Ford Partner Recognition

EAA's Ford X-Plan Partner Recognition Program is a special savings opportunity developed exclusively for EAA members. It offers you the ability to purchase or lease eligible vehicles at EAA member pricing.

Read More

EAA Sport Aviation

One of EAA’s most popular member benefits is EAA Sport Aviation, the award-winning monthly magazine that covers the full spectrum of association activity.

Read More

EAA Flight Advisors

EAA's Flight Advisors program is designed to increase sport aviation safety by developing a corps of volunteers who have demonstrated expertise in specific areas of flying and making them available to EAA members who may be preparing to fly an unfamiliar aircraft.

Read More

Individual Membership

Your Individual membership makes you a part of the passionate EAA Family and gives access to EAA-Exclusive benefits. Membership also gives you thousands of opportunities to go flying at local aviation events, participate at your local EAA chapter, and give youngsters their very first flight.

Read More

Benefits & Discounts

From benefits like EAA Insurance Solutions and EAA Finance Solutions to EAA Webinars and EAA Technical Counselors we have something for everyone with an interest in  aviation! 

Read More

ASTC Passport Program

EAA members can enjoy more than 300 museum and science centers worldwide free of charge, thanks to a partnership with the Association of Science-Technology Centers and its ASTC Travel Passport Program.

Read More

Warbirds of America

"Keep 'em Flying": That’s the motto - and the mission - of EAA Warbirds of America, the EAA division that provides programs and services to those interested specifically in former military aircraft.

Read More

Take a Free EAA Eagle Flight®

Take to the skies with a free introductory flight and discover the next steps toward becoming a pilot.

Read More

Find a Flight Advisor

EAA Flight Advisors can help you find the right path to get you flying efficiently and, most importantly, safely.

Read More

One Week Wonder

Follow the journey of One Week Wonder...from building the Zenith CH 750 Cruzer kit at #OSH14 to its future possibilities.

Read More

Getting Started

Register as an ultralight student or pilot and discover the types of ultralights you can have fun in!

Read More

Become a Sport Pilot

Affordable, achievable, and fun! Experience the freedom of flight as a sport pilot.

Read More

Join Warbirds

Warbirds of America membership connects you with other enthusiasts, restorers, and pilots.

Read More

Join VAA

VAA membership connects you with other enthusiasts, restorers, and pilots.

Read More

Join IAC

IAC membership connects you with other enthusiasts, builders, pilots, and competitors.

Read More

Connect With Aviators

Your local EAA chapter allows you to share your interest with thousands of other members in a variety of different events and activities, including fly-ins, picnics, workshops, Young Eagles rallies, and more.

Read More

Start a Chapter

All you need to start is enthusiasm, an interest in aviation, and the desire to share this interest with other people in your community.

Read More

Chapter Insurance Program

EAA’s Chapter General Liability Insurance Program protects chapters, their members, officers, directors, and volunteers from alleged negligence. Participation in this insurance program is mandatory for all chapters located in the United States and Canada. A policy limit of $1 million to $3 million is available.

Read More

Leadership Academy

Interactive workshop weekends in Oshkosh focused on topics important to chapter leaders.  

Read More

10 for 2014 Recognition

Each pilot who flies 10 or more Young Eagles during a calendar year will receive a custom “10 for 2014” lapel pin and will earn Young Eagles credits that can be used to help offset the cost of sending a young person to an EAA Air Academy session in Oshkosh or assist their local Young Eagles and youth outreach programs.

Read More

September Swing

Relive the excitement and glamour of the big band era at September Swing, a 1940s-style hangar dance featuring the sights and sounds of Ladies Must Swing.

Read More

EAA Sport Aviation

One of EAA’s most popular member benefits, the award-winning monthly magazine covers the full spectrum of association activity.

Read More

Composite Construction

The Composite Construction course is an intensive "hands-on" workshop discussing tools needed, safety aspects of composites, moldless construction to include "hot-wiring," bonding methods for composite kitplanes, etc.

Read More

Scholarships

EAA’s scholarship program encourages, recognizes and supports excellence among those studying the technologies and the skills of aviation. These annual scholarships help outstanding students who demonstrate financial need to accomplish their goals.

Read More

Harrison Ford Scholarship

This scholarship will help young people achieve their dreams of flight at whatever level a need exists, with scholarship awards supporting EAA Air Academy, flight training, and academic tuition awards.

Read More

This Month's Wallpaper

Peter Norman's Republic RC-3 Seabee was one of many that participated in AirVenture 2015's commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the first Seabee flight. The seaplane was photographed flying above Oshkosh by Tyson V. Rininger during the weeklong aviation celebration.

Read More

B-17 Tour Stops

Join us for an unforgettable experience aboard one of the few remaining airworthy B-17s in the world. You won’t want to miss Aluminum Overcast when it visits an airport near you!

Read More

Tri-Motor Tour Stops

Climb aboard one of the first mass-produced airliners and step back in time to aviation’s golden age. A flight on EAA’s Ford Tri-Motor is a flight back to an era where air travel was considered a luxury.

Read More

Visit Pioneer Airport

From May through October, Pioneer Airport gives visitors a unique “living history” re-creation of what airports were like during the early days of air travel. It brings back a time when the magic of flying astounded and charmed the whole world. 

Read More

Your Flight Experience

The biggest question on your mind might be, “So what should I expect on my flight?” Get a glimpse at what you’ll experience when you take your EAA Eagle FlightTM.

Read More

Your Flight Experience

The biggest question on your mind might be, “So what should I expect on my flight?” Get a glimpse at what you’ll experience when you take your Young Eagles® flight.

Read More

Paul Poberezny

Paul Poberezny came from humble beginnings, yet he emerged as one of the 20th century's greatest aviation leaders, creating a worldwide aviation organization and the world's largest annual fly-in event, EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Read More

Tribute Opportunities

Special places like the museum’s Founders Wing and other campus tribute areas like the Brown Arch, Compass Hill, and Memorial Wall combine to give wings to countless aviation dreams and accomplishments. Leave your legacy or that of your loved ones for all who visit Oshkosh to see.

Read More

Win a Piper L-4J!

The Piper L-4J was the most popular and recognizable of the collection of the World War II liaison aircraft, affectionately nicknamed “Grasshoppers”. This aircraft allows any pilot to take the controls of a Warbird and experience the significance of owning a piece of history. Enter now to win!

Read More

News Releases

Get all the official news surrounding EAA and its programs.

Read More

Advertise in Sport Aviation

EAA Sport Aviation contains the broadest editorial content and coverage for recreational aviation today - introductions to new aircraft and innovations, the latest aviation products and services, hands-on and personal experience in the nuts and bolts of aircraft ownership, and so much more.

Read More

Why Exhibit?

AirVenture enables our commercial partners to have an unmatched forum to present their products and services to the most passionate aviation consumers.

Read More

Volunteer

Join us and be a part of this tradition of excellence, while helping us continue to provide high quality programs and services to our members and visitors.

Read More

Outreach Guidelines

EAA's Community Outreach Guidelines to help coordinate and maximize offerings by providing a defined approach to responding to requests for support of community events; developing a fair and easy process to identify, evaluate, and support efforts of the non-profit community; and developing a process that allows for tracking and quantifying impact.

Read More

HOMEBUILDERS

Dream It. Build It. Fly It.

A tradition that began with the Wright brothers continues today with you. The art of building an aircraft is the stuff of dreams. Until, that is, you build it and take to the sky.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

By Tom Charpentier

 

ADS-B

The device we are currently testing with a custom case and aftermarket antenna

For decades, the homebuilt movement has allowed pilots affordable access to the latest in aircraft technology. One area where it hasn’t always been so prominent is in the field of cockpit electronics. Now, however, several talented programmers have begun turning inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts into very useful gadgets that take the place of commercial devices costing many times more.

One of these programmers is Christopher Young, EAA 1184340, who turned an inexpensive miniaturized Linux computer, a digital radio tuner, and a Wi-Fi adapter into an ADS-B receiver that interfaces with most tablet apps on the market today to bring live weather and traffic to the cockpit. We built and tested the unit for a total cost of under $120 (Avgas not included). The software is free and open-source, meaning it is open to community development. He calls his software “Stratux.”

Young's instructions are found here: Let’s take a look at how it goes together:

Assembly and loading the software is very simple. We were able to get our unit working with no coding on our part or really any technical work at all. However, you will need to do a little shopping first.

Getting the parts

The “brain” of the unit is the Raspberry Pi 2, a small, simple computer about the size of a deck of cards that uses the operating system Linux. It was originally designed as an inexpensive computer to teach aspiring programmers how to code (you could hook up a keyboard, mouse, monitor, network cable, and speakers to it and use it as a fully functional desktop computer), and has since been used in robotics and other applications requiring a small computer that can be easily adapted to suit different roles. You can buy just the Raspberry Pi, but several companies sell an aftermarket kit that includes the peripherals you will need for this project. This is what we did, as per Young's instructions. The “Vilros” starter kit costs about $70 on Amazon.com.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Vilros starter kit – Excluding documentation and packaging, includes (clockwise from top left): AC power adapter, self adhesive heat sinks, microSD card and SD card port adapter, WiFi adapter, HDMI cable (not used for this project), Raspberry Pi 2, clear plastic case

With the Pi and starter kit, the only other peripheral that is required is a software defined radio (SDR) tuner. Young’s software has been tested to work on a device from NooElec called the NESDR Mini 2. It is currently available on Amazon for less than $25 and also includes the antenna you will need.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

The NESDR 2 comes with a telescopic antenna and a remote control (the latter not needed for this project)

The Raspberry Pi does not contain an internal battery, but is powered via a micro USB cable, the same type of cable used to charge most Android cellphones. You can either run the unit directly off your aircraft’s power system using a car charger (if you have a cigarette lighter-style 12V outlet) or by using a USB external battery, which you can buy for a little over $10.

Assembly

Assembly really couldn’t be easier. Our starter kit came with self-adhesive heat sinks to prevent certain chips from overheating on the Raspberry Pi. These are on top of the unit and it is easy to pick out which to attach.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120
Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

As with any project working with delicate electronics, be sure to ground yourself for static before touching the Pi

To install the necessary peripheral devices, simply plug the radio tuner and the Wi-Fi adapter into the Pi’s USB ports.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

The USB ports used do not matter, but we liked the form factor of this arrangement

You can enclose the Pi in the case your starter kit provides.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Loading the Software

The hard drive of the unit is a microSD card, the same data storage device used in many small cameras such as the GoPro. For this step you will need to connect the card to your computer. Many modern computers have either an SD or microSD port, and our starter kit includes an adapter that allows you to go between the two. If your computer does not have a built-in port, USB card readers are available inexpensively at any office supply, electronics, or photography store. Christopher has preconfigured everything you need to load onto the card to make it work the first time you plug it in. Download the latest release from here and load it onto the card using Win32DiskImager for Windows or Pi Filler for Mac. Both programs are simple and fairly straightforward.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Win32DiskImager; “Image File” is the file inside the zipped folder you downloaded from Young’s website, “Device” is your card port

Once you are done loading the software, simply slide the microSD card into the slot on the underside of the Raspberry Pi.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Pairing to Your App

Stratux works over Wi-Fi using the “GDL90 Protocol,” a standard data format for ADS-B in used by many receivers and most apps. For our iPad running ForeFlight, it was as simple as logging onto the Wi-Fi network broadcast by the unit, and ForeFlight automatically began using its data. Most apps other than Garmin Pilot, which exclusively uses a proprietary Garmin device, have been reported to be compatible with Stratux.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Bench testing the device – you should be able to pair with your app at this point but it is unlikely you will receive any data unless you are in close proximity of an ADS-B ground station

A brief flight test will confirm that the device is working. If you are using the telescopic antenna that comes with the tuner, it actually works best when retracted for this particular wavelength. We mounted ours on the glareshield pointed vertically, but depending on the construction of your aircraft this is not always necessary.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

The extended cord on the antenna also allows for remote mounting

In most areas an ADS-B in signal can be had at or just above pattern altitude. You will begin receiving NEXRAD radar, METARs, TAFs, NOTAMs, TFRs, and other Flight Information Service – Broadcast (FIS-B) products. Some apps will explicitly note that these products are being received via ADS-B. With one radio tuner the unit will pick up traffic squawking ADS-B out on 978 MHz. If you are ADS-B out equipped, you will also receive TIS-B traffic. TIS-B is datalinked to FAA radar, meaning you get Mode C and primary targets. EAA is working with the FAA to expand TIS-B availability to all aircraft, not just those equipped with ADS-B out.

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Screenshot from a recent flight to Iola, WI showing precipitation on NEXRAD radar over the U.P. (ForeFlight recognizes the unit under “FreeFlight” because that system also uses the GDL90 Protocol)

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Chris sent us this screenshot showing a pilot report loaded through ADS-B

Important Note

This is not an ADS-B out solution. It can quickly become confusing anytime we talk about ADS-B, but Stratux takes advantage of the in component of the system, which can be used to bring live weather and traffic to the cockpit. To be compliant under the ADS-B 2020 mandate, you will need a transponder compliant with FARs 91.225 and 91.227.

Extensions

There are a number of modifications and add-ons for this device. We used a 3-D printed case specifically designed for this project and an aftermarket antenna to fit everything into a compact package (we are still testing the antenna to determine whether it is as effective as the one packaged with the tuner).

Live Weather and Traffic for Less Than $120

Pictured is a 978 mHZ antenna we found online; Others have reported success with the antenna off a Garmin GDL-39

For the enterprising amateur builder, a more streamlined antenna option might be to permanently mount a standard transponder antenna to the bottom of the aircraft and wire it to the unit. The tuner accepts a male MCX connector.

With a second digital radio tuner Young’s software will support traffic information from aircraft squawking on 1090 MHz, which most commercial aircraft do. He is also working on adapting a standardized gyroscope and GPS chipset to provide position and AHRS data to apps that support it.

If you want a complete, well-packaged, off-the-shelf, and, perhaps most importantly, fully supported, device, then you’ll want to check out the Stratus from our good friends at Sporty’s, not to mention the Garmin GDL-39, the Dual XGPS170, the Levil Tech iLevil, PowerFLARM, and many others. But if you want to tinker a bit, consider building your own. Just as in other aspects of homebuilding, the only limit is the builder’s imagination. The software and hardware are made to be modified and improved. We’re excited to see what you’ll come up with!