March 11, 2022

PilotAware iGRID. Extending Horizons

An introduction to the amazing software that PilotAware has now been made available for all users.

Introducing PilotAware iGRID

If you're a pilot, you know how important it is to be aware of your surroundings and help to avoid mid-air collisions. In doing this, traditional point-to-point electronic conspicuity devices have limitations due to airframe obscuration, which can block direct radio signals between aircraft. But fear not, PilotAware is revolutionising the game!

PilotAware is not your average electronic conspicuity device - it uses cutting-edge technology to detect more aircraft than any other system out there. With its advanced ground-based award-winning ATOM GRID network, PilotAware can detect aircraft from multiple positions and rebroadcast their location to airborne PilotAware units. And that's not all - PilotAware's trademarked technology, SkyGRID (TM), acts like an ATOM Station in the sky, relaying data air-to-air and air-to-ground to reduce obscuration even further and extending your horizons.

But that's not where the innovation stops. PilotAware's latest development, iGRID, takes things to the next level. By connecting PilotAware devices to your mobile device, iGRID provides a third data path that offers advanced services such as weather RADAR, enhanced traffic data, and flight information services.

So,whether you're a seasoned pilot or just starting out, PilotAware's technology will keep you safe in the skies while providing you with the latest in aviation technology. Say goodbye to airframe obscuration and welcome the future of aviation safety with PilotAware

How can PilotAware be so innovative?

PilotAware's innovative technology is powered by a combination of powerful computers installed in all PilotAware-equipped aircraft, in all the advanced ground-based ATOM GRID network, and the very powerful PilotAware servers that link everything together.

The computers installed in each PiotAware equipped aircraft provide the user with access to intelligent electronic conspicuity solutions that go beyond the traditional point-to-point operation of other devices. These computers also help to accurately detect and track more aircraft than any other system available. This includes Mode-S, ADSB, CAP1391, Flarm, PilotAware, Fanet+ and SafeSky devices as the following diagram shows.

Fig 1 PilotAware Network Infrastructure

The interaction between the network nodes results in an intelligent network that acts as a mediation device providing as much interoperability as possible between the different systems in use. The latest software enables a third data link using WiFi between your PilotAware device and your mobile phone or other suitable cellular hotspot devices. The addition of a small iGRID WiFi module available from the PilotAware store is available to do this.

The combined network is shown in the following diagram.

FIG 2 PilotAware enhanced Mobile Network infrastructure.

Upgrading to iGRID.

if you've been keeping your software up to date over the years updating your PilotAware software to iGRID is a breeze! All you need to do is download the PilotAware Firmware Updater App on your iOS or Android device, and you're good to go. With just a few taps, you can easily download the latest software and enjoy all the latest features and enhancements. So why wait? Get started today and experience the ease and convenience of PilotAware's firmware update process!

Choose your Firmware Updater from the App Stores below. Click on the ICON to see how.

Firmware Updater for Google
Firmware Updater for iOS

Updating older PilotAware devices

If you haven't been updating your software regularly, it is possible that you may still be using the old Raspberry Pi Operating System known as "Jessie," which won't be compatible with iGRID. To run iGRID successfully, you'll need to switch to the more powerful operating system called "Stretch.” This is freely available.

PilotAware software has two parts: (i) the operating system and (ii) the application. While updating the application is easy using the firmware updater, upgrading the operating system is more complicated. If you've been experiencing issues and haven't updated your software in years, check which operating system you're using on your Rosetta by looking at the home page on your PilotAware device. This is shown on line 3 as the Platform. Unfortunately, you cannot install a new operating using the firmware updater app.

To update the operating system from Jessie to Stretch, there are three methods available. The easiest option is to perform a full reinstall while connected to the internet by connecting to a wired LAN using an RJ45 connector and going to the "Updates" page on the PilotAware device and selecting "Reset." However, you can also reformat the SD card and reinstall the latest image available from the PilotAware website or purchase a pre-installed disk from the PilotAware shop.

Enabling iGRID 

To establish a connection between your PilotAware device and your mobile phone, you'll need to first insert an iGRID WiFi module into a free USB slot on your device. This module must have a RALINK 5370 Chip and can be purchased from the PilotAware website along with instructions on how to install it.

Buy an iGRID Module Here

Insert the iGRID Module into any unused USB slot on your PilotAware device and configure it to AUTO via the configuration page on your PilotAware screen. The PilotAware's existing WiFi will still be used to connect to Easy VFR, Sky Demon, Foreflight and other apps on your smart device as usual.

Next, set up your mobile phone as a WiFi hotspot and pair it with your Rosetta using your personal mobile phone password. The steps for doing this will depend on the type of mobile phone you have chosen. Once you've completed the initial pairing, subsequent connections should be established automatically.

This is how it appears in an iPhone 7 settings page.

The PilotAware iGRID is now active and can connect to the PilotAware servers using the mobile network and encrypted GRID. To confirm that everything is working correctly, check for four green indicators on the top left of the latest PilotAware RADAR screen. If the GSM tab is orange, you are connected to the hotspot but do not have a local signal.‍

PilotAware RADAR Screen Top Banner

What are the benefits of i-GRID and the latest software release?

With the i-GRID mobile connection, you can send and receive data from the PilotAware servers. This allows you to access Flight Information Services, such as in-flight Weather Maps, and improve your aircraft situational awareness with mobile EC. Future software updates will expand on this by adding local AFIS data and other Flight Information Services.

Moreover,your Rosetta unit will transmit time-stamped data of all aircraft it detects to the PilotAware servers. This creates the most comprehensive low-level situational awareness position of aircraft nationwide, utilizing multiple sensors and data paths. This not only reduces the risk of obscured aircraft but also enhances redundancy and integrity and contributes to overall aviation safety.

The latest software is combined with a new PilotAware RADAR screen with the following selectable items.

·       TFC.            Enhanced aircraft ICONs to determine aircraft types when the information is available.

·       MET            METAR’s from all stations within 150Kms.

·       P.O.I.           Local points of interest to enhance the RADAR screen location data but without clutter.

·       Airfields.     Local airfields to also enhance the RADAR screen.

All the facilities are selectable to customise your screen as you like.

The following screenshot shows the New RADAR screen that seamlessly integrates live weather updates, real-time traffic information, and points of interest all in one place! For those who prefer a sleeker look, the configuration buttons can be set to be hidden for a seamless and streamlined operation. So why settle for less when you can have it all with the New RADAR screen?

PilotAware Weather Map

Why not get all your situational awareness on a single screen with the amazing split-screen display mode on the latest Smart tablets? The screenshot below showcases the incredible capabilities of SkyDemon and the PilotAware RADAR screen, working together harmoniously to deliver a comprehensive view of the airspace around them.  

Also, there’s here's more! With the screen zoomed in during normal operation, clutter is reduced to a minimum, giving you a clear and concise view of the information that matters most. Embrace the power of your chosen Electronic Flight Bag and the PilotAware RADAR screen today!

You can still use the new software without a mobile phone connection, but doing so means you'll be missing out on a whole host of enhanced features that are sure to take your flying experience to the next level.

iPad with split screen showing Sky Demon and PilotAwarew RADAR screen.


The introduction of PilotAware iGRID marks a significant advancement in the world of Electronic Conspicuity. This feat is made possible thanks to the unique powerful distributed computing infrastructure of PilotAware, which provides intelligence at every stage.

By upgrading to the latest version of PilotAware software, you'll not only enjoy Flight Information Services that surpass those of other systems but also contribute to enhancing the overall system for all other users. This includes all types of electronic conspicuity, not just ADSB, like less intelligent first-generation systems do.

To fully benefit from PilotAware's SkyGRID™, I-GRID, and ATOM GRID, it's crucial to position your Rosetta device optimally, especially if you're using it as a carry-on device. You can assess the quality of your EC installation (regardless of type) for free using PilotAware's VECTOR service. However, it's even better to install your Rosetta or Classic unit permanently using an internal or external installation kit. This not only conceals the wires but also improvesperformance and sets you up for the next round of innovations from PilotAware.

*Extensive testing has shown that mobile networks are available at altitudes up to 4500ft,with an availability of 70-80%. While the level of service is not guaranteedand and can vary based on the network used, you can rest assured that by including the complete PilotAware infrastructure (Direct , ATOM GRID, Sky GRID and iGRID) you'll enjoy a level of built-in redundancy that other systems simply can't match.

Team PilotAware

Update March 2023

Continuously Improving Electronic Conspicuity Through Innovation.