Top Letters And Comments, March 8, 2019
Boeing Buys ForeFlight
Beyond disappointing. Foreflight is going to get caught up in a corporate structure that will bleed all the imagination and energy out of this very important company. I certainly can't judge the owners for "cashing" out but rest assured Boeing will raise prices and will not add "value". What value, what strength can Boeing possibly add to this company? Absolutely nothing. I personally feel very sorry for all the Foreflight employees that took a chance with a startup, built it into a success and now will be crushed by a big corporate structure that is built on squeezing individualism and imagination right out of this company. Sorry I just can't see the value added.
There is only one reason Boeing acquires a company as small at Foreflight - because they see a way to make "real" money. And that means this great service is about to get more expensive and less approachable. The folks at FF are great and super helpful and responsive. Their product is rich with features and fairly priced. Do any of these traits sound remotely like Boeing? Nope!
I would expect Boeing to maintain their excellence in quality within the Foreflight App (such as they have done with Jeppesen charts) but expect the monthly cost to rise but not significantly.
Strategically, it was the right move for Boeing--they will have a lock on pro pilot "electronic flight bags". Here's hoping they "do the right thing" by leaving the GA portion of Foreflight alone--and concentrate on the corporate/airline flight bags market.
This is disappointing and potentially disastrous for the product and for the little guy. ForeFlight is a streamlined product that makes sense and is currently affordable because it was developed by nimble people. The last thing FF's customers needed was for some big muscle-bound Goliath to gobble it up. Bad news!
Perhaps, now with more seasoned, business-oriented management, rational business thinking will outweigh the Apple evangelism and the product will get ported to Android where there is a larger market waiting. NOT that there is anything wrong with the iPad platform, but if it were my business, I'd want to go after that larger Android market.
Accident Probe: Familiarity, Contempt
Get There ITIS doesn't have to be familiar routes either. I had a planned vacation but was looking a pretty intense slow moving front line stretching from SW TX up to the plain states. Couldn't reach my destination in Central TX from MI without crossing the front. FSS briefer (remember those?) made a most excellent suggestion that I should have considered. Fly to Shreveport, and overnight there waiting for the front to pass over while I was safely nestled in a hotel room. It worked and saved the vacation!
I have a simple question: Why are articles like this one published?
In my opinion this is not information destined to pilots who deserve the definition of an 'aircraft pilot' - it is rather a report of a reckless criminal that should not even be allowed to sit on a bicycle.
We have, today, such a tsunami of meteorological (and other) information concerning point of departure, the route, all the alternates required and...our planned destination: personal info on the telephone, volmet, via internet, TV, our monitor in the cockpit, printed and/or from person to person etc.
I have been flying since 1974, CPL for some years, land, sea and some glacier, countless flights across the Swiss Alps, landings on European lakes, flights in NZ, USA, CA and western Europe - never would I have dared to t/o in the conditions mentioned.
Result: Except one blown tire and a not so soft landing on my first solo - no incident - no accident in 42 years.
It is our daily experience: modern light aircraft are much better equipped than the early airliners.
BUT: The great majority of the PPL-pilots, with their cockpit full of interesting and seducing buttons, switches, levers, gauges and monitors, are unable/not sufficiently familiar with their NAV- or other equipment, be it the 300 pages of a G1000-manual or the fuel or other systems in normal/abnormal situations - adding deteriorating wx, sick passengers, comm, reduced situational awareness, signal losses, time pressure, other stressing elements AND the type of personality at the controls lead to the well-known disasters.
More complex instruments require more training. When I began, we had one ADF and one VOR and primarily: time, speed, distance, sufficient altitude or FL, never less than 20Km visibility and, preferably, a CS-ceiling, a MH, clearly defined waypoints and the required charts - 4 to 5 hrs of flying per month were not much. Enough to survive.
Today, one should NOT be allowed to be PIC whose procedures are based on the use of wx-radar, GXXX etc. unless periodic compulsory refreshers and exams are passed and a minimum of hours per given time period are successfully flown.
I am convinced that LACK OF SPECIFIC PROFICIENCY and UNSUITABLE PSYCHOLOGICAL PRECONDITIONS are the two subjects that should be addressed by the administrator.
Second question: Why, on a time permitting basis, does ATC, FSS, FIS or whoever, not have the possibility of warning a pilot? I am not talking about an ATC-obligation but of a worst-case possibility of advice...
W. M. Bretscher
Airline Pilot Academies
It's great that all these opportunities are available. The unfortunate part is that the student still pays for the training. Even the European schools aren't free. Some pilot "shortage"!!! When I see that the airlines start paying for this without the candidate having to sign a training agreement, then I will believe that there is a real pilot "shortage" in the US.