March 11, 2022

New Software Release Coming Soon

An introduction to the next amazing software release being developed by PilotAware.

Introducing PilotAware I-GRID

Introduction

Welcome to this introduction of PilotAware I-GRID yet another innovation from PilotAware Ltd.

You have landed on the moderately technical explanation of what PilotAware I-GRID does. This should take about 10 minutes to read and understand. This version includes some information on how we achieve the improvements as well as what they are. Please go to the short version if you just want to understand what it does. The short version takes just about 3 minutes to read and will be available soon.  

The existing PilotAware 20220101 software release included PilotAware SkyGRID™, which allows users to detect low flying aircraft that are not in range of a base station and relay their position to ATC units and also provide the low flying aircraft with information of aircraft around them. Read about how this works here.

By adding a mobile link to provide additional data the next software release will increase the functionality of PilotAware well beyond anything available from any other system. This additional data contains Flight Information Services and also increases the types of EC types detected and significantly increases the amount of aircraft detected.

This takes Electronic Conspicuity to the next level.

How can PilotAware be so innovative?

In the previous Blog on PilotAware SkyGRID™, we showed how PilotAware can innovate because it is an infrastructure rather than a simple point to point EC device.

Apart from the obvious, the answer is that PilotAware contains a powerful computer installed in all equipped aircraft. This gives the user access to intelligent EC solutions over and above the point-to-point operation of traditional EC devices - as the following diagram shows.  

Fig 1 PilotAware Network Infrastructure


The interaction between the network nodes results in an intelligent network that is much more than simplistic Electronic Conspicuity that transmits and receives a beacon on a single frequency. PilotAware acts as a mediation device providing as much interoperability as possible between the different systems in use. This enables PilotAware to see more EC types than any other EC device available. and will continue to be more than just a simple EC device.

The new software, to be released at the end of March, will provide a WiFi link between your Rosetta or Classic device and your mobile phone or other suitable cellular hotspot devices. This will provide a third data link to complement (i) the direct data link, (ii) the rebroadcasts from the ATOM ground stations, and (iii) the relays from SkyGRID™.  The addition of a small WiFi dongle is required to do this. The software has been extensively tested and will be offered as a Beta release allowing confident users to take advantage of the significant improvement in aircraft detected and the provision of Flight Information Services. The limitations of the software will be documented in the release documentation for user acceptance.

The new infrastructure looks like this: extra data, increased redundancy, and availability through multiple data links. You just need to add a WiFi dongle and update to the latest software when it becomes available.

FIG 2 PilotAware enhanced Mobile Network infrastructure.

How to connect to PilotAware I-GRID.

Firstly, when available the new software will need to be uploaded. This is simply done using the PilotAware Firmware updater using IOS or Android devices.

https://www.pilotaware.com/knowledgebase/android-software-update

https://www.pilotaware.com/knowledgebase/ios-software-update

Secondly an inexpensive WiFi dongle needs to be inserted into a spare USB slot on the Rosetta to provide the link to your mobile phone.  The WiFi dongle must contain a RALINK 5370 Chip and will be available from the PilotAware Website with instructions on how to fit. We cannot recommend any other WiFi device will be suitable, due to variability in design.

WIFI module RALINK 5370

that The WIFI dongle can be inserted in any unused USB slot configured to AUTO. This is done on the  as seen on the configuration page. The existing WiFi on the PilotAware device is still used to connect to your smart device as normal using Easy VFR, Sky Demon etc.

Your mobile phone then needs to be set up as a WiFi Hotspot and the Rosetta paired to the mobile phone using your personal mobile phone password. How to do this will vary on the type of mobile phone you have chosen. Subsequent pairings should be automatic.

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

PilotAware I-GRID will now be enabled and ready to connect to the PilotAware servers through the mobile network and the PilotAware encrypted GRID.

Confirmation that all is working well will be seen via 4 greens on the top left of the latest PilotAware RADAR screen as shown below. If the GSM tab is orange then you are connected to the hotspot but have no local signal. Full instructions will be available when the software is released.

PilotAware RADAR Screen Top Banner

What does i-GRID and the latest Software release do for you?

The mobile connection to I-GRID will transmit data to and from the PilotAware servers. This 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, time-stamped data of all aircraft seen by your Rosetta unit will be transmitted to the PilotAware servers providing the best nationwide low level situational awareness of aircraft available from multiple sensors using multiple data paths. This reduces obscuration, provides even more redundancy and contributes to 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 screen shot shows the New RADAR screen with the weather map, traffic and points of interest enabled. The configuration buttons can be set to be hidden for normal operation.

PilotAware Weather Map

The following screenshot shows an iPad in split-screen mode showing SkyDemon and the PilotAware RADAR Screen at the same time. This shows the incredible amount of traffic that is detected when using ATOM GRID, SkyGRID™ and I-GRID simultaneously.  This will now be the norm for PilotAware users running the latest software and connecting to their mobile phone. Note, in normal operation the screen will be zoomed in to make the screen less busy.

The new software can be used without a mobile phone connection if required but you will not get the enhanced features.

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

Summary

The introduction of PilotAware I-GRID will move the art of Electronic Conspicuity to another level. This is only possible due to the power of the distributed computers throughout the PilotAware infrastructure providing intelligence at every stage.

By installing the next version of PilotAware software you will not only be getting Flight Information Services that other systems can only dream of, but also will be providing data to enhance the overall system for all users and they will be helping you. This includes all types of electronic conspicuity not just ADSB as other less intelligent first generation systems do.

To get the maximum out of PilotAware SkyGRID™, I-GRID and ATOM GRID please ensure that you have your Rosetta device positioned optimally, especially if it is used as a carry on device. You can check how good your EC installation (no matter what type it is ) is by using the PilotAware VECTOR service for free. Better still, permanently install your Rosetta or Classic unit using an internal or external installation kit. This will hide the wires, improve the performance and set you up for the next set of innovations coming soon from PilotAware.

Significant testing has been done that shows that the availability of the mobile network is between 80-95% at altitudes up to 4500ft. This does depend on the network used and the level of service cannot be guaranteed.  ­­­­­However with 4 different data links from multiple network nodes you have a level of built in redundancy not available to others.

Does your current EC device provide you with all the PilotAware innovation with the ability to provide more? If not come and join us at PilotAware and see all the other aircraft and information that you are missing.

Download the latest software using the PilotAware Installer app now.

For Android

https://www.pilotaware.com/knowledgebase/android-software-update

For Apple

https://www.pilotaware.com/knowledgebase/ios-software-update

Team PilotAware

March 2022

Continuously Improving Electronic Conspicuity Through Innovation.

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