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Plane Geek Blog

Reviewing the iPad kneeboard options

By John Zimmerman In this article, we'll review some of the most popular iPad kneeboard options, so you can make an informed decision if you're not a mount person. There are more options than ever, and most of them...


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Operators Survey: Gulfstream G550

Expensive to fly, but worth it

There now are more than 460 Gulfstream G550 business jets in service and operators say it's a top performer, a versatile workhorse offering solid dispatch reliability and backed by unmatched product support.

Operators say that the $59 million, 6,700-nm range G550 occupies a sweet spot in the large-cabin category, providing the best tradeoff between range and price of any aircraft in its class. Cruising at Mach 0.80 and assuming optimum conditions, it can fly eight passengers from Minneapolis to Muscat, Beijing to Boston or São Paulo to St. Petersburg.

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Read more here:: Operators Survey: Gulfstream G550


Business Aviation Insider: The Importance of Using Proper ‘Climb Via’ Phraseology

Used in ATC communications for almost a year now, "climb via" phraseology is designed to save time on clearances for STARs and SIDs, while emphasizing operators' need to look at the departure or arrival plate and comply with vertical, lateral and speed restrictions.

Read more here:: Business Aviation Insider: The Importance of Using Proper 'Climb Via' Phraseology


NBAA Update, #15-13

NBAA Outlines FAA Reauthorization Priorities
Bolen Refutes Washington Post's Misrepresentation of Business Aviation
NBAA Warns Local Officials About Legal Obligations Regarding Santa Monica Airport

Read more here:: NBAA Update, #15-13


FAA Extends NBAA’s Small Aircraft Exemption for Members

NBAA announced that the FAA has approved its request to extend NBAAâ??s Small Aircraft Exemption for a 12-month period, expiring on March 31, 2016.

Read more here:: FAA Extends NBAA's Small Aircraft Exemption for Members


Bulletin: April 2 Data Updates

By ForeFlight Data Team

Data updates are now available to download for the April 2, 2015 – April 30, 2015 period:

  • Airport and Navigation Database
  • ForeFlight Airport Diagrams
  • Documents, including the 2015 SUN ‘n FUN NOTAM

From the FAA:

  • VFR Charts and Terminal Area Charts
  • Taxi Diagrams
  • Terminal Procedures
  • Airport/Facility Diagrams
  • Documents

Data updates are also available for our Military Flight Bag customers:

  • Global airport, navigation, and airway coverage from the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File
  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Terminal Procedures
  • Georeferenced worldwide D-FLIP Airport Diagrams
  • EEA High Enroutes, Area Charts
  • ENAME High and Low Enroutes, Area Charts
  • Airfield Qualification Program (AQP) diagrams
  • Airfield Suitability and Restrictions Report (Giant Report)
  • Airport/Facility Directory

All customers will be prompted to download these updates inside of ForeFlight Mobile.

Read more here:: Bulletin: April 2 Data Updates


ForeFlight Lands at 2015 Army Aviation Summit

By ForeFlight

ForeFlight at Army Aviation Summit.

Team ForeFlight lands in Nashville this week to participate for the first time in the annual Army Aviation Summit. ForeFlight is all about making your flight mission easier, safer, and more productive. Come by Booth 1902 for a full demonstration of our Military Flight Bag (MFB) electronic flight bag solution.

MFB is your all-in-one app for digital access to charts and maps, weather, route planning, document management, and more. MFB is an enhanced version of ForeFlight Mobile Pro that integrates the global data set of the DAFIF, D-FLIP publications, AQP pages, and geo-referenced D-FLIP terminal procedures, airport diagrams, and enroute charts.

Worldwide library of D-FLIP charts and publications within the ForeFlight Mobile app.
Safety enhancing ownship position and runway advisor alert.

We have extensive MFB deployments in the Army and Army National Guard, United States Air Force, Coast Guard, Navy, and Marine Corps, with major deployments in Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), Air Force Global Strike Command (AFGSC), US Coast Guard, and US Army Operational Support Airlift Agency.

We can help get your electronic flight bag program off the ground! Reach out using the form here or see us in Booth 1902 at the Summit. Let's get going on your ForeFlight Military Flight Bag deployment!

Learn more at: www.foreflight.com/military

Read more here:: ForeFlight Lands at 2015 Army Aviation Summit


iPad navigation app buyer’s guide

By Bret Koebbe The landscape for full-featured EFB apps continues to evolve rapidly as developers push the limits of the iPad's capability with exciting new features. This chart represents the latest comparison of...


Read more here:: iPad navigation app buyer’s guide


Military Flight Bag FLIP script discontinued

By ForeFlight

We are ending support for the legacy Military Flight Bag (MFB) FLIP script. This script, introduced in January 2013, will no longer be updated and may not be compatible with any future changes to the FLIP DVD format.

We encourage our military and government customers to upgrade to the current version of ForeFlight's Military Flight Bag (MFB). ForeFlight MFB supports global flight operations by providing a worldwide geo-referenced library of Department of Defense approach plates, airport diagrams, and chart coverage, all fully integrated with the ForeFlight Mobile Pro app. Pilots can overlay the geo-referenced procedures and diagrams onto global IFR enroute charts and other base maps for a seamless moving map view of own ship position along with hazard and weather information. We have recently expanded MFB to include full FLIP publications, including AQP pages and GIANT reports.

Learn more about ForeFlight Military Flight Bag at

Read more here:: Military Flight Bag FLIP script discontinued


Forecasting for the Terminal Area is Incredibly Difficult

By Scott Dennstaedt


Perhaps the most difficult forecast any meteorologist has to issue is a Terminal Aerodrome Forecast or TAF. The terminal area is quite small; it is officially defined as “the area within five statute miles of the center of an airport's runway complex.” Do you remember the world globe you used in grade school? Well, imagine placing a single dot on that globe with a sharp pencil – that's about the size of the terminal area. Consequently, forecasters consider a TAF a point forecast.

Let's take a look at a specific example. Below is a TAF for Fort Smith Regional Airport (KFSM) issued at 1736 UTC – well before any thunderstorms had formed. Notice the forecaster believes that moderate rain and thunderstorms will temporarily impact the Fort Smith terminal area between 0000 and 0300 UTC (8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT).

If you had also looked at the ForeFlight MOS forecast below for a similar timeframe, you would have seen a much different forecast. In fact, MOS did not forecast any thunderstorms or precipitation from 1900 to 0200 UTC (3 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT). Instead, MOS predicted some gusty southwest winds with good visibility and a high scattered cloud deck. Which one provides the best guidance?

Actually, both! As it turned out thunderstorms did roll through the terminal area as predicted by the TAF a little bit after 0000 UTC as shown in the METARs below. However, the total amount of precipitation measured in the Fort Smith rain bucket for the event was a meager 3/100 of an inch. So the primary thunderstorm cell passed through the northern edge of the terminal area with the sun low in the horizon beaming in from the west (notice CLR skies were also reported).

KFSM 250353Z 28005KT 10SM CLR 18/14 A2992 RMK AO2 SLP127  

KFSM 250253Z 27007KT 10SM CLR 19/15 A2990 RMK AO2 SLP122

KFSM 250153Z 26010KT 10SM SCT050 22/15 A2986 RMK AO2 RAE19 TSE33 P0003

KFSM 250139Z 28008KT 10SM FEW038 BKN050 21/16 A2986 RMK AO2 RAE19 TSE33 P0003

KFSM 250053Z 21012KT 10SM -TSRA CLR 24/14 A2982 RMK AO2 RAB49 TSB02 SLP093 LTG ICCC P0000 

KFSM 250008Z 21013KT 10SM TS CLR 26/13 A2980 RMK AO2 TSB02 LTG ICCC 

KFSM 242353Z 21016G21KT 10SM CLR 26/13 A2979 RMK AO2 

KFSM 242253Z 22019G26KT 10SM BKN065 27/12 A2979 RMK AO2

Fort Smith was on the southern-most edge of a fairly broken line of thunderstorms as shown on the ForeFlight Map view below. This line of storms quickly moved in from the west along and ahead of a surface cold front. As you can see below, there was one small cell that moved through the Fort Smith terminal area approximated by the small red circle. It's this cell that triggered the thunderstorm observation at 0008 UTC.


So it's easy to see that Fort Smith could have been in that large gap to the northeast creating a situation more representative of the MOS forecast. The forecaster took a little meteorological risk and felt there was a fairly reasonable chance this line of thunder would evolve and impact the Fort Smith terminal area; a gutsy move given how this line of storms ultimately evolved.

MOS, on the other hand, wasn't as certain about the possibility of thunderstorms passing through the terminal area; it was leaning towards a forecast more representative of the weather within the gap. This is a good example of the “edge effect” that happens quite often when issuing such a point forecast. Ten miles can make a huge difference in making a good forecast or getting it wrong.

Read more here:: Forecasting for the Terminal Area is Incredibly Difficult

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