PilotAware Article in October 2019

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PilotAware Article in October 2019

Postby Gaznav » Sat Oct 05, 2019 11:13 am

As ever, October’s Light Aviation is a great read. However, there appears to be a significant error in the data shown in the article by the PilotAware team. It is the graph on page 48 that claims to be “using the best figures available, the types and volumes of transmissions from UK GA aircraft in 2019. (Source GA Alliance and manufacturers’ data where available)”. The data of each type electronic conspicuity type is as follows:

Mode C/S - 9,000 aircraft
FLARM - 3,200 aircraft
PilotAware - 3,100 aircraft
ADS-B - 1,000 aircraft
Nothing - 2,700 aircraft

Whilst I have no doubt that the total PilotAware figures are correct as the article was written by one of the Company’s Team (although, anecdotally, on other forums some pilots have said they have stopped using their units for various reasons - so even that figure may be at variance with actual units flying in aircraft). However, it is the FLARM figure that sparked my attention.

Back in August 2019, FLARM published on their blog the following information:

FLARM is already well integrated into UK airspace with over 7,000 aircraft flying in the UK being equipped to date. Of these, half are powered airplanes and helicopters.


So this figure quoted by FLARM is over TWICE the size as quoted by PilotAware. Now if we are to believe the manufacturer’s figures from PilotAware should we not believe the manufacturer’s figures for FLARM? It certainly seems to meet the claim of “manufacturers’ data where available”?

I also saw that 7,000 figure quoted by FLARM’s General Manager back in November 2018 in Pilot Magazine in an Erratum: https://www.pilotweb.aero/gear/electron ... -1-5800490

Finally, the ADS-B number seems oddly rounded to a convenient 1,000. I have tried to ascertain the number of certified, non-certified and CAP1391 approved aircraft flying with ADS-B In/Out. So far without success. However, what it doesn’t show in the table is what can receive ADS-B without the need for ground infrastructure - many standalone receivers can, including a proportion of the 7,000 (manufacturer’s figures) FLARM units, all PilotAwares, all CAP1391 devices and a large proportion of certified ADS-B equipment.

It would be useful if the LAA printed an Errata for the FLARM data in the next issue of the excellent Light Aviation magazine - if nothing else to ensure that FLARM’s claims are properly represented. A copy of this will be emailed to the office manager too.
Gary Coleman
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Brackley

Re: PilotAware Article in October 2019

Postby Brian Hope » Sun Oct 06, 2019 12:01 pm

Hi Gary, thanks for raising your query over Flarm numbers; I have mailed Keith and brought it to his attention. No doubt he will respond either directly to the forum or to me.
Best rgds, Brian
Brian Hope
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Joined: Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:28 pm
Location: Sheerness Kent

Re: PilotAware Article in October 2019

Postby k.vinning@ftel.co.uk » Sun Oct 06, 2019 9:08 pm

Hi All.

I read through this post with concern that I have upset a member with the article that I submitted on the "Evolution of PilotAware" in the LAA magazine in October 2019. This was not my intention and if this is the case then I apologise.

The point of the attached chart was to demonstrate how we at PilotAware determine where to focus our limited resources to meet our goal of detecting and displaying the maximum number of aircraft on a screen for the minimum cost for us grassroots pilots.

I hoped that I had articulated this when writing " From this, it can be seen that when wishing to detect existing systems, aircraft equipped with Mode-C/S stand out head and shoulders above the rest in terms of sheer volumes that could be detected". The article then explains how, at no extra cost, PilotAware users can now see Mode-S equipped aircraft if they are in the range of one of the updated OGN-R stations. I don't think any other system in the world does this- does it?

The problem seems to be with the figure that was in the chart for FLARM equipped aircraft. The figure used was a figure produced by the GA alliance in 2015 and subsequently inflated for the introduction of Power Flarm and 4 years of time-lapse. The figure quoted of 7000 Flarm users in the UK in the previous post does seem to be high for the following reasons.

As I understand it there are 2800 gliders on the BGA register. It is not mandatory to use Flarm on gliders in the UK. My gliding colleagues at the BGA tell me that perhaps 80% of gliders are fitted with Flarm. Therefore 2240 ish. The post above said that half of the Flarm units in the UK are in powered aircraft therefore 4480. No matter I will change the chart for future presentations to say there are 7000 aircraft equipped with Flarm even though I do not think this is the case.

Regarding ADSB. I will be equally happy if anyone close to data can provide me with the real data for GA aircraft emitting ADSB-out whether this is using approved or unapproved GPS sources, such as those from PilotAware. This should be very easy for CAP 1391 devices as there is only one supplier. Any offers from anyone close to this source who can provide us and A4A with the information?

So apologies again if I have caused a universal offense. The intention of PilotAware is to provide inexpensive ubiquitous detection of aircraft no matter what EC they use. Other systems are available such as Mode-C/S, Flarm, ADSB, OGN trackers and Stratux can be used to detect ADSB out. Please make your own choice of what to use as you will.

I will change the slides for the next PilotAware presentation at Wickenby on 25th October. This will then demonstrate that there are more Flarm units for PilotAware to see when in the range of an OGN-R station.
Keith Vinning
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Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 12:51 pm

Re: PilotAware Article in October 2019

Postby Gaznav » Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:42 pm

Hi Brian/Keith

Thank you for the swift reply. Since writing this I did a bit more digging and this article came to light on the FLARM website: https://flarm.com/10000th-powerflarm-sold/

With this picture:

I think the most staggering number is the 28,000 drones. Now I know that this is a global number, but I didn’t know there were was anything like this number out there. Also, 5,000 paragliders - I know there was a low power FLARM module used by some paraglider varios.

As for ADS-B numbers, I have really struggled to identify that. There are so many types of install out there:

1. Certified systems (airliners, helicopters, high-end GA aircraft, military aircraft)
2. Non-certified systems (such as the SIL=0 types fitted to many LAA/BMAA types)
3. CAP1391 systems - SkyEcho1, SkyEcho2, funke Atom, funke LPATS, PIng 1090

The 1,000 figure sounds very estimated and so it would be really useful to understand how many of the above there are out there.

Best, Gary
Gary Coleman
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jan 04, 2008 7:12 pm
Location: Brackley

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