Flight Service debuts new mobile-friendly site for iPhone and Android

3 min read

You’ve likely seen the headlines that HIWAS broadcasts are shutting down in January, in part because pilots now have free access to near real-time text and graphical weather updates over the ADS-B system. HIWAS is an antiquated service and its termination will have a greater effect on student pilots studying for the Private Pilot knowledge test compared to how it impacts our everyday flying, but it is good to see FAA removing unused services in addition to adding new ones as part of the NextGen transition.

What has been overlooked though are recent improvements coming from Leidos, the FAA contractor responsible for running Flight Service. They recently released a new mobile-friendly version of the 1800wxbrief website making it much easier to use on iPhone and Android devices. The site loads remarkably fast and is very easy to use.

Grab your phone and head over to 1800wxbrief.com. You can access some of the basic features right away from the menu at the top left of the screen without needing to log infirst. To get the most out of the site though, you’ll want to sign in with your Flight Service account (registration is completely free if you don’t have one).

It then takes just one tap of the Map button from the redesigned dashboard and you’ll be looking at an interactive display depicting text weather reports, radar imagery and PIREPs. Just like with aviation mobile apps, a layers menu accessible from the top right of the screen allows you to customize the map and view additional overlays like AIRMETs, satellite imagery, TFRs, icing probability/severity forecasts and much more.

You can enter a basic flight plan by tapping the airplane button at the top left of the screen for additional context on the map. This function is intuitive to use and includes the ability to send the preliminary flight plan data right over to the ICAO flight plan filing feature to continue that process.

The Weather Charts section provides a comprehensive listing of just about every basic and advanced weather graphic available, including surface analysis, low and high-level progs, cloud top/bases and thunderstorm forecasts. Weather geeks will also appreciate the quick access to the Lifted/K Index, 500MB, Jet Stream and Skew-T/Log P charts.

There’s a full airport directory here too, with more information than you ever wanted to know about every airport in the U.S. It includes quick access to all the airport charts, diagrams and instrument approach charts, with the caveat that it’s designed to be used on the ground when an internet connection is available.

There are several other features on the mobile site too, including quick access to METARs/TAFs/NOTAMs for favorite airports, standard and area weather briefings and flight planning. After first launching the site, we’d recommend saving a shortcut to your home screen, which will place a unique app icon for quick access. To do this, tap the center arrow at the bottom of the Safari menu bar, scroll down the list of options and select “Add to Home Screen.” You’ll then see the Mobile Flight Service icon right on your home screen, as if it were an app.


12 replies
  1. Frank Sanker
    Frank Sanker says:

    No thanks! When I went to 1800wxbrief I was directed to advertising that was irrelevant to aviation. Who wants to read this crap. Shame on Sporty’s for this article!

    • Craig
      Craig says:

      Must have went to wrong site. Works great and for VFR flyers especially is awesome!

      I’d try again.

  2. Michael
    Michael says:

    This site has everything you need to know for free. Only thing missing is the ability to track my location. Can anyone explain why it won’t do that when I use it with my phone, like my phones free “maps” app does?

  3. Tim
    Tim says:

    Could not sync up my iPhone following the above directions. Typical. Did not even find 1800wxbrief in my app store to download.

    • Jonathan Shaw
      Jonathan Shaw says:

      Hi Tim, the article is not about an app but a mobile friendly website. From the above article “Grab your phone and head over to 1800wxbrief.com.”

  4. Rick Mills
    Rick Mills says:

    It worked as advertised and without advertisements for me. Nice job Leidos. I intend to show this off at my next EAA Chapter meeting.

  5. Rick Mills
    Rick Mills says:

    This is not an app. Read Sporty’s article again. You go to the 1800wxbrief.com website and you can create an icon on your cell phone for quick access. Good luck.

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