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Thu, Apr 25, 2024

Foreflight Announces New Turbulence Map Layer

Add-On Crowdsources Turbulence Data From Users, Free with Performance Plus, Pro Plus Plans

ForeFlight has published a new feature showing live, automated turbulence information constantly updated with crowdsourced data.

The feature should help those in lighter aircraft avoid and survive particularly turbulent weather conditions, though any pilot looking to provide a smoother ride for passengers will enjoy it too. ForeFlight is happy to offer turbulence advisories outside the archaic but effective PIREP system, a tradition which has "often produced mixed results due to a combination of biases in the data." They say that the PIREP system generally pulls reports from pilots encountering turbulence, with little other reporting of smooth air when there's nothing to report. As such, there's a large gap of data that would be very helpful to have in predicting and modeling turbulence.

The Reported Turbulence feature supplements the older PIREP system with "near real-time effects of turbulence and, crucially, smooth air actually encountered by pilots flying with ForeFlight’s Sentry or Sentry Plus devices." Thanks to such products' sensitive internal attitude sensors, accurately measured and logged data can be automatically uploaded via any internet connection, even mid-flight for those with the connectivity to do so. That means a whole raft of data makes its way back to ForeFlight for processing, allowing them to create an accurate map of subtle developments and changes from hour to hour.

Turbulence reporting will be displayed as colored dots on the maps tab in the app, using gray to indicate smooth air, and a spectrum of yellow, orange, and dark orange to indicate light, moderate, and severe turbulence, as conditions get more intense. In use, pilots can tap each report to see the granular data, like the flight's altitude, airspeed, aircraft type, and age of the report (up to a 6-hr max). ForeFlight also added a slider to filter reports by altitude, as well as put in a "powerful visualization of turbulence reports at all altitudes along a planned route," perfect for planning out a route to be as smooth as possible.

As is often the case with nifty ForeFlight additions, the Reported Turbulence function will be available as a pair of subscription charges: The Reported Turbulence (Low) grants access to turbulence reports below 14,000 feet, with an add-on for Reported Turbulence (All) that removes that altitude instruction.

Those operating a Sentry or Sentry Plus device can get a 50% discount on the (All) layer by registering with the program. Those subscribed to the ForeFlight plans of Prop Plus and Performance Plus will see the feature included by default.

FMI: www.foreflight.com

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