With more and more talk of electronic conspicuity, now is a fantastic time for the General Aviation Community to consider some of the ADS-B (Automatic dependent surveillance – broadcast) technology currently on the market.

ADS–B is a surveillance technology in which an aircraft determines its position via satellite navigation and periodically broadcasts it, enabling it to be tracked.

Get Into Flying contributor Andy, has been flying with PilotAware for 12 months now and connects the unit to his iPad and Airbox RunwayHD navigation application. The enhanced level of conspicuity and traffic information, in addition to keeping a constant and good lookout, is incredible. The safety benefit of such a system is almost unquantifiable.

A standard PilotAware Unit

The PilotAware unit itself is lightweight, small and easy to set up, however Andy felt a more robust housing unit may make it a little more user friendly in his shared aircraft, where the unit is not hardwired. After some thorough research and helpful hints and advice from the GA Community, here is a “how to” guide to re-housing the PilotAware unit. With limited technical knowhow, the project can be achieved in ten minutes. There is no need to purchase a complete unit from PilotAware, as the component parts may be ordered, so pilots can create their own bespoke unit.

 

If you already own, or have ordered a PilotAware Unit, you will need to make two purchases. The links below will take you to the items, however you should shop around for best prices.

Stratux Case – V2 Case with dual fans for Stratux ADS-B, AHRS and GPS.

Stratux Case

ADS-B Antenna – NooElec ADS-B 1090MHz tuned antenna with 90 degree male MCX to female SMA pigtail cable.

 

NooElec 978MHz and 1090Mhz bundle

 

 

Begin by unscrewing the four small screws and removing the PilotAware bridge from the case.

Remove the PilotAware bridge from the housing

Next, remove the two small fan units, which are not required, from the Stratux Case and the fan mounting lug. A twist of the mounting lug with a pair of pliers will remove the lug in main body (there is no need to removed the lug from the smaller end section)

Gently twist off the fan retaining lugs

Place the PilotAware unit into the Stratux Case. A gentle squeezed on the side of the case will ensure the bridge sits beneath the retaining lugs. You can also replace the four screws to retain the bridge inside the case.

Ensure the PilotAware bridge is seated and secure

Carefully mark the position for the DiPole RF Antenna (fixed to the PilotAware bridge). Drill with a 6.5mm bit and slide the top over the unit.

Use a 6.5mm drill bit for the DiPole RF antenna

Gently remove the shrouds from the ADS-B and GPS Dongles using finger pressure only.

Delicate components within – use care

Replace the WiFi dongle into the lower right USB port. Replace the GPS dongle into the upper right USB port. Replace the ADS-B dongle into the lower left USB port.

Refit the dongles

Mark and drill a a hole for the ADS-B (in) antenna, then fit securely.

ADS-B lead fitted

Carefully fit the connector on the ADS-B dongle and refit the sliding cover.

Slide the cover closed

Fit the RF and ADS-B antenna and test the unit.

The complete unit
PilotAware displayed on RunwayHD

The components contained within the PilotAware unit are delicate and care must be taken when removing the bridge unit and the shrouds. Get Into Flying has produced this guide in response to internet discussion and requests for a guide. We accept no responsibility for any damage caused by the end user and the process is the same whether rehouseing or building the Stratux unit from component parts. This guide is an illustration of the steps required.