IFR Fix: Are you ready (to fly in) for some football?

The top two National Football League teams won’t be the only organizations with a game-on mindset when Super Bowl 54 kicks off on February 2 at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium. Air traffic control has also been in training for the big event, and its “prevent defense” will be in motion long before the coin toss takes place down on the field.

Source: aopaIFR Fix: Are you ready (to fly in) for some football?

Flight Service debuts new mobile-friendly site for iPhone and Android

You’ve likely seen the headlines that HIWAS broadcasts are shutting down in January, in part because pilots now have free access to near real-time text and graphical weather updates over the ADS-B system. HIWAS is an antiquated service and its termination will have a greater effect on student pilots studying for the Private Pilot knowledge test compared to how it impacts our everyday flying, but it is good to see FAA removing unused services in addition to adding new ones as part of the NextGen transition.

What has been overlooked though are recent improvements coming from Leidos, the FAA contractor responsible for running Flight Service. They recently released a new mobile-friendly version of the 1800wxbrief website making it much easier to use on iPhone and Android devices. The site loads remarkably fast and is very easy to use.

Grab your phone and head over to 1800wxbrief.com. You can access some of the basic features right away from the menu at the top left of the screen without needing to log infirst. To get the most out of the site though, you’ll want to sign in with your Flight Service account (registration is completely free if you don’t have one).

It then takes just one tap of the Map button from the redesigned dashboard and you’ll be looking at an interactive display depicting text weather reports, radar imagery and PIREPs. Just like with aviation mobile apps, a layers menu accessible from the top right of the screen allows you to customize the map and view additional overlays like AIRMETs, satellite imagery, TFRs, icing probability/severity forecasts and much more.

You can enter a basic flight plan by tapping the airplane button at the top left of the screen for additional context on the map. This function is intuitive to use and includes the ability to send the preliminary flight plan data right over to the ICAO flight plan filing feature to continue that process.

The Weather Charts section provides a comprehensive listing of just about every basic and advanced weather graphic available, including surface analysis, low and high-level progs, cloud top/bases and thunderstorm forecasts. Weather geeks will also appreciate the quick access to the Lifted/K Index, 500MB, Jet Stream and Skew-T/Log P charts.

There’s a full airport directory here too, with more information than you ever wanted to know about every airport in the U.S. It includes quick access to all the airport charts, diagrams and instrument approach charts, with the caveat that it’s designed to be used on the ground when an internet connection is available.

There are several other features on the mobile site too, including quick access to METARs/TAFs/NOTAMs for favorite airports, standard and area weather briefings and flight planning. After first launching the site, we’d recommend saving a shortcut to your home screen, which will place a unique app icon for quick access. To do this, tap the center arrow at the bottom of the Safari menu bar, scroll down the list of options and select “Add to Home Screen.” You’ll then see the Mobile Flight Service icon right on your home screen, as if it were an app.


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Five iPad trends for pilots we tracked in 2019

While the aviation world was panicking about the coming ADS-B mandate, companies in the iPad app and accessory business stayed quite busy in 2019. There were major new hardware introductions and noteworthy mergers, and we covered it all at iPad Pilot News with over 120 articles. Here are some trends we tracked, and some of our most popular articles.

Finally—a new iPad Mini!

New iPads
A new iPad Mini was the most exciting new product for many pilots.

After many years of being ignored, the iPad Mini finally got its day in the sun. The smaller size tablet isn’t the hot seller it once was for Apple, but it’s ideal for cockpit use and pilots welcomed the Mini 5 with open arms. 2019 also brought updated 10″ iPad models and an entirely new operating system that finally split the iPad off from the iPhone. As it approaches its 10th birthday, the iPad is growing up.

It’s finally here! Apple releases new iPad Mini

First impressions after flying with the new iPad Mini

Apple announces iOS 13 and iPadOS – what pilots need to know

New iPad Announced Among Apple’s Latest Mobile Lineup

What’s the best iPad for pilots – 2019 buyer’s guide

Acquisitions continue

Boeing ForeFlight
Big news in the world of aviation apps.

In 2017, ForeFlight and Jeppesen partnered on data and software development, then in 2018 Garmin bought Fltplan.com to take a run at professional pilots. The consolidation trend continued in 2019, with Garmin integrating Fltplan Go more deeply and Appareo joining the party by buying Aerovie. But the biggest news of the year was in March, when Boeing announced it was buying ForeFlight.

Boeing buys ForeFlight – what comes next?

Appareo buys the Aerovie app and plans iOS app expansion

Garmin Pilot: further integration with FltPlan.com and new FBO fees

ForeFlight grows up and down

ForeFlight Dispatch
ForeFlight launched a number of new features in 2019, including Dispatch.

Some pilots worried that Boeing’s acquisition of ForeFlight would slow development, but so far, that hasn’t proven to be the case. The company kept up its blistering pace of software releases, including a major expansion of its Performance Plus subscription level, a new Passenger app, and even an airline app in partnership with Jeppesen.

How to use pre-departure clearances and digital ATIS in ForeFlight

Using ForeFlight’s new 3D view

A look inside the new Jeppesen FlightDeck Pro X app

How to use ForeFlight’s new Passenger app

How to calculate takeoff and landing distance with ForeFlight 11.4

3D Review comes to ForeFlight, plus Map Annotations and Audio Checklists

How to use visual track log reviews and alternate airport planning in ForeFlight 11.5

ForeFlight introduces multi-user tools, enhanced map options at NBAA 2019

Training stays hot

PlaneEnglish app
The PlaneEnglish app helps pilots improve their radio communication skills.

With airlines hiring thousands of pilots every year, flight training is booming in the United States. That means busy flight schools and new airplane purchases from Piper and Cessna, but it also means lots of new training tools for the iPad. This year saw the introduction of a number of helpful apps, from video courses to interactive communication trainers to post-flight review tools.

Sporty’s Pilot Training app adds new 2020 Courses

New Aviation Weather course available in Sporty’s Pilot Training app

Sporty’s Study Buddy apps updated with improved learning features

Sporty’s Pilot Training app adds four new Garmin avionics courses

New app helps with communication training

CloudAhoy version 6 adds new CFI Assistant

Helpful accessories keep appearing

Sentry Mini weighs less than two ounces and costs just $299.

One of our favorite segments to track is the accessory market. Every year, a number of companies find ways to augment the iPad and make it more useful in the cockpit. In 2019, we covered new battery packs, a new ADS-B receiver, new kneeboards, and even a pulse oximeter that can connect to your mobile device. It’s not as exciting as a brand new app, but there is a lot of innovation here.

Sporty’s adds smaller Flight Gear Battery Pack

ForeFlight introduces Sentry Mini ADS-B Receiver

Lightspeed releases new FlightLink headset companion app

Aithre releases new carbon monoxide detector and app

All-in-one backup: combination flashlight and USB battery pack

Aithre Connect app adds oxygen tank monitoring

New audio adapter delivers EFB alerts to any headset

New MyClip Multi kneeboard fits huge variety of tablets

Flying with the Garmin G1000, Connext and your iPad

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