On the opening day of the National Business Aviation Association‘s 2018 convention in Orlando, Florida, ForeFlight unveiled a number of enhancements to its app for business aviation, including the ability to compute flight plans with flight time and fuel burn calculations, brief and file flight plans in seconds, receive automated clearances via PDC and weather via D-ATIS, and more.
“We raised the bar and transformed ForeFlight’s product suite into a high-powered, next-generation integrated flight deck and flight planning application for business aviation,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. “Our flight planning supercomputer quickly delivers accurate calculations to ForeFlight Mobile and ForeFlight Web using quality-controlled aircraft performance data, factors in load and environmental conditions like wind and temps aloft, delivers pre-departure clearance information via SMS and email, offers a global door-to-door trip planner with automatic fuel stop selection, and delivers flight operations a shared view of all flight plans created by company pilots with integrated flight status information.”
ForeFlight’s Advanced Flight Planning offers customers an end-to-end solution for high-performance flight planning, as well as charts, documents, weather, briefing, filing, and flying, according to company officials.
ForeFlight uses aircraft profiles built from complete manufacturer climb, cruise and descent book value performance data to deliver flight time and fuel burn calculations for all weight, temperature and wind conditions. Hundreds of built-in profiles are available for the most popular turbine aircraft from Bombardier, Cessna, Dassault, Embraer, Gulfstream, and more, and can be set up in a matter of seconds, officials note.
ForeFlight’s global routing engine analyzes current and forecasted wind and temperature data, aircraft performance capabilities, and recent ATC history to offer a list of route options, even for airports without previously flown routes.
Mobile Pre-Departure Clearance (PDC) and Digital ATIS
ForeFlight now offers mobile Pre-Departure Clearance (PDC) and Digital Automated Terminal Information Service (D-ATIS).
The PDC service, in partnership with Satcom Direct, automatically delivers via text and email departure clearance information at more than 70 U.S. airports.
PDCs are official text clearances issued for IFR flight plans, and include the filed route, the cleared altitude, transponder code, departure frequency, and any special instructions. A PDC replaces (and is the same as) receiving a verbal clearance from Clearance Delivery, ForeFlight officials explain.
PDC and D-ATIS are included at no additional charge in ForeFlight’s Performance Plus and Business Performance subscription plans.
Trip and Fuel Stop Planning with Trip Assistant
ForeFlight also introduced Trip Assistant, a trip and fuel stop planning tool that computes door-to-door trip time.
“Trip Assistant started as an internal project to help our flight department and executive assistants more quickly answer a question we ask on every flight: When do we need to leave our homes or offices to get somewhere on time,” said Weihs.
Within a single web page view, Trip Assistant computes total trip time, factoring in drive time, flight times using historical and forecast winds, and fuel stops to create an itinerary showing exactly when to leave in order to arrive on time at the final destination.
Trip Assistant allows for forward and backward planning by setting a desired departure time or arrival time. Customers can enter the departure and destination location using business names, place names, or street addresses, and Trip Assistant searches for and displays the nearest suitable airports.
Additionally, Trip Assistant features a built-in Fuel Stop Advisor that factors in the aircraft’s performance and automatically suggests a number of proposed stopovers to help minimize trip time and fuel costs.
Fuel Stop Advisor allows the planner to select the criteria for determining the best stops, such as max aircraft range, max leg time or max leg distance. With a configured account, pilots can also view their personal contract jet fuel prices at each stop.
Trip Assistant is included – at no additional charge – in ForeFlight’s Performance Plus and Business Performance plans.
Flight Plan Transfers
ForeFlight supports two-way flight plan transfer with G3000, G1000NXi, and any Garmin Flight Stream equipped aircraft.
Customers who have datalink services through Satcom Direct or Honeywell can register their aircraft with ForeFlight and receive flight plan recall numbers within the app. FMS Flight Plan Uplink through ForeFlight helps customers load flight plans into the aircraft’s Flight Management System.