ForeFlight Gives Pilots a Look Under the Hood

Updates make tracking a specific airplane easy.

ForeFlight’s traffic alerting system is trying to become more like the original TCAS system.ForeFlight

Sam Taylor, ForeFlight’s senior video marketing specialist, on April 14 hosted a virtual update at Sun ‘n Fun of new features added to the company’s software in the first quarter of 2021. At the top of Taylor’s list was mention of changes to ForeFlight’s efforts to learn from the successes inherent in the original traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) now standard in most transport category aircraft. Taylor said pilots will now see nearby traffic outlined either in yellow or in red depending upon their proximity. “We’ve been inspired by TCAS alerts and now account for an aircraft speed and direction of flight. He said the software is now predictive relative to the ForeFlight user aircraft’s direction of flight. “Targets expected to pass within two nautical miles of your airplane and within 1,200 feet vertically will be outlined in yellow. If within the next 25 seconds the traffic will come within 1.3 nm and 1,200 feet vertically it will be highlighted in red.” He added that for safety concerns, traffic alerts are disabled when aircraft enter the airport traffic pattern and are flying near to other airplanes.

Additional updates include a Flight Aware feed that offers users the ability to track any aircraft currently being tracked via ADS-B and other systems. There’s also a new map feature when pilots touch an airport icon on the map. Rather than bring up user-requested airport information on top of the airport queried, ForeFlight now sends that data to MAPS sidebar to ensure the airport is no longer blocked. “Jeppesen is now the only source of NOTAMs for ForeFlight,” Taylor added. “Their data is better curated and managed than the previous NOTAM source, especially for aircraft flying outside the US.” ForeFlight has also improved its traditional flight binder system to better organize approach data.

Recordings of all Foreflight sessions can be viewed here.