Last century, as my Dad and I flew to Florida for SUN ‘n FUN from Washington state, we’d marvel at the ability to easily navigate hundreds of miles over unfamiliar terrain and then struggle to find the actual airport. With one glimpse of ForeFlight’s new Airport 3D View, those are days gone. Thankfully.
ForeFlight’s newest feature combines global aerial imagery with Jeppesen-sourced terrain mapping to create an amazingly realistic simulation of the airport environment.
“Airport 3D View is a powerful new tool that helps ForeFlight customers familiarize themselves with airport surroundings and explore new places to fly,” says Tyson Weihs, co-founder and CEO of ForeFlight. “In the past, aircraft operators used static pictures of airport environments to get familiar with an airport area. Airport 3D View changes the paradigm and delivers an immersive, next-generation familiarization capability that works world-wide and will help customers more efficiently prepare for flights and ultimately improve safety.”
ForeFlight users at the Performance Plus or Business Performance levels can pan and zoom around any airport to get a better picture of what your arrival, departure or transiting the area will look like. This is the definition of a picture is worth a thousand words. As you look at the airport environment from different angles, a data readout in the upper left of the screen informs the user of their altitude and distance from the airport.
With the tap of a button users are transported one mile from the approach end of any runway, on the published glideslope (or at 6° path angle if no glideslope information is available). From there, users can back up, zoom, pan to again get a clear picture of what their upcoming arrival is supposed to look like. This feature makes it possible to truly brief the approach.
It might’ve helped the crew that landed the C-17 at the wrong airport in Florida back in 2012.
Airport 3D View is also available inflight when customers use the Pack feature during planning on the ground. Pack downloads all current charts, data, weather, fuel prices, and NOTAMs for a flight, and now includes 3D Views for any airport in the planned route string.
If you’re a Basic Plus user ($99 per year), jumping to Performance Plus ($299 per year) is a big jump to gain access to Airport 3D View. ForeFlight is making it a bit easier by offering a ForeFlight 11 Launch Special. Now through Feb. 18, 2019, get 15 months for the price of 12 when you upgrade to Performance Plus.
But then again, the added situational awareness is off the charts and it’s hard to put a price tag on that.