Bad Elf Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Lower ADS-B Portable Prices


Phoenix-based Bad Elf is best known for its portable remote GPS receivers for tablets, but now it plans to disrupt the portable ADS-B market with products costing as little as $299 for ADS-B In displaying traffic and weather on tablets. The company has been testing prototypes for several months and this week, it’s launching a Kickstarter program to continue development with a goal to bring products to market sometime in mid-2016. Bad Elf’s Brett Hackleman told AVweb that the company hopes to raise about $500,000 in Kickstarter funds. He described the products in detail in this exclusive podcast.

“We’ve been thinking about building an ADS-B receiver for years, but we couldn’t think of a way to do it that was going to be affordable for most pilots,” Hackleman told us. He added that Bad Elf’s research showed that would-be buyers thought portable ADS-B units were too expensive and lacked broad app compatibility. “So we finally had a breakthrough this year that allows us to drastically lower the price of ADS-B receivers,” he said. Bad Elf is using less expensive chipsets than those used by other manufacturers, leveraging consumer electronics volume price breaks into niche products. Two receivers are envisioned, a $299 ADS-B In only model displaying traffic and weather and a second model at $449 that includes AHRS output to serve as instrument backup. The devices will have open specifications and will be compatible with most of the major tablet apps right out of the box, according to Hackleman.

“Our unit uses quite a bit less power so it should be cooler without the need for a fan,” Hackleman explained. Battery life is predicted to be longer than ADS-B portables currently on the market, according to Bad Elf. The new products have been in development for about nine months and are expected to begin shipping just before AirVenture 2016.