The PilotAware (P3i) protocol has been introduced to general aviation due to its highly efficient and modern modulation technique, high bandwidth and low power consumption. The frequency PilotAware has adopted is 869.525Mhz. This is a recognised ETSI (European Telecommunications Standards Institute) ISM band for use all European countries and other ETSI member states. This is not an Aviation Frequency and does not meet an aviation standard.
P3i is integrated into both airborne, and ground-based transceivers (ATOM Stations) creating an integrated network capable of providing the infrastructure for current and future Electronic Conspicuity and Flight Information services using the innovation available using the ISM band.
PilotAware -> PilotAware
All PilotAware equipped aircraft, transmit and receive using the P3i protocol. Currently, the data transmitted from a PilotAware unit is.
- GPS Location: Knowing the position of an aircraft using GPS allows navigation applications and displays to accurately plot 3D aircraft positions, and provide audible alerts to the pilot. The GPS used in PilotAware is not approved to an aviation specification.
- GPS Altitude (Relative to 1013.25mbar). Because all PilotAware devices have both on board barometers and a GPS, the separation of aircraft equipped with all types of EC aircraft can be displayed on moving maps and the PilotAware RADAR screen
- Aircraft identification though the ICAO 24 bit aircraft address. PilotAware is configured to transmit the aircraft unique identification code (Hex-ID) and is designed to be easily changeable through stored profiles if multiple aircraft are used
- Group-ID: Created for clubs and schools, Group-ID highlights the aircraft of fellow group members. The registration of group member will be prefixed and suffixed with a #. I.e. #G-ERTI#
It's key to understand that additions to the protocol are made through software updates, and not by hardware upgrades.
ATOM Station -> PilotAware
The purpose of the ATOM station is to uplink further traffic information to PilotAware equipped aircraft. The stations are also equipped with a transmitting radio (P3i) and are designed to give a line of sight range of 50km per station in free space. This will be reduced by obscuration from attenuating media.
The data uplinked to PilotAware units consist of:
- FLARM Locations: FLARM transmissions are centred on 868.6 MHz, this has a limit of 25mW transmitted power and a duty cycle to 1%. FLARM also encrypts the data, making it a proprietary system. PilotAware has overcome these obstacles with the ATOM station. Each Station is equipped with a receiver tuned to 868.6MHz, this receiver is capable of detecting FLARM equipped aircraft up to 100km away. The received FLARM packets, are decrypted using the OGN's decryption algorithm and is then converted into a P3i packet. This P3i packet is then broadcast from the ATOM station to PilotAware equipped aircraft. This entire re-broadcasting process takes 25 milliseconds and is replicated every 1.5 seconds, ensuring that aircraft positions are regular and accurate.
- Mode-S/3D is a tehnique unique to PilotAware that reboradcasts the location of Mode-S traffic using multilateration of its position. Using the multilateration technique, the locations of Mode-S equipped aircraft can be calculated through precise timing methods. Once the Mode-S locations are calculated, they are sent to the ATOM stations where they are then broadcast up to PilotAware equipped aircraft. The multilateration data is provided by 360 RADAR as a best effort service and does not meet any aviation standard. Mode-S/3D is a near real time service with some limitations. These are described in the documentation on Mode-S 3D available in this website.
- METARS: This data is collected by NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It records the weather at major airports and updates every 5 minutes. This data is broadcast up to PilotAware equipped aircraft, where it can then be processed by GDL90 compatible navigation applications. It will also be made available on the PilotAware Radar Screen The data is updated regularly when in range of an ATOM station. Learn More
But PilotAware is just getting started
Additions and changes to the data provided by Pilotaware are made regularly to improve the quality, integrity and security of the data. The service provided does not meet any aviation specification or standard.