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Boeing acquires ForeFlight

The co-founder of ForeFlight says the breakneck pace of enhancements to the flight planning app will not change now that his company is owned by airliner behemoth Boeing.

The airliner manufacturer announced March 6 that it had acquired Houston-based ForeFlight. Previously privately held, ForeFlight is believed to be the largest player in the electronic flight bag app business. The company teamed with Boeing-owned Jeppesen in 2016 to incorporate Jeppesen terminal and en route charts as an option in ForeFlight. ForeFlight was also working with Jeppesen’s FliteDeck Pro app team to bring new features to that product.

In a press release, Ken Sain, Boeing vice president of digital solutions and analytics, said, "We are excited to build on ForeFlight's tremendous success in personal, business and defense aviation so we can provide next-generation, integrated tools to our aviation customers today. This acquisition also expands Boeing's rapidly growing, unparalleled digital services portfolio which will enable us to compete and win in the $2.8 trillion, 10-year services market.”

ForeFlight was founded in 2007 when general aviation pilots Tyson Weihs and Jason Miller developed a weather planning service for the first generation of Apple iPhone. When the next iPhone model could handle apps, the team quickly expanded the capabilities into flight planning. When the iPad came about in 2010, the product sprouted IFR and VFR chart overlays and many other features. Today, the app integrates weather and preflight planning with a moving map and overlays a variety of additional resources for GA, business aviation, the military, and the airlines. In addition to the mobile app for Apple iOS products, the company offers a free online flight planner that integrates with the app. Subscription price points in the GA world vary between $100 and $300 annually, depending on features selected. ForeFlight has developed a reputation for an amazing pace of innovation and new features, with app updates occurring every few weeks. The company also has an admirable reputation for customer service.

The ForeFlight Airport 3D view demonstrated on different devices. Graphic courtesy of ForeFlight.

And the pace of innovation and focus on GA will continue, said co-founder Tyson Weihs in a March 6 interview. “We’re going to keep the same velocity up. Every time we have a software release, we think about what can we do for everyone. There are some features that require a lot of investment for a certain segment of the market. Our roots are in GA. That’s where we grew up. It’s our passion. We’re on a mission to continue to create the sort of impact we’ve done over the past decade with GA.”

Weihs said the relationship with Boeing developed over many years, and ultimately the two companies decided that the acquisition was the best move. “We’re as excited as we’ve ever been. It’s great opportunity for us and the team. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with Boeing on the next leg of our flight.”

He said the entire leadership team and all of the 180 employees are involved in the transition and that ForeFlight is continuing to hire and is expanding its office space in Texas and in Denmark.

The AOPA Air Safety Institute will be awarding its 2019 General Aviation Safety Award to Weihs and Miller during the Hoover Trophy presentation on March 20 in Washington, D.C. Air Safety Institute Executive Director Richard McSpadden said ForeFlight has “revolutionized how general aviation pilots plan their flights and use the app to bolster in-cockpit situational awareness and cockpit resource management. ForeFlight’s exceptional leap in enhancing general aviation pilots’ flight planning experience and improving in-flight situational awareness and decision making demonstrates a company focused on quality, innovation, and safety.”

Thomas B. Haines
Thomas B Haines
Contributor (former Editor in Chief)
Contributor and former AOPA Editor in Chief Tom Haines joined AOPA in 1988. He owns and flies a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. Since soloing at 16 and earning a private pilot certificate at 17, he has flown more than 100 models of general aviation airplanes.
Topics: Aviation Industry, EFB, Apps

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