About tweihs

ForeFlight Co-Founder / CEO

The FAA’s New Open Data Initiatve

Last week the FAA launched the External Data Access Initiative and held the first industry forum to start a discussion about industry wants and needs. This is an important milestone, and I am happy that we at ForeFlight played a role in its development.

Over the past two years, and via our involvement in GAMA and our FAA and industry relationships, we have had the opportunity to present our vision for an “Open Source FAA” to FAA leadership. What I believed is that by opening access to data – and where possible computer source code such as the FAA’s ERAM and other systems – innovations will follow and ultimately create new business opportunities for entrepreneurs and a more efficient FAA. We are excited to see this initiative launched.

We encourage others to participate in the FAA forums and provide feedback. The FAA website for the External Data Access Initiative is here.

-tyson

Update: iOS 8.4 Expected To Resolve GPS Accessory Compatibility Issue

UpdateAs part of the June 2015 WWDC, Apple announced that iOS 8.4 arrives on June 30. This version includes a fix to the Apple Bluetooth GPS bug.

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As noted in previous blog post and via a customer notice email, iOS 8.3 introduced an incompatibility with previous generation GPS accessories like the DUAL XGPS 150 and some Bad Elf devices. The issue was escalated to Apple by ForeFlight and Bad Elf and expected to be resolved in the forthcoming iOS 8.4 update, based on PIREPs we have received. This issue has frustrated many pilots who own Wi-Fi only iPads or GPS accessories, and we are glad relief is on the way.

ForeFlight Mobile and iOS 8

The next version of ForeFlight Mobile will require iOS 8 or later. By making iOS 8 the minimum iOS version supported, we can deliver new features that require iOS 8, deliver smaller application downloads, improve energy efficiency, add improved support for devices like the iPhone 6 Plus, and deliver faster application performance. The only device that is not capable of upgrading to iOS 8 that is currently also supported by iOS 7 (the current minimum iOS requirement for ForeFlight Mobile) is iPhone 4.

This support article on Apple’s website describes how to update your iOS device wirelessly or using iTunes if you are wanting to get ahead of the release: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204204.

Faster, Better Auto-router Now Available and DUATS service deprecated

Last night we released an update to our airway routing suggestion in Route Advisor by replacing our previous route provider, DUATS, with our integration partner Lockheed Martin. This enhancement brings quicker response times and more accurate and direct routing for user-provided origin and destination pairs. 

Lockheed Martin provides proper entries and exits onto and off of the airways so that clicking on the suggested route and loading it as a flight plan should be a seamless process. Previously this was not always the case with DUATS and some routes failed to load properly.

Below is a screenshot of an airway routing between KAXH and KLAL in preparation for our flights to Sun ‘n Fun 2015, as computed by the new router:

IMG_1777

In addition to leveraging Lockheed Martin’s routing engine, we implemented server-side caching on routes that will provide an instant response for routes that have been recently searched by other users. Give it a try for some of your favorite routes and let us know about your experience – it is fast! 

We are always working to improve our infrastructure to provide the most utility for your flight planning goals, and this is another great step forward!

DUATS Support Deprecated

With this release, we are also deprecating our support for DUATs based services in favor of the modernized web services technologies provided by Lockheed Martin. For those customers who still have DUATS credentials configured in ForeFlight Mobile, we recommend removing those credentials to take full advantage of the more advanced capabilities.

Sign out instructions are provided on page 153 of the ForeFlight Mobile Pilots guide and as follows:

  1. Tap More > Accounts.
  2. Tap on the “CSC DUATS” field.
  3. Tap the red “Sign Out” button on the next page.

As always, we are on frequency at team@foreflight.com to answer any questions you have.

From the Archives: ForeFlight Mobile 1.0 B-Roll

Video

A friend sent in this video today. This is some B-roll of the the first ForeFlight marketing video we ever shot of ForeFlight Mobile (back then it was called “ForeFlight iPhone Edition”): version 1.0 from 2007. This was back when “apps” for the iPhone were just web pages. Developers were not able to make native apps until the summer of 2008, when ForeFlight Mobile 2.0 launched.

ForeFlight’s iOS 8 Preflight Briefing

Yesterday, Apple announced updates to iPhone, a new payment system called Apple Pay, the new Apple Watch, and the release date for iOS 8. We love new opportunities to build elegant apps – running on great hardware – that deliver exceptional experiences for pilots. Apple’s news makes more of this possible.

Focusing on iOS 8 for a moment, Apple’s operating system releases typically generate some discussion in the aviation community – everything from ‘the sky is falling’ to ‘it is amazing, do it’. Here is our take.

We want ForeFlight apps to work well with the new operating system on the day it is released. Customers upgrade to new app and iOS versions very quickly due to Apple’s automatic app update system (which most pilots have enabled) and over-the-air iOS update capabilities. To make sure we are as prepared as possible, we have tested early beta builds of iOS 8 on our developer and quality assurance devices since Apple announced it in June.

The days between Apple’s special events and release day – 10 days in this case – are a mad, mad rush. We re-test the app on the final iOS release version, fix any issues uncovered, run updates through our internal quality reviews, then submit an update to Apple. On the day the new iPhones land, we run to the Apple store, stand in line (or camp if necessary), buy new devices, then run back to the office to test in order to fix any additional issues uncovered running on the new devices. Developers get hardware the same time customers do, so it is ‘game on’ when it comes to getting new devices in hand.

Should you update to iOS 8? Ultimately, yes. In the near term, expect light to moderate chop from apps that have not yet optimized for iOS 8 or from unexpected operating system bugs. We recommend waiting for the first Apple iOS 8 update and until the apps you rely upon to fly safely are updated to support iOS 8. All new operating systems have undiscovered bugs that need fixing and may cause unexpected device or app issues. iOS is a very stable platform, however, and Apple has a track record of quickly releasing minor updates to address any major issues that are uncovered.

We will be at our stations on September 17th, ready to make any enhancements needed to make your first flight with iOS 8, ForeFlight Mobile, and any new hardware you purchase a safe and fun one. Fly safe, and drop us a note at team@foreflight.com if you hit any unexpected turbulence. We are here and ready to help!