ForeFlight’s latest app update includes new safety features such as runway alert notices, ADS-B traffic breadcrumbs, and day/night overlay in maps.
The flight planning app’s new aircraft on-runway feature provides critical warning systems by notifying pilots on final approach if there is an airplane on the runway upon which they intend to land. The feature also warns the crew of the aircraft on the runway that another is approaching. For the function to work, aircraft must be connected to an ADS-B or FLARM, or “flight alarm” receiver.
The updates emerge as reports of serious runway incursions have become more frequent amid an increase in air traffic congestion and understaffing at key ATC facilities. A number of near-miss events—including episodes at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (KAUS) and New York’s Kennedy International Airport (KJFK)—made headlines earlier this year, leading to calls for aviation system safety improvements. In response, the FAA held a safety summit in March to discuss ways to mitigate incursions. The agency also awarded more than $100 million to a dozen airports to help prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
According to FAA data, an average of three to four incursions occur daily in the U.S. Confusing runway markings and airport signage, and runway or taxiway layout are among the risk factors contributing to problems. The agency also found that roughly 65 percent of all runway incursions are caused by pilots, of which general aviation pilots account for 75 percent.
ForeFlight’s aircraft on-runway alerts aim to provide pilots with more situational awareness.
In addition to the runway alerts, ForeFlight has introduced ADS-B traffic breadcrumbs, allowing pilots to check the recent flight paths of nearby aircraft to see which runways and procedures are in use. Users can tap any airborne or grounded aircraft to see its trail in green along with information about the target. ForeFlight has also added a new day/night overlay feature, so users can see where night has fallen around the world as well as the real-time day/night boundary right on the map.
All plans may utilize the new aircraft on-runway and day/night overlay features. However, a Pro Plus subscription is required to access the ADS-B traffic breadcrumbs.