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Aviation Electronics - ForeFlight Mobile for iPhone 6
By Ian Brown, Editor-Bits and Pieces, EAA 657159
July 2015 - Okay, this article is very specific. I just got a new Apple iPhone 6 and signed up for ForeFlight Mobile. My 5-year-old iPhone 3GS was working fine, but the old operating system was not compatible with newer software and, in particular, the AirVenture app. So that sweet little 3GS is now relegated to playing music and Wi-Fi access.
As you almost certainly know, ForeFlight Mobile is the leading aviation app and is only available on the iPhone/iPad family of products. It fully supports Canadian maps and airport data. Compared to some others it’s relatively expensive, at an annual Canadian subscription of about $150 U.S.
But how much is that really? A subscription to Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) costs $99. You also have to pay a $5-per-copy shipping fee along with a $5 administrative fee. VFR navigation charts are cycled every 56 days at $16.50, plus shipping. That’ll take you to over $100, even if you stick to one chart region. Even ignoring the functional benefits of ForeFlight, just having current charts and CFS on board pays for itself. If you plan to fly in the United States, you’ll need to choose one of the two options, either adding USA Pro or the USA Standard version.
I wouldn’t suggest that an iPhone 6 is adequate for navigation, but it does get you to the point of having legal documents and allows you to verify your route with the latest technology. It also allows you to cross-check that you have the latest airport details before you ever leave the ground, and if you use an older in-panel GPS, you’ll appreciate some of the added functionality that ForeFlight brings.
ForeFlight has a really neat concept called “You’ll need to pack for your trip,” which means that there are some downloads you have to make to have all the documents at hand for your specific flight plan. How simple. It’s like having a butler pack your suitcase! No more folding maps, stacking them in the right order, struggling with a foldout kneeboard (which really doesn’t work if you have a centre stick).
The user manual is packed with information and it’s 228 pages long, so I won’t even be able to cover the tip of the iceberg in this article. If any of our readers feel comfortable about a specific portion of the functionality of ForeFlight, please consider writing us an article. You could do it by simply sending me text in an e-mail, with photos as attachments.
One aspect you may find interesting is that ForeFlight actually paid Nav Canada for the rights to use its charts and Canada Flight Supplement. That means that you get current, accurate information about airports. It has been noted that several other apps fail to identify airports with right-hand circuits.
I received information from the ForeFlight support desk indicating that the Canadian maps on the U.S. version include what many of us may need for flying in the southern part of our country as well as in the U.S. You may like to check this out to see if the U.S. version is more appropriate for you. If you have another method of downloading a current version of the CFS, you can link it into the U.S. version manually. Many features of the $150 Canadian version are not actually needed for VFR flights in Canadian cities close to the U.S. border.
As always, we’re interested in readers who have something to say. If you would like to send a message about your own experience with ForeFlight, don’t hesitate to contact Bits and Pieces.