ForeFlight has opened features for user testing in its new ForeFlight Labs, and the first is called Taxi Routing, which lets users chart their course from the ramp to the runway and vice versa. Taxi Routing uses the same bubble editor format as ForeFlight’s regular flight planning but adds some useful conventions to help plot the course to or from various locations on the airport, including a runway (after landing) and FBOs (pre-departure). At present, the feature doesn’t include airline gates or other areas of the airport.
A “Taxi Route” button in the flight plan editing section opens Taxi Routing. Instructions give hints for each step, starting with selecting the start location then the destination. Taxi routing can go from an FBO to the runway, from a runway to another runway, from a runway to an FBO, or from FBO to FBO.
Once the start location and destination are selected, the optimal route is shown, and the user can zoom in on the airport map to select the points in the clearance. Taxi Routing selects the points for the pictured route first, but the user can choose different points if the clearance is not the same. If the route crosses a runway, Taxi Routing automatically offers hold short and cross buttons, and the user can select which one to use based on the clearance. Once the user selects points in the route, the route turns green up to the last selection. Back taxi and runway taxi buttons are also available.
After selecting a hold short and then picking which runway applies, the route turns blue at the runway crossing, then red afterward. Once the user is cleared to cross that runway, he or she can touch the “Hold Short XX-XX” button in the bubble editor to remove it, then the rest of the route turns green.
Because Taxi Routing is a ForeFlight Labs feature, the company is asking for user feedback, and a feedback button pops up an email for submitting comments.
This latest release of ForeFlight, version 13.3, includes other new features. Dynamic wind speed and temperatures layers show animated wind speed and temperature forecasts anywhere in the world. Time and altitude sliders allow the user to view forecasts at various altitudes. The layers are both saved for offline viewing, but it only stores the information for the flight-planned route.
ForeFlight also released a toggleable day/night mode for the Airport 3D view so pilots can see what an airport’s runway lighting looks like from any viewing angle.
Other new features include drag-and-drop file importing and background downloads, which allows users to use other apps while downloading new data.