Digital scratchpads have become an integral part of the paperless cockpit experience for many pilots, providing space to jot down notes, clearances and other important data needed during a flight. ForeFlight included a scratchpad feature since day one in their iPad app and it has continually grown more useful over the years thanks to the inclusion of aviation templates.
The latest update expands the template offering with 3 new options: takeoff briefing, landing briefing and holding clearance. This builds on the previous selection of templates, which include IFR clearance, ATIS, PIREP and blank forms.
How to use the Scratchpad
ForeFlight’s Scratchpad is a dedicated screen in the app which can be used in a variety of ways, from using your finger to jot down a few words on a blank screen, to using the Apple Pencil to write detailed notes in the template forms. Most pilots will find it quick and easy to use their finger in this section of the app to scribble notes, but after using the Apple Pencil for over a year now, we can definitely recommend this premium accessory thanks to the precision writing experience it offers.
If you are considering an Apple Pencil, make sure to verify compatibility with your iPad model since there are two versions of the Pencil currently available.
To use one of the new templates, tap the + button at the top right of the screen and select one of the options.
Then, use the pen options at the top left to select a color and ink width, and use your finger to enter data. You’ll want to experiment on the ground first to help choose your preferred digital ink preference and get a feel for how the screen reacts to your finger or Pencil. There are buttons at the top right to undo or redo your actions, to manually erase markings or clear the entire screen.
Here’s a look at each of the new templates available in the latest update.
Takeoff Briefing – this was primarily designed with turbine multiengine airplanes in mind to accommodate the speeds needed for each takeoff, but pilots of all airplane types can use the fields as needed to enter performance data:
Landing Briefing – like with the Takeoff Briefing, this was designed with the turbine airplanes in mind but is still useful for all airplane types:
Holding clearance – quickly jot down the details for an IFR holding pattern clearance:
The new templates expand on the previously available options, which include IFR clearance (CRAFT), ATIS and PIREP:
Scratchpads are also incorporated into ForeFlight’s sync system. You may find it useful to jot down notes on your iPhone during your preflight briefing and retrieve them later in flight on your iPad. Just make sure to open ForeFlight at least once on the second device while connected to the internet before departure to allow the sync to take place:
Lastly, if you have a Performance Plus subscription, you can attach a ScratchPad to a Flight by opening a ScratchPad and tapping the “Send To” button (in the top right) > “Attach To Flights”. The saved scratchpad will then be available from the File option at the top of the Flights screen.