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View Full Version : FlightPrep attacks RunwayFinder


Cubdriver
12-29-2010, 06:34 AM
How many of you remember the flight planning website called RunwayFinder? RF was put out of action earlier this year by a rather sweeping lawsuit from lawyer Roger Stenbock in what sounds like a potentially devastating attack on many popular GA flight planning websites. RF is out of action for now, they went offline a few weeks ago and may be ruined. In addition, it is likely that FlightPrep will go after several other GA flight planning websites over the next year or two and there is a good chance it is one you use and enjoy. FlightPrep is aggressive and they want more control of GA flight planning.

I have a number of flight hours using, or should I say putting up with FlightPrep Pro ChartBook EFB. At $2500 it was not a cheap EFB and frankly I thought it was just a work in progress. It was prone to freezing anywhere anytime, it had limited battery life, hook-up was a tangle of wires, it had numerous operational glitches and customer service at FlightPrep was pretty much unable to help. I strongly disliked their machine and my company strongly considered returning its entire collection of FlightPrep EFBs.

To be fair, general aviation EFBs have been experiencing teething pains as a nascent technology and most of the problem is the high resolution graphics they employ. It takes a lot of computing power to render multiple nav charts, moving map, and real-time weather products into a small laptop computer and modern ipads, tablets, and notebooks are largely unable to do it. That's not really FlightPrep's problem perhaps but they are going to have to deal with it if they want to sell EFBs with their software installed. So far they haven't succeeded in solving the fundamental operational issues with these devices, and the FlightPrep software itself has serious issues as well. I do not feel that GA EFBs are ready for prime time at this point and worse yet they tend to act as a distraction.

On the other hand, RunwayFinder was a free flight planning software that I used frequently in connection with my job and liked very much. It was a good website, it was free, and it was the most useful way to package NACO charts. It was like DUATS on steriods integrating all the VFR and IFR charts into a smooth interface that was easy to use and made a big improvement in how well I planned my flights. It was great for GA pilots who need all the help they can get planning challenging, low altitude, risky GA flights. I hope they get out of their attack from Stenbock's FlightPrep, and only time will tell.

AvWeb articles on FlightPrep Lawsuit (http://www.avweb.com/cgi-bin/texis/scripts/avweb-search/search.html?query=runwayfinder&x=0&y=0)


Grumble
12-29-2010, 11:31 AM
Flightprep has launched an all out assault on every free planning website, and done irreparable damage to themselves in the process. They sued the owner of runwayfinder for $3.2 million. They guy is a family man that runs a free website in his spare time. Apparently they've "patented" the idea of drawing a line on a chart. They've genuinely ****ed off a majority of the GA community. I'll never buy another ASA product again, and if I see them at Sun N Fun or Oshkosh I may throw my lemonade on them after I spit in it.

7Xdriver
12-29-2010, 01:27 PM
Flightprep has launched an all out assault on every free planning website, and done irreparable damage to themselves in the process. They sued the owner of runwayfinder for $3.2 million. They guy is a family man that runs a free website in his spare time. Apparently they've "patented" the idea of drawing a line on a chart. They've genuinely ****ed off a majority of the GA community. I'll never buy another ASA product again, and if I see them at Sun N Fun or Oshkosh I may throw my lemonade on them after I spit in it.


Well, there is a lot of things wrong with this post and I have to wonder why it is part of this particular thead. Suffice it to say that a patent has been granted and the patent holder has challenged those who they think infringe on its patent.

It is unfortuneate to see FlightPrep testing the waters on those (Runwayfinder) who are small and can ill afford it, but it is not surprising. It will be more intersting when it is tested with larger entities.

AOPA and Jeppesen have so far snubbed Flightprep stating that they do not believe they have infringed on their patent. I think we should all see how things play out. If Flightprep has not earned the right, it will play out in court. Until such time, I think those with cooler heads have to see how this plays out.

Kevin


Formerbuspilot
12-29-2010, 01:32 PM
So, are they going to take on Fltpplan.com as well?

Grumble
12-29-2010, 03:48 PM
Well, there is a lot of things wrong with this post and I have to wonder why it is part of this particular thead. Suffice it to say that a patent has been granted and the patent holder has challenged those who they think infringe on its patent.

It is unfortuneate to see FlightPrep testing the waters on those (Runwayfinder) who are small and can ill afford it, but it is not surprising. It will be more intersting when it is tested with larger entities.

AOPA and Jeppesen have so far snubbed Flightprep stating that they do not believe they have infringed on their patent. I think we should all see how things play out. If Flightprep has not earned the right, it will play out in court. Until such time, I think those with cooler heads have to see how this plays out.

Kevin

Their original patent was applied for AFTER runwayfinder was stood up, then they back dated it to make it look like they beat runwayfinder and skyvector to the web. Either way runwayfinder was up and operational before both of those dates. Read the patent application, it's rife with BS and back pedaling. Bottom line, the can eat a big meat log.

http://blog.runwayfinder.com/2010/12/09/runwayfinder-going-offline/

7Xdriver
12-29-2010, 05:41 PM
I hear you and understand your point, honestly. I am very much against injustice, but a litigant's blog is not a good defence in view of this somewhat neutral source:

FlightPrep in the Left Seat on Patent (http://www.avweb.com/podcast/podcast/AudioPodcast_LionelLavenue_FlightPrepFlightPlannin g_PatentLaw_203826-1.html?kw=RelatedStory)

Respectfully,

Kevin

Grumble
12-30-2010, 08:00 AM
Classy

Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service (http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=9895d80b-2471-4710-bac5-a87c37210ce7&Dynamic=1)

7Xdriver
12-30-2010, 09:15 AM
Classy

Aero-News Network: The Aviation and Aerospace World's Daily/Real-Time News and Information Service (http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=9895d80b-2471-4710-bac5-a87c37210ce7&Dynamic=1)


Interesting, thanks for posting. There are some seriously brain injured people out there :eek:

Cubdriver
02-13-2012, 12:17 PM
Update: looks like Runwayfinder may be caput anyway. No reason given. Looks like FlightPrep may have got the upper hand in the end despite the agreement they had with RWF to leave them alone. Too bad, RWF was such a handy, free tool.

AvWeb- Runwayfinder Closing (http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/RunWayFinder_Closing_206167-1.html)