uAvionix https://www.uavionix.com Sense and Avoid for Drones and GA Wed, 17 Jan 2018 00:43:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.3 114697919 uAvionix, Leader in Drone Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance Systems, Secures Series B Funding from Airbus Ventures, Playground Global, and Redpoint Ventures https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-leader-in-drone-communications-navigation-and-surveillance-systems-secures-series-b-funding-from-airbus-ventures-playground-global-and-redpoint-ventures/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 22:58:31 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=16025 The investment reinforces uAvionix’s mission to enable airspace awareness through high integrity aviation solutions for both manned and unmanned aircraft.

Bigfork, MT, November 27, 2017

uAvionix Corporation – a leading provider of communications, navigation, and surveillance (CNS) solutions for manned and unmanned aircraft – announced today it has closed a $5 million round of funding led by new investor Airbus Ventures and with continuing participation from existing investors Playground Global and Redpoint Ventures.  uAvionix also expects to announce additional participants in this Series B round shortly.  This investment brings uAvionix’s total funding to $10 million, further accelerating its product innovation and global expansion.

The new equity funding fuels expansion of the company’s product line and services in both unmanned and manned aviation.  uAvionix’ signature capabilities for uniquely innovating lower size weight and power consumption (SWaP) products achieve attractive price points for a wide range of high quality products: since its founding in 2015, uAvionix has launched over 20 successful products including ADS-B transceivers, receivers, Mode A/C/S transponders, and GNSS position sources for general aviation, drones, and airport surface vehicles for both the certified and uncertified markets.

With its lead investment in this round, Airbus Ventures CEO Thomas d’Halluin joins uAvionix’s Board of Directors.  “At Airbus Ventures, we’re constantly on the lookout for innovative companies enabling future airspace integration for both unmanned aircraft and eVTOL transportation,” notes d’Halluin.  “In a remarkably short span of time uAvionix has emerged as both product- and thought- leaders in this critical space.  Airbus Ventures is excited to come on board and help further propel its success.

Paul Beard, CEO uAvionix adds, “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the pioneering investment team of Playground Global and Redpoint Ventures, and we are honored they continue to believe in us and our mission and decided to invest further in this round. Now with the addition of Airbus Ventures and the powerhouse it represents, we couldn’t be more thrilled about what will be achieved together.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

 

uAvionix Media Contact:
Ryan Reed
rreed@uavionix.com
(884) 827-2372 x204

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The Aviation Technology Gap https://www.uavionix.com/blog/the-aviation-technology-gap/ Mon, 27 Nov 2017 15:01:28 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=15982 Ryan Braun – COO – uAvionix

I am a pilot and an engineer. The pilot in me loves the simplest, purest airplane I can fly. A Cub, a Champ, an Ercoupe. The engineer in me cringes every time ATC asks me to cycle my transponder, when I gaze at INOP placards, and my GPS hasn’t been updated this decade.

How are we approaching 2020 with aircraft electronics that are nearly indistinguishable from their early 1990s counterparts? Tearing down most avionics would reveal technology more similar to a bag phone than an iPhone.

My colleague Ryan Reed eloquently posed and answered the question, Could drone mania save General Aviation? Today I want to look at something close to my heart – the technology gap.

The modern consumer electronics industry moves at a breakneck pace. Each generation of smartphone brings such startling innovation that we forget what was deemed impossible just a few years prior. By contrast, aviation moves at a broken pace. Safety is rightfully paramount, but well-intentioned regulation has overburdened development processes.

There is hope, however. The FAA recognizes the technology gap and been working hard on innovative programs, including Non-Required Safety Enhancing Equipment (NORSEE), progressive certification programs, and the Part 23 rewrite. We, along with a number of other manufacturers large and small, are eager and willing participants in these programs. The results will become apparent as increasingly sophisticated electronics find their way into your cockpit.

We don’t usually use this blog space for overt self-promotion, but uAvionix has been releasing a line of increasingly sophisticated devices to the General Aviation market that bear mention. These devices strike at the heart of how we can bridge the technology gap.

We founded uAvionix to bring aviation technologies and safety to the drone market. To do so we created the groundbreaking Ping ADS-B radio. Miniaturized to a single chip, Ping makes ADS-B accessible not only to drones, but to the next generation of manned avionics.

In partnership with ForeFlight, this summer we introduced the first thoroughly modern Wi-Fi ADS-B receiver – Scout. Conceived with uAvionix’s groundbreaking Ping technology and tightly paired with ForeFlight’s industry-leading software, Scout sets the bar for portable aviation electronics. It simply has no parallel in elegance, size or power consumption.

More recently we introduced the market to skyBeacon, and interest has been through the roof. A complete, all in one solution for ADS-B OUT compliance, skyBeacon installs on your aircraft in just a few minutes. No poking holes in your aircraft to run new antennas, no adding breakers, and no hardwiring to existing avionics. It is as simple as replacing your existing navigation light and walking through a nearly automatic configuration process on your smartphone. We aim to bring the installation cost as close to zero as possible, which will help a wide variety of aircraft install this critical safety technology.

We have started delivering skyBeacon to the experimental and Light Sport markets, and are working hard to bring it to certified aircraft. The aforementioned FAA programs are designed specifically to enable the development and certification of cutting-edge devices like skyBeacon, and we’re proud to be deeply involved in these important efforts.

We view our role in the industry as a critical one. We’re able to bridge the gap between the high technology and traditional aviation worlds. We also view our market opportunity as unique; the convergence of manned and unmanned aviation will have positive impacts on both. Just as smartphone sensors made low-cost drones available, drones can bring down the cost and increase the technology of manned avionics. Simple economics supports that higher quantities will be good for a stagnant manned aircraft population.

Manned aviation also has much to offer unmanned aviation. Only with safe and fully integrated traffic management will the economic benefits of drones be fully realized. The integrity and experience of established manned systems and procedures will help safely expand unmanned operations.

We’re excited to demonstrate our commitment to aviation in all forms and look forward to the opportunity to innovate and surprise.

Ryan Braun
Chief Operating Officer
Fixed wing private and Part 107 UAS pilot

 

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uAvionix Joins ForeFlight Connect Program with echoUAT and SkyEcho ADS-B Transceivers https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-joins-foreflight-connect-program-with-echouat-and-skyecho-ads-b-transceivers/ Tue, 10 Oct 2017 06:00:02 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=12818

Bigfork, MT, October 10, 2017 – uAvionix Corporation announced today that both the echoUAT and SkyEcho ADS-B Transceivers are officially supported on ForeFlight Mobile, the leading flight planning app for the iPad® and iPhone®.   As part of the Foreflight Connect program,  echoUAT and SkyEcho display ADS-B weather and traffic through the ForeFlight Mobile application.

“We are very excited for our echoUAT and SkyEcho users to have the full ForeFlight Mobile experience to deliver maximum situational awareness for pilots,” said Paul Beard, CEO of uAvionix. “Pilots have overwhelmingly expressed the desire for our products and ForeFlight Mobile to work together and we are pleased to announce official support and integration via ForeFlight Connect.”

echoUAT combines affordability, EFIS compatibility, and ease of installation in a remotely mounted ADS-B transceiver for Experimental and Light Sport Aircraft. At only $999, it delivers dual-link (1090MHz and 978MHz) receivers and a 978MHz UAT Class B1S transmitter.  echoUAT includes integrated Wi-Fi and direct wired communication options for use with popular transponders and EFIS models from Advanced Flight Systems, GRT, and MGL Avionics. The internal, automatic transponder monitor integrates with legacy Mode C and S transponders for maximum retrofit capability at no additional cost. The echoUAT, designed to meet the performance requirements of TSO-C154c, is compliant with FAR 91.227 for operation in the National Airspace System.

The SkyEcho portable ADS-B transceiver is the third uAvionix approved portable ADS-B Out solution under the UK’s Electronic Conspicuity Devices program. It combines ADS-B receive, transmit, an integrated SBAS GPS based upon uAvionix’s TSO’d FYXnav, an altitude pressure sensor, and Wi-Fi in a portable battery powered package weighing in at 200 grams.  SkyEcho is intended for voluntary use on registered and non-registered UK Annex II aircraft, non-complex EASA aircraft of <5700kg and for gliders and balloons within uncontrolled UK airspace.

ADS-B Traffic from echoUAT in ForeFlight Mobile

echoUAT, SkyEcho, and ForeFlight Mobile are revolutionary products receiving praise from both critics and the flying community. When paired with ForeFlight Mobile pilots experience seamless ADS-B weather and traffic data overlaid onto the many charts and maps that the ForeFlight app brings to the cockpit.   Learn more about the EchoUAT and SkyEcho at uAvionix.com.

About ForeFlight:
ForeFlight was founded in 2007 by aviation entrepreneurs who set out to build elegant, high-performing flight planning and flight bag apps for pilots. ForeFlight Mobile, the company’s flagship product, is used by individual pilots and professional flight crews all over the world to efficiently gather weather and destination information, route plan and file, access and manage electronic charts and maps, organize flight publications, reference as an enroute navigation aid, and manage iPad deployments. ForeFlight serves pilots in all segments of aviation, including personal, business, commercial, and military. In addition, the company’s Fanatical Pilot Support™ Team delivers amazingly fast and friendly customer service. Learn more at foreflight.com.

About uAvionix:
uAvionix has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in embedded RF engineering, hardware, software, and cloud services to develop the world’s smallest, lightest and most affordable ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GPS receivers for General Aviation and unmanned systems.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

uAvionix Media Contact:
Ryan Reed
rreed@uavionix.com
(884) 827-2372 ext. 204

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UAT in the UK https://www.uavionix.com/blog/uat-in-the-uk/ Mon, 21 Aug 2017 14:59:25 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=10952

Last week, the United Kingdom (UK) Civil Aviation Authority released this press announcement.  The TL;DR here is that the UK has officially announced that ADS-B is the “preferred national system for electronic conspicuity.”

(Before going any further, “electronic conspicuity” (EC) is the UK term for “see and be seen” by electronic means.)

This is a big deal in UK aviation, and possibly the EU.  You might be asking yourself “Why…isn’t ADS-B the obvious choice for this?”

Unlike in the US, a few proprietary systems have taken hold, filling a gap that the lack of a national ADS-B system has left.   These systems use ISM band frequencies to transmit the aircraft positions to anyone who might be listening.  Much like ADS-B, if you have a receiver onboard, or on the ground, you can pick up the signals and have a good understanding of where you are in relation to other traffic.  These products have options to receive and display traffic on their own frequency, on each other’s frequency, and even ADS-B and transponder based traffic.

Now we have nothing but good things to say about these products and the people behind them.  They saw a critical safety need and filled it.  They also have a passionate user base.  The problem from the CAA’s perspective is the splintering of technologies – and the proprietary nature of those technologies.  Where does it or will it end?  Will there be a battle of continuous new EC frequencies for which every couple of years a new receiver needs to be added?  What about ATC compatibility?  Sure –  the feeds could be fed to ATC from a ground network, but is that a good idea?

If you’re going to standardize, it makes sense to do so on the international standard of ADS-B.  That’s what this announcement was all about.  In order to encourage ADS-B use, the CAA announced four different trials – of which uAvionix is proud to be a participant in all, and a co-owner of one.

Two of the trials deal with how low-cost surveillance systems can enhance safety at smaller airfields.  One of these involves a medium sized commercial airport and mixes ADS-B and Mode S surveillance capabilities to provide situational awareness enhancement to ATC.  The other involves smaller GA airfields with ADS-B only.  For both of these, uAvionix is providing our SkyEcho portable ADS-B transceiver to populate the airborne component of the trial, and in the case of the GA airports, we are also providing our PingStation ADS-B receiver for surveillance and visibility from the ground.

The third trial involves testing whether simultaneous transmission from an installed Mode S transponder and a portable ADS-B transceiver on the same aircraft causes problems from an ATC perspective.  Currently, there is a prohibition on doing this.  This means that those aircraft that already have Mode S would have to voluntarily incur significant expense to install a Mode S/ES ADS-B installed transponder to also transmit ADS-B to participate in the EC community.  That’s likely not going to happen, and a great many aircraft already have Mode S transponders.   This reduces the likelihood of getting everyone to play on the same ADS-B EC technology.

Here’s the big one…

The fourth trial is the most exciting by far.  In the US, we use Universal Access Transceiver (UAT) technology on the 978MHz frequency as an additional ADS-B frequency.  UAT not only relieves some of the spectrum congestion on the 1090MHz frequency used in the US and everywhere else in the world, but also provides incredible safety enhancing services like the transmission of real-time weather and traffic.

So, for this trial, uAvionix will broadcast real-time weather and data over 978MHz/UAT in a select portion of the UK.   If you’ve been following along, this immediately raises lots of questions –

“But you said the rest of the world does not use 978MHz, so is anybody listening in the UK?”

Yes!  The SkyEcho product is not only a 1090MHz transceiver, but it also is a receiver of 978MHz UAT as well.  There are also other portable receivers which will work as well – like the ForeFlight Scout, Appareo Stratus, and Stratux flavor of DIY devices.

“OK, so the devices exist, but how do I display the weather and what will I see?”

For this trial, we are pleased to team up with SkyDemon, our trial co-owner, who will be displaying the traffic in their excellent and very popular electronic flight bag (EFB) app. Teaming up with SkyDemon for this trial ensures a great many GA pilots in the UK will have access to this incredible feature.


Real-time in flight radar shown on SkyDemon

“Where!!??”

The initial broadcast location is from the town of Milborne Port, which conveniently coincides with the SkyDemon offices.  We anticipate about a 50NM broadcast radius from this station.  See the map below for a visual.

We hope to work with CAA and SkyDemon to quickly expand the trial to include other locations, such as the airports where the surveillance trials are being conducted.

Wrapping up – we couldn’t be any more excited about this.  This is the first instance of the use of UAT outside of the US.  We can’t wait to see what happens next.

Wait – does this have ANYTHING to do with Drones?

Does it?  All we will say at this point is that if the 978MHz UAT band is opened up for use, and, if CAA officially prefers ADS-B as the EC solution of choice, there is sure a good argument that can be made for low-power UAT for EC for drones.

Stay tuned for trial #5….

Christian Ramsey
Christian RamseyPresident
“Christian Ramsey, President at uAvionix. Formerly, he was a Deputy Program Manager on the FAA’s Surveillance and Broadcast Services (i.e. ADS-B) program. He is a private pilot and licensed UAS pilot under Part 107.”

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uAvionix reveals SkyBeacon-the first near zero-install ADS-B Out Solution https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-reveals-skybeacon-the-first-near-zero-install-ads-b-out-solution/ Fri, 21 Jul 2017 13:45:18 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=10021

Palo Alto, CA – July 20, 2017, uAvionix Corporation revealed SkyBeacon, the world’s first near zero-install ADS-B Out solution meeting the US 2020 ADS-B Mandate.  SkyBeacon’s innovative design combines the latest LED navigation light technology with an ultra-compact Universal Access Transceiver ADS-B Out solution. With this solution, installation of ADS-B is as simple as changing a lightbulb.  SkyBeacon will be available Q1 2018 for experimental and light sport aircraft.

“After a review of multiple aircraft we realized the position lights offered an ideal installation location,” said CTO Jeff Walker. “The SkyBeacon design positions the WAAS GPS near the top of the wing, offering an unobstructed view of the sky, while the UAT antenna remains clear of the airframe and vertically polarized.  The mounting location along with readily available power help provide an install that is simple, and near zero effort.  SkyBeacon addresses the challenges of equipage and offers the type of solution pilots have been demanding.  It is affordable, easy to configure, and mounts in minutes.  In addition, SkyBeacon will dramatically reduce avionics shop backlog.”

 

The new patent-pending design of SkyBeacon delivers bolt on 2020 compliance.  Remove the current wingtip position light and replace it with the SkyBeacon.  The existing wiring and circuit breaker provide power, no airframe modifications or additional antennas are required. As an added bonus, the upgraded LED position lights deliver increased safety and night visibility at no additional cost.

 

Goof-Proof Configuration:  Upon initial power up, the SkyBeacon mobile application will automatically configure the ICAO address, emitter type, aircraft length, width and GPS offsets by accessing the aircraft registration information.  The automatic configuration further reduces installation time and the number of misconfigured systems operating in the National Airspace.

Broadcasting on the UAT/978MHz frequency, SkyBeacon offers rule compliant operation up to FL180 within the U.S.  An optional matching companion position light will be available to provide ADS-B In capability.

SkyBeacon is pending certification via approved model list (AML) for STC’d installation on hundreds of aircraft makes and models. SkyBeacon joins uAvionix’s ever expanding and innovative ADS-B product line at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, July 24-30, 2017, Hangar B Booth 2118.  A demonstration of the product installation will take place daily from 1:00PM-1:08 PM.

About uAvionix Corporation

uAvionix develops the world’s smallest, lightest and most affordable ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GPS receivers.  Based in Palo Alto, uAvionix has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in embedded RF engineering, sUAS operations, avionics, hardware, software, and cloud services.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

 

Contact: Ryan Reed
Communications
rreed@uavionix.com
(844) 827-2372 x204

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uAvionix Joins Forces with ForeFlight to Bring Low Cost ADS-B to General Aviation https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-joins-forces-with-foreflight-to-bring-low-cost-ads-b-to-general-aviation/ Mon, 17 Jul 2017 19:37:31 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=9830

Palo Alto, CA., July 17, 2017 – uAvionix and ForeFlight join forces to announce the availability of Scout, a revolutionary portable, dual-band ADS-B receiver that delivers inflight weather and traffic information to the ForeFlight Mobile app in the smallest, most elegant form-factor on the market. Retailing at $199 USD, Scout is the industry’s most affordable off-the-shelf ADS-B In solution.

Scout is easy to setup and use – there’s no hardware to assemble, no software to download, nothing to configure. Simply position on any window surface using Scout’s flexible ball-joint and suction cup mounting system, plug into a power source, and go fly. Scout can be powered using any 5 volt Micro-USB power source, including existing USB chargers installed in aircraft or rechargeable USB batteries.

Scout is the latest example of uAvionix’s vision of enabling General Aviation with technologies developed for the drone market. “Every aircraft – whether manned or unmanned – is inherently safer with ADS-B,” said Christian Ramsey, President of uAvionix. “The ability to see and avoid weather and other traffic should be something that all airspace users can take advantage of. Our partnership with ForeFlight on Scout is a significant moment in the availability of this safety technology to pilots everywhere.”

“We are excited to bring Scout to market in collaboration with uAvionix,” said Tyson Weihs, ForeFlight co-founder and CEO. “We want every pilot flying with the benefits of ADS-B In. The combination of an ADS-B In solution with ForeFlight makes flying safer and we believe has led to a meaningful reduction in weather related incidents and accidents. We are delighted to now offer – for those pilots and operators on a limited budget – a low-cost option that will increase the number of pilots who can fly with this essential safety-enhancing capability. Inflight weather and traffic delivers better situational awareness and leads to better decision making.”

Customers can connect their iPad or iPhone directly to Scout’s integrated Wi-Fi network and receive inflight subscription-free ADS-B weather and traffic information displayed exclusively on the ForeFlight Mobile app. Scout supports up to four devices as well as Cockpit Sharing, a feature that enables users to easily share routes between all devices on Scout’s network. It’s perfect for a co-pilot or CFI to follow-along and monitor weather and traffic.

Scout supports the full range of FIS-B weather and data, including animated regional and CONUS NEXRAD, METARs, TAFs, AIR/SIGMETs, PIREPs, winds and temps aloft, TFRs, NOTAMs, and SUA information. Scout can also receive air-to-air traffic information from ADS-B Out equipped aircraft and re-broadcast traffic information (ADS-R and TIS-B) from FAA ground towers. Customers should keep in mind that if their aircraft is not equipped with ADS-B Out, then they will have a limited view of traffic on ForeFlight.

Over-the-air firmware updates are delivered through ForeFlight Mobile and completed in a matter of seconds, future-proofing Scout and ensuring it remains a cockpit resource for a long time to come.

All ForeFlight subscription plans support connectivity with Scout. Customers can purchase Scout at the ForeFlight exhibit (Hangar C) at this year’s EAA AirVenture or online at Amazon.

About uAvionix:

uAvionix develops the world’s smallest, lightest and most affordable ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GPS receivers.  Based in Palo Alto, uAvionix has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in embedded RF engineering, sUAS operations and compliance, hardware, software, and cloud services.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

About ForeFlight

ForeFlight was founded in 2007 by aviation entrepreneurs who set out to build elegant, high-performing flight planning and flight bag apps for pilots. ForeFlight Mobile, the company’s flagship product, is used by individual pilots and professional flight crews all over the world to efficiently gather weather and destination information, route plan and file, access and manage electronic charts and maps, organize flight publications, reference as an enroute navigation aid, and manage iPad deployments. ForeFlight serves pilots in all segments of aviation, including personal, business, commercial, and military. In addition, the company’s Fanatical Pilot Support™ Team delivers amazingly fast and friendly customer service. Learn more at foreflight.com.

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uAvionix Announces PingStation – an All-Weather Low-Altitude Dual Band ADS-B Receiver https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-announces-pingstation-an-all-weather-low-altitude-dual-band-ads-b-receiver/ Wed, 14 Jun 2017 03:37:38 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=9146

Palo Alto, CA – June 13, 2017

uAvionix Corporation, the leading Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) avionics solution provider, announced the introduction of PingStation™ – an all-weather, networkable ADS-B receiver for low and high altitude aircraft surveillance.  PingStation is robust enough to be permanently mounted outdoors in harsh environmental conditions and small enough to be used as a mobile asset for roaming operations.

In its debut application, PingStation is a component in Phase 1 of Project UAS Secure Autonomous Flight Environment (U-SAFE), as part of a low-altitude Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) corridor extending from Griffiss International Airport to Syracuse, NY.   Project U-SAFE is being funded via a grant from Empire State Development Corporation.  Additionally, PingStation will provide ADS-B receiver capability for the Gryphon Sensors Mobile UTM System – Mobile SkyLight.

PingStation is a dual band (978MHz and 1090MHz), networkable ADS-B receiver with a Power-Over-Ethernet (PoE) interface enclosed in an IP67 rated protective enclosure.  Integrated is the TSO certified uAvionix FYX GPS receiver for high-resolution timestamping for critical applications.  It provides ground, surface, or low-altitude ADS-B surveillance within line of sight of the antenna, with ranges exceeding 250NM depending on the transmission power.

PingStation has multiple uses within the aviation industry, to include – 

  • Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM) systems
  • A component of UAS Ground Control Stations (GCS)
  • A component of UAS Detect and Avoid (DAA) systems
  • Airport surface and region situational awareness
  • FBO/flight school fleet tracking and management

 

Multiple subscription free software/data interface types allow easy integration directly into end applications such as UAS ground control stations, airport surface displays, or cloud-based situational awareness applications.  Natively, PingStation provides integration into Virtual Radar Server, an open-source situational awareness mapping display system, the Kongsberg Geospatial IRIS UAS Airspace Situational Awareness Display, and INDMEX Aviation’s Airboss airport situational display suite.


Figure 1: PingStation Range Plot in Virtual Radar Server showing 50NM Range Rings

“uAvionix is excited to add PingStation to our product line of ADS-B transceivers and receivers,” said Paul Beard, CEO of uAvionix. “Our customers informed us for the need of robust and low-cost surveillance solutions to complement the airborne equipment used in their operations.”

About uAvionix Corporation
uAvionix develops the world’s smallest, lightest and most affordable ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GPS receivers.  Based in Palo Alto, uAvionix has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in embedded RF engineering, sUAS operations, avionics, hardware, software, and cloud services.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

 

Contact: Ryan Reed
Communications
rreed@uavionix.com
(844) 827-2372 x204

 

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Could drone mania save General Aviation? https://www.uavionix.com/blog/could-drone-mania-save-general-aviation/ https://www.uavionix.com/blog/could-drone-mania-save-general-aviation/#comments Wed, 31 May 2017 16:52:17 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=8805

A longtime drone denier comes around

Ryan Reed, Reformed Drone Skeptic – VP Communications – uAvionix

Every time I heard the word drone, I became more annoyed.  As a remote sensing professional, married to a Land Surveyor, we were buried under news about drones changing the face of the mapping industry.  Magazine covers, endless articles, webinars, it seemed as though the media surrounding our professions had become one giant mouthpiece for the drone industry.  My annoyance was compounded by the fact that I was also a pilot.  Not just any pilot, but one of those crazy, low altitude, helicopter pilots.  When people would bring up drones I had both an emotional and physical reaction.  I would repeat my catechism to myself or to anyone who would listen.

“Drones are not real aircraft!”
“Drone pilots are not pilots!”
“This is the worst thing that could happen to the airspace and General Aviation (GA).”
“In fact, it’s the death knell for GA.  The rise of the machines is upon us. “
“That’s it, game over man, it’s game over. “

I’d have conversations with friends who were pilots, and together, we’d reinforce each other’s mutual drone loathing.

Comments like, “the best thing that could happen is for one of those to fly into a 747,” weren’t uncommon.   Of course, there were other comments I’m sure no respectable publication can reprint.

One day we were at the local FBO taking on fuel for a mapping project.  A young student pilot, who had just finished some pattern work walked over to see what we were up to.

“That is a cool helicopter, what brings you here?”
“We are collecting some data  for a stream restoration project using a laser mapping technology called LIDAR.”
“Oh, yeah I do mapping, I fly drones.”

Oh here we go, I’m not even safe from drones at the airport.

“Actually drones got me interested in flying and that’s why I’m here getting my rating.”

The conversation went on for a bit, but it was mostly mapping tech talk that I’m sure most readers would not find eye-wateringly exciting.  It took a few days, but the short exchange with the young pilot transformed my thinking.  Perhaps I’ve been looking at this drone thing all wrong.  In the back of my mind, a madman was quietly asking, “What if drones could be a key part of a General Aviation revival?”

Well, I guess it depends, does GA need a revival?

There are a number of articles that have been written about the shrinking pilot population.  The most commonly cited causes are lack of interest, relatively high costs, and an aging pilot population.  While the articles may disagree about the specific cause, no one is disputing the fact that both light aircraft sales and active private pilots are in decline.  After meeting the young man at the FBO, I began looking at the sheer volume of drone ads and press in a new light.  Let’s look at the drone market from the perspective of interest, cost, and age demographics.

Interest:

The drone enthusiasts of today are learning about the properties of flight and many are building aircraft in their spare time.  They share many EAA members’ obsessions; flying, tuning, tweaking and flying again.  The aircraft looks different, but the properties of flight haven’t changed, nor has the excitement of seeing the world from a new low altitude point of view.

Ok, so how do local GA communities find these new aviators?  We don’t exactly have budgets for a grand marketing campaign.
Easy, they are going to come to you.
Really?
Yes, really, in fact, some of them already have and you probably missed out. 

If you are not already a rated pilot, you need to take an exam at an approved test center to fly a drone for commercial purposes.  Many approved test centers are also flight schools.  According to the FAA, over 30,000 people have completed the Part 107 test process in the last 9 months, in the last 12 months, 17,000 private pilot certificates were issued.   Part 107 licenses for drones are bringing thousands of warm bodies with an interest in flight through the doors of flight schools.   As part of the test process, flight schools could offer discovery flights to new and current remote pilot certificate holders.  My own path to pilot started with one discovery flight.  After the first flight, my life and bank accounts would never be the same.   The problem is, I waited 30 years to take that first flight.  If I had been introduced earlier, my career path and logbook might look completely different.

So let’s take advantage of the interest in drones and flight, to win some new students for the flight school, future contributors to the general aviation economy, and create better-educated drone operators.  Did I mention increasing the power of the voice and reach of GA?  No, I guess I forgot that one.  Add it to growing list of benefits.

Costs:

Drone mania can drive down costs for GA.  One of the barriers to ownership for most GA pilots is cost.  The forecast for drone numbers is staggering.  Within the last year, 600,000 drones have been registered in the U.S.  There were 265,165 total registered manned aircraft on the FAA rolls when I started this article. Almost a century of aircraft on the books and more than double the number drones were registered in one year.  New single engine aircraft sold in the U.S. average around 1,000 units annually.  The FAA estimates 600,000 more commercial drones in the next year.  As commercial drone use becomes more common, drones will need the same equipment our manned aircraft carry.   In the case of drones, these devices are required to be extremely small, power efficient and affordable.   How would you like to have inexpensive redundant autopilots, tiny high-integrity GPS, and radar in your Cessna?  Immediate benefits will come from greater safety through improved redundancy, intelligence, and lower costs as product development is amortized over hundreds of thousands of units instead of a few hundred.  Additional gains will be realized through improved performance margins and better fuel economy as a result of significant weight savings.  Perhaps even lower insurance premiums as a result of more affordable safety technology.  OK, I’ll admit that insurance part is probably fantasy.

Aging population:

The greatest generation brought us the largest built-in pilot population in history.  Partially because a large number of military pilots transitioned out of the service but kept flying.  General Aviation hit its peak in the 1970’s and since then has been in decline.  Every year a few of my aging friends stop flying,  either because they sideline themselves for safety or because they lose their medical.  Drones have the potential to create a General Aviation renaissance.  We have tens of thousands of young people interested in drones.  They are interested in flight, in technology, in the adventure.  They also love social media and sharing their experience, giving general aviation new visibility and some much-needed outreach.

The Challenge:

In the face of a great opportunity, we have two choices as pilots.  We can be ambassadors and evangelists, expanding the general aviation culture to a group primed to experience all that commanding an aircraft has to offer.  Alternatively, we can continue on as I and my peers once did,  rolling my eyes, groaning, and moaning that drones are the end of general aviation as we know it, when in fact, the opposite could be true.  I’ve made my choice and joined the religion.  After being staunchly anti-drone, I have taken my own medicine and joined up with a drone avionics company to improve safety and integration of drones as they inevitably join the airspace.  I’ve taken my fingers out of my ears and am actively engaged in shaping this new generation of aviators.

Ryan Reed
Ryan ReedVP Communications and Marketing
All around hand at uAvionix, rotorcraft and UAS pilot under Part 107.
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uAvionix introduces SkyEcho Electronic Conspicuity into UK Market https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-introduces-skyecho-electronic-conspicuity-into-uk-market/ Wed, 31 May 2017 04:38:52 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=8783

May 31, 2017, Palo Alto, CA: uAvionix Corporation (www.uavionix.com), the leading Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) avionics solution provider enters the United Kingdom (UK) General Aviation market with SkyEcho, a portable ADS-B IN and OUT device for electronic conspicuity (EC). uAvionix aims to enable the General Aviation industry by leveraging solutions developed for drones to transform avionics design and dramatically reduce the size and cost of ownership.

uAvionix redefines portable ADS-B with the introduction of SkyEcho.  The SkyEcho weighs only 200 grams and is the third uAvionix approved portable ADS-B Out solution under the UK’s Electronic Conspicuity Devices program. It combines ADS-B receive and transmit, an integrated SBAS GPS based upon uAvionix’s TSO’d FYXNAV, an altitude pressure sensor, and Wi-Fi in a portable battery powered package.  SkyEcho is intended for voluntary use on registered and non-registered UK Annex II aircraft, non-complex EASA aircraft of less than 5700kg and for gliders and balloons within uncontrolled UK airspace.

 

The SkyEcho’s Wi-Fi GDL 90 protocol is compatible with SkyDemon and other popular Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) applications for the display and alerting capability of nearby air traffic.  SkyEcho turns the traditional ‘see and avoid’ concept into ‘see, BE SEEN, and avoid’.

“SkyEcho is a unique platform that is enabled by the UK CAA’s progressive stance on portable ADS-B.” states uAvionix President, Christian Ramsey, “Never before have the benefits of ADS-B Electronic Conspicuity been available in an elegant, portable and affordable package.”

The Electronic Conspicuity program is the result of a collaboration of regulatory and industry entities including the UK CAA, NATS, the Light Aircraft Association (LAA) and the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).  It is the first program worldwide to define standards for both low-power and portable ADS-B transceivers.

 

About uAvionix Corporation:

uAvionix develops the world’s smallest, lightest and most affordable ADS-B transceivers, transponders, and GPS receivers.  Based in Palo Alto, uAvionix has gathered a cross-disciplinary team of experts in embedded RF engineering, sUAS operations and compliance, hardware, software, and cloud services.

For more information, visit our website: www.uavionix.com
Follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/uAvionix

 

uAvionix Media Contact:
Ryan Reed
rreed@uavionix.com
(884) 827-2372 x204

 

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uAvionix named XPONENTIAL 2017 Startup Showdown Winner https://www.uavionix.com/news/uavionix-named-xponential-2017-startup-showdown-winner/ Mon, 15 May 2017 18:52:54 +0000 https://www.uavionix.com/?p=8390

This year, Xponential featured sixty-five startup companies from the exploding sUAS industry.  Each applicant presented their products and services for consideration. A diverse panel of industry judges then selected sixteen Semi-Finalists, who competed in Tuesday’s knockout round at Xponential.   After the Tuesday presentations, the judges selected three companies to continue as Finalists.

The Finalists:

Inertial Sense LLC – This Utah-based company designs and sells the world’s smallest GPS/INS navigation system. Used for drones, payloads and other unmanned systems, their products track motion in all types of environments.

uAvionix Corporation – An unmanned systems device company that builds critical avionics components required to fly unmanned aircraft safely and legally. Their products, ranging from 5 to 100 grams, provide UAS tracking, surveillance and navigation solutions.  uAvionix also provides solutions to manned aviation and airport operations.

WiBotic, Inc. – A wireless power solutions company promoting fast and automated charging for robotic systems. Wibotic maximizes the battery life of your aerial, mobile and aquatic systems, and offers fleet management solutions to deal with the challenging task of battery maintenance.

The finals:

Interial Sense, uAvionix, and WiBotic, Inc made very compelling presentations for their offerings.  After the final round of presentations the judges began difficult decision of selecting a winner.  The ballroom was packed and the suspense was palpable as everyone awaited the decision.  After a significant deliberation, the judges announced they had selected uAvionix as the winner.  uAvionix will receive a $15,000 cash prize and one on one consultation time with the judges.

Startup Showdown Judges

Gareth Keane
Gareth Keane, Investment Manager

Qualcomm Ventures

Jonathan Rubin
Jonathan Rubin, Partner

Westbury Group

John Kolaczynski
John Kolaczynski, Head of Corporate Development

Airware’s Commercial Drone Fund

Nir-Tel Oren
Nir Tel-Oren, UAS R&D Manager, Israel Aerospace Industries

Rick Clonan
Rick Clonan, Vice President, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, CenterState CEO

 

 

 

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