The RADAR Screen;
One of the major features of PilotAware products is the PilotAware RADAR screen. This feature allows users of PilotAware to visually display nearby aircraft on a tablet or smart-phone, in a very clear and concise manner by using a modern browser. This means that no external navigation software is needed for PilotAware to be used as an Electronic Conspicuity device if necessary. Alternatively, if navigation software is used PilotAware RADAR can be displayed simultaneously on a separate device for even greater situational awareness.
For Software release 20220601 the PilotAware RADAR screen has been enhanced as shown after the following Basic RADAR Visualisation section.
To access the PilotAware RADAR Screen, log onto your PilotAware WiFi, open a modern browser on your tablet or smartphone and type in paw.local or 192.168.1.1. This will open directly on the Radar Page.
Basic RADAR Visualisation;
PilotAware RADAR can show traffic within configurable vertical and horizontal limits. In addition, it can show targets either as FLM (Aircraft Symbols) or TAS (Traffic Alert System) Symbols.
The TAS and FLM button on the top left-hand corner of the RADAR screen will toggle between screen types. For simplicity, METAR symbols have been removed from the following screenshot.
PilotAware RADAR TAS Visualisation.
Key to Symbols
PilotAware RADAR FLM Visualisation
PilotAware RADAR Range Settings;
The horizontal and vertical range, at which PilotAware RADAR displays traffic, is configurable by selecting H +/- and V+/- in the top left-hand corner of the screen.
The vertical range can be selected from 1,000 ft. to 50,000 ft.
The horizontal range can be selected from 2Km to 120Km but is initially calculated from the visible screen size available.
The previously set scale will be retained when the unit is next used. A banner shows the values set.
As the host aircraft moves, the compass rose continuously follows with the screen showing flight- direction up. The target aircraft ICONs maintain a relative bearing to the host aircraft and show direction with a dotted lubber line indicating speed. The above operation requires that the aircraft and hence the PilotAware unit is moving.
Visualisation of ATOM GRID Ground Stations.
The positions of ATOM Ground Stations are shown as tower icons on the screen, if they are within the horizontal and vertical limits set. Note an ATOM Ground Station 2000ft below, will not be shown if the horizontal limits are set at +/-1000ft.
The number of in-range ATOM Ground Stations is shown as a banner in the top right-hand corner of the PilotAware RADAR page. This will then alert the pilot to the possibility of receiving uplinked data for gliders or Mode-S/3D if that station has been enabled for the latter.
Please note that the display of aircraft on the RADAR screen is always prioritised over the display of ground stations. If there are a lot of aircraft to be displayed then displaying the location of the ground stations will be given lower priority or not shown at all. Do not mistake the lack of a ground station visualisation on the RADAR screen or EFB as evidence that you are not in range of a ground station. The fact that gliders and Mode-S /3D transmissions are being displayed will show that rebroadcasts are present.
When your aircraft is in range of an ATOM GRID Ground Station, gliders and powered aircraft transmitting FLARM signals will be uploaded to your PilotAware RADAR screen and your navigational software. In addition, ATOM GRID Ground Stations will provide MLAT data to enable all mode S targets detected directly to be shown as targets with a bearing on the RADAR screen and suitable flight bags.
To show or not to show, the location of ATOM GRID Ground Stations on the PilotAware RADAR screen and Flight Bags is a configurable item selected from the Configuration page.
Mode C/S Visualisation;
With Mode-S/3D disabled or when out of range of an ATOM station, Mode-S targets will remain bearingless and will be identified through a banner in the top right corner of the RADAR screen. Mode-C targets will always be bearingless.
Mode-S targets will be shown in a banner on the upper right-hand side of the RADAR screen with the aircraft registration and its relative height in +/- feet. Conversely, as Mode-C targets do not broadcast an ICAO code, they will be annotated “Mode-C” without any registration details. The relative height will be shown in +/- feet. For both Mode-C and Mode-S, Red, Amber and Green coding is used to show a distance relative to the power received and its rate of change. An indicator is also shown to show whether the target aircraft is ascending, descending or in level flight.
The absolute position of Mode-S and Mode-C aircraft cannot be plotted onto the RADAR Screen as, unlike modern systems, they do not broadcast their position using GPS coordinates. To overcome this PilotAware has uniquely developed Mode-S/3D which uses Multilateration (MLAT) to provide the GPS coordinates for Mode-S aircraft. How this is achieved is shown here.
Up to 9,500 aircraft in the UK are equipped with a Mode-S transponder. Mode-S/3D is unique to PilotAware systems. Mode-S/3D uses a network of ATOM ground stations to upload MLAT data provided by 360Radar Ltd to provide the latitude and longitude normally absent in native Mode-S transmissions.
ALL multilateration (MLAT) systems, used to provide the location of hitherto undetected Mode-S traffic in airborne devices, have inherent positional errors. These are caused by a combination of the system latency and the system refresh rate. These errors and limitations are described to enable you to fully understand the accuracy of PilotAware Mode-S/3D and get the most out of its use.
⚠️By enabling the Mode-S/3D you agree that you understand, agree with and will use the information given by PilotAware Mode-S/3D in full acknowledgement of the limitations.⚠️
PilotAware is a secondary positional aid only. Your primary positional awareness, as Pilot in command, is a continuous and thorough visual scan both internally and externally. If you do not agree with this principle do not use Mode-S/3D as a situational awareness aid.
The result of using MLAT (latitude and longitude) and direct reception (Altitude) techniques has been used effectively by air traffic control for many years using Secondary Surveillance RADAR (SSR). Considerations for addressing the latency and refresh rate must be taken into account. The position of the MLAT derived target is sufficiently accurate at the time of issue. However, it will be a finite period before the next sufficiently accurate location is received at the PilotAware RADAR screen. This is catered for by using the concept of an 'area of ambiguity' for a degraded target that surrounds the target displayed and grows as the data ages.
In practice, this is achieved by providing an ambiguity circle around the Mode-S/3D target which starts as a point circle at t=0 and grows over time as the data ages. The size of the ambiguity circle is based on both refresh time and the speed of the target aircraft.
With Mode-S/3D enabled the various reception age of the target’s positions can be seen. From new targets provided with a very small red ambiguity circle to larger red circles as the data ages. 80% of MLAT targets refresh within less than 10 seconds with 53% in less than 6 seconds. This will refresh rate improve as software and system techniques improve and the number of ground stations and server infrastructures increases.
The PilotAware RADAR screen above is configured with a wide horizontal range and is therefore showing a fairly busy screen. The much lower range, both vertically and horizontally, used for normal operation provides a greater granularity for local situational awareness.
It is important to note the significant amount of traffic shown on this screen is below 7000 ft. and therefore is of importance to GA traffic. Most of this is integrated Mode-S/3D, PilotAware and FLARM traffic. ADSB traffic in the upper flight areas is irrelevant to GA operations and is a distraction, so for efficient use the vertical range should be set to +/- 4000ft at most.
Ambiguity circles are also shown on some Electronic Flight bags such as Easy VFR.
Please make sure that you are comfortable with the accuracy of the icons displayed.
RADAR Voice Alerts;
PilotAware RADAR is accompanied by voice alerts in the normal fashion. Mode-S/3D targets are treated as targets with a bearing. Click here for more information on the different types of voice alerts provided for targets with bearing and bearing-less targets.
iGRID Enhancements to the RADAR Screen when using Software release 20220601
The latest software release includes PilotAware iGRID functionality which is enabled through adding a second WiFi dongle and pairing your pilotaware device to the local hotspot provided by your mobile phone. How to do this is described here.
When implemented iGRID will display considerably more aircraft than before and will also show Flight Information Services (FIS).
Confirmation that iGRID has been enabled and is working well will be seen via 4 greens on the top left hand side of the latest PilotAware RADAR screen as shown below. Until a 2nd WiFi dongle is inserted the 4th GSM tab will not be enabled and iGRID functionality will not be available. If the GSM tab is red then a 2nd WiFi dongle has been detected but the PilotAware device is not yet connected to the mobile hotspot. If the GSM tab is orange, this shows that there is a connection to the WiFi hotspot but there is no local mobile signal, no connection to the internet and no data from the PilotAware servers. When all is connected (4 greens), the PilotAware RADAR screen will blossom with a considerable amount of traffic and other selected services.
Please note the GPS tab will be orange if you don’t have a GPS lock which will result in none of the RADAR functions being available.
In the following screenshot the horizontal range is open to 120Kms but the vertical range is limited to 5000ft. This is done to show the significant amount of traffic that can be displayed using iGRID. In normal use the horizontal range used for situational awareness of traffic should be selected to be less than this to reduce the unnecessary clutter of distant aircraft.
Direct Aircraft identification
Direct aircraft identification can be easily shown by selecting the aircraft from the touch screen on your smart device as shown below. Useful for confirming that it is the aircraft you think its is or are being alerted to by ATC.
Enabling the various screen functions is done by checking the blue tabs enabled by opening the CFG box.
What does the iGRID functionality do for you?
The mobile connection to iGRID will transmit data to and from the PilotAware servers. This will include your location and the locations of all the aircraft you are detecting. The connection will provide you with Flight Information Services such as in-flight Weather Maps and enhanced aircraft situational awareness including mobile EC. Subsequent software releases will enhance this to provide local AFIS data and other Flight Information Services. In addition, your Rosetta and every other updated Rosetta will act as a Ground Station in the Sky relaying information about everything it sees to the PilotAware servers no matter what EC they have!
The latest software provides the new PilotAware RADAR screen with the following selectable functions.
1. TFC Enhanced aircraft ICONs to determine aircraft types when the information is available.
2. MET METAR’s from all stations within 150 km.
3. Rain Weather RADAR Screen showing the increasing density of rain within the horizontal range selected
4. POI Local points of interest to enhance the RADAR screen location data but without clutter.
5. Airfields. Local airfields are listed to find suitable landing sites or to locate difficult-to-see airstrips.
All functions are individually selectable to allow screen customisation. The selectable options tabs are displayed or hidden by toggling the CFG tab.
The following screenshot shows the New RADAR screen with the weather map, traffic and points of interest enabled.
The weather map overlays precipitation density whilst not obliterating points of interest or traffic locations to maintain situational awareness.
Airfields that have connected their local weather stations to the PilotAware ATOM Network will upload real-time local information on local conditions. This includes wind speed strength and gusts, QFE and QNH.
Participating airfields are shown by selecting the Airfields tab (5) on the RADAR screen. Airfields that are providing this data will be indicated by a green ring around their location point as shown around Coventry Airport below.
By clicking the green circle around the participating airfield the information will be provided in the following format.
The QNH is taken from the nearest METAR station from which the QFE is derived using the height of the runway AMSL..
The broadcast wind information relies on the accurate calibration of the local weather station including the orientation of the weather vane.
This provision is a best-effort service but is no less accurate than when it is provided by a human broadcast.
If required the data from all participating local airfields relative to the aircraft position is shown by navigating to the airfield page using the ‘go to’ tab on the top left corner of every PilotAware screen.
This facility is particularly useful if you need to locate a runway that is best oriented for landing within the current wind strength and direction.
To use all of these facilities ensure that you are using the latest software 20230228.