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Crew Dog Shows Low-Cost ADS-B Receiver
Combat vet creates company to offer low-cost solution to the masses
By James Wynbrandt
July 28, 2018 - Crew Dog Electronics, a small veteran-owned company, is showcasing its “disruptive” low-cost, open-source ADS-B dual band receiver at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018. Based on the Stratux open-source software platform, the receiver provides GPS, traffic, weather, and attitude information compatible with all major electronic flight bag (EFB) platforms including Foreflight, iFly, FlyQ, and WingX. Priced at $250, Crew Dog (Fly Market and Aeromart Display, Booth 790) is offering the units here for a show special of $235. The story of the product’s genesis — and its creator, Sean Chuplis — is as noteworthy as its price.
Chuplis attended Penn State University on an ROTC scholarship, graduated with a degree in computer science, and once in the Air Force won a flight-training slot and became a KC-10 pilot, flying some 200 combat missions over Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Middle East. He then became a KC-10 instructor, simultaneously earning his MBA degree in one of the first accredited online degree programs, before transferring to a Hawaii-based squadron where he flew Gulfstream GIVs, working on the side as an instructor at a flight school. “Hawaii is challenging — the weather, wind, helicopter tours, GA traffic,” Chuplis said. He realized an EFB would be ideal for dealing with the flight environment, but “I didn’t have $1,000 at the time” to buy a brand name solution, he said.
That led him to connecting with the Stratux developers. After building units for himself and friends, he decided he wanted to create units for people that didn’t have the technical aptitude or interest in building their own. “I made 10 units on my dining room table and put them on Amazon.” Sales began to trickle in, and then advanced to flood stage. Today his ADS-B receivers rank No. 1 on Amazon’s list of aviation GPS units.
The portable receiver includes a suction mount for window mounting and a rechargeable battery pack for four-plus hours of flying time. The high-gain dmurray14 antennas are optimized for 978 MHz and 1090 MHz frequencies. Its internal GPYes WAAS GPS receiver supports multiple iPads, iPhones, or Android tablets connected via Wi-Fi.
The Stratux open-source software it’s built on was developed collaboratively by a group of aviation enthusiasts. “The whole open-source concept is to make the software freely available,” Chuplis said. “A lot of people believe that ADS-B is a public resource and should be available to anybody at price they can afford.”
Chuplis is among them. In addition to YouTube videos he makes that show all facets of operating his ADS-B receiver, he also has a video that shows all the parts that go into them and their sources, so anyone who wants can build their own. “I want to get people to be able to own one of these,” he said. “I very much believe new technology that saves money or makes you fly more safely should be available at an affordable price point.”
Chuplis is a reservist now and in his full-time job, he flies for a major airline. Last year he graduated from the U.S. Naval War College with a degree in National Security, one of only five reservists in the country chosen annually to attend the prestigious institution.