ForeFlight’s Latest Update Now Includes 3D Approach Preview

The new 3D Approach Preview feature in ForeFlight’s latest update improves situational awareness and decreases pilot workload. Courtesy ForeFlight

When ForeFlight was founded in 2007, it set out on one mission: Create software that makes flight planning easier. The company says, “We do it all with the aviator spirit, a sense of calculated risk-taking, and adventure,” a company culture that comes through loud and clear in the latest update of their flagship product, ForeFlight Mobile version 12.2. This March 2020 update adds several new features to the already capable electronic flight bag product and is poised to deliver increased situational awareness to the application’s private and professional users.

New in this version 12.2 update is an ingenious 3D approach-preview feature, new “quick-access” airspace frequencies, and new basemap elements that will enhance safety. All new features are part of the company’s commitment to never stop improving what many pilots consider to be a mobile app they would not want to fly without. “The passion of our pilot co-founders drives our company culture to build elegant, high-performing products, and we practice our core values in our daily work,” the company said. “We take ownership of everything we build, we obsess over creating the best user experience, pour creativity into every solution, and ship new features regularly.”

Highlights of these new features released in version 12.2 include:

3D Approach Preview - This new 3D Preview will display markers for each waypoint in your route and label approach fixes, allowing a pilot to better visualize every step of their approach all the way down to the runway. While showing the labeled markers on the map, speed and altitude restrictions are displayed, and a translucent “curtain” represents your route, colored orange, magenta, or blue to indicate past, current, and future legs as you fly the route. An interactive navlog on the 3D approach-preview screen allows the user to view each waypoint and the distances between them.

Quick-Access Airspace Frequencies - Designed for quicker in-flight access, users can now easily locate Jeppesen-sourced frequencies for many kinds of controlled airspace, reducing pilot workload. Frequencies are quickly accessed by tap-holding on the map to see them listed in the “add to route” popup, showing a summary of airspace frequencies for each terminal control zone at the place where you tapped, with the ability to tap further to reveal more details of an airspace and its associated frequencies.

New Basemap Elements - The high-resolution basemap available in ForeFlight gets some new terrain and cultural elements in version 12.2, including such useful items as mountain passes for the U.S. and Europe, highway labels, and additional bodies of water for improved inflight reference. The mountain pass icons are oriented to indicate their direction, and also include the pass name and elevation in feet. Like mountain peak markers, you can enable or disable mountain passes using the application’s setting. The new highway labels apply to US interstates, federal and state highways, and international motorways, and use icons that will be familiar to US drivers. And the new feature that will display cables and gondolas as black line segments in the EU version of the application, with labels indicating each cable’s maximum above-ground altitude in feet.

"We continue to build on our 3D platform,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. “What started as a next-generation airport familiarization tool has evolved into a more sophisticated flight preview and review capability, now adding the ability to see the actual approach profile into an airport. The ability to visualize an approach like this—with every step down all the way to the runway—will help pilots mentally prepare for approaches in any airport environment before flying them. This feature builds upon both our 3D visualization capabilities as well as the high quality, global Jeppesen NavData that makes this all possible. We will continue to evolve this powerful feature in future releases.”

Dan Pimentel is an instrument-rated private pilot and former airplane owner who has been flying since 1996. As an aviation journalist and photographer, he has covered all aspects of the general and business aviation communities for a long list of major aviation magazines, newspapers and websites. He has never met a flying machine that he didn’t like, and has written about his love of aviation for years on his Airplanista blog. For 10 years until 2019, he hosted the popular ‘Oshbash’ social media meetup events at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh.

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