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Release notes for EZWxBrief v2.0


Here are the release notes for EZWxBrief™ version 2.0


First and foremost, EZWxBrief™ v2.0 has been rebuilt completely from scratch. This effort has taken roughly 18 months to complete with a substantial financial investment. The primary reason for this release is to build on a stable hardware platform and solid software infrastructure to improve performance. Moreover, this version provides a more intuitive user interface that we feel will create a better user experience when compared to the initial version of EZWxBrief. This includes replacing program icons (e.g., Layer Selector) with those that also include a textual label. Summarized below is a list of features that have undergone some change or new features that were added. Visit the 180+ page EZWxBrief Pilots Guide for a more in-depth description of new or changed features within the app. Additionally, there are dozens of “under the hood” changes not specifically listed or addressed in these release notes.


Second, if you have not done so already, we recommend that you delete the EZWxBrief progressive web app (PWA) from your device before launching this new release. This will allow a seamless transition and avoid any unforeseen issues between the two versions. For devices such as an iPad or iPhone, deleting the PWA is similar to deleting any app on your mobile device. Press and hold the app and you will see the menu below. Click on the Delete Bookmark choice and that will remove the old PWA from your device. Then to install EZWxBrief v2.0, simply follow the directions here or those contained in the new v2.0 Pilots Guide.



New subscription model


To keep in line with other subscription sites, all memberships will now be renewed on a monthly basis instead of annually. This means that users that are not currently set to renew their membership automatically will be required to provide their credit card in order to create a recurring billing profile in EZWxBrief. To do this, simply sign in to EZWxBrief and visit the User Profile page. On this page you will find a button to Renew your membership. Once you've entered your credit card (Visa, MasterCard or Discover), your membership will be set to renew automatically on the same day each month starting with the date your annual membership is set to expire. The process is the same if your membership has expired or if you were on a trial that expired. For the latter, your credit card will be charged the monthly fee of $6.99 if you choose to proceed with setting up the recurring billing profile.


If you are already set up with a monthly recurring billing profile, you are all set...there's nothing to do. It will transition to renew monthly once you reach the expiration date of your previous annual membership. Of course, if you prefer not to renew, you can always cancel your membership at any time on the User Profile page to avoid being charged the monthly fee. To verify that you have your recurring billing profile set up, sign in to EZWxBrief and visit the User Profile page by selecting the profile button as shown above. On this page in the subscription section, you should see the words, "Automatically renews on..." along with a button to cancel your membership and a button to update your credit card on file. If you see this, you have a valid monthly recurring billing profile in EZWxBrief v2.0. If you see a Renew button instead, you will need to click or tap on that button to set up a recurring billing profile to stay connected to EZWxBrief.


Dashboard


This new page was created to provide a specific landing page after signing in that creates an intuitive portal into the app and allows users to begin briefing the weather for a new route or continue a briefing using a previously saved or recent route. This includes the ability to choose from Saved items and the most recent ten imagery collections, ten most recent routes and ten most recent airports visited. Users can launch these recent items directly from the Dashboard as well as launching routes, imagery and airports from the Saved items shown in the Dashboard. Lastly, the dashboard also allows the user to view the current general and aircraft settings as well as the personal minimums. A button is available to modify these settings.



Favorites are now Saved Items


The term “Saved Items" has replaced the use of the term “Favorites” in EZWxBrief. The functionality of Saved Items is essentially identical to Favorites, but you will see the use of a “bookmark” or “ribbon” icon instead of a heart throughout the app. You will still be able to create new custom “Saved” folders and within those folders “Saved" items can be stored that allow you to organized your favorite routes, airports and imagery collections. You will also have the option of duplicating saved folders and duplicating items such as routes, imagery and airports. Duplicating saved folders is a new feature for this release. A unique saved route is now defined by the departure airport, route of flight, destination airport and the altitude.   


New and improved route editor


The route editor has been improved to allow for an unlimited number of waypoints for the route of flight although we recommend that you still limit the number of route of flight waypoints to five to improve performance. This includes NAVAIDs (VORs and NDBs), airports, fixes, intersections and other waypoints. Keep in mind that you still cannot use airways/jetways, or departure and arrival procedures in your route of flight.


The route of flight waypoints can now be reordered using a drag and drop approach. Therefore, if you want to add a new waypoint in the route of flight, you can add it at the end of the route of flight and drag and drop it into the correct position. Moreover, you no longer must choose one of the suggested identifiers in the list provided. In other words, when typing the full identifier (e.g., KJFK), simply add a space at the end of the identifier which will obviate the need to make a specific selection. Adding that space will always choose the waypoint shown at the top of the list. This provides an efficient way to type several waypoints back-to-back with spaces in between. As each space is entered, the identifier will be validated and added to the route.


You will also find from the route editor there are two buttons that allow you to open up the route in the Map or in the Route Profile. The route editor is also launched when selecting a saved or recent route from the Dashboard or from the Saved Items panel. 




Waypoint labels for the active route


The active route of flight shown on the map now includes waypoint labels. This includes labels for the departure and destination airport as well as any NAVAIDs, fixes and intersections used in the optional route of flight field within the route editor.



Landing page


A new general setting has been added to allow you to choose the landing page when you sign in. Options for the landing page include the EZWxBrief Home page, Dashboard, Map or Imagery. When you sign in for the first time, you will be asked if you would like to use the Dashboard as your primary landing page each time you sign in. You can accept this or change the default landing page at a later time in the Settings panel as shown below.



Forecast radar layer


In addition to providing the most recent 0.5-degree base reflectivity NEXRAD radar mosaic as a layer on the map, we now include a 36 hour radar forecast from the High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model with 15 minute time steps through the first 18 hours and hourly through 36 hours. Just slide the departure advisor into the future to see the forecast radar layer. 



New base map layers


In addition to the original base map layers, EZWxBrief v2.0 also contains a new Satellite base map and layers for the outlines of the United States, Canada and the NWS County Warning Areas (CWAs). These CWA areas are important since the Area Forecast Discussion (AFD) found in the Airport Wx view is written by forecasters located at each of the local Weather Forecast Offices (WFOs). The same forecaster at the WFO that issues the terminal aerodrome forecast (TAFs) for their CWA is also responsible, in part, for issuing the corresponding AFD. The CWA defines the geographic “area” they are discussing. Shown below are the CWAs for the U.S. (yellow) and the Canadian provinces (blue).



Disambiguity menu


When the weather on the EZWxBrief Map gets busy and many layers are displayed at the same time, any attempt to click or tap on the Map may result in the app showing you a disambiguity menu like the one shown below. Essentially that point may intersect several layers currently displayed and the menu will identify those objects and allow you to explore the one of interest. Note that this does not consider the radar layer or layers that are not currently added to the Map. In this example below, the click on the Map resulted in five layers to include four G-AIRMET objects and a pilot weather report (PIREP). Then, selecting one of those objects will provide a tabular display with more details about that object.



Redesigned departure advisor


You will see a new look and feel to the EZDeparture Advisor. First, this was done to provide a high glance value on all device types and orientations. The departure advisor is now split into multiple three-hour summary blocks that are colored gray, red, yellow or red. The time label shown on the block is the middle time of that three-hour block. In the example below, the label says 23Z. This is a summary block that evaluates the personal minimums from 22Z, 23Z and 00Z. If the block is red, this means that one or more personal weather minimum categories evaluate to a high risk in that three hour time frame. A yellow block means there's at least one person weather minimum category that evaluates to a moderate risk and a green block means that all categories in that time range meet the conservative low-risk personal weather minimums.



Second, the time resolution of the EZDeparture Advisor is now 10 minutes. Previously this had a one-hour departure time resolution. You can drag the time slider that is located below these summary blocks and date bar to change the departure time or you can click or tap on any summary block to have the departure jump to the time that is labeled on the center of that block. There is also a button at the left and right end of the EZDeparture Advisor to decrement (-1h) or increment (+1h) the departure time by 1 hour, respectively.


Moreover, as you change the departure time, three columns will appear that show all twelve personal minimums for the departure time (center column) as well as the twelve personal minimums for the previous hour (left column) and the subsequent hour (right column). The evaluation of the twelve personal minimums shown within the columns are not only colored (gray, red, yellow or green), but they also have a unique shape to help those color blind users.


Use Personal Mins layer


There have been two changes to this layer. First, similar to the EZDeparture Advisor, the symbols used include a green circle, yellow square and red triangle to make this layer more accessible for color blind users. Second, this layer now includes evaluation for the crosswind component personal weather minimum. This crosswind selection only applies for the Departure or Destination crosswind component personal minimums, however. When the Crosswinds attribute is selected, the En route option will be unavailable.



Flight category bar


The flight category bar was added to the route profile and meteogram views. This will provide a 10-km resolution depiction of the ceiling and visibility restrictions across the entire route of flight. If you hover over or tap on the flight category bar, it will show a tabular display of the ceiling and visibility for that location.



Crosswind component/runway and density altitude


In the tabular display for the Map's Station Markers, you will notice three new lines. This includes the crosswind component, crosswind runway and for surface observations (METARs) you will see a line also for density altitude. Crosswind component is calculated for all airports with known runway designations based on the prevailing wind speed (not the wind gust) as long as the wind speed is greater than two knots. It will evaluate all runways at the airport to determine which one has the best opportunity based on the surface wind direction. The best opportunity runway will be listed in the tabular display.


If there are multiple runway surfaces at the airport (e.g., grass and asphalt), it will only evaluate the paved or concrete surfaces. If the airport only has soft runway surfaces, it will evaluate the crosswind component for all runways at that airport. This does not consider NOTAMS. In other words, if a runway is closed by NOTAM, it will still use the closed runway for the purposes of determining the best opportunity runway.


For surface observations only, you will also see a line for density altitude. It will evaluate the reported surface pressure, temperature and dewpoint to calculate the virtual temperature and use the elevation to determine the density altitude for the airport.



In addition to the extra crosswind fields on Station Marker tabular display, they will also be included on the tabular displays for the departure and destination airports for the route profile as shown below.



Lastly, your find these same fields added to the Flight Category bar tabular display for the meteogram on the Airport Wx view.



Next/Prev Airport Wx buttons


When there's an active route, the Airport Wx view has a new feature that allows you to cycle through any airports that are in this route. This is done through the Prev Airport and Next Airport buttons. For example, assume a route such as KCLT KEQY KFLO KMYR, the Next button will bring up the airport weather that is currently being viewed (i.e., meteogram, METAR, TAF, AFD or Skew-T) for KCLT. Pressing Next again, will bring up the airport weather for KEQY. Next again cycles to KFLO and then to KMYR. Another press of the Next button will cycle back to the first point in the route, namely, KCLT. If no active route exists, the Next/Prev buttons will cycle through the most recent ten airports visited.



Max altitude selections


The Max Altitude selections on the route profile and meteogram have changed. This represents the highest altitude that is rendered on the meteogram. There are still three choices on the route profile that now include FL200 (20,000 feet), FL300 (30,000 feet) and FL500 (50,000 feet). However, the Airport Wx view now has the same three Max Altitude choices. Pressing the up/down arrows will change the maximum altitude selection.



Isotherms


The resolution of the temperature data shown on the route profile and meteogram is nearly 10 km. Isotherms are shown on the Wind, Ice and Clouds views for the route profile and meteogram. As a result, you will have the ability to quickly see how the temperature is changing along the route or at an airport over time. Picking out features such as temperature inversions becomes much easier with the high resolution temperature data.



Additionally, where isotherms are shown, there is a temperature button provided (thermometer icon) that will toggle the isotherms on and off. The label on the button shows the current preference for temperature units from the General Settings.



Elevation readout


As the cursor is moved over the elevation portion at the bottom of the route profile or the meteogram, a label will appear to provide the elevation based on the location of the cursor (or tap for a touch screen device).



Twelve hours of PIREPS and surface observations on the map


In the legacy version, observational data on the Map to include METARs and PIREPs were available when the time on the EZDeparture Advisor was positioned at the far left point. In this new version, the left-most time in the EZDeparture Advisor is approximately 12 hours prior to the current time. This creates the opportunity to examine all of the surface observations and PIREPs over the previous twelve hours. For the example below, if the current time is 2030Z, then 0800Z is the oldest departure time that can be set. Therefore, you will be able to view all of the METARs and PIREPs from 08Z through the current time of 2030Z. Consequently, the three-hour summary blocks shown as gray represent departure times in the recent twelve hours. They are shown as gray since routes cannot be defined for times in the past. At 21Z and beyond in this example, the Station Markers will switch from observations (METARs) to the EZForecast as the departure time is advanced into the future. Note that METARs station markers persist on the Map starting from their issuance time for an additional 75 minutes unless there is a subsequent observation that has been issued which will replace the current station marker. PIREPs will persist on the map until 75 minutes after the time they were issued.



Imagery progress bar


The progress bar for the static weather imagery has been redesigned to match the look and feel of the EZDeparture Advisor and that of the time across the bottom of the meteogram. The day of the week and month/day is labeled above the time scrubber to obviate the need to label each tick mark along the progress bar.





Crossing time zones


The segment point time across the bottom of the route profile can be set to display either Local or Zulu time. This is controlled by choosing the Time Display preference in the General Settings. When the setting is Local, the time zone local to the segment point will be shown instead of the time zone the device is located within. For example, let's say the device is located within the eastern time zone. In this route from KMEM in western Tennessee (left) to KAVL in western North Carolina (right), the time zone changes from CST to EST shortly after passing by the KUOS proximity airport. Notice in this route that the arrival time jumps from 17:46 CST to 19:02 EST at adjacent segment points. Keep in mind that the departure time shown on the EZDeparture Advisor will always be based on the time zone of the device when the setting is Local.



Higher resolution data


The data shown in the Route Profile is now at a resolution of ~10 kilometers along the route. This includes forecasts for temperature, clouds, icing and turbulence. This will be especially evident for the isotherms where you will be able to quickly pick out temperature inversions and frontal boundaries along the route. Shown below provides an indication that three freezing levels exist over a specific point along the route.



Features temporarily removed


The 7-Day forecasts have been temporarily removed from the app. The data interface used in the earlier version of EZWxBrief was often unreliable and returned less than desirable results in some situations. Therefore, we are in the process of developing a new 7-Day forecast product that will provide a more reliable and consistent textual forecast over the next 7 days for cities, towns and airports.


Features permanently removed


The Workshops have been depreciated with EZWxBrief v2.0. As of March 2023, the domain avwxworkshops.com was retired where many of these workshops were originally offered and hosted. A majority of the workshops in the app were created over a decade ago and have reached their end of life. Moreover, some of these workshops needed a significant facelift which would require a substantial time and financial investment. Moving forward, much of the educational component found in the avwxworkshops.com domain will be available in the companion training site avwxtraining.com and on the EZWxBrief YouTube channel (https://youtube.com/@ezwxbrief).


The Localized Aviation MOS Program (LAMP) forecast bulletins found in the Airport view have been removed as well. The format of this data was not easy to interpret given the categorical nature of some of the fields in the bulletin. Moreover, LAMP is being utilized as one of several forecast models blended together to provide the EZForecast found in the Station Markers layer and in a similar way it is blended with other forecast models to provide a ceiling, visibility, wind and convective forecast for the Route Profile and Meteogram.


The Start button has been eliminated from the app. This was introduced to help and guide users and become the main entry point into the app. However, this did not prove to be the case for most users. Instead, the user interface has been completely redesigned to be more intuitive especially for new users to the app.


In light of the new subscription model, the flexible pricing found in the "Tell us what you want to pay" renewal model is no longer available. All users will renew their monthly membership automatically at the same low price of $6.99.


Known issues


In the last few weeks there have been several minor issues identified that will be rectified for the next minor release. We felt it was important to release EZWxBrief v2.0 with these known issues and plan to make these fixes available at a later time.


  1. The tabular display for the Flight Category bar on the Meteogram view flickers when hovering the mouse over it for the right half of the display.

  2. The "Remember Me" function that allows you to open up the app that you previously closed without signing out, should automatically sign you in to the app and navigate to the Landing page Landing Page preference you have chosen in the General Settings. Currently it appears it always takes you to the EZWxBrief Home page.

  3. In some instances, the EZForecast tabular display may have conflicting information in the Clouds and Weather fields. This usually occurs when there are scattered or few clouds forecast for the station. For example, the Clouds field may say "Clear" but the Weather field may say "Partly cloudy."


Future releases


There are dozens of new features that we plan to incorporate over the next several years. But for now, we want you to enjoy the simplicity of EZWxBrief v2.0. Please tell other pilots about this app so we can continue to innovate for many more years to come.


Your EZWxBrief™ support team

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