Aviation Flight Planning with Foreflight ADS-B Traffic Alerts

ADS-B

Aviation flight planning is a bit easier with Foreflight’s traffic alert option

Did you know that Foreflight offers a traffic display that complements the traffic you see on your instrument panel? The Foreflight ADS-B traffic is not a complete picture of all the nearby traffic, but there are some advanced settings that allow you to increase your awareness of other aircraft.

This may seem ridiculously obvious, but I didn’t know about it – turn on the traffic layer. If you are not seeing traffic displayed on your iPad, it’s because you didn’t turn the traffic layer on! To enable traffic, tap the drop down menu at the top left of the Maps page and select traffic. This menu option is only available when you are connected to Stratus, so don’t panic if you don’t see it at home. 

There is also a traffic filter that can be selected to eliminate traffic overload on your screen. To prevent the confusion and potentially dangerous situation of a screen full of airplanes, tap the gear button on the maps page to bring up the drop down menu. Turn on the “Hide distant traffic” feature and the app will only show the airplanes within +/- 3500 feet vertically and 15 NM.

If you want to pretend you’re an Air Traffic Controller, you can use the zoom feature of your iPad to transform the traffic symbol into a detailed data block. When you zoom in on an airplane, you will see the relative altitude, climb or descend trend (if it’s greater than 500 ft/min), tail number (if it’s an ADS-B out aircraft) and projected track. This traffic trend vector shows what direction the airplane is moving and the longer the vector, the faster it’s moving. How cool is that?

If you want even MORE info on your traffic, simply tap on the airplane and a pop up window will appear, displaying relative position, heading and speed.

Visual alerts are relatively new with Foreflight and add yet another layer of protection. When turned on, this feature issues a pop up alert anytime another aircraft is within 1NM and +/- 1200 feet. The alert will appear regardless of what page you are on in Foreflight and includes clock positions for the traffic. To turn this feature on, go to the More tab, then Settings, scroll to the traffic section and turn on visual alerts. 

None of these Foreflight features are meant to replace your responsibility as a pilot to see and avoid using a good visual scan, but why not use everything we can to give ourselves an extra level of safety every time we fly? The Foreflight ADS-B out traffic alert tool is that extra level. Take advantage of it and turn it on!

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