By Larry Anglisano and Paul Bertorelli, Editor-in-Chief
If buyers lacked choices in the ADS-B market a year ago, the reverse will likely be true at AirVenture next week. Two companies -- FreeFlight Systems and Dynon -- have just announced their own ADS-B entries and more may be on the horizon, competing with recent products from Garmin, Sportys and upgraded units from SkyRadar. The two new entries are both low-cost, remote-mount units.
From Waco, Texas-based FreeFlight Systems comes the XPLORER ADS-B weather receiver. The remote unit is bargain-priced at $585 and is trickle-down technology from the company's RANGR family of full-up 978MHz UAT ADS-B systems, receiving FIS-B weather products in a compact chassis suitable for permanent mount in the aircraft with no cockpit wiring. The system uses a single, industry-standard interface connector to tie into the aircraft's electrical bus.
To boost receiver performance, the XPLORER has an externally mounted ADS-B antenna that will likely reduce the signal shadowing problem that's always a risk with in-cabin antennas. The seamless installation is further enhanced by wireless connection to an iPad running FreeFlight Systems' free app. More interfacing potential and a data stream that's compatible with other portable devices and apps are in the works.
The product is also forward looking and designed to be integrated with a certified ADS-B Out transmitter as required by the December 2019 ADS-B equipage mandate. That means with the appropriate ADS-B-Out transmitter installed, the XPLORER system becomes a full-featured, ADS-B traffic receiver that adds traffic data to the interface.
Dynon, whose SkyView system has become a go-to for LSAs and experimentals, announced its own box for that popular hardware, the $995 SV-ADSB-470 UAT Band Traffic and Weather Receiver. Like FreeFlight's XPLORER, this is a remote-mount module that can provide both traffic and FIS-B weather for display on the SkyView screens. It's also powered from the ship's bus and has an externally mounted antenna.
Dynon already has ADS-B Out covered with its SV-XPNDR-261 Mode-S transponder module, another remote box that's controlled from the SkyView screens. With the SkyView displays, Dynon's Robert Hamilton says owners will get a complete traffic picture wherever ADS-B services are available, which is most of the continental U.S. If you're wondering what's driving this frenzy of ADS-B product intros, Hamilton says that his customers simply want weather data without having to pay for it. "In-flight weather on SkyView
is the number-one feature asked for by our customers, who want fully integrated real-time data that is subscription-free."
For more, see DynonAvionics.com and for Free Flight Systems, FreeFlightSystems.com. Both companies will have more information at AirVenture.