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Apple released the Apple Watch back in 2015 and early critics weren’t exactly sure why people should buy one. Apple initially focused on its fashion appeal and many early adopters quickly snatched them up to wear as a status symbol.
Fast forward eight years later and it has become the most popular smartwatch on the market, offering innovative health, fitness and safety features and a thriving app store with thousands of bite-sized apps for your wrist.
Aviation app developers quickly joined the party and developed a wide range of apps designed specifically for the Apple Watch back in 2015 (read our full Apple Watch review for pilots and aviation app directory here). As many may recall, ForeFlight developed an aviation watch app when the original Appe Watch debuted, but decided to quietly discontinue it a few years later for undisclosed reasons.
There’s good news today though, as ForeFlight has released an all-new Apple Watch app and it’s included for all ForeFlight subscribers in the latest iPhone app update. The app allows you to check local weather and complement your preflight planning with favorite and nearby airport details like runways, NOTAMs, and much more. Here’s a quick look at how to use it, along with a few other features included in the latest ForeFlight 15.7 update.
ForeFlight for Apple Watch
The design of ForeFlight’s watch app is simple but effective. The first thing you’ll see at the top of the screen is local weather based on your current location, including winds, visibility and ceiling. Tap on the weather preview box to view detailed information presented in an easy-to-read graphical view:
Head back to the home screen and you’ll see a summary of METAR reports from the favorite and recent airports on your iPhone, along with nearby airports. Tap one, and you’ll see a graphical summary of the METAR, along with a menu of four options to dive deeper into the airport details:
First, the frequencies view displays all relevant communication freqs and phone numbers for the airport:
Tap the weather option to view all available reports and forecasts for the airport, including the raw and decoded METAR, TAF, MOS, hourly forecast and winds aloft forecast:
The Runways section shows basic runway details, traffic pattern direction and headwind/crosswind components using the current winds, and the NOTAMs screen shows current and future notices:
Finally, you can add a few data points from the app (called complications) to customize your watch’s home screen. Options include the current ceiling, surface winds or a shortcut to open the app:
Like most Apple Watch apps, The ForeFlight watch app is packaged with the ForeFlight iPhone app and should automatically install on your watch after updating to the latest version of ForeFlight on your iPhone.
You’ll find that the app is easy to use and is a great resource for quickly checking the latest weather when on the go or grabbing an airport detail in the air. There are no in-flight or GPS navigation features at this time, but it’s a must-have for pilots with an Apple Watch and ForeFlight.
What else is new
ForeFlight 15.7 also includes some minor feature updates to the primary iPhone and iPad apps:
- Synthetic Vision was upgraded with an improved presentation of 3D obstacles (including unique objects for buildings, towers and windmills) and displays red or white lights on obstacles that have them when flying at night (requires Pro Plus subscription).
- The profile view will now show if there are multiple “strikes” with obstacles or terrain along a planned route (requires Pro Plus subscription).
- New Runway Analysis support for the King Air 350ER, Cessna CJ1+ and Cessna C700