For many years there has been a requirement to remotely determine the fidelity of Electronic Conspicuity devices installed in all types of aircraft. Whilst all types of Electronic Conspicuity operate using UHF transmissions their performance can be degraded due to many factors including design and position. The most important factor that will degrade the specified performance is airframe obscuration causing signal blockage.
This can be overcome by positioning the remote antennas of the EC device in the optimum location or locating carry on only EC devices so they have an unobscured view of the outside of the aircraft.
Until now, other than anecdotal experience, it has not been possible to determine how well the individual installation is performing, if at all. That is all about to change.
Using the power of the 200 station ATOM GRID Network, PilotAware will soon be introducing PilotAware VECTOR.
noun [ C ]
vector noun [C] (CALCULATION)
something physical that has a value and direction
When flying in range of the ATOM GRID Network, all electronic types of EC signals are detected as vectors. These are PilotAware, Flarm, ADSB and CAP1391 devices. Each individual signal will have an angular direction between the transmitter and the receivers. In addition the distance transmitted will be calculated from the GPS coordinates received. Signals are transmitted every few seconds. As the aircraft moves forward the angle between the various receiving stations varies constantly. This, results in a significant amount of data being recorded for each and every EC device on board. Up to 30 days of data is used by PilotAware VECTOR for each aircraft on a rolling basis.
Using this data it is possible to visualise the performance of each on-board device. This is done by plotting a Polar Diagram and also presenting the data in a Quadrant Matrix. The combination of these two diagrams can be used to show areas of obscuration and attenuation for each device.
The more flying that is done the greater is the variability and quantity of the data available and therefore the greater is the granularity of the presentations.
Armed with the Polar Diagram and Quadrant Matrix for each installation the aircraft operator or pilot will be able to see the fidelity of their system and take appropriate action to improve the installation. This will generally involve moving the carry on device to a position with a better external line of sight view or adding remote external or internal antennas as required. Please see the PilotAware video which explains airframe obscuration.
The following diagrams show what a relatively good installation looks like. This is taken from a Europa aircraft using a carry on PilotAware Rosetta positioned behind the pilot. This shows some obscuration to the front due to the signal being attenuated by the water in the pilots’ body. Elsewhere the diagrams show a strong transmission to 20 KMs and beyond in line with the PilotAware Rosetta specification. Armed with this information the user can improve the performance by moving the Rosetta carry on device higher and between the occupant or install remote internal or external antennas.
Conversely this Polar Diagram shows a carry-on device that is poorly located. This shows attenuation and significant obscuration in the forward and rear directions and attenuation overall. By moving the device to a better location or using remote antennas if possible, will make an improvement in performance that will benefit all. See and be Seen.
We hope to make this service freely available to all. However, this will require a considerable amount of work to automate the system. In the meantime, we will provide this service to interested users of all EC device types, not just PilotAware.
*Remember all EC devices should have the same ICAO Code. That of the airframe as shown on your registration documentation or the GINFO website. https://siteapps.caa.co.uk/g-info/