PAGE Category

Category Archives: Important

FLARM Firmware Update

Scheduled and mandatory firmware update to all FLARM and PowerFLARM devices has been released

The scheduled and mandatory firmware update (version 6) has been released. The update is required for all FLARM-compatible designs. This includes classic FLARM, PowerFLARM and FLARM manufactured by LXNAV, LX Navigation, Garrecht/Butterfly/AIR Avionics, Triadis, Ediatec, Flytec/Bräuniger, OzFlarm and others. All devices must be updated before the next flight!

The update is available now on http://flarm.com/support/firmware-updates/ at no cost. We also recommend an update to the obstacle database as data changes frequently.

If the update is not applied, the device will stop to operate after March 31, 2015 and display an error code or message.

Because of the improvements in this update, like Tracking Privacy, Stealth Mode, Frequency use, and Alert Zones (skydiver drop zones, RPAS zones, etc.), this has to be a mandatory update. More information about these and other changes is available in the Release Notes, which are published in connection with the firmware update.

Because of improvements to the radio protocol, the new firmware is not compatible with previous versions. This means that FLARM, PowerFLARM and 3rd party devices with version 6 will not see and/or issue collision warnings about non-updated devices, and vice versa. This is however only an issue until April 1, 2015, when any remaining not updated devices will cease to operate anyway. To ensure that all devices can communicate with each other until April 1, it’s essential that they are updated with the new firmware version 6 before the next flight.

Due to technical limitations of some first-generation products introduced a decade ago and still being used, we could not provide an automatic switchover as in previous updates. We will however make some changes to the firmware, so future major updates will be seamless, as part of the new update process.

New update process

Previously, updates were required every 1-4 years according to an announced schedule. This was however challenging for some aircraft owners and maintenance organizations, since there was only a short time span in which the update could be made.

In the future, every FLARM device needs to be updated with the latest firmware version at least once per year (rolling 365 days). For devices installed in aircraft, this has to be part of the Aircraft Maintenance Program (AMP). The entry in the AMP is to be made during installation. If you have a FLARM installation that is not previously monitored by the AMP, an entry should be made as soon as possible.

You will now have much more flexibility with regards to when in the year the device is updated. This also means however that you may not be reminded of any updates in the future.

More information about the new update process is available on www.flarm.com under Support / Firmware updates.

Obstacle Database

Outdated obstacle database versions (OBS files) are obsolete and will no longer work. When the device is restarted after the firmware update, it will issue Error code B1 (see manual) if the old obstacle file is still in the device. The current Obstacle database and functionality extension licenses can be purchased from shop.flarm.com.

FLARM Technology processes obstacle updates from various sources monthly and recommends frequent updating of the database in the device.

Press release: Scheduled and mandatory firmware update to all FLARM and PowerFLARM devices; New TrackingServer

Baar, Switzerland – January 28, 2015 – FLARM Technology today announced that a scheduled and mandatory firmware update is soon to be released for all FLARM devices. The update is required for all FLARM-compatible designs. It includes classic FLARM, PowerFLARM and FLARM manufactured by LXNAV, LX Navigation, Garrecht/AIR Avionics, Triadis, Ediatec, Flytec/Bräuniger, OzFlarm and others.

The update will be released by early March 2015 on www.flarm.com at no cost. It includes safety features that increase the effectiveness and robustness of collision warnings, further decreasing nuisance alarms, for example by taking into account wind. It also includes new features to alert about temporary danger areas such as skydiver drop zones, RC plane- and UAV zones. Position and message encoding with newly introduced optional no-tracking setting will address privacy for ground-based tracking solutions while improving performance and system integrity. Some regions will see a change in operating frequency, to improve range. The new obstacle database now handles additional obstacle areas and types. Old obstacle database versions are obsolete and will no longer work. Obstacle database and functionality extension licenses can be purchased from shop.flarm.com.

This scheduled update has been announced with the last major firmware update in 2011, and is part of the FLARM system maintenance concept since FLARM was introduced to the market in 2004.

If the free FLARM update is not applied, the device will no longer be operational and stop to operate after March 31, 2015.

Every FLARM device must be updated to the latest firmware and obstacle database version at least once per year, which should be part of the regular aircraft maintenance program. Failure to do so may render the device fully or partially inoperable.

FLARM TrackingServer

In spring 2015, FLARM Technology will introduce a scalable TrackingServer service, connecting FLARM ground stations and 3rd party receivers. This will enable tracking of participating aircraft, for example during competitions and by permitting flying clubs to track their own aircraft. It will fully support the new no-tracking setting and existing FLARM “Stealth Mode” for full global privacy. Search & Rescue operations (SAR) will have fast and comprehensive access to the data. TrackingServer is designed to combine various sources of tracking data such as FLARM radio packages (raw and dataport), smart phone tracking, SPOT, FlarmNet and other sources, with its core data and service accessible for everybody at no cost. FLARM ground stations and airborne systems will eventually rebroadcast data received from other sources to ensure maximal coverage regardless of the technology used, using FLARM’s innovative, patented mesh-technology. FLARM Technology welcomes other data sources and service enablers to collaborate with TrackingServer.

About FLARM Technology GmbH

FLARM Technology is the producer of the award-winning airborne collision avoidance system with the same name. The technology has undergone rapid growth thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of their products. Today, nearly 30’000 FLARM-compatible devices are in use worldwide. Initially developed for the glider community, powered aircraft and UAV operators are increasingly using FLARM, since it greatly reduces the risk of mid-air and obstacle collisions. In contrast to the bulky and expensive TCAS system used in airliners, FLARM has been designed to meet the specific needs of smaller aircraft. The newly certified PowerFLARM devices are ideally suited for General Aviation, since they also issue traffic warnings for transponder and ADS-B equipped aircraft.