Syncing the Wheels Up Departure Advisor

Based on some of the great feedback we have received, WeatherSpork version 4.2.5 will now sync up with the three “Wheels Up Departure Advisors.”  These departure advisors appear in the Route, Map and Grid views at the bottom center of the display.  Simply tap or click on the EDT button and the advisor will appear above.  When you adjust one of them to a specific time, in this case Monday, 19 March at 1400Z as shown in the image below, you will be able to switch to the other two views to see the departure advisor set to the same departure time. This will take some of the burden off of you to reset this when switching between views.

Wheels Up Departure Advisor in WeatherSpork. This is available on the Map, Route and Grid views.

Keep those ideas coming!

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

Release notes for v4.2.5

  • ETD slider is now synchronized across all views in the app, and supports 30 minute increments.
  • Fixed a bug where midpoints were being ignored when rendering terrain in Route Profile view.
  • Additional minor bug fixes and usability improvements.

WeatherSpork’s simple design

WeatherSpork (@weathersporkapp) has a very elegant and simple design that is mission-oriented.  Even for the most technically-challenged pilot it will only take you a few minutes to harness its true power.  Furthermore, it’s designed to be nearly identical across platforms with very few exceptions.  So once you learn how to use the app on one platform, you are a guaranteed expert on the rest.

When you call 1-800-WXBRIEF or use many of the popular flight planning apps to get a weather briefing, they are typically focused on departing at a specific time in the future.  WeatherSpork, however, has been designed to be oriented around the mission.  This signature feature called the “Wheels Up Departure Advisor” leverages dozens of forecasts so you can quickly pick out the most favorable time to fly.  On the map, route and grid view, tapping on the Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) button at the bottom-center of the display will bring up the Wheels Up Departure Advisor.

Shown here is the Wheels Up Departure Adviser found in the Map view on an iPad.

Shown in green, blue, red and magenta on the Departure Advisor time line are the VFR, MVFR, IFR and LIFR flight categories, respectively, for stations (airports) along your proposed route.  This allows you to quickly see when the route will have the best weather…or perhaps the worst.  On a touch screen (or using a mouse), just press and hold down the filled circle (time selector) and drag to the right (and left).  As you advance the time, you’ll notice the station markers on the map will also change color representing the surface weather conditions (flight category) at the time shown above the time selector. Gray station markers indicate a lack of ceiling, visibility or sky coverage in order to determine the flight category.

Drag the airplane along your route with your finger or mouse to see how the forecast weather is expected to change while en route.

Once you’ve chosen your departure time (and picked up your finger) you can press and hold down the airplane (jet) located at your departure airport and drag that along your route.  As you move the airplane along your route, you’ll also see how the weather is expected to evolve while you are en route to your destination.  If you have elected to display SIGMETs and/or G-AIRMETs from the settings (gear button), they will also change based on their valid time as the airplane is advanced backward and forward in time. By the way, you don’t have to keep your finger directly on the airplane as you drag.  In fact, once you start to move the airplane with your finger pressed against the display, just shift your finger away from the airplane, while dragging.  This allows you to better see the markers along your route.  Give it a try!

We’ve got some real cool stuff planned for the Wheels Up Departure Advisor, so stay tuned to The Spork Report.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

Data outage in WeatherSpork

Currently there is a data outage in the weather imagery within WeatherSpork.  This has affected the GFS, NAM and RAP models.  For now we have removed the stale imagery from WeatherSpork. We are working to correct this issue.  We hope to have a solution in the next few days.  For now, if you would like to access this imagery on the NOAA site, please visit http://mag.ncep.noaa.gov/. We apologize for any convenience and appreciate your kind patience as we work through this outage.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

Using WeatherSpork to brief a flight with a departure tomorrow

Let’s say you are planning to make a flight sometime tomorrow morning from Savannah, Georgia to Atlantic City, New Jersey. What will the weather be along that proposed route?  What’s the best time to depart?  And what might be the best altitude to avoid flying into adverse weather?  Can I fly this VFR or will it require an IFR clearance?  This video will demonstrate how to use just a few of the many rich features found in WeatherSpork that makes answering these kinds of questions quite easy.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

 

Having trouble logging in to WeatherSpork?

Are you having an issue logging in to WeatherSpork?  Here’s what you can do to solve that issue.  First, you will need to be a paid member of AvWxWorkshops.com to use WeatherSpork.  If you don’t have a membership or your membership has lapsed, you will not be able to use the application.  Second, if you believe you have an active membership to AvWxWorkshops.com and can’t login, you may want to first try to go to http://avwxworkshops.com and try out your email and password to see if you are able to login there.

If you can login to AvWxWorkshops.com, then you can use those same credentials to login to http://weatherspork.com or the free WeatherSpork app.  Most likely if you are still having issues, you may be entering in the wrong password.  Give it a second or third try…you won’t get locked out.  Here’s a video that also may help.

If you are still having issues, please send an email to [email protected] and we’ll be happy to help.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

What’s ahead for WeatherSpork

Since formally releasing the app on March 1, we’ve gotten a ton of feedback that the app is awesome.  First, we’d like to thank you for giving it a try!   Many of you requested several new features that we’re working to implement right now.   We are really just in the beginning stages of development, so you will see many implemented over the next few months.  Keep in mind, it may appear we’re just throwing more weather guidance at you like many of the other apps have done in the past and continue to do; please understand this is all part of the foundation of building a simpler approach to deciphering the weather along your route.  While I can’t provide gory details or the date of release of these new features at this time, here are a few that are on the top of the list.

  1. Radar mosaic.  Yes, we’re in the process of building one of the most technologically advanced radar depictions available online.
  2. Android support.  At the moment we have done our own internal testing and it works very well on Android devices.  At some point in the near future we will be releasing the app to Google Play.  For now, WeatherSpork is designed to be highly responsive and compatible with most versions of the common Internet browsers on many portable Android devices.   Give it a try!
  3. More robust airport and navigation database.  We started with a database consisting of primarily sites that contained a Model Output Statistics (MOS) forecast.  So that limits what airports you can explore within the app.  Soon, you will have a more complete database of airports to choose from and you will be able to view METARs and TAFs from the map view.  Moreover, we will eventually be providing sites in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  4. More robust planning.  At this point you are limited to just four airports that include your departure and destination airports.  We are looking to expand this database to allow for other waypoints such as VORs.  We are also looking to expand the number of waypoints that can be added to the route.
  5. Support for profile view and meteograms in the flight levels.  Currently the app stops at 20,000 feet, but we are looking to expand this to FL450.
  6. Syncing of the Wheels Up Departure Advisor.  In order to provide consistency between the route, grid and map view with respect to time,  the Wheels Up Departure Advisor will be synced between these views.

These are just a few of the improvements we’re currently working to build.  There’s even more features planned on the horizon, so stay tuned.

“Most pilots are weatherwise, but some are otherwise.”

Scott Dennstaedt
Weather Systems Engineer
Co-founder, WeatherSpork

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