Popular all-in-one pilot app ForeFlight has had a rough couple of weeks, and at least some of it is self-inflicted. The biggest issues are security issues, which the company still hasn’t gotten to the bottom of, apparently, and a big price hike.
ForeFlight became part of Boeing a few years back, a move that caused concern among some users who feared that the company’s style of management and product development would cause price hikes while diluting the creative talent that drove ForeFlight to high user satisfaction numbers and general positive regard. At least some of those fears are coming to pass. That all said, the app is hugely popular in part because it has remarkable features, excellent integration and a premium user interface.
But what happened to cause the issues? The exact details are a bit murky, but at some time within the past week, the app suffered either some security breaches or a failure of the NOTAM reporting utility, which is part of the app. In a message on its site this week, the company wrote, “On November 2, Jeppesen experienced a cyber incident affecting certain flight planning products and services. We immediately initiated an incident response process and we are currently working to reactivate individual products to our hosted production environment.” It is concerning that the issue appears to not have been fully resolved yet, though the company has reactivated the NOTAM utility: “On November 5,” it wrote, “NOTAMs were reactivated in our hosted production environment. Following a comprehensive scan and forensic analysis of our NOTAMs operating environment, we have verified the NOTAMs software is safe, secure, and fit for use by our customers and associated applications.”
Still, the last part of the company’s message wasn’t very reassuring, as they say that are continuing, “…to work to restore full functionality to all of our flight planning products and services.”
In addition to the bugs in the system, the prices of the app have gone up—a lot. The Basic Plus is, at $120 a year, still a bargain our book, but the Pro Plus version went up in price recently from $199 to $240 a year, and the Performance Plus package is now at $360 a year. While this most expensive version is clearly targeted at pro pilots, there is are features that pilots who fly for transportation and pleasure want, such as aircraft profiles, trip assistant and auto routing.
We reached out to ForeFlight, but they have not responded on short notice. We’ll update the story when they do, so check back soon.