** UPDATE: ForeFlight uses its own data and does not use any Seattle Avionics aeronautical data or products. **
The latest update to ForeFlight Mobile HD is now available for download on iTunes App Store. This update includes our new TrueTaxi and TruePlates features, which provide own-ship position on airport taxi diagrams! Under the hood, this remarkably elegant new capability receives geo-referencing inputs provided through our license of ChartData from Seattle Avionics, our newest partner. The result is a fantastic experience on iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.
TrueTaxi and TruePlates features are provided as part of our new ForeFlight HD Pro plan, which is an affordable upgrade from the standard ForeFlight HD plan. With this optional plan, your aircraft’s location appears directly on the plate with a blue, pulsating icon. At the bottom of the screen, we show GPS readouts for groundspeed, altitude, track, and accuracy. There is also a faint blue box overlaid on the plate to indicate which areas are able to show own-ship position. Your aircraft will only show up when it is within this area.
New customers can purchase the Pro package online for $149.99/year, which includes the traditional ForeFlight HD subscription and the new TrueTaxi and TruePlates features. Existing customers upgrading to ForeFlight HD Pro will have any remaining time under their current subscription pro-rated and credited towards the purchase of ForeFlight HD Pro. One subscription will work on one iPad and one iPhone or iPod touch.
We’re still offering the same base subscription for $74.99/year with all of the features you expect: bulk downloads, NACO plates, moving map, geo-referenced VFR sectionals, geo-referenced IFR enroute charts, radar, satellite, and more. Upgrading is optional. You can upgrade at any time to the Pro plan in order to see your aircraft overlaid on approach plates and taxi diagrams.
Other big features in ForeFlight Mobile HD 3.9:
- Brightness adjustment – the iPad doesn’t get dim enough for night ops, so this option allows for even further dimming of the screen
- In-app Settings – a new Settings view is now available to allow for quicker access to general preferences. On the iPad it is under the More view.
- GPS HUD on iPhone – the Maps view on iPhone now supports showing groundspeed, track, etc. just like the iPad version.
- GPS HUD on Plate viewer – when viewing a geo-referenced approach plate or taxi diagram you will now see the GPS readouts as well
- Aircraft view for iPad – the More view now also supports editing Aircraft and selected your default aircraft for use when calculating route performance on Maps
- Additional airport data is now shown under the More option on the Airports view
We’ve also fixed up a few issues from the previous version:
- Searching for and airway with a single digit no longer gets confused with Canadian NDBs
- Route line alignment has been improved when at max zoom on Maps
- New Settings options:
- disable auto-hide of the toolbar and GPS readouts on the Plate view
- only show Airway bends in Maps, not all waypoints
- Smarter auto-selection of airway entry/exit points
Visit our web site to learn more about geo-referenced plates and diagrams and watch our video introducing the new features. Also, make sure to download our user manual, the Pilot’s Guide to ForeFlight Mobile.
ForeFlight Mobile HD 3.9 is available from the App Store as a free download and includes a 30 day trial subscription. Take it for a spin today!
Why Did You Add Geo-referenced Plates and Diagrams?
In 2010, we didn’t believe the internal iPhone GPS performed well enough to warrant enabling geo-referenced approach plates, so we punted. When customers asked us why geo-referencing was not available, the reply was simple: not ready for prime time.
In November of 2010, the first external, Apple-approved GPS accessories hit the market. Even with those, we uncovered issues after hours of flight and taxi testing by ForeFlight team members and our elite beta test team. We worked directly with one external GPS hardware provider – Bad Elf – to make firmware changes that brought device performance to a satisfactory level.
The firmware changes, combined with a range of software rules we implemented to account for iOS behaviors, resulted in a solution that we think is ready for customers. And, you were all very, very loud: you want geo-referenced approach plates.
As our new partner Seattle Avionics might attest to – after having witnessed patiently our development process – the level of attention to detail in this implementation is high. We went through dozens of iterations and polished this new capability as best we could before making it generally available. We believe it is the best solution available for iOS devices on the market today.
All said, it’s important to provide a word of caution. Geo-referenced plates on an iPad – even with external GPS accessories – are not a suitable substitute for approach certified avionics. Use good judgement in determining where, when, and under what conditions it fits in your workflow. And as the AOPA Saftey Foundation’s iPanel spoof reminds us all, fly the airplane.