Little Disappointed with ForeFlight Pro's 3D Feature

Discussion in 'Avionics and Upgrades' started by NordicDave, Jul 13, 2019.

  1. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    I just upgraded to Foreflight Performance Plus today because of the new 3D feature they have been promoting.

    Here's an example of the approach to San Carlos KSQL rwy 30. KSQL has a couple of prominent visual checkpoints like the Cement plant and the Diamond lake. Neither of those is visible in Foreflight, but are present in google maps from the same perspective. The examples below don't include these landmarks to adjust the size constraints for posting. However from those examples you can clearly see the difference in usability.

    Foreflight 3D:
    [​IMG]

    They tout the advantage is to help pilots find new to them airports. Maybe "where's Waldo" can find this one.


    Google Maps:
    [​IMG]
    Even the Slough around the edge of the airport is not represented correctly.

    If this is the prime feature of the ForeFlight Pro upgrade, I don't think t's worth the extra $100 a year. I expected more than the lowest level terrain we see on a cheap flight SIM.

    -David
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2019
  2. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    For the Performance Pro level, 3D is more of like added window dressing than a useful core feature. So yeah, I agree it's not worth the additional $100 on its own.

    Does the 3D features allow any post flight debrief activity like Cloud Ahoy does?
     
  3. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, but only decent if you're flying through mountain canyons like they show in the demos. Pretty telling none of their demos show an airport up close.

    Here's an enroute example of Palo Alto KPAO from 2500':
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019
  4. Unit74

    Unit74 Final Approach

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    Call them and ask for a refund. The video sales pitch is clearly, literally, not what was delivered.
     
  5. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    Has anyone else subscribed to the Performance Plus version? Curious what others think.

    Thanks Unit74, I did email their support team for a downgrade back to the Pro Plus version from Performance Plus.
     
  6. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    BTW, yesterday I asked for the subscription to be downgraded back to Pro Plus from Performance Plus. They got back to me the next day (today) with processing the request. I was impressed they did this over a Saturday/Sunday. Thumbs up to them! I would have been happy getting the refund during the work week.

    I'm surprised no one here has tried the Performance Plus version, and provided their feedback.
     
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  7. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    It's certainly not "the prime feature" - It's just the latest of many features being added to that level. The "prime feature" is the super-accurate flight planning for people who own and/or fly whiny airplanes (stuff that burns Jet-A or at least turbocharged pistons), where selecting the proper altitude for a flight can save you big bucks.

    Anyway, the main reason I wrote this post is to suggest that you show this to team@foreflight.com. This is by far the worst representation of an airport I've seen with this feature.

    I have it. I don't really use the 3D feature. I do use it to pick the optimum altitude for each leg, to do takeoff/landing performance, check contract fuel prices, etc.
     
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  8. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    You feeling okay? Not like you to just declare you have something useful and not provide a lengthy review or opinion... So.. whatcha think about these features?
     
  9. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I saw a demo presentation last week and the resolution was much better than your pics. Did you ask them to trouble shoot for you?
     
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  10. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    I think the data is better in some places than others. I think the performance feature is best suited to jets or other hi-performance aircraft than single piston GA. Some of their GA aircraft data is not correct. I provided them with examples, and they are eager to fix that.

    Concerning the 3D track replay and flight preview, I'm very glad to be wrong as I'd like these guys to excel. Maybe with your copy have a look at KSQL/KPAO with a heading of 300º from 2500' and see if maybe your view is better?
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  11. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    :rofl:

    Really, it's nothing mind-blowing. For in-flight performance, the altitude advisor can save you a lot of money, especially if you know the non-fuel costs of your airplane. Being a data jockey, I really like that it'll take into account the performance at all altitudes during the climb and descent. I used to have three different "basic" profiles set up: One for cruising down low, one for cruising at the optimum altitudes for cruise speed (8.5-10K), and one for cruising up high if I needed to climb higher for terrain or to try and catch a wicked tailwind. The difference was what I put down for the average climb performance.

    Now, for my own plane I use a "by-altitude" profile that I set up myself since I know very well how my particular plane performs. For other planes I'll use the built-in performance profiles. ForeFlight will now accurately calculate fuel burn and time for any altitude, to a very high degree of accuracy, using the aircraft performance data and the winds aloft at the various altitudes for where you are in the climb and descent.

    To show the differences, I put together a route where I go high for operational purposes (flying a single over Lake Michigan remaining within gliding distance of shore) using both my former high altitude cruise basic profile (left/first), and then my by-altitude Performance profile (right/second):

    IMG_0647.PNG IMG_0646.PNG

    Note how in the profile view, the basic performance profile shows a linear climb and descent, while the Performance profile shows the climb rate decreasing with altitude, as it does...

    Now, here's what the Altitude Advisor looks like for basic (first/left) and performance (second/right):

    IMG_0648.PNG IMG_0645.PNG

    You can see that the numbers in Basic change pretty linearly for both time and fuel burn, while with Performance there's a definite curve to them.

    Now, since I'm flying a normally aspirated piston, this isn't going to save me a ton of time or money in most cases, but it'll give you a better idea of what your actual fuel burn will be. The Basic profile makes it look like staying as low as possible is the way to go for fuel savings, while the Performance profile makes it clear that the fuel burn for the trip will be the same up at 9000 as it would be down at 3000 and you'll get there faster.

    The Performance planning features are certainly going to be more important and more useful to those who have a turbo or turbine. A normally aspirated piston is generally going to stay below 10,000 feet and have airspeeds that are fairly similar at those altitudes. With a turbocharged piston or turbine aircraft, you'll see the advantages of being able to tell at a glance whether it's better to go for a higher true airspeed and a crazy headwind, or stay down low to avoid the headwind even if you're sucking fuel at an insane rate. In reality, the turbine drivers are going to be picking which of the higher altitudes is best, while a turbocharged piston will be looking to see if it's worth the time taken to climb up high.

    I think the 3D feature and some others are maybe being added to entice more piston pounders to spring for the Performance version, even though they're not going to see the fuel savings pay for it the way the whiny-airplane drivers will.
     
  12. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Many Foreflight features are what you would call gimmicks, wait, "gimmicks"

    I love it as an EFB, and it's perfect at that, but I wouldn't splurge on the extra stuff
     
  13. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    I don't know, the route stuff is nice, the wind stuff is nice, the briefings are great, filing is a breeze. The performance stuff sounds great especially if it calcs performance based on w and b and current metars. The 3d stuff looks great with the caveat of the OPs issue. I'm starting to lean toward shelling out the extra money, not there yet, but close.
     
  14. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    I pay for Pro Plus, and I find that to be the best, and recommended my nephew and others to get the same. To your point it has everything I need, and outside of my headset, a set of batteries, pocket tool, and flashlight, it's basically replaced my flight bag.. which is awesome

    The one above that, the Performance Plus, maybe there are applications where it is helpful, but for my "mission" (it's a cliche, I know), these features wouldn't really give me a net gain:
    upload_2019-7-15_18-11-15.png
    • Detailed aircraft performance profiles.. the POH I trust as the main source for that, and interpreting it is not hard, especially since I'm so used to it
    • Improved time and fuel calculations.. I pad these numbers very heavily with my own spreadsheet
    • Optimized autorouting.. for what I fly the route planner seems to work great.. in SoCal you're almost guaranteed to get 3 different "reroutes" anyway if you're going from say MYF to OAK
    • Predarture clearance and ATIS.. I guess there could be value here, but how much time will it save you? Is listening to the ATIS and getting a clearance that time consuming?
    • Fuel load planning and limit checks.. again I do these heavily padded with a spreadsheet anyway, and make judicious use of the G1000 totalizer and FOD
    • JetFuel - that's funny! I wish
    • Trip assistant with fuel stop planning.. this could be useful actually, BUT, the 2 or 3 trips I take a year that are long enough to justify a fuel stop wouldn't justify the extra $100
    • Airport 3D View.. that's what I meant was a gimmick.. between X Plane, Google Earth, FSX, even just Google Images, Google Earth, and Airnav.. this is a total joke
    • Takeoff and landing performance.. this really should not be a challenge, the POH already gives this to me, and the G1000 has it as one of the tabs
    ^all these features to me are like when you buy a car and start adding on little things where it starts to be more about just maxing out the feature list vs tools that really help you execute a flight safely

    Here's what I DO wish it had:
    • an ETOPS-style route planner... say you want to stay within 30nm of an airport... would be cool to have it suggests routes that fit that
    • an active "distance to nearest" feature
    • a better logbook with more visual data analytics
    • integration with something like medXpress, and other FAA forms and paperwork, so you could really one-stop-shop all your flying needs through there
    • progressive taxi, like what a TomTom would give you... let's say you get a complicated taxi clearance.. copy it down, and put it in Foreflight as you would a route.. have it guide you via taxi
    • be able to set runway length call outs.. so it would alert you when you've used up X amount of runway and have Y left.. this would help at short runway airports.. sort of in a "V1" sort of way
    • the ability to more easily share routes and flights with people
    • the ability via Bluetooth to cross feed flight plans directly to another iPad, without going through a Flightstream bridge
    • for the profile view to give you cloud tops and forecast basis along your route
    • "PIREP ALERT" if a new pirep pops up within your route of flight
    Those are just some of the ideas I've had... those would add real value to my flying experience, much more than a crude 3D overview and redundant information I already have readily in my POH, and where the best jet fuel prices are
     
  15. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I was under the impression it degrades with a decline in altitude - as you descend and zoom in looking for that airport, the resolution suffers.
     
  16. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    You've thought about it more than I have, I agree the performance stuff is easy to get out of the poh, but that takes time, just like planning a route and what not. Plus conditions change, it would be nice to take a quick peak before engine start and see it all in one place, but certainly not necessary.
     
  17. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    What I saw was pretty impressive, a member of the foreflight team showed what I'm pretty sure was a screen recording from an ipad where she "flew" in from different angles, all the prominent features were there and looked life like to me. The airport res was pretty good too. For me, that info is useful going to unfamiliar airports for a view from a 10 miles out up until the airport is visible, where it would help define landmarks in "geographically busy" places where the airport is hard to pick out. But what the OP showed would discourage me from getting it. If I do upgrade, from pro plus, that will be the first thing I look at.
     
  18. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Pro Plus is currently the best bang for the buck for most traveling normally-aspirated piston drivers for sure.

    The airports that have D-ATIS are the same ones that have that god-awful robot voice reading them. It takes forever to get through it and it sounds kinda muffled most of the time so you end up spending 10 minutes listening to it to get it all and get it right. Ugh. So yeah, if D-ATIS exists at my origin or destination (and it does at my work base), I get it from the screen instead of the radio for sure.

    This is actually a pretty cool feature, but it's only on the web. You can punch in a street address for the origin and destination and it'll give you a list of the 5 closest airports to each. I seem to recall @Ted DuPuis wanting something that could do this a while back.

    You can also put in a time you need to get to the final destination, and it'll calculate what time you need to leave the origin (IE your house!) to make it there at that time (given an amount of time to spend preflighting, etc at the origin and tying down, etc at the destination).

    It's not a challenge... But it's a lot more time-consuming using the POH or G1000. In ForeFlight, you go into "Flights" and there's a "Takeoff" button next to the origin. It pops in METAR or TAF data (depending on when the departure time is) and lets you choose a runway with a single tap, showing wind components for each runway, and then it uses altimeter, temperature, winds, etc to calculate both ground roll and 50-foot distances as well as Vr for takeoff and Vref for landing given the weights you have in Flights. It takes MUCH less time to get the performance numbers than it did to read this paragraph. Literally three taps each for takeoff and landing runways.

    It has that already. It's an instrument in the "HUD" (the strip of data along the bottom of the map). Just tap any of those fields and choose "Nearest Airport" and it shows your distance and direction from the nearest airport as well as the ID.

    The data guy in me agrees. But, you can always export the logbook and use a real analytics tool as well. It does do all of the currency things you could ever want or need at least.

    What are you wanting here? There's already several ways to do this.

    This is there already too - I haven't used it, but I think it uses WiFi and does not require a router.
     
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  19. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    The little thingy that looks like this [​IMG]shares a lot of stuff.
     
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  20. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Thanks, I hadn't realized there are several features already in there.. I still think an ETOPS-esq tool would be interesting.. if you are planning a route taking you over remote areas this could help you at least stay sort of close to suitable diversions, etc.

    As far as real analytics, I feed the CSV export into Tableau and with a little Excel and Tableau wizardry it spits out cool maps, and all sorts of visuals. It's neat, but would be cool to have something like that built in already. My little hiking GPS gives me all sorts of neat analytics.. just wishlist stuff though at this point
     
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  21. Tantalum

    Tantalum En-Route

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    Thanks, I'll have to try that next time in the plane near with someone else who has Foreflight cranking. I know with Flightstream it is pretty easy, one person can send to panel and the other pull it out.. didn't realize you could go device to device

    Thanks guys
     
  22. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    File under hidden costs of complex airplanes. A brand new prop for mine is around 3k. No givernor to overhaul either. CS are nice, but not cheap.
     
  23. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Uhh... Did that go in the right thread? ;)
     
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  24. bnt83

    bnt83 Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Totally missed it, I need to head for bed
     
  25. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    That's there already as one of the "instruments" you can set along the Maps page

    DD997EDA-3AB7-4668-B78D-3EDB88329984.jpeg
     
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  26. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    I can see where the flight performance features of the Performance Plus subscription are very helpful with high performance aircraft like Turbo props or jets. To be fair to FF, they state the features are intended for high performance aircraft. For me, I just didn't see the benefits for small single engine aircraft. The 3D feature seemed worth the upgrade for me, but it wasn't ready for primetime.
     
  27. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser!

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Agreed.... Though it will be interesting to see what is added to this feature set as new development happens.
     
  28. Warmi

    Warmi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Google maps has actual 3d models of various landmarks being uploaded and maintained - that’s a lot of work ...

    ForeFlight is just using the usual height map ( the same as used in various so called synthetic vision displays ) with a flat satellite texture wrapped around it - they can’t afford anything more sophisticated than that, they are not Google you know ...
     
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  29. NordicDave

    NordicDave Line Up and Wait

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    Yes, but the data is available. If FF's main selling point is using their 3D feature to witness new airports & approaches and nothing is recognizable; what's the point?

    My point is why not use Google for free, rather than pay for a feature that's near useless? Also the Google view posted above was not street view, but the satellite data with titled perspective.
     
  30. Brad Z

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    I always thought putting 3D mapping into performance plus was a feature non-sequitur. Folks who are breaking into the flight levels are IFR, and have less of a need for looking at airport and terrain images than folks flying VFR.

    Surprised they didn't do a "VFR Plus" that had features like flight track recording and 3D in it.
     
  31. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I was too, but I'm guessing they're trying to get more people to upgrade who otherwise wouldn't. It's long been their practice to put some of the best features only into the top plan, even before Performance existed, because the extra money those folks are paying is what pays for the development of the snazzy features. Some of them eventually work their way down to the lower plans.
     
  32. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Hey, be nice now... I burn Jet-A.

    ...but the majority of my work is done at or below 100' AGL so no real use for the prime feature.
     
  33. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    I "saw" what you did there!

    or should I say,

    I saw what your "did" there.
     
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  34. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    To be correct, that is not 'TO'... is from. I always thought that was kind of backwards and wonder how many dyslexic pilots get confused by that.

    Personally, I don't want to know how far I am from it. I want to know how far it is to it.
     
  35. flyingcheesehead

    flyingcheesehead Touchdown! Greaser!

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    So, unless you're warping space-time, those distances are the same. ;)
     
  36. SToL

    SToL Line Up and Wait

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    Yeah I get that.. I was just making the point and wondering if some dyslexic pilots get confused trying to decide which way to go when they see 5 miles nw from K***, and that it makes more sense to have 'Distance and Direction To', not from.
     
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