ForeFlight released version 12.11 this week in what will likely be the app’s last major update for 2020. This includes new features and improvements in several different sections in the app, including maps, airport diagrams, weather, and the pack/download function. And unlike previous updates this year, all of the new features designed for GA pilots are included with all current ForeFlight subscription plans: Basic Plus, Pro Plus, and Performance Plus (as well as Business Pro and Business Performance) plans. Let’s jump right in.
Daily and Hourly Weather Forecasts
There’s no shortage of sources for weather forecasts on your iPhone or iPad, from free general-purpose weather apps to detailed model and statistic-based graphical forecasts in aviation apps. The latest update to ForeFlight adds another option to the mix, called the Daily/Hourly Forecast product.
This all-purpose forecast is available out to 10 days and includes estimates of temperature, surface wind, pressure, dewpoint and humidity, density altitude, rain chance, ceiling, visibility, sunrise and sunset times, and color-coded flight category. You can access it from a few different places in ForeFlight, including the Airports and Maps screens:
While your first impression might be that this is just another temperature and sunshine/cloud icon-based forecast, it’s much more than that and can help you with long-range trip planning. Tap any of the day’s forecast rows to reveal an hourly forecast with key aviation data, like visibility, ceiling, precipitation and wind forecasts. At the bottom, you’ll see color bars representing a timeline for each day’s VFR/MVFR/IFR forecast status, perfect to get an at-a-glance feel for the week’s upcoming flight conditions.
While it’s not a replacement for the MOS text and graphical forecasts, you’ll likely find this very useful to help narrow down the best departure/arrival times when the weather is crummy and to get an eye on forecast trends for a trip planned several days out. Daily/Hourly Forecasts are also cached as part of Pack, allowing forecasts to be viewed for up to 24 hours after they were downloaded.
Airport Hotspot Details
When viewing ForeFlight’s custom airport diagrams when zoomed in on the map, you can now tap on a hotspot to get more information. This often provides additional information about ATC clearance expectations at runway and taxiway intersections.
Parachute Jump Areas
Parachute Jump Areas in the US are now displayed directly on the Aeronautical Map with a segmented yellow ring. Tap and hold one to view additional information:
Tap Details in the Add to Route popup to view a PJA’s information, including its name, associated airport or aerodrome, upper and lower altitude limits, active hours, and more. You can disable PJAs using the Parachute Area switch in Map Settings > Airspace, or by disabling all airspace.
For many pilots, runway slope is just as important as runway length when maximum performance is needed for takeoff or landing. ForeFlight now includes this key detail in the Runway tab of the Airport screen, eliminating the extra step of digging it out of the Chart Supplement.
Oceanic Route Constraint: Include Track
For those flying high and far across the Atlantic or Pacific, ForeFlight added a new route planning constraint to narrow down the route options delivered by the Route Advisor feature. With Route Advisor open, tap the Constraints button in the top-right to edit constraints, then tap Include Track at the bottom of the list.
Switch between westward and eastward tracks using the toggle at the top of the window, and tap any track name from the North Atlantic Tracks or Pacific Organized Track System to select it. Tap out of the Constraints view and ForeFlight will attempt to generate a Recommended Route that includes the track you selected.
Download & Pack Improvements
Both the Download and Pack views have improved and consistent interfaces that display the combined size of pending and in-progress downloads. In Downloads, the Pause and Download buttons are now grouped together in the bottom-right corner, while the Delete button is accessible in the top-right corner.