ForeFlight debuts new ADS-B weather products in version 10.4

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Last month ForeFlight quietly released version 10.3, which primarily focused on improving speed, battery life, and overall app performance. This month’s release, version 10.4, is all about new features, and brings several new ADS-B weather layers to the app. Here’s a look at all of the new features and how to use them.

New ADS-B Products

The FAA has been new teasing new FIS-B weather products for years now, and they’re finally available in ForeFlight when connected to a compatible ADS-B receiver. This includes portable systems like StratusSentry and Scout, and best of all it just works – no firmware updates required to your hardware.

When connected to one of these ADS-B receivers, you’ll have access to four new weather layers in flight: turbulence, cloud tops, lightning and Center Weather Advisories.

Turbulence this is a forecast product originating from the National Weather Service Graphical Turbulence Guidance Model, and estimates the maximum level of turbulence from 2,000′ MSL to 24,000′ MSL. Like with other weather layers, you’ll use the slider on the right side of the screen to change the altitude of the turbulence level displayed. This product is updated every 15 minutes.

Cloud Tops – this is also a forecast product that displays the location of cloud tops at the selected altitude, from 1,500′ MSL to 24,000′ MSL. Could tops are also updated every 15 minutes.

Lightning – the new lightning layer displays cloud-to-ground strikes detected by Vaisala’s U.S. National Lightning Detection Network. This layer is updated every 5 minutes and can help pilots assess the severity of a convective system when viewed in combination with the radar imagery.

Center Weather Advisories – these unscheduled bulletins depict areas where active weather systems are developing and may soon reach Airmet or Sigmet criteria. You often hear ATC announce their locations over the radio, but seeing their location visually in flight makes them much more useful. This layer is updated every 10 minutes and is accessible from the AIR/SIGMET/CWA layer.

Easy SID/STAR chart access

When flying in busy terminal areas and assigned a departure or arrival procedure from ATC, the first step is to enter the procedure in your active flight plan using the Procedure Advisor. Once entered in the flight plan, the SID or STAR coding is displayed in a green bubble in the route editor. In this latest update, ForeFlight added the ability to quickly view the associated plate in the Plates section of the app. If you have a Jepp subscription and the SID or STAR is geo-referenced, it will automatically be added to the map.

Maps in Track Logs

There’s a new addition to the Track Logs section of the app that adds additional context to the flight. At the top of each entry, you’ll now see a map showing the flight track across the ground, saving you the hassle of having to send the log to ForeFlight web to view this information. You can only view the ground track on the aeronautical map layer, so if you want to view the track log with a sectional or IFR chart, you’ll need to send it to ForeFlight.com, using the Send To button at the top right of the screen.

New Aircraft Markers

ForeFlight added dozens of new aircraft markers in this update, allowing you to further customize how your aircraft’s location is depicted on the moving map. To change this, go to More > Settings > Current Location Marker.

What else is new in ForeFlight 10.4

There are a handful of other new features to check out in this update:

Pre-Departure Clearance and digital ATIS – ForeFlight added the ability for Performance Plus and Business Plus customers to retrieve IFR clearances electronically when flying at one of 70 of the largest airports in the U.S., eliminating the need to call clearance delivery before taxi. In addition to sending this information via email and text, you can also view it directly in the app. We’ll have a full PIREP coming soon on how to use this new feature.

New European Charts and VFR autorouting – In addition to fast EUROCONTROL-validated IFR routing, ForeFlight now supports VFR autorouting throughout Europe. The auto-generated routes comply with standard AIP guidelines for VFR flights, such as keeping leg times below 30 minutes and placing waypoints on or near FIR boundaries to simplify border crossings. The update also includes expanded IFR and VFR chart coverage for France and Switzerland is available now

Low battery alert for portable devices – ForeFlight will display a pop-up alert when your connected portable receiver’s battery drops below 20%, giving you time to put it on the charger before the battery gives out. The alert is currently provided for Sentry, Stratus, all supported Garmin portables, and SiriusXM’s SXAR1.

Most Recent aircraft – When tapping on your aircraft N# in the route advisor, you’ll now see your most recent aircraft displayed in a separate grouping at the top of the list, providing quick access to the aircraft you fly most often. This is really for flight students who may have a large number of airplanes stored with various profiles.

ForeFlight version 10.4 is available as a free upgrade in the iTunes App Store.

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