supercooled water droplets from 3,000′ MSL up to FL450 over the next 18 hours. You’ll find the familiar slider control on the right side of the screen to select the forecast altitude, and a time slider at the bottom of to view the forecast up to 16 hours in the future.
The global icing layer uses the GFS model to determine potential icing threats, and you’ll notice it has a little less resolution than the U.S. layer. Both use the same color scale to indicate the forecast level of intensity.
The U.S. turbulence layer is located in the same map dropdown menu and features similar altitude and time controls and uses the Graphical Turbulence Guidance (GTG) to predict the Eddy Dissipation Rate. This is designed to highlight areas of potential clear air or mountain wave turbulence based on a scale of 10 to 90.
You’ll also find a new surface analysis layer that displays the location of highs, lows, troughs, fronts and isobars on the moving map. Use the time slider at the bottom of the screen to advance out to 45 hours in the future to get a feel for when and where the fronts will be moving. We really like this addition since it allows you to get a big picture of the weather across the U.S. before zeroing in on any localized hazards or areas of precipitation.
Keep in mind that both the icing and turbulence forecasts are generated solely by computers with no human involvement, but they excellent tools to use in conjunction with PIREP, AIRMET and radar overlays and when viewed alongside your planned route on the map. The turbulence and icing layers require a Pro Plus or Performance Plus subscription.
ForeFlight first integrated Jeppesen terminal procedures back in July, and this update adds the Jeppesen low and high En Route charts to the may layer options. Like ForeFlight’s aeronautical charts, they are data-driven and increase in detail as you zoom in closer, and automatically declutter as you zoom out. They display airports, airways, navaids, intersections, special-use airspace and other IFR navigation data.
If you are an existing Jeppesen subscriber (single pilot subscription), you can link your Jeppesen account with ForeFlight to get access to charts at no additional cost. This includes subscriptions for panel-mount avionics like Garmin’s G1000. Go to More, then Jeppesen, then sign in to your Jeppesen account. You’ll be able to select chart coverages for your device. Then, go to Downloads and be sure to download the new databases. ForeFlight has a specific video to help you get set up.
If you do not currently have a Jeppesen subscription, you can add this to your ForeFlight account on ForeFlight’s website. Click Login, then Account, then “Upgrade or Renew.” You’re essentially extending your ForeFlight subscription (pro-rated based on how much time is left on your current plan), but adding Jeppesen chart coverage. For reference, Jeppesen charts for the continental US and Hawaii is $199/year. Again, ForeFlight has a helpful video for more details.
ForeFlight continues to improve the new Flights section of the app that debuted earlier this year. Flights replaced the File & Brief feature and is where you’ll go to access powerful flight planning tools, weather briefings and to file a flight plan. The first improvement in this release adds the Smart Airport Search capability when entering an airport, providing quick access to ForeFlight suggestions and your favorites.
You’ll also notice that the Route preview map in Flights automatically displays radar imagery on the map, giving you a quick preview of any potential weather conflicts. Tap on the route map to expand the size.
- GPS RAIM Prediction – For Performance Plus and Business Performance subscribers, ForeFlight’s detailed Navlog now provides automatic RAIM prediction for flights within or between CONUS, Alaska, and Hawaii.
- New logbook fields – For the most accurate flight logging, ForeFlight Logbook now has the option to use Time Out/Off/On/In fields, which is the standard for most professional pilot operations.
- Avidyne 550 AHRS support – Avidyne’s FMS can now send AHRS pitch and roll data for display in ForeFlight.
- Satcom Direct Router integration – Performance Plus and Business Performance customers flying with the inflight Wi-Fi Satcom Direct Router (SDR) can now receive GPS and indicated altitude data for display in ForeFlight Mobile. The SDR connection can also deliver internet-based weather and enable other ForeFlight features that require internet connection.
- Support for uAvionix Transceivers – Customers flying with uAvionix’s SkyEcho and EchoUAT ADS-B transceivers can now connect to them via Wi-Fi to receive inflight data in ForeFlight.