Performance Profile bias enhancements and expanded Runway Analysis support in ForeFlight 13.7

Our August release features a new capability to select from multiple climb and descent performance profiles, multiple climb and descent performance profiles for some aircraft, and more aircraft types supported for Runway Analysis!

Edit Climb & Descent Performance Profiles

Increase the accuracy of time and fuel calculations by adjusting climb and descent performance profiles to suit your aircraft’s actual performance.

Each aircraft type that supports built-in ForeFlight Performance Profiles has climb, cruise, and descent profiles based on manufacturer data. Previously, only cruise profiles supported biasing of time and fuel flow. Now, climb and descent profiles support biasing of time and fuel, giving you more control over how ForeFlight calculates these factors for every flight.

Tap into the Performance Profile menu from the Aircraft, Flights, or Maps views to see a list of all climb, cruise, and descent profiles for the selected aircraft. Tap the Details button or the profile itself to access the bias adjustments.



Multiple Climb & Descent Performance Profiles

In addition to the ability to bias climb and descent profiles, a number of popular jet aircraft now also support multiple climb and descent profiles.

Several dozen aircraft models from Bombardier, Dassault, Embraer, and Gulfstream provide multiple climb and descent profiles in ForeFlight. Each is built using manufacturer-sourced data in accordance with the profiles in each aircraft’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook.

The “Apply Bias to All Climb/Descent Profiles” button within each profile’s details view allows you to quickly apply one profile’s bias values to all other climb or descent profiles for that aircraft.



New Runway Analysis Aircraft Support

ForeFlight’s Runway Analysis product for jets now supports Gulfstream’s GV, GVII-G600, and G450, and Bombardier’s Learjet 60XR and 35A. See the full list of supported aircraft types here.

Runway Analysis is available for a growing list of aircraft types and can be purchased alongside a ForeFlight Performance subscription plan.

A Closer Look at Takeoff & Landing Performance

ForeFlight 11.4 brings an exciting and safety-enhancing feature to Performance Plus subscribers: Takeoff & Landing Performance calculations for piston and single-engine turboprop aircraft. Give our tutorial video a watch and then read on for more details.

Why Takeoff and Landing Performance?

Calculating one’s takeoff and landing performance has always been a task that makes sense to do, but is often not carried out for various reasons. The task typically requires interpolating on tabular data or using graphical runaround charts, or “spaghetti charts”, to find a list of performance parameters for the given conditions. While useful in determining takeoff and landing distances, climb performance, and other critical aircraft performance parameters, the use of such tables and charts are less than appealing to many pilots. It’s also surprisingly easy for human error to sneak into the multi-step process of determining takeoff ground roll or total distance, possibly resulting in a less than safe operation.

Why not let software handle these error-prone tasks accurately, quickly and in a repeatable fashion?

A Fully Integrated Flight Planning Solution

ForeFlight is improving safety of flight by providing a fully integrated takeoff and landing performance solution into the existing flight planning workflow. With version 11.4, you have the ability to accurately and quickly calculate takeoff and landing performance for over 200 popular piston and single-engine turboprop aircraft as part of your flight planning workflow. This powerful combination of accurate runway and flight planning performance calculations provide critical information for your decision making and safety of flight.

For example, a DA40-180 pilot accustomed to flying near sea level knows a fully loaded aircraft on a calm, 95F/35C day can easily take off on a 4000 ft runway, requiring about half of that distance to reach the 50 ft obstacle height point. But if this pilot decides to fly in Denver, Colorado during a trip, it might come as a surprise that the same summer conditions require a full 4000 ft to reach the same 50 ft AGL point.  This is the effect a density altitude change from 2600 ft to 9000 ft has on a piston aircraft — significantly reduced aircraft performance.

With ForeFlight’s Takeoff & Landing Performance solution integrated into your flight planning workflow, you will not be caught by surprise when environmental changes negatively affect your runway performance. Ground or inflight (ADS-B) sourced weather data are used to prefill weather inputs for takeoff and landing times. The pilot can always manually override such prefilled data with the latest information from tower or ATIS. Distance results are compared to the available runway length and the pilot is warned if that is exceeded. If a runway has declared distances, the pilot is given this information and has the option to substitute a declared distance in lieu of the available runway length.

Where does the performance data come from? Your aircraft’s Pilot Operating Handbook. Our aircraft performance data team uses the official published takeoff and landing performance data from the POH to build a performance model for your aircraft. ForeFlight takes the error-prone interpolation and chart reading tasks and does them for you, accurately and quickly, whether online or offline.

Let’s take a detailed look at how this works in ForeFlight.

Walkthrough

It starts with planning your flight on the Flights view, as you currently do. Once you’ve established route, aircraft, ETD, payload and fuel load (important as they determine takeoff and landing weights), you enter the takeoff or landing performance page by tapping on either button presented in the Departure and Destination fields. We’ll calculate our takeoff here, but the landing calculation is nearly identical in workflow and look.

The top section of the takeoff page is where we pick our departure runway. This is currently a pilot’s choice. Tapping the runway selector, all available runways at the departure airport are presented. Wind component along each runway is provided by green (headwind) or red (tailwind) arrows along with the component magnitude. Grey crosswind arrows and magnitude are also displayed. More information on each runway can be obtained by tapping the Details button. Finally, the current METAR, TAF or MOS (if available) derived weather data is presented for your ETD.

   

Selecting a runway triggers the performance calculation sequence. At this point, all inputs — selected runway, environmental conditions, and default aircraft configurations — are used to perform the table interpolations and graphical chart readings to find all relevant takeoff performance results for this condition. Note that aircraft configurations (flaps, cowl flap, anti-ice controls, etc) are currently defaulted to a setting.

Above the runway selector, a header shows the most critical takeoff or landing information, typically a total distance and one or more target V speeds. The full output list is found in the Calculations section at the bottom of the page. The length and content of this list is driven by what runway performance data can be calculated per the aircraft’s POH.

   

To keep the list somewhat consistent, however, the following general output order can be found for every aircraft:

  1. Takeoff speeds and distances
  2. Takeoff climb data
  3. Enroute climb data

And for multi-engine aircraft, one-engine inoperative (OEI) data:

  1. OEI Max Takeoff Weight
  2. OEI Takeoff distances
  3. OEI climb data

Predicted takeoff and landing distances are compared to the available runway length and a warning is provided if the predicted distance exceeds the available length. In the example below, the available runway length input was manually shortened to the runway’s Accelerate-Stop Distance Available (ASDA) declared distance. In this case actual accelerate-stop distance is predicted to slightly exceed the ASDA declared distance. Use of declared distances (versus the physical available runway length) is entirely up to the pilot and any declared distance are provided in the runway section footer.

Final Takeaway

Takeoff and landing performance integration into ForeFlight’s existing flight planning flow is a significant safety improvement for all pilots. Whether calculating the takeoff performance out of a hot/high/short runway or calculating one’s landing and stopping performance just prior to landing using the latest weather information available, this feature can greatly enhance operational safety. Last second runway change? No problem with the fast and accurate offline takeoff and landing performance calculation ability.

It’s important to realize that the Takeoff and Landing performance integration uses your POH performance data. So all assumptions and input parameters, as well as published limitations — temperature, weight, altitude, wind, runway slope ranges — are modeled exactly as they exist in your POH. If a hot temperature condition at a specific pressure altitude is not published, ForeFlight cannot calculate performance for that condition and will not present results. Now is a good time to re-familiarize yourself with your aircraft’s takeoff and landing performance data in your POH, using ForeFlight’s ability to quickly and accurately calculate these results, while learning about the full capabilities of your aircraft.