NBAA Convention News

ForeFlight Dispatch Connects Scheduling to Mobile App

 - October 21, 2019, 4:45 PM
ForeFlight's new Dispatch Route Builder integrates seamlessly with iPhones and iPads. (Image: ForeFlight)

Boeing’s ForeFlight is extending its flight planning capabilities with a new service called Dispatch that enables a “schedule-to-mobile” environment encompassing scheduling, flight planning, and integration with the ForeFlight Mobile electronic flight bag app. On Monday at NBAA-BACE 2019, ForeFlight announced that Flexjet is the inaugural customer for Dispatch, which is being demonstrated this week at the ForeFlight and Boeing booths (N5518 and N5202, respectively).

In beta test during the past year, Dispatch marries flight scheduling with flight planning, enabling flight department dispatchers and schedulers to create flight plans on the ForeFlight website and then synchronize the flight plan with ForeFlight Mobile running on crew iPhones and iPads. The significant new capability is connecting supported scheduling software with Dispatch, so users can create trips on the scheduling system then send those into ForeFlight, where team members can work on the trips.

Dispatch is a new product that ForeFlight developed with its sister company Jeppesen, and it takes advantage of Jeppesen flight planning data, including quickly and automatically looking up Jeppesen Airway Manual information and overflight reports to help assure creation of a flight plan that avoids any restrictions or constraints. Normally this process can take up to an hour to do by hand, by looking up information in the Airway Manual and then modifying the flight plan to accommodate any issues. With Dispatch, integration with the Airway Manual data and output of the compliant flight plan is almost instantaneous.

To use Dispatch, flight departments pay an annual subscription fee per tail number, with the fee varying depending on the size of the aircraft. ForeFlight’s planned integrations for Dispatch with scheduling software will include Jeppesen Operator, SD Scheduler, Flightdocs Enterprise, BART by Seagil Software, PFM Ops Console, and Avmosys. A Dispatch Scheduling application programming interface will help facilitate integration.

The Dispatch flight-planning process incorporates other popular ForeFlight and Jeppesen features, including “partial routing, at-a-glance speed and altitude performance comparisons, expanded fuel policies, and overflight reports,” according to ForeFlight. Schedulers and dispatchers can not only create the flights by starting with scheduling systems but also collaborate with other team members on the planning, select for optimal routes and other criteria using the Cruise Advisor, file flight plans, monitor flights, and share the plan with the flight crew.

ETOPS, equal time point, oceanic tracks, and point of safe return are built-in to Dispatch so users can see these depicted on the route, along with overlays of weather.

The Route Builder allows users to add any other constraints that might affect the route, such as permit-mandated entry and exit points or airspace that must be avoided. Partial Routing is a feature that will incorporate a specific route string inside a route and automatically make sure it is valid under applicable requirements (for example, Eurocontrol).

Individual ForeFlight Mobile app users are attached to their flight, and then all of the information for their flight is synched with their iPhone or iPad. Whenever information is updated on Dispatch, it is automatically pushed to the attached users’ device. This includes distribution of documents to pilots using ForeFlight.

Flexjet pilots and scheduling teams located worldwide have been testing Dispatch prior to its release at NBAA-BACE 2019.

“The efficiencies that we have realized with optimized flight plan routes, fuel burns, and passenger comfort have been outstanding,” said Tim Montie, director of operations at Flexjet. “This has also allowed us to reduce the number of applications that our pilots must maintain and reduces the amount of actual paper documents that each pilot and aircraft must carry.”

“We worked closely with Flexjet to identify and eliminate the biggest inefficiencies faced by their teams: workflow fragmentation, slow route generation, disconnected systems, and complex workarounds to release flights to crew members,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. “We are now addressing these issues by combining the app’s historical strengths and our Jeppesen data in a single, streamlined, next-gen flight planning solution.”