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Today’s Flight Plan

Today we are joined by Ryan McBride, the Lead Designer at ForeFlight. For those of you that don’t know what ForeFlight is, it’s an iPad/iPhone app that essentially eliminates that big, bulky flight bag you used to take flying.

Now all the information is right there on the iPad/iPhone, with a lot of extra features and information. We’re talking ground breaking stuff here. Things we didn’t even think possible a few years ago.

Ryan helps the team take the vision and ideas, largely driven by what customers need (through feedback) and turns it into a visually pleasing and great user interface.

There is a lot of cool information that Ryan shares about ForeFlight. While you listen to this episode, go grab the trial version on the app store and get started. It’s free to try!

Useful Links

ForeFlight Website
ForeFlight App Page
ForeFlight Facebook
ForeFlight Twitter
Stratus 2 Website
Ryan’s Twitter
FSXFlight (Connect ForeFlight to FSX)

Credits

Ryan McBride from ForeFlight

Huge thanks to Ryan for joining us on AviatorCast. He’s quite the cool guy, and does some amazing work for ForeFlight! We can’t wait to see what they come up with next. Keep up the awesome work, Ryan!

Music

Big thanks to Atrasolis for providing the great music for our podcast. Please check them out on their Facebook Page or SoundCloud and get the music you’ve heard for free.

Crew

Major thanks to the amazing Angle of Attack Crew for all their hard work over the years. Our team works incredibly hard, and they’re very passionate about what they do.

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Transcript

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Gadgets, gizmos and gyros. This is AviatorCast episode 33.
Calling all aviators, pilots and aviation lovers, welcome to AviatorCast, where we close the gap between real aviation and flight simulation. Climb aboard, buckle up and prepare for takeoff. Here’s your host, Chris Palmer.
Chris: Welcome, welcome, welcome aviators, you’ve landed at AviatorCast. My name is Chris Palmer. Old airplanes, new airplanes, experimentals, home-built, Warbirds, airliners, single engine trainer types, the list goes on. Something about airplanes speaks to my soul. I’ve had a lifetime to pinpoint why but to this day, I cannot fully explain the magic of flight and what flying feels like.
I’m the founder and owner of Angle of Attack, a flight simulation training company which is bringing you this podcast today. AviatorCast is a weekly podcast where we talk about the spirit of the aviator. We believe flying is an art form, one that we have to continually practice and master. This mastery is gained through a focus on continual learning, human factors, humility, and a commitment to excellence. Show notes, transcript, community discussion and links for this episode can be found by simply going to AviatorCast.com.
So welcome to this, the 33rd episode of AviatorCast. It is absolutely fantastic to have you here. I am so glad that you come back week after week to take part in our wonderful episodes, to hear from our wonderful guests, and we have another awesome, awesome guest lined up for you today. But before we get to that, this podcast is all about you, the listener, and here is a review from one of you listeners.
This comes from John, John is from Sweden. He says “A must for aviation lovers, five stars. This podcast brings you the best from the flight training world and the flight simulation world. Chris is such a good host. He has a great attitude towards aviation. His love and dedication for the aviation community really shows through the podcast. Chris interviews really interesting people who are inspiring and has something positive to bring to the aviation community. I recommend this podcast to everyone who likes aviation in general but specifically to those who want to enhance their knowledge and want to use PC flight simulators for flight training purposes.” That is John all the way from Sweden. I think that’s our first review from Sweden so thank you so much John. It’s so great to have you here.
And we have a great, great interview today. We have Ryan McBride from ForeFlight. I met Ryan McBride in Oshkosh and I was excited to learn that Ryan McBride is the lead designer at ForeFlight. Now, being a designer of such an amazing app like ForeFlight can’t be an easy task and you have to imagine that putting something like a concept for a specific feature in an app and giving it to pilots in an easily digestable form that can be intuitive for them to use on something like an iPad is something that just takes a special person to know how to do. Now, Ryan McBride is part of the integral part of the leadership there at ForeFlight, so it’s really cool to have him on the show to talk about this wonderful, wonderful app.
If you haven’t heard of ForeFlight before, I invite you to go and look at the website even while you’re listening to this to kind of get more information about it. It’s an absolutely fantastic, fantastic program for all pilots of all shapes and sizes and professions. So here we are. This is going to be Hangar Talk with Ryan McBride from ForeFlight.
Now, a special hangar talk segment…
Chris: Alright everybody, we are honored to have Ryan McBride with us today from ForeFlight. Welcome to AviatorCast Ryan McBride, how you doing?
Ryan McBride: Hey Chris. Good to be hear, man. I’m so amped to be here. I’m a huge fan of Angle of Attack and all you guys do so I’m excited to talk a bit about ForeFlight and simming and flying.
Chris: Yeah great. You guys have an awesome product. I met you at Oshkosh. I’m excited about this as well. You gave me the opportunity to get like a month preview of the full breath of what ForeFlight does, and so I dove in and it’s incredible, man. You have a lot of cool stuff in your app and it will be cool to talk about not only from a simming perspective but also from a pilot perspective. I think this is mostly going to be kind of a pilot podcast episode, talking about how you can use it in real life, especially from a safety standpoint. I think tools like this are just awesome for safety and situational awareness and stuff.
Ryan McBride: Totally. That’s the idea, is to kind of take everything that pilots need for enhanced situational awareness and put it in one app, so it’s one tap away.
Chris: And you guys just keep releasing one feature after another and I’m sure we’ll get into those. One of the first things I always ask our interviewees here is how did you fall in love with aviation, because I know that you’re a pilot yourself, so tell us a little bit about that.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. I guess it started I was a huge Star Wars fan as a kid. I was super in Star Wars and X-wings and TIE fighters, all that kind of stuff. As I got a little older, 12, 13, I started transitioning from science fiction to reality and I came across Airliners.net, that‘s a really great aviation photography site, and I would spend hours just looking at photos of airplanes, like after school.
My parents got Microsoft Flight Sim 98 as a kid and I would be totally absorbed in that. I kept flight simming quite a bit throughout middle school, high school and decided I want to be an airline pilot. So I went to the University of North Dakota which is a pretty massive commercial aviation training school up in Grand Forks, and went there and got my private license and decided I love aviation. Didn’t want to be an airline pilot but I wanted to be in aviation, I want to be involved. So I started looking at other opportunities and eventually landed here at ForeFlight and I couldn’t be more excited to be here. So that’s sort of the rundown of how I got where I am now.
Chris: Right on. So I know there’s a little bit of history in between when you left UND and when you got hired at ForeFlight, so tell us about kind of your professional history in between there because I think that’s an interesting story.
Ryan McBride: Right. So by profession, I’m a user experience designer, so that means I work on how to make apps simple, how to make apps look good, work well. A graduate from Michigan State with a degree in telecommunications and my area was user experience that I kind of focused on in school. Ended up going out to the Bay Area and I lived in San Francisco for three years, and I had a startup out there with two friends. That startup was called Plumfare, and that was unrelated to aviation, that was another area that I’m passionate about which is food. It was a restaurant space.
All this time, I had been flying on the side, it was sort of a hobby and I enjoyed flying out there. I used to fly out of San Carlos which is just south of SFO. Plumfare was eventually acquired by Groupon, and around that time I realized that I was really passionate about aviation, I really wanted to maybe pursue it more as a profession and ForeFlight came knocking. CEO Tyson Weihs and I got talking about plans that they had and kind of the mission of ForeFlight. I’ve always been a ForeFlight user. I’ve been using ForeFlight since I guess ’08 which is just a year after I came out. So yeah, I ended moving down to Austin from San Francisco and had been at ForeFlight since I guess December.
Chris: Cool. So you’re kind of new to the ForeFlight team then.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. I’ve been here for about 8 or 9 months.
Chris: Cool. But you guys had a lot of great things come out since then so it’s obvious that this process is kind of accelerating of getting the app how you guys want it or at least getting those cool new things inside it.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. One of the big differentiators between ForeFlight and some of the other competitor apps that are out there is we ship often. We’re constantly shipping updates. We aim for every four to six weeks of big major feature. So far we’ve been able to keep up that pace. It’s something I think a lot of customers are really happy with, is how quickly we’re able to ship new features to them.
Chris: Right. You know, it would just be impossible to try to tackle all that stuff at ones and you see these little things that just came out little bit by little bit. Kind of the nice thing from my perspective as a user, not necessarily someone that’s involved in the company is I can learn those things little by little as they come sort of thing and not have to worry about just learning it all at once. That too isn’t necessarily a problem. It’s just like learning a G1000 or something.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. One of the key points that we try to keep with ForeFlight is there’s a sort of core features, one of them for instance is maps in the application, and then for pro users or user who want to access more additional functionality, we sort of layer that functionality on top. So it’s really easy to get started. You just download the app and you can start playing with it, and you can either read our pilots guide which is sort of our manual or you can kind of just poke around and tap on things and figure out how things work. So it’s really easy to get started, but a lot of the more advanced functionality is easily accessible as you become more comfortable using the application.
Chris: Yeah, definitely. So let’s a back up a little bit for those people that have no clue what ForeFlight is, those people who have been living under the rock, or maybe those people that are overseas and this is isn’t something that is necessarily in those areas yet or maybe it’s just, anyway. So, explain what ForeFlight is as you would maybe at some place like Oshkosh. So I’m totally new. What is ForeFlight?
Ryan McBride: So, traditionally when pilots go flying, they have to bring what’s called the flight bag with them, and the flight bag has lots of things in it. It has your headset. Sometimes it has like a flashlight or a radio. But one of the core components of your flight bag is paper and by paper I mean maps and charts and checklists and lots of paper. When ForeFlight was founded back in 2007 by Tyson Weihs and Jason Miller, the iPhone had come out, the iPad had just come out, and they realized this form factor, this little device here can totally replace all the pounds of paper that people are carrying with them on every flight.
And so as the years progressed, the FAA kind of created a generic term for this and they call it an EFB which stands for electronic flight bag. Like I said, the idea is you take all of the stuff that used to be paper and you put it in the apps, so that means your VFR sectionals, your IFR high and low charts, all of your approach plates, all that good stuff. You don’t have to carry the paper with you anymore. It used to be that in addition to carrying all these paper, you’d have to get new paper every data cycle when the FAA updates their charts in the flights. So instead of having to go out and do that and throw away all your old paper, we just replace the data on your iPad for you. So whenever there’s new charts available from the FAA, you’ll get a little notification. You tap one button download and you have the latest version of that chart or that plate. So it’s a lot easier now for pilots to be able to just not to have worry about all the paper and wanting that around and keeping it up to date. We do it all for them and we put it on an app.
And then of course there’s a lot more besides charts and maps in the application. You know, the magic of the iPad and Tablets is that we can augment this data, so we can do things like put your current GPS location on top of that sectional for better situational awareness, or we can do things like put the current weather on this sectional or draw your route of flight along your IFR chart. So there’s a lot of cool ways that we can augment this data and make it a little more interesting and better for situational awareness for pilots.
Chris: Great. Yeah, I was going to say. This isn’t just kind of a document holder, it’s gone so far in a sense that now we’re in a place where we have ADSB on top of that, and pretty much from start to finish. From start to thinking about a flight, when you’re doing your weight and balance and getting all the documents and planning even and then to the end of the flight, even to a debriefing of the flight, talking about some features that had just been recently released by you guys. You can almost do everything with this app and really more than you ever could with the flight bag which again goes back to the situational awareness, and really helps us as pilots improve our game and be better pilots and more efficient pilots and know that situational awareness and efficiency keyword is something that you guys definitely use kind of in your marketing but that is what your app does, so very cool stuff.
Ryan McBride: Right. And to give you another example of replacing paper, one of the core features of the application is our airport section. An airport section essentially replaces the green book pilots normally carry around, their airport facility directory, but we don’t just copy that information over for you. We do things like augment it. So for example, an AFD, the book, might give you runway information. That’s great, we’re going to give you the same runway information but on top of that, we’re going to give you your tail-end components, your crosswind components, the runways that are best to land on based on current wind information. We’re going to give you all your current NOTAMs that are up to date for that airport. We’re going to give you weather for that airport, so basically taking the standard FAA information and then adding things on top of it to improve situational awareness, and that’s just one example. We do that all across the app for lots of different types of data.
Chris: Right. I was actually particularly impressed with that section and all the information that’s housed there, kind of like what you were saying. Like you said, the augmentation, one thing I did earlier was there is a section where I think it was more it said flight tracking and scheduled arrivals and departures, I kind of have my iPad right here while I look at this stuff, and you can actually click that link and it will pop up on FlightAware for that specific airport who is scheduled to depart or whatever or whatever link you click, and then you get a list of those people. That’s just one example of hundreds and hundreds of examples that you get more information than you would with just charts or with just the AFD, so really, really cool.
Ryan McBride: Right. You know, all of us at ForeFlight are pilots, and that’s all the way down to our customer support team. In fact, every individual in our customer support team, we call it pilot support, is an instrument-rated pilot and the majority of them are actually CFIs. And so we’re all using of course ForeFlight and we are using other tools. One of them is FlightAware. We love FlightAware. They’re based nearby here in Houston, and so that FlightAware integration is something that we’re really excited to get in other. We do other integrations as well. With the new track log feature for instance, you can view it in CloudAhoy. You can for example send a route that you have entered in ForeFlight over to LogTen which is a logbook application. So there’s lots of cool integration with other apps too.
Chris: So, kind of skipping ahead quite a bit but there’s a lot of new features kind of coming out with iOS 8. Do you guys plan on integrating better with the capabilities coming out with that?
Ryan McBride: Yeah. iOS 8 is really, really exciting. Apple has introduced a lot of new APIs and a lot of new interesting programming techniques that are going to allow us to make the Apple app better. One of the things that Apple is announcing is this idea of sort of fluid layouts. Currently, when we design or develop the application, we design it for an iPad or we design it for an iPhone and those are two set sizes. However, there are rumors at least and I don’t have any inside information on this of course, but there are rumors that in iOS 8 and with new Apple devices coming out, you might be able to do something like run two apps at the same time on the same screen or maybe run an app in different, like basically window sizes on the device. There’s a lot of interesting layout techniques that are coming to iOS 8 that we’re pretty excited about and we’ve been looking into.
A couple other cool aspects of iOS 8 are basically the ability to share information more easily between applications. And so that’s going to enable a lot of really cool integrations between apps. We’re pretty excited about it. We’re keeping our eyes on it and we’re just as excited as the rest of our customers to get in our hands and check it out.
Chris: That will be cool. Great things coming with that. So, we obviously have a great listenership here at AviatorCast in the United States, and that’s, I wouldn’t say primarily where you guys are at but perhaps you would agree with that. Where else is ForeFlight available except for the United States?
Ryan McBride: Sure. So the company itself is co-headquartered in Houston and Austin, Texas and we also just opened a third office in Portland, Maine. Our primary customer base traditionally has been in the US. However, we have put a lot of work into working with Nav Canada who is in charge of the aeronautical data in Canada, and so we now have full IFR and VFR chart coverage as well as georeference approach plates for all of Canada. So we have US and Canada. We also have a global airport database. So we have over 25,000 airports available all over the world, and we also have pretty much global VOR and NDB coverage for the globe. We would love to expand to other parts of the world. I have nothing to announce yet but it’s something that’s on our radar.
Chris: So I think we have probably 2000 features, I don’t know. Have you guys counted how many features you have in ForeFlight or do you even keep track of that anymore? This is crazy.
Ryan McBride: Yeah, I don’t keep track. What we try to do though is when we add features, we try to make these features work well together, so instead of thinking about individual features, we think more about workflows, so how a pilot might accomplish a particular task by moving between feature to feature, so yeah, we think about completing workflows than individual features.
Chris: You know, that’s actually what I noticed. When I went to test this app, I did it with a simulator because there are some connections in order to do that where you get some realistic depictions. I knew that the best way I could test it is to just go out and fly with it right? From the get-go, one thing I noticed was that the taxi charts for situational awareness, you could have your actual airplane on this diagram of the airport and you could see where you were on the airport in real time, and then the next thing that really surprised me, I didn’t know he app actually had this, was I taxi’d to the runway and it was the correct runway. When I taxi’d to the runway, it said I was approach X runway, and then when I got on the runway, it said entering X runway. So, kind of one of those things for runway incursions that was really helpful.
And then just throughout the process, just seeing all these little things that ForeFlight did, and it wasn’t necessarily something where I went into it having read a manual, I kind of just went into it blind. I think that was good to approach it from that perspective because for me, I could just kind of fiddle around with it and figure stuff out and enter my flight plan and things like that, and it helped out a lot from the basic perspective and the feature list is like you said super long but it is at the end of the day just about workflows because I really wouldn’t have been able to experience those things if I wasn’t out just kind of doing it.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. So it’s interesting you mentioned kind of just diving right in and starting with it. Traditionally I think in terms of technology and aviation, there’s a lot of manual reading. You got to read the manual to kind of figure things out, and that’s true. In avionics, it’s true. There are a variety of different aspects of aviation. For ForeFlight, we of course encourage people to download and read our pilot’s guide which is available on our website. It’s also available in the application. But one of the core benefits of ForeFlight that we think versus our competitors is the ability to just open up the app and kind of just start playing with it, and honestly, after maybe 30 minutes, become pretty familiar with it and be pretty confident with it. So we think our user experience is one of our key differentiators between us and other competitors out there, and that’s something we pride ourselves on and it’s something we focus on daily. It’s what I am responsible for essentially at ForeFlight.
Chris: Well, you’ve been doing a great job. I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s really impressive, all the little things it does. Both you and I, we’re going to talk our three favorite features a little bit later, but first, we’re going to get to some other stuff. What kind of pilots actually use ForeFlight? You and I are basically pilots for ourselves, we’re not flying in the airlines, corporate or anything. We kind of run aviation businesses or are in aviation businesses outside being pilots. So other than private pilots, what kind of pilots are using ForeFlight?
Ryan McBride: So ForeFlight is designed to be used by anyone who sits in an airplane and flies it from point A to point B. So that means private pilots, commercial pilots, cargo pilots, private operators, military pilots. Anyone can use this application. It can enhance the situational awareness in pretty much any type of situation. Just to give you an example of some of the organizations that use ForeFlight. Obviously, general aviation private pilots is our core customer base and it will always be that way. We’re all private pilots ourselves with the company, it’s something we’re passionate about, general aviation, and we’ll always be catering to private pilots.
But outside of private pilots, our software is used by a variety of airlines in the United States. It’s used by a variety of charter operators, private jet companies. It’s also used by a variety of different branches in the military. It’s used by the US Coast Guard, the US Air Force. It’s used by a couple different V-22 Squadrons that fly with it, the Ospreys. It’s actually used by the Air Force Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels. When they fly between different air shows and things, they’re getting there with ForeFlight which is pretty neat.
In terms of airlines, what comes to the top of my mind right now is Frontier Airlines. So if you’ve ever flown Frontier Airlines or anyone listening has ever flown Frontier, it’s kind of neat to know that the guys upfront are getting you from A to B with ForeFlight. If you’re a pilot yourself, you can use that same application of course in your 172 or your Little Piper to go wherever you want. It’s used in a variety of different conditions by different people and that’s something we pride ourselves on.
Chris: Great. I was actually surprised on your website, I saw on your blog that recently, I don’t know how recently it was but you introduced kind of this military part of the application, and there’s this whole long list of military acronyms for charts and stuff they have that I’ve just never seen before.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. The US Department of Defense has kind of their own version of charts and lots of cool information that they use, and so for our military costumers, we allow them to import that information and use that within ForeFlight.
Chris: Awesome. Well, it’s for anybody and everybody. And you know, since it was kind of built from the private pilot perspective up, really you get that base and then you can start to specialize for the things like the military. At the end of the day, all the airport information is the same, the frequencies are the same, so all of that base information is useful for everybody really.
Ryan McBride: That’s true, yup.
Chris: Cool. So some of the newer stuff that’s come out recently especially ADS-B is quite impressive, so tell us about that and also tell us how the kind of the Stratus 2 and how that integrates with what you guys do.
Ryan McBride: Yeah, so you mentioned Stratus. For those aren’t familiar with Stratus that are listening, we should probably talk a little bit about what that is.
Chris: Yeah, sure.
Ryan McBride: So when you get ForeFlight, you can get it on an iPad or an iPhone. The iPad has actually a pretty good GPS. Well, I should say the cellular model of the iPad has a pretty good GPS built into it. When a lot of our costumers go flying, they actually just go, they grab their headset, they grab their iPad, often they’ll bring a backup, and they’ll just go flying and they’ll use that internal GPS. However, the iPad as a device wasn’t really designed initially for aviation, it was designed more for just general consumers, and so there’s a lot of different types of sensors and radio technologies that we’ve wanted to add to the iPad to kind of enhance ForeFlight but haven’t been able to until Stratus.
Stratus is a little white box, and it’s manufactured by a company called Appareo based on Fargo, North Dakota, and it’s sold through them, and it’s also sold through Sporty’s, everyone love Sporty’s. We like to think of Stratus as a little extension of the iPad just for pilots. By extension I mean it’s got a bunch of cool little sensors packed into it that provide even more valuable information to pilots. You mentioned the ADS-B, that’s one of them. So Stratus 2 has a dual band ADS-B end receiver. So what that means is you’ll get ADS-B in traffic, and you’ll also get ADS-B weather, so you’re going to get NEXRAD radar, you’re going to get METARs, pilot reports, TAFs, NOTAMs, AIRMETs, SIGNETs, all that good weather stuff and you’re going to get it over the ADS-B network in flight.
It also includes a WAAS GPS. It’s a much more high accuracy GPS. Stratus 2 also includes an AHARs unit. An AHARs unit is basically a little gyroscope. It would give you pitch and bank information on a split-screen added to the indicator right in the application, so it’s a great little instrument backup, and I just stress it’s intended as a backup, not as a primary means of navigation, but it’s a great backup to have. And so we are continually upgrading Stratus. Stratus is the current version. It has all the features I just mentioned. And in the future, we will be adding additional features to Stratus in the app which will make it even better. Stratus is something that personally I fly with all the time. Whenever we hear about people who have flown with Stratus, they say “I’m never flying without it again.” It’s really that good. Our integration with Appareo, the manufacturer, has just been phenomenal. Sporty’s is a great partner, and so it’s just been a really, really partnership between the three of us, so we’re pretty excited about it.
Chris: Great. I think all of that together, it’s one of those newer technologies, kind of leaving the iPad out of it which you can’t really, or the AFB out of it which you still can’t because this is all kind of integrated together. But the addition of information with ADS-B while you’re in flight is not necessarily anything new to the market but with this, it’s so accessible. The Stratus 2 isn’t the only unit like this out there, there are other units but this is just a particular unit that works with ForeFlight. It’s just really incredible that all of these information is now available to the everyday pilot that’s out there kind of hitting their horizon and going to new places and to have that weather, that up-to-date weather right in front of them on the map is just so helpful, and the traffic.
Ryan McBride: Right. And Stratus is designed to be portable. Again, it’s a tiny little white box. It’s totally wireless so it connects to your iPad. You can think of it as like a little internet router, a wireless router so it broadcasts the WiFi signal. It doesn’t include internet of course. We just use WiFi as kind of the transportation protocol for the information. So that means you can take a Stratus, you can like throw it in your backseat, a lot of people put it up in the dash. There’s no wires so you just turn it on, there’s only one button on and off and you connect to the WiFi and you’re good to go. It’s got a built-in battery, a lithium ion battery so you can charge it before your flight, so you don’t have to plug it into anything. It’s totally wireless.
We’ve heard of for example flight schools buying a couple of Stratusses and letting their rental customers rent out a Stratus along with the airplane because you can just put it up on the dash and forget about it. It’s really cool, really versatile product.
Chris: Right. That’s a great idea just from kind of an insurance perspective for one of their airplanes go to rentals. Okay, so this is actually a question that I didn’t put in the show notes but I’m curious. What happens when your team kind of determines a new feature they want to do. Can you take us through without kind of giving away your cards or your information how you guys bring a new feature to market, and you don’t have to bring up like a specific feature or maybe you can but how do you guys actually take something from an idea to getting inside the app?
Ryan McBride: Sure. So the big, kind of our core mantra at ForeFlight is we are customer-driven, and by that I mean we get emails, we get a lot of emails, we get phone calls from people who have either feedback on features, request for future features, maybe suggestions about how a feature might work differently in the future. Those features go directly into our kind of our central support crew and our awesome support team works with those customers to get more information and to kind of refine that feedback, and they pass it on directly to our developers, to myself, to our management team, and we compile this information and we kind of see what common themes are.
So for instance, we get a lot of feedback that people wanted better aircraft information in the application and eventually we determine that well, you know what? There’s a lot of interesting products out there right now for weight and balance but really people shouldn’t have to go to other applications to use it. They should be able to stay in ForeFlight. That weight and balance information should be totally integrated. That’s just one example. And so we’ll take this feedback and we’ll kind of determine what the umbrella feature is going to be. From there, we’ll do things, we’re design-driven so we’ll basically wireframe things out. We’ll do brainstorms. We do 2-week sprints on features, planning, development, design, etc.
So sort of wireframe things out then we’ll go into more like high fidelity mockups of things. We’ll work on sort of prototypes, barebones prototypes just to see how the interactions are going to work for a particular feature, and once we’re happy with the design and with the prototype, we’ll basically go full into developing that feature and by developing, I mean we assemble a couple of engineers to work on it and then it goes straight into QA. For every feature that is related to flight at least, we are testing that feature either in the flight sim, we use X-Plane here in the office and then we’re also going to flight test that feature so we’ll take it up and go fly with it.
We don’t ship things that we feel aren’t best on the market. We are committed to delivering industry-leading features. If we pursue a feature for a while and it’s ready to ship and it’s not quite there, we don’t think it’s the best it’s going to be, we’ll delay it. We’ll fine-tune it, we’ll polish it, and we’ll get it so that it is the best it could possibly be before we ship it. So we’re concerned about quality more than quantity with features I guess you could say, but yeah, like I said, we’re totally customer-driven, so we go from email from a customer all the way to the finish products and that’s something we pride ourselves on.
Chris: Great. So kind of speaking to those features, one idea I had was for both of us to come up with our three favorite or coolest features of ForeFlight. So tell us…
Ryan McBride: That is a really hard request.
Chris: It really is. Yeah, I was going through it. My list is kind of dumb, maybe kind of a dumb question, but there are some little cool ingenious things that kind of stand out in the app that you actually wouldn’t think about and you’ve never seen before. It actually kind of worked out I guess but tell us about your three that you really liked.
Ryan McBride: Okay. I had to think about this a lot. I should say, again we’re all pilots here so we don’t ship features that aren’t our favorite, right? But if I had to nail it down to three, and maybe people aren’t aware of, three that I really enjoy that people might not be aware of. I would say the first is going to be what we call our Traffic Pattern Advisor.
When you’re flying along and you have a route entered in your nav log in ForeFlight, you have let’s say from Austin to Houston or something. For flying VFR, it’s likely you’re going to be entering a traffic pattern at one of those airports. What we do is we actually, in the nav log, we have this what we call our Procedure Advisor. In procedures, you can fly like an arrival procedure for instance into an airport but we also have traffic pattern procedures in there, so you can tap on traffic pattern under the procedure advisor and select the airport you’re flying into and select the runway you’re flying into and we’ll recommend a runway based on best winds at that time, and then you can slap the type of pattern entry you want, and we’ll actually plot that pattern entry out right on the map, whatever map you have, be at a VFR section or an IFR chart, whatever. We’re going to actually plot that out for you just for better situational awareness.
Now obviously if you’re entering a traffic pattern, your eyes should be outside but when you’re coming up an airport, just to kind of situate yourself with the airspace and the airport that you’re coming up on, sometimes it’s nice to have that pattern entry plotted out. You could for instance say you want to enter a midfield teardrop entry for a downwind, for a runway, that’s easy, that’s like two taps in a ForeFlight. We’re actually going to plot out that teardrop entry right in the map for you. That’s something that people don’t know about.
Another cool feature that we just launched in 6.3 is Track Log. Track Log is the ability to start recording your GPS latitude, longitude, altitude, ground speed and then review it later after your flight either in 2D, on a map or you can actually export it in one tap. You can export it to Google Earth and look at it in 3D which is pretty neat. That’s a really cool feature because especially for students or pilots who are working on maneuvers, maybe traffic patterns. It’s a great way to kind of review either by yourself or with your flight instructor how that flight went, and so that’s something we’re pretty excited about.
Another cool feature that Track Log provides is the ability to share that track log. So if you flew, let’s say you went out and did some tough and go’s and you wanted to send your flight instructor that track log and get some feedback from him or her, that’s easy. You just send it to them. We generate the link, they’ll open it up in their web browser and they can see a full map with your whole track log on it. It’s pretty neat.
I guess the third one would be our terrain awareness feature. There’s a couple of them but the big one is called Hazard Advisor. And the idea is we’re going to color code the map for you based on your current GPS altitude. We’ll color code the map in either yellow for warning or red for watch out for terrain that surround you. So as you’re descending maybe into an area and maybe it’s in a mountainous region, you’re actually going to see the map itself become shaded in yellow and red around you as you basically descend below terrain you’re not currently able to clear. The alternative way of looking that information is something they call terrain profile which is instead of looking at that terrain from the top down, you’re going to look at it from the side. That’s a really cool way to kind of see terrain that’s out and ahead of your airplane or along the route.
So those are the three ones. Traffic Pattern Advisor, Track Log, and our Hazard Advisor. Those are three big ones that I use a lot of the time and I find really invaluable.
Chris: Yeah. That Traffic Pattern Advisor, like I said I went out and just kind of tested this while I flew, and while I was trying to load up the procedure of the airport and I didn’t know how to, I was doing it intuitively, right? Like you said, flow is the focus. So I saw that, I’m like “Man, that’s crazy. Why would someone need to know how to do a traffic pattern?” But at the same time, looking back throughout all my flying hours, I’ve had people call up like a local CTAF frequency and you don’t see them coming, you don’t see them anywhere and then they’re right over the airport when they finally make a call, and they’re going 200 knots and they’re totally breaking up the traffic pattern, so it’s definitely one of those things that people need.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. Another neat feature that we’ve added that kind of goes along with the Traffic Pattern Advisor is what we call Extended Runway Centerlines. So you can actually turn those on the map settings and the idea is we’ll draw basically big thick black lines that are labeled with a particular runway, and so it’s a great way to kind of orient yourself when you’re kind of near an airport. We basically extend those centerlines that are normally on your sectional or on your IFR chart. It’s just a great way to kind of orient yourself to those runway centerlines, so I use that a lot too. I have those on pretty much all the time.
Chris: Great. And then kind of while you’re talking about Track Log, I did record a Track Log when I did just a flight, my last flight, but I didn’t really know how to open it or at least I haven’t gotten to that yet so I just went into settings and like you said, I looked at it, I hit one tap to get the log and then I went View on ForeFlight, started to zoom on my taxi and everything. It’s just really detailed. It’s really cool to see that. And like you said, you can also integrate that with something like CloudAhoy which I think is a great app on its own. It kind of does a lot of special things as far as debriefing and logging. Cool.
So my three favorite features and you can talk about them a little more because I’m kind of dumb when it comes to this, I just know how cool they are. I already talked about this one, On-Ground Situational Awareness. So kind of having those taxi charts that you can actually see on the map while you’re taxing. It’s not necessarily an issue at smaller airports where maybe they just have a couple taxiways but when you’re talking about maybe some medium-sized regional airports that are a little more complex when you’re dealing with a lot more as a pilot and there are some distractions, having that extra chart there to see exactly where you are is really helpful.
And then maybe you remember this incident as well, but it makes me think back to this incident, I think it was in Charlotte, North Caroline where it was really foggy and this air traffic controller thought that this aircraft was off the runway, but really they weren’t off the runway and there’s this other pilot that basically wouldn’t take off even though the controller was insisting that he was cleared on the runway. In investigating that, they found that that aircraft actually was on the runway and had that captain not basically told the controller no, he would’ve taken off and hit that airplane.
In saying that, not only is it something for busy airports but it’s something for confusing times when you have your own information. I can’t remember what you guys called it, I think you may have called it on-board or on-deck or something information right there that you have. You know where your position is. You don’t need to rely on ATC to tell you where you are basically.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. You know, there’s been a lot of unfortunate incidents over sort of recent aviation history. One of them was Comair 5191, Blue Grass Airport in Kentucky. They took off on the wrong runway. We try to add a lot of situational awareness and safety features into the application. So those runway alerts you mentioned, that’s one, that’s a big one. One thing we do kind of related to airport diagrams is when you land at an airport, you can optionally turn on a setting we call auto-taxi, and the idea is say you’re looking at a map. When you land and you’re at that airport, if you have auto-taxi enabled, we’ll detect your GPS altitude, and if it matches field elevation, we’ll automatically switch over and show you the taxi diagram for you, so we kind of save you a tap there. Again talking about flows, it’s kind of a great way to transition from the approach flow into the taxi flow.
One thing in regards to taxi diagrams, the FAA publishes taxi diagrams for many, many airports all over the country. However, they don’t have taxi diagrams for a lot of the small airports. So one thing we started doing is assembling our own taxi diagrams we’re calling ForeFlight Taxi Diagrams. Those are already in the application and every data cycle we have new ones, but the idea is kind of filling in the gaps where the FAA has left information out. And so we have over a thousand taxi diagrams for airports that the FAA has missed in the application right now, and those are taxi diagrams that are only going to be available on ForeFlight. We’re committed to making aviation, both general aviation and aviation overall safer, more affordable and more fun. Taxi diagrams is just one example of how we’re trying to fill in the gaps right now. Usually we’ll start seeing a lot more of those taxi diagrams as data cycles progress.
Chris: It’s good you guys are adding to that and actually the airport I flew into which is my own airport here in Homer, Alaska they didn’t have any FAA taxi chart and so the ForeFlight taxi chart came up, it was georeferenced for whatever my, the little airplane or whatever you guys call own ship or something, it was right on the map and I could see it going. I kind of knew already but it was just cool to see that you guys kind of had your own data there to like you say fill in the gaps.
So, that’s my number one, a long number one. Number two, and I don’t know what you guys call this, but it’s that little thing on the map where you can determine where to go and the distance and time and everything, what do you guys call that?
Ryan McBride: The two fingers? We call that a ruler.
Chris: The ruler. Okay. I saw this months and months ago, I’m not sure how long ago it was that you guys actually introduced this specific feature but when you’re flying as a pilot, especially in your training, they keep telling you all the time, always be looking for an alternate or always look for a landing spot when you’re flying around. In a small engine airplane, I guess that makes sense, single engine, where you want to have an out at all times. And then there’s kind of the lost procedures, right? If you get lost, you do the 5C’s or whatever it is. Climb, communicate, whatever they are, confess, those things. But this kind of adds something else to that where you can actually determine how far it is to where you want to go, how long it takes to get there, all sorts of different data, and you don’t actually have to get out a chart and get a ruler and determine all that stuff and get out the whiz wheel. It’s just kind of all right there based on your current information and I always liked that feature. I thought that was cool.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. So when you’re planning a flight, we have something called the nav log which is basically just a big empty field then you can enter all your waypoints and airports and stuff like that. And when you switch over to the nav log mode, we’re going to show you things like you’re heading for that particular lay of your route, distance, your fuel burn, your time, all that good stuff. However, like you said, when you’re flying around and maybe you’re deviating off course for whatever reason for trying to figure out maybe a place where you might want to deviate, it’s really useful to be able to just put two fingers down on the map and drive around and see how far that particular location is, how much time it’s going to take to get there, so it’s sort of like a one-off way to kind of just see what’s around you.
Another cool feature about the ruler though is if you’re looking at your terrain profile which is again the terrain along your route or ahead of your aircraft but from the side, if you enter your ruler mode which is just by putting two fingers down the map, you’re actually going to see the terrain in your terrain profile do change and what’s happening is it’s actually measuring the terrain between your two fingers. Basically, whatever space of ground that ruler covers on the map, we’re going to show you the terrain that’s there between your two fingers. And so that’s a great way to see like “Can I clear this particular obstacle or this particular mountain between point A and point B?” We have a lot of cool future plans for the ruler too. We like to kind of build core features and then extend them and add functionalities to them and ruler is a great example of that.
Chris: Right. Yeah, I’m just looking at that now and I didn’t know you could actually look at it in profile view. That’s really incredible. Because in a lower area where I know there’s not a lot of terrain, it’s kind of week, but doing some mountains in between, it’s really impressive.
Ryan McBride: Right. So you can like zoom out to like the whole US and like put one finger in California, put another in Ohio, and you can see the whole, the Rockies, everything there. It’s pretty cool.
Chris: That’s cool. Really cool. Okay. And then my third feature is the Trip Pack. This is actually something you guys recently released. Was it released with 6.3?
Ryan McBride: Nope. It was before that, but it’s a recent feature. We call it Pack.
Chris: Yeah, Pack. So Pack is something where you enter in your flight or whatever you enter in your nav log, and you’re kind of ready to go. But before you leave the ground, you obviously want all the up to date information for that flight especially if you’re going to be out of coverage, say that you don’t have the ADS-B and you can’t grab your METARs and stuff like that. This is a chance for you to get all of the up-to-date information. So you click on this little briefcase or a little pack, and then it says this is the stuff you need to download based on your route of flight basically. It’s really nice. It’s all right there. Airport NOTAMs. Interestingly enough, fuel prices for where you’re going so kind of the cost-sensitive pilot there, and then the METARs and TAFs and things like that too. Really useful feature.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. So just to kind of back up a little bit for folks who might not be familiar with how downloads work in ForeFlight. The idea is basically you can go into a downloads view in the application and you can toggle on a country that you want data for, and by data I mean that includes charts, approach plates, airport diagrams. So you can go into a country, toggle on all the regions, so in the US, it’s states, in Canada, you’re going to be able to toggle on provinces, and the types of data you want for those regions. So for example, I fly primarily VFR here in Central Texas. So in the downloads view, I have Texas turned on and then I also have my VFR charts, my taxi diagrams, I also have terrain in there. If I was an IFR pilot, I could toggle on my IFR high and low charts, maybe some planning charts, we also have helicopter charts. But the idea is a region and then the type of data you want.
Every data cycle, when the FAA comes up with new data, we’re going to prompt you to download only the data that’s new that you told us you wanted. So if I’m flying in Texas all the time, I’ll just keep Texas toggled on and I’ll get new data every cycle. However, say you’re planning of maybe going to Oshkosh, maybe you’re flying off to Oshkosh and you don’t often fly across the middle of the country. Instead of having to think, “Okay, what’s my route of flight? What are all the states that I’m flying through? What’s all the data I need for this particular flight?” Instead of doing that, all you have to do is enter your flight into the nav log, so your waypoints along your flight, click the Pack button, and what we’ll do is we’ll actually analyze your route of flight and any type of data, so that’s charts, plates, airport diagrams, whatever, fuel prices, all that good stuff, any type of data that is basically is intercepted by your path of flight, we’re going to recommend you download.
So instead of having to go into downloads and figure it all manually, just type in your route, click Pack, we’re going to figure out all the data you need that’s relevant to that particular flight and download it for you automatically, so it’s a really great way to just get the data you need really quickly.
Chris: Great. Yeah, I just did that for an area where I actually didn’t have the charts for it in the lower 48, and sure enough came up with taxi diagrams, VFR charts, IFR low, terminal procedures, very cool. That’s in addition to what I mentioned before. Anything else to add on there?
Ryan McBride: You know, you mentioned fuel prices. One of the cool things that we’ve done is like I said we have charts, so let’s say as an example you have VFR charts, so you can have your countrywide VFR chart and then you can put things on top of the charts, and one of those things are fuel prices. So if you go into your map layer selector which is on the top right corner of the map and you turn Fuel Prices, you’re actually going to see the most recent fuel prices plotted on your map all across the country. So this is a great way if you’re looking for the best fuel price in a particular area along cross-country, you’re not too opinionated on where you land, you just want the best fuel price, just turn on your fuel prices layer and on top of the airports that have fuel that they’re publishing, we’re going to actually color code based on whether it’s expensive for the area, whether it’s a good deal for the area, along with the price, and if that’s for Jet-A and 100 low lead. That’s a really cool way to just kind of figure out what are the fuel prices in an area and who has the best price.
Chris: Yeah. Really interesting. Yeah, I’m seeing that here. That’s neat. That’s really cool. And it’s cool that it’s color-coded too, so you have red, orange and green, green obviously being the better fuel price, red being terrible. My town just happens to have a red. $8 and 30 cents a gallon, can you believe that?
Ryan McBride: It’s pretty bad. It’s about like 4.70 here.
Chris: Oh my gosh. Well yeah, in Texas it’s going to be a lot lower. Crazy. Cool. Very cool. You know, we could talk for hours about all the different little features and things like that but I guess at the end of the day and we’ll mention at the end of the show here, but kind of the best thing you can do is just go grab the app and try it out for yourself and see some of these things in action.
Ryan McBride: Totally.
Chris: Alright. So simulator integration, you said yourself you have played with simulators, it sounds like you guys actually use it for testing in the office with X-Plane which is very cool, so tell people about kind of just the integration in general, what simulators it will integrate with and maybe interestingly enough, maybe some pro simulator integrations. Maybe you guys are with CAE or something, maybe there’s some big outfits that’s actually using these pro simulators. Tell us about that.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. So, my interest in aviation started with sims so simulation is something I’m really passionate about. Like I said, we do test features using X-Plane, and in order to use ForeFlight with X-Plane, all you need to do is have X-Plane running, plug your iPad or iPhone in to your computer with the USB port, and it will start talking to X-Plane automatically. It will actually pick up your GPS location inside X-Plane and send it to the app and the app basically thinks it’s flying. So that’s a great way to kind of test the ForeFlight features of X-Plane. For a lot of users who have Microsoft Flight Simulator or Lockheed Martin’s new Prepar3d software, you can download a third party program, there’s a couple of them. My personal favorite is called FSXFlight, it’s by a guy named Jacob Eiting and he’s a software developer and he worked with us to basically create a little program that is a bridge between Microsoft Flight Simulator or Lockheed Martin’s Prepar3d software and ForeFlight.
So if you’re using FSX, all you have to do is download FSXFlight, it’s FSXFlight.com. Install it, run it, start up flight simulator and just plug your iPad in and it will talk to the flight sim software just like X-Plane does. It’s really, really easy to get started. It’s a great way to kind of become familiar with all the features that the iPad and that ForeFlight has without actually doing it in an airplane.
Chris: Right, and just as kind of a safety suggestion, unless you are kind of in a dual pilot situation, that’s probably the best thing to do anyway if you could help it, is actually go in and just test out all the stuff in a simulator, because for me, when I got in and tested it, I was more concerned about the iPad and kind of learning ForeFlight than I was the actual flight. If I was in an actual airplane, that would be reversed where I’d have to worry about everything outside and I wouldn’t necessarily be focusing on the app which was basically what I was trying to learn at that time.
Ryan McBride: Right. Yeah, definitely spend some time with the application either on it’s own, on the ground or connected to flight sim before you jump in the airplane and go flying with it because you don’t want to be distracted. Like I said earlier, we pride ourselves on easy user experience so it’s really easy to get caught up with ForeFlight, but like anything in aviation, it’s best to, you need to stay ahead of airplane, so definitely spend some time with the app before you go flying.
Chris: And I was going to mention that too. It’s so easy to use. I don’t see it being really terrible but as with all technology as we see in the last 10 or 15 years, as glasses come into the cockpit and iPads in the last five years especially, is making sure it’s not a distraction but rather it’s an enhancement. It will never replace a solid aviator, you just need to make sure that that’s what you do ahead of time, or you are that as a base and then you can add these other things on.
Ryan McBride: Totally.
Chris: Alright. So how do people sign up for ForeFlight? I know that’s a pretty easy answer but tell us about those different avenues.
Ryan McBride: Yeah. So ForeFlight is a subscription application, which means it’s a yearly subscription. There are basically two plans, standard and pro. Standard is $75 per year and pro is $150 per year. The only difference between standard and pro is with pro, we add some features that every pilot needs but a lot of pilots do want, so for example georeference approach pilots, we’ve added hazard advisor, some terrain profile features to it. Basically, you can get the application a couple different ways. The first way is if you’re ready to just sign up for a subscription and the app and get started. You can just go to ForeFlight.com and click the sign up bottom in the top right. You’ll basically create an account and set up your subscription online, and then you can go into the app store on your iPad or your iPhone and download the application and sign in and you’re good to go.
If you would like to actually do a demo of the application, you can just download it from the app store. You don’t have to go to the website first. You can just go right into the app store, search for ForeFlight, download it and it will automatically start a 30-day trial, so you can check out all the features in the app and see how you like it, and once you’re ready, you can either a subscription directly in the application, or you can go to the website and purchase subscription and then sign into that subscription in the app. So you can do it, you can go to the website or you can go to the app, and you can also just not sign in and do the trial for 30 days if you like, so lots of ways to do it.
Chris: Awesome. Sounds pretty awesome. The easiest way at least for me, go to the app store, grab the app, check it out. If you like it, buy it. That’s easy for me. That’s basically how I did it. Okay, so you guys are always releasing new features, we talked about a lot of features on this episode, where can people find, what’s the best source in your mind for people to learn about the new features coming out, because one thing I see happening at least for me is I might miss your announcement on 6.4, 6.5, and you guys released something really cool that I would want to check out, so where do I find out about that stuff?
Ryan McBride: So, the best place to keep up to date about what’s coming out is definitely our blog. It’s blog.foreflight.com. Whenever we have a new update out, we’ll kind of detail everything that’s going on and how to use that feature and how to get it on our blog. A couple other ways to stay up to date would be to sign up for email newsletter. You can do that in ForeFlight.com. There’s a little sign up for our newsletter link there. You can put your email in and we’ll send you the latest updates directly in your email. You can also follow us on Twitter, ForeFlight is our Twitter handle, and we’re also ForeFlight on Facebook. We like to publish all our updates to pretty much all those different social mediums.
Chris: Great. Yeah, I think you guys do a good job with that. It seems like you’re pretty active in all those avenues. Your blog posts actually were really helpful in me learning. I could go and get the pilot manual which I’m sure that you guys keep up to date with each new iteration, but it’s really helpful just to kind of go and see that information on just that one kind of new feature, so really cool. Lots of information everywhere.
So any last words for our listeners before we kind of sign off here Ryan McBride?
Ryan McBride: Sure. So I would just want to reiterate, at ForeFlight we’re all pilots. We make products that we ourselves want to fly with, and so we’re really, really committed to customers. You can email us anytime at team@ForeFlight.com and one of our pilot support members can answer any questions you have, walk you through any features. If you want to leave your phone number, we’ll give you a call, walk you through something over the phone. If you have ideas for features or maybe have an idea for how a feature might be better implemented, send as an email. Again, it’s team@ForeFlight.com. Those emails and when you contact us, they go directly to our support team that then sends them along to either me if it’s a design-related item or engineers, and so we read every single one of those emails. I go through a bunch of emails every morning and respond to them. We’re super committed to customer experience.
You can always reach out to me on Twitter. It’s RPMCB, that’s my Twitter handle. Happy to talk to anyone on Twitter about questions or feature requests, all that good stuff. But I would say, you know what, if you love to fly and you like technology or maybe you’re just sick of paper and want to make this a bit easier for yourself, check out ForeFlight. Again, the trial is 30 days and I’m pretty sure for those who haven’t used it, you’re going to love it.
Chris: Right. That’s kind of my ending thought, is I really can’t see myself going back now that I have this sort of technology at my fingertips. Really incredible. Like Ryan McBride, I both reiterated throughout this episode, is this is kind of an enhancement. Obviously you want to be a great aviator to start with but this is such a great enhancement to situational awareness, to efficiency, to doing things that you couldn’t do with other tools available, maybe tools that you were used to having when you first went through your training and you had that big heavy flight bag. Maybe we should talk about the weight and balance as well, just being able to save that weight and balance with that huge heavy flight bag. You don’t have to account for that 50 pounds anymore. Really, really great.
It’s really encouraging with your closing thoughts there too and what you mentioned throughout Ryan McBride that you guys are so customer focused and that information, those reach-outs if you will get straight to you guys pretty quickly and then that makes it in the app, and it shows through. It is pilot-focused. It just looks really great and I’m sure it’s going to be something that just continues on and we’re going to see it become better and better and we’ll see things we never dreamed of eventually. That’s the idea.
Ryan McBride: We got a lot of cool stuff planned over the next couple months, so stay tuned on our blog, blog.ForeFlight.com. We got a lot of neat stuff coming out. It’s going to be pretty game-changing I think.
Chris: Awesome. And we’ll make sure to share that information as well through social media and stuff. Thanks Ryan McBride. Really appreciate your time, and thanks you joining us.
Ryan McBride: Thank you Chris.
Chris: Yep. Take care, see you.
Alright, so a huge thanks goes out to Ryan McBride from ForeFlight for joining us on this episode of AviatorCast. It’s really cool to see how dedicated these guys are to their customers, and it really shows with how wonderful this app is. I know that there are so many people out there using ForeFlight. It’s just this wonderful tool that has enhanced our safety as pilots. And really, when I tried this out, it was one of those things where my eyes just kind of opened up to all of the possibilities that this app has, and not only the possibilities but also how much better it was making me as a pilot. Kind of not necessarily filling in the gaps, but just enhancing things.
And I mentioned earlier, when we’re talking about kind of the taxi situation is I already knew where I was taxing, I knew what runway I was going to, but to have those notifications and that extra information there just to verify what I was already doing correctly was so helpful to me. This app is very powerful for pilots of all shapes and sizes. Even flight simmers, this can be used by flight simmers as well. So I definitely recommend you guys go check this out. As was mentioned, this is free to try, so you can go to just the apps store and you can download this. This is for Apple devices, so you can go and download this and try it out. You absolutely have nothing to lose, and if you guys like it from there, you can sign up for a subscription. It will definitely make your management of your flight simpler and it will allow you to be a more efficient and safer aviator. I really encourage you guys to go check it out.
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  • Les

    Chris,
    When I managed to get my newly purchased ipad away from my wife, I downloaded the trial version of foreflight and I must say I am impressed.
    However it has highlighted a disconnect between the real world and FSX. As the years go by (and there have been a good deal) the differences between the world as it was and the world as it is gets larger and larger. Obviously Foreflight is designed to be kept up to date with changes as they happen; FSX is definitely not!
    My hope is that with FSX in the hands of a new developer, its next iteration will address this. I envisage a product that is designed as a platform with premium third party involvement to provide services to keep airfields and navigation aids up to date.

    Keep up the good work.

    Les

    • Thanks Les! Always great to hear your well thought out comments.

      I agree. This does teach us that there is often such a large gap between the two.

      There is some freeware out there somewhere that actually updates all of the worlds navigation aids, and a lot of other issues like this, with a simple patch.

      Of course P3D should do it, but it’d be nice to have in FSX too.

  • Pingback: AviatorCast 33 – ForeFlight & iPad Apps - simFlight.NL()

  • Trevor Bair

    I started out with the “basic” version of ForeFlight and used it for about 10 months while working on finishing up my PPL. It was invaluable for the charts alone and I didn’t think it could get much better. Then, once I started by IFR training, I bit the bullet and upgraded to the enhanced version – I can honestly say that it (and my Stratus ADS-B receiver) has been best money I’ve spent in my flying so far!

    There is amazing amount of functionality and situation awareness that can be provided by ForeFlight. In fact, a few weeks ago, I attended an FAA Wings program-eligible presentation on using ForeFlight for IFR operations and wow, my mind was blown on everything it can do. Along those lines, I’ll add my favorite feature to the list that Chris and Ryan described. Specifically, that is the ability to annotate charts; Being able to highlight and mark up an approach chart to call out things like the DA/MDA, timings, and the missed approach in a way that gets my eyes right to the information without delay is awesome. It’s also invaluable to be able to do things like highlight a taxi route at an unfamiliar airport, or circle obstacles or other important features – Awesome stuff!

    • Ryan McBride

      Thanks for the testimonial, @trevorbair:disqus! Glad to hear you’re enjoying ForeFlight.

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