FLARM, Pilot Aware, Sky Echo 2 and the CAA?
So is there a simple turn on and off £125 device that we can purchase from Guy For £250 with a cash back deal?
Instructions to set up XC Guide for OGN from your phone as in the attached guide.
Very easy to do, it will mark your position on OGN without giving your name, just a serial number.
OGN is uploaded to many GA flight instruments/systems so for a free system worthwhile apart from the other benefits for retrieves etc.
A few snippets from an interesting email conversion with Steve Uzochukwu who shared some interesting information -
The problem with a common non proprietary standard is that the different standards do different things. We could have a common standard for Philips screwdrivers but that would not help the guy who needs an Allen key. FLARM is a peer to peer standard for collision avoidance only. ADS-B is a long range standard for air traffic control, organisation and conspicuity beyond avoiding a mid air collision. I can detect ADS-B aircraft on my ground station and I'm seeing planes up to 80km away as of now. Classic FLARM needs only 8km to do the job. In fact, too high a range would create too many alerts that would have to be filtered = own goal.
We already have common standards for SSR (transponders) and ADS-B. Problem? To certify ADS-B internationally could be a six or seven figure sum. Cheaper ADS-B devices are UK and Australia only... Second problem - there isn't enough spectrum space on the 1090MHz frequency (ADS-B) for every Tom, Dick and over 250g drone. The US has already realised this...
The problem with the OGN servers is that in order to save money they use a way of sending the data that leads to delays. They send data over APRS.
When a sailplane is moving at between 120 and 180 km/h (2-3km/minute) delays are a significant error in position.
PilotAware did an analysis of delay and accuracy here:
There's a talk on the ATOM-GRID (Enhanced OGN, OGN-R) network here, which is not over APRS as I understand it:
People want simple answers. The problem is that Electronic Conspicuity is a complicated question.
Lastly, I suspect that because of the delays the OGN will be the last thing the CAA will look at.
One or two military places are unofficially trialling ATOM-GRID ground stations. But it's not ADS-B or SSR.
When we discussed EC at London Wing, two key questions, if you're trying to improve your safety by being conspicuous came up:
Who is most likely to kill me?
Who am I most likely to kill?
My analysis of the answer to question 1, which is only valid for me is:
I fly outside controlled airspace. Biggest risk lower down is GA (General Aviation) who will be surprised to see me nowhere near a site, and higher up, close to cloudbase, a glider zipping along in dolphin flight, who maybe involved with "in cockpit" planning.
Neither of the pilots of these aircraft will be sat in the cockpit looking at a web server pointed at the OGN. They need to see you electronically with something that raises an alert in the cockpit. Ideally, it's an audio alert and they are not spending time looking at a screen.
The cheapest way for both to see you is a FLARM beacon. The simplest FLARM Beacon currently available is the Airwhere offering. The Skytraxx Beacon is not currently being made, so when current stock ends, that's it for bit.
With your basic FLARM Beacon, somewhere between 5km and 3km away, the glider pilot gets a warning. If they have FLARM, they see you.
With your basic FLARM Beacon, if the GA aircraft or microlight has a PilotAware unit, and there is a ground station in range converting FLARM to PilotAware, the GA/Microlight pilot gets a warning. It's not as good as FLARM to FLARM, as there is only a requirement for you and them to have the unit.
The Sky Echo 2 is very different, as a beacon to alert people of your presence, it can only transmit in the UK and Australia. However, in the UK, it transmits and receives ADS-B, and can receive FLARM with a small annual payment. It's UK only CAP 1391 to use CAA language.
The OGN is great for retrieve, and for general situational awareness, but not for accurate situational awareness to keep you out of trouble with aircraft in your proximity. Collision avoidance is FLARM patent IIRC.