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Introducing PowerFLARM Fusion — Back to Simple!

Over the years, many features and details have been added to PowerFLARM, making it harder to understand what is going on: Is the configuration correct? What firmware version is installed, and does it need updating? Was the log file written to the flash drive? What does a solid amber light mean again? Oh my.

PowerFLARM Fusion brings simplicity back to FLARM.

An integrated Wi-Fi module hosts the FLARM Hub web application, making configuration and troubleshooting painless. FLARM Hub is a user interface for mortal humans: It runs on any computer or mobile device, offering a clean, modern, and intuitive user interface. Traffic data can be streamed to navigation apps and EFBs over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The range analyzer is built-in — no need to juggle IGC files anymore.

Of course, Fusion integrates the latest PowerFLARM technology, operating worldwide with optimal performance in every region. It comes fully loaded with all the features, no need to deal with options or license files. Upgrading an existing PowerFLARM Core installation is straightforward, as the dimensions are identical.

Also, it is orange.

Please read up on all the details about PowerFLARM Fusion on our product page.

 

 

 

UK Department for Transport, CAA funding FLARM installations

To encourage the adoption of Electronic Conspicuity (EC) in the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) via the UK CAA has started funding installations of EC devices in UK aircraft. Funding is available for systems that transmit, but not for systems that only receive (e.g. ADS-B In). FLARM, which is the most widely used EC and collision-avoidance system not only in the UK but in the whole of Europe, is expected to be the main beneficiary.

PowerFLARM devices do not only communicate (transmit and receive) position and collision-avoidance data with other FLARM-equipped aircraft but also receive ADS-B Out and transponder equipped aircraft. These aircraft are also included in the collision warning algorithms.

The problem with most ADS-B Out systems is that, contrary to what many people believe, they are not allowed to be shown by certified ADS-B In systems (the SIL and SDA values have to be above certain limits). In addition, there are very few ATC providers that can see ADS-B Out aircraft. The accuracy of the FLARM GNSS system and collision algorithms is also higher than most ADS-B Out systems (ADS-B was designed for ATC separation, not tactical collision avoidance). PowerFLARM will process and show all ADS-B Out aircraft independently of the SIL and SDA values but will prioritize the FLARM data because of the higher accuracy.

The funding scheme is open until 31 March 2021 (or until all funding has been used). The funding is applicable to both installed and portable devices and for both manned and unmanned aircraft. Those meeting the requirements can claim a 50% rebate of the purchase cost to a maximum of £250.00 (including VAT), per applicant. The UK CAA anticipates that up to 10,000 rebates will be available.

More information is available on the CAA Electronic Conspicuity page.

Foca’s Detect-and-Avoid Dilemma

NZZ today published an article citing a recently released report by the Swiss Accident Investigation Board (Sust) on a near-miss between an A319 and a drone. The vertical distance was 10 m – scary stuff! While this was (likely) an intentional action by an irresponsible individual, we will certainly see more of this soon due to the increasing use of drones for useful purposes.

So how do we prevent such disasters from happening?

A Foca spokesperson was further interviewed in the article. TCAS and transponders are quickly ruled out as being too bulky, too power-hungry, and too expensive. Also, TCAS is a safety-critical system that safes lots of lives, today. Can we really risk to introduce many more transmitters to the same frequency band, thereby potentially reducing the effectiveness of TCAS?

The upcoming traffic management system for drones (called U-Space in Europe) will solve the problem eventually, but there is still a very long way to go: The federated, distributed approach that is currently adopted uses the internet as communication backbone. Robust network access is thus required for all participants of U-Space, which is no small feat for an airliner moving through the air at 150 knots. Federation also means that the overall complexity will be much higher compared to a centralized system to achieve the necessary standards for reliability, availability, and safety.

So what else? FLARM is mentioned as a promising technology, but lacking an open standard. But such a standard exists and can be downloaded here. Unlike other standards for Remote ID, our proposal does not use the 2.4 GHz frequency band that is so densely used and limited in achievable range. Based on our standard, Detect & Avoid and Remote Identification applications can be built that provide the performance needed to protect the crews and passengers in airliners. No need to wait for the future.

Kollionsgefahr: Passagierflugzeuge sollen vor Drohnen gewarnt werden
Summarischer Bericht
FLARM UAV eID Standard

Tour de France 2020 helicopter protected by FLARM

The Tour de France 2020 helicopter, an Aérospatiale AS-350 BA Ecureuil with tail number F-GKMB, has been equipped with a PowerFLARM collision avoidance system (in French) to protect it from mid-air collisions with the many aircraft in the area. The PowerFLARM can warn not only about collisions with other FLARM equipped aircraft but also with ADS-B Out and transponder equipped aircraft.

FLARM is already mandatory in France for gliders and a mandate for other GA aircraft is under investigation.

Electric World Record Flight protected and tracked by FLARM

7 world records in one blow!

From the Alps to the North Sea with an electric-powered plane. At the end of August, electric mobility enthusiasts set off from Zurich to the North Sea island Norderney.

If Morell, Malik, Marco, Tobi, and Tom were a boy band, “Crazy Visionaries” would fit as a band name. Because that describes pretty good what the five of them are up to: At the end of August they are going on a hunt for several records with an electric airplane.

Among other things, it should become the lowest energy consumption (kWh/100 km) and the highest average speed of a small aircraft. In total, the pioneers want to set seven new world records on these 700 kilometers.

Climate-friendly, quiet and a little bit crazy

When Charles Lindbergh successfully crossed the Atlantic in his plane in 1927, he was certainly also attracted by the 25,000-dollar prize money. “Flying Fool” was what the press called him before his flight, as several aviation pioneers had already died before him in the attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean alone. After he had made it, Lindbergh was a hero.

It will probably not be quite that dramatic with the upcoming trans-Germany flight. On the one hand, the task is not quite as risky and on the other hand, there is no prize money to gain. “Unfortunately,” says Malik Aziz, “because the electric flight from Zurich to Norderney is regrettably not for free. But after all, electric flying is four times more efficient than with fossil fuel,” the graduate designer from Aachen explains. Malik is one of five and responsible for the media in the team. He also looks after the sponsors, which include FLARM.

How everything began

During the shooting of the video project “The Future of Aviation”, Malik twittered a few pictures from Switzerland. There he and Morell Westermann met Marco Buholzer, who flies the only certified electric training aircraft. The Pipistrel’s Velis Electro has a 60 kW motor and state-of-the-art battery technology. Morell and Malik are electro fans and know each other from the podcast “Cleanelectric”, the largest German-language podcast about electro-mobility. Malik is part of the Cleanelectric podcast team and Morell is a welcome guest there.

Tobi Pape lives as a beer brewer on the North Sea island Norderney and is a long-time listener of the podcast. He has been driving electric cars for 20 years and is also interested in electric planes: “Electric planes would be ideal here for island hopping with short distances.” When he sees the pictures on Twitter, he contacted Morell and Malik straightaway. “I spontaneously had the idea whether it would be possible to take an electric flight from Switzerland to Norderney,” as Tobi remembers.

Visionary idea needs supporters

The idea was born when Tobi and Morell were talking on the phone the same evening. “The electric plane only manages about 100 kilometers in one go. But it’s exactly the same as with the cars, you can recharge them,” explains Morell. He asks Marco if he would like to fly to the North Sea with his Pipistrel. He wanted to. Morell called Malik: “We would need a professional video documentation of an extraordinary flying safari across Germany.” Malik also agreed immediately, his partner Tom Albrecht from the joint video production company “shapes” completed the team. He is also an electromobilist and thought that the project is crazy enough to join it.

The five electro-friends clarified the feasibility and checked the finances, they looked for routes and verified if anyone has ever tried it before. They noticed: “If we make it, we’ll set seven world records at once,” says Morell, “the highest average speed over 700 kilometers as well as the highest altitude ever reached by an electric plane, the lowest energy consumption per kilometer per person, the longest distance flown electrically, etc.”

The aircraft is protected against mid-air collisions by the onboard FLARM collision avoidance system. This also makes it possible to track the world record flight online.

Flying is not necessarily harmful to the climate

Marco explains why the friends are undertaking the electric flying expedition: “Flying with kerosene is extremely harmful to the climate. Aviation currently accounts for around five percent of global warming, and the trend is increasing. The emissions at high altitude are a particular problem that arise from air traffic. We want to show that there are alternatives, even if we don’t manage the whole route in one go, CO₂-neutral flying is already possible today!”

“Most small planes fly distances shorter than 200 kilometers anyway, you could do that electrically,” Tobi points out. “I also wonder why on such a small island all mobility is not electric anyway, but that’s another matter.”

Even though the aviation industry is currently not doing well, it has been benefiting from direct and indirect grants for decades. As a result, there is no fair competition between conventional and electric aircraft. According to the German Bundesumweltamt (Federal Environment Agency), flights in Germany are subsidized to an amount of 12 billion euros per year, mainly through exemption from VAT on tickets and energy tax on kerosene.

“On August 30th we will prove with our extraordinary flight that the time of electric planes has come”, Marco emphasizes. The landing is scheduled for September 1st.

Map

Scheduled start: 30.08.2020 Zurich Airport (LSZH)

Scheduled landing: 01.09.2020 Norderney Airport (EDWY)

7 world records in one blow:

  • Lowest energy consumption (kWh/100 km) over 700km
  • Highest average speed over 700 km (km/h)
  • Highest altitude ever reached by an electric aircraft (meters above main sea level)
  • Fastest climb performance from 0-1000m / 1000-2000m / 2000-3000m (m/s)
  • Fastest average speed over 100km (km/h)
  • Lowest number of intermediate stops on 700km distance (number of stops)
  • Longest electrically flown distance in 24 / 48 / 56 hours (km)

World record website:

https://elektro-weltrekordflug.eu/

Tracking:

https://elektro-weltrekordflug.eu/route/

Swiss Army procures Lockheed Martin’s Indago 3 drone with FLARM for SAA

The Swiss Army just announced the procurement of Lockheed Martin’s Indago 3 reconnaissance drones. These vehicles carry a miniaturized FLARM as part of their sense-and-avoid suite. Nearby manned traffic will be displayed to the drone operator so conflicts can be easily avoided. Likewise, the drones will be visible to manned traffic as well.

This is another strong argument for technical diversity in electronic conspicuity: No single technology is capable of covering all the use cases. The integration of a FLARM system is simple and inexpensive. There is no need for an expensive and unreliable infrastructure for rebroadcasting signals – it just works.

Press release: Swiss Army Chooses Lockheed Martin’s Indago 3 UAS for Tactical Reconnaissance and Surveillance

Media coverage: AGEFI 2020/09/11

Aerobits releases combined ADS-B and FLARM collision avoidance system for drones

Aerobits, the manufacturer of miniature radio technology for civil and military UAVs, has released a combined ADS-B 1090ES and FLARM collision avoidance device weighing only 14 grams. The TR-1F combines a 1090ES squitter (ADS-B Out) with a FLARM system that can detect not only FLARM-equipped aircraft but also other aircraft thanks to its ADS-B In receiver.

The device does not require external devices to operate. It is equipped with a high-quality multi-GNSS receiver and a pressure sensor. The aluminum housing and ESD protection guarantee high resistance of the device to work in difficult conditions. TR­1F opens the way to the safe integration of UAS into non-segregated airspace. Implementation of the Detect and Avoid algorithms facilitates the operation under BVLOS.

This release makes Aerobits the fifth manufacturer to integrate FLARM collision avoidance technology in their UAV-specific products. There are now 38 avionics manufacturers in total that offer FLARM products, all of which can be seen in the Product Selector.

Link to Aerobits TR-1F

Droniq UTM enables BVLOS flights drones, uses FLARM for deconflicting

Droniq recently announced the release of its next-generation UTM specifically for long-range flights with no visual line of sight to a human operator (BVLOS).

Enabling BVLOS flights while maintaining a high level of safety is considered critical for unlocking the full business potential of the drone industry, as it allows unprecedented automation and scalability.

Key to the Droniq solution is the Hook-on-device (HOD) transponder. The HOD contains an LTE modem for telemetry, video, tracking, command-and-control, and traffic deconflicting. It also integrates a full and independent FLARM transceiver, detecting (and being detected by) a large number of FLARM-equipped aircraft, both manned or unmanned. This safety function is independent of cellular coverage, providing protection when the LTE link does not.

The addition of BVLOS capabilities makes the Droniq solution the most complete and most usable German UTM solution available today, adding value to all aspects of drone operations.

Links
https://droniq.de/pdf/200527_Droniq_Start_UTM_en_Final.pdf
https://droniq.de/pdf/droniq-produktflyer-hod.pdf

 

https://droniq.de/build/images/gallery/zoom/droniq-hod-mit-antennen-aerobits.4a287ccd.jpg

 

 

Alps Obstacle Database Update Available

Since 2019, we are releasing multiple versions of our acclaimed obstacle database. High-resolution regional databases provide a maximum level of detail for helicopter aerial work and HEMS/MEDEVAC operators. The European Alps database has also been updated in this process with new, critical objects.

As the storage capacity on FLARM devices is constrained, the quantity of obstacles in each database needs to be actively managed. Particularly in the Alps database – which spans several regions – some classes of objects are ignored. We omit objects that are highly visible or do not normally pose a threat to recreational flying. See the original post for details.

One example is power lines. These are not in the Alps database. There are, however, some power lines in mountainous terrain that – having a low height above ground – are hugged by terrain and thus extra hard to spot. This was unfortunately made clear by a recent collision of a glider with such an obstacle (the pilot survived, thankfully).

We are committed to improving our products, also by learning from unfortunate events like these. In many countries, flying is only resuming now after the lockdowns, so it is a great time to introduce an update. The new European Alps database (Alps 2020-5) got an additional handful of power lines that may be useful when flying close to the terrain. The decision of what to include is based on a restrictive heuristic (the storage capacity is limited), so only few power lines are included.

The update is available now in the webshop. It is free of charge to those who have already purchased the Alps 2020(-1) database. If this applies to you and you would like to update, you can access it by going to the “Devices” tab on the “My Account” page (you need to be logged in). In the rightmost column under “Licenses”, you will find the new item “OBSALPS2020-5”. Click on this link to download the new database for each of your devices. The old version is still visible and called “OBSALPS2020”.