In a move that brings together two former rivals, ForeFlight and Garmin announced a close collaboration that pairs ForeFlight’s market leading iPad app with Garmin’s dominant panel-mount avionics.
ForeFlight users will now be able to get Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast weather and traffic from Garmin avionics via that company’s Flight Stream 210/110 wireless bridge. Previously, only the Garmin Pilot app could communicate with those products.
“This came together pretty quickly over the last few months,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. “Our customers want greater connectivity, and this provides it in a pretty powerful way.”
ForeFlight customers will be able to obtain ADS-B weather and traffic information from Garmin GDL 88/84 receivers. Flight Stream 210 also has a built-in attitude instrument that can power ForeFlight’s synthetic vision.
Garmin WAAS GPS units such as the GTN 650/750 and GNS 430W/530W also can communicate with ForeFlight and provide highly accurate position information to ForeFlight moving maps, geo-referenced approach plates, and taxiway diagrams.
“We’re pleased to welcome ForeFlight into Garmin’s connectivity eco-system,” said Carl Wolf, Garmin vice president for aviation sales and marketing.
ForeFlight users won’t be able to load and modify flight plans to Garmin avionics the way Garmin Pilot users can, but both companies said that they will be adding capabilities in the future.
Jessica Koss, a Garmin spokeswoman, said Garmin will continue to update and enhance Garmin Pilot. Garmin Pilot runs on both Android and iOS mobile devices, and ForeFlight only operates on iOS.
Also, ForeFlight won’t communicate with Garmin’s portable GDL 39 ADS-B receiver. ForeFlight has paired with the Stratus line of portable ADS-B receivers and will continue that relationship.
ForeFlight has previously coordinated its product with avionics firms Aspen and Dynon to enhance wireless communication with its app.
ForeFlight was founded in 2007 and grew meteorically with the rapid pilot adoption of iPads as electronic flight bags. The start-up company has been able to maintain its dominant market share despite intense competition from Garmin and other aviation industry leaders. The alliance between ForeFlight and Garmin is a major philosophical shift for Garmin which had previously insisted that its devices only communicate with other Garmin products. The alliance appears to acknowledge ForeFlight’s position in iOS apps is unassailable.
“I think it shows that we built a pretty special product, and that ForeFlight customers are pretty loyal,” Weihs said. “The best way forward for both companies is to work together.”