ForeFlight Adds Takeoff/Landing Performance

 - May 29, 2019, 3:52 PM
ForeFlight's new runway performance feature can improve safety by helping pilots calculate takeoff and landing performance much faster than trying to interpret complicated charts in their flight manuals. (Image: ForeFlight)

Pilots flying with the ForeFlight Integrated Flight App can now calculate detailed takeoff and landing runway performance. The new feature is available in ForeFlight version 11.4, and it works on Apple iOS devices (iPhone and iPad) and is available for subscribers to the Performance subscription plans.

The new runway performance feature is available for about 200 single- and multi-engine piston airplanes and single-engine turboprops, including the TBM series and Pilatus PC-12. ForeFlight is planning to support business jets in a future version.

Data to support the runway performance capability is sourced from manufacturers' pilot operating handbooks. For takeoff and landing distance calculations, ForeFlight incorporates weather from current sources such as Metars or, if airborne, ADS-B In or satellite weather. For flights planned in the future, ForeFlight uses the TAF or MOS forecast information. Pilots can override this information by plugging in current weather from ATIS broadcasts or gameplan future flights using projected weather information. 

To make the runway performance calculations more accurate, ForeFlight also takes into account takeoff and landing weights, based on user inputs in the Flights view.

The new performance feature is accessed from the Flights view, and once the departure and destination airports are selected and an airplane that is one of those on the ForeFlight list of 200 or so that have performance data, then the user can view takeoff and landing performance. 

If the airplane is on the list, then a “Takeoff” and “Landing” button will appear on the Departure and Destination line in the Flights view. Tapping the Takeoff button opens a list of data, starting with the runway selection. After selecting the runway from a list showing the wind effects based on the current or forecast weather, the data fields show all the runway performance information, including aircraft configuration (takeoff weight, flap setting), rotation speed, ground roll, 50-foot speed, total takeoff distance, climb speed, and climb rate. 

For landing, it works the same, except after choosing the runway, the fields list landing weight and flaps, approach speed, total distance, and ground roll, for a single-engine piston airplane. When flying a multi-engine airplane such as a Beech Baron, much more information is available. For takeoff, the Baron has many more fields filled out, including accelerate-stop distance, climb gradient, and eight different one-engine-out data fields. 

If the inputted information causes some parameter to exceed a limitation, ForeFlight shows a warning banner to alert the pilot. 

It is not necessary to have an internet connection to use the runway performance features in ForeFlight. All the calculations can be done offline, and the pilot can input fresh weather information provided by ATIS or other sources. 

ForeFlight will continue adding airplane models to the list of those for which runway performance features are available. Also on tap are airplanes with modifications that require new runway performance numbers. 

Along with the runway performance features, the ForeFlight 11.4 update added new flight-sharing features, automatic addition of flight photos and screenshots to a logbook entry, night-vision goggles currency tracking, an enhanced navlog with airport diagrams, a signature row, and average fuel flow per hour.