So first, the obligatory picture of this year’s booth:
I shot this during one of the very few moments when there wasn’t a crowd of enthusiastic homebuilders crowded in and asking for a demo. Over the course of the week we gave more than 150 demos and talked with more than 400 builders. As always, Oshkosh was a great opportunity to meet customers and potential customers, get the word out, and collect feedback from the experimental aviation community. We will definitely be back next year.
Last year at Oshkosh I demo’d a new version of the firmware for FlightView that radically improved system performance and helped guarantee system stability. At the time, I figured the new code would be ready within a few weeks. A few months at the outside. Well…. I’m happy to announce that version 3.0 is now available. It took a bit longer than expected, but I think it’s worth the wait. Here’s what’s cool about v3:
New Software Architecture
v3 is built using a “micro-services” architecture. Rather than having all the functionality tied up in one or two processes, v3 breaks out almost every function into its own independent “service”. The operating system manages the services, starting them up in the proper order and restarting them in the event of a crash. This means that a bug in one service can’t bring down the entire system. This makes FlightView more bulletproof than ever before.
The new architecture also makes it easy to add new functionality. Rather than having to carefully code support for a new device into a complex, monolithic application, v3 allows us to code up a simple stand-alone service module. As an example, we’re about to release support for the uAvionix TailBeaconX […]
EAA AirVenture 2021 (aka “Oshkosh”) is only a month away. I’m very happy to announce that Falken Avionics will be exhibiting and I will be presenting a Forum on FlightView. We will be back in the same booth location as 2019 – Hangar A, Aisle E, Booth 1043. If you’re able to make it to Oshkosh, please swing by to say hello and check out our FlightView and FlightBox Pro demos. This year’s booth will feature installation tutorials at 10:30 AM each morning, as well as the usual show-and-tell.
On Tuesday at 1:00 PM I will be presenting a Forum entitled FlightView – Inside and Out which will include a deep dive into the EFIS, explaining not only what it does and how it works but how to create custom add-ons and integrate new hardware and software. The presentation will be held in Workshop Classroom C – Forum #20. (See the map below.)
TL;DR – version v0.4r22 of the FlightView app is now available in TestFlight. It fixes a bug with the RPM counter and adds an engine data logging feature.
Well, that was quick. Last night I received a bug report that changing the “Ignition Events Per Rotation” value (i.e. the number of pulses the EMS receives for every full turn of the engine) failed to update the configuration on the FlightBox Pro. Turns out that one letter in one parameter name was capitalized, so the code on the FlightBox that receives the update silently ignored that value. Computers… so picky. Anyway, an easy fix and, it gives me the opportunity to roll out another much-requested feature.
v0.4r22 adds engine data logging. The logs capture a 1 Hz (once-per-second) history of the engine values as reported by the EMS. Note that the current version assumes that the inputs on the EMS are mapped to their default functions (i.e. the fuel pressure input is being used to measure fuel pressure). The system creates one log file for each engine startup. The files are named based on the date and a counter value that increments on each startup:
I am pushing out v0.4r21 to TestFlight with a set of fixes to issues uncovered in the past week. This version requires the same FlightBox firmware as the release last week (v2.3r1-7121b8ce98), so if you’ve already updated your FlightBox Pro EXP all you need is the new version of the app. (If you’ve not updated to v2.3r1-7121b8ce98 the app will prompt you to do so – see last week’s blog post for details on the update process.)
One of the issues uncovered last week was an application crash. It occurred when the app received an ADS-B METAR update that was malformed and could not be parsed by the app’s METAR decoder. The two users who discovered this issue had the unfortunate experience of having the app crash every time that METAR arrived (about once every minute). Fortunately the next refresh from the METAR site was properly formatted and the crash stopped happening.
I believe I have added the necessary checks to prevent this error, but… if you happen to have a crash that recurs every 1 or 2 or 5 or 15 minutes, there’s a good chance that something is making its way past the checks. To stop this, you can temporarily […]
So after several months of coding and testing I’m pleased to announce the release of version 2.3r1 of the FlightView firmware and version 0.4r20 of the FlightView app. This update is both relatively minor (no really flashy new features) and very important. You can install or update the app now from TestFlight, and the app will handle the firmware update process for the FlightBox.
In addition to this blog post, I’ve also put together a short YouTube video that walks through the installation and the Setup Assistant.
Before we get to the good stuff, a few housekeeping notes:
New Docs Available
After several months of neglect, I’ve updated the documentation (live version here and downloadable PDF here), which now weighs in at 151 pages. It’s still a work in progress, but it is much more complete and should make the installation, configuration, and operation much easier. Thanks to everyone who suffered with the early drafts, and special thanks to Robbie Culver for edits, suggestions, and corrections.
Please Delete And Re-Install The App
Sorry to do this to you again, but changes to the mapping engine require things be moved around. The best way to insure everything ends […]
Using off-the-shelf components is usually a great thing: we get to take advantage of the massive economies of scale created by the mobile device industry. Unfortunately, we also compete with the mobile sector for those parts when there’s a surge in demand. Covid has driven a massive boom in the tablet market, and many tablets use the same inertial and barometric sensors that we include in FlightBox and FlightView systems. Since our volume is tiny compared with Apple, Samsung, etc., we end up on the short end when there’s a shortage.
Throughout the past year we’ve been living under the threat of supply chain and manufacturing delays, originally due to shutdowns at the component factories, and later due to the spike in demand. Throughout 2020 we were lucky. That luck ran out at the beginning of this year. In early January I put in an order for enough parts to build the next batch of our AHRS and baro sensor products. Those parts are scheduled to arrive at the beginning of May. As of this morning our manufacturing partner is estimating that we will see our next batch of completed systems either the last week of May or the first week […]
Apologies to anyone waiting on an order. The winter storm currently gripping the United States has crippled the electrical grid here in Texas. We’re currently operating with power about half the time and the temperature in the hangar / office / shop is hovering at 29° F as of this morning.
Rumor has it that the normal weather and stable electricity may not return until some time next week. As such, I’m declaring a snow day (or snow week). I’ll do my best to keep up with email, but build and ship operations are offline until things thaw. Thanks for your patience!
Back in January of 2016 I launched Open Flight Solutions with a Kickstarter to fund the development of FlightBox, a kit for building a Stratux-based ADS-B receiver. At that point I was living in the Kansas City area, and I incorporated in Missouri. Since that time I’ve moved twice – first to California and later to Texas. I’ve also expanded the focus from a single kit product to a growing line of full featured avionics components. Throughout that journey I kept the original Missouri LLC (which was actually Ex Astris, LLC – with Open Flight as a DBA).
When I moved to Texas this past spring, I found out that it is much easier and less expensive to have a Texas-registered company, rather than an out-of-state registration. In an effort to simplify my life and save on administrative costs, I registered “Falken Avionics, LLC” as a native Texas company. Over the past several months I’ve been working to wind down the Missouri LLC and to move everything over. Falken now has a Texas d.b.a. for Falken Avionics, and all business since July has been conducted by Falken.
I’m pleased to announce the release of v0.4 release 11 of the app and v2.2r0 of the firmware – a significant milestone on the way to 1.0. This update includes a large number fixes and a number of new features. However, it is very important to note the following:
THIS VERSION OF THE APP WILL NOT WORK WITH ANY FLIGHT BOX PRO EXP WITH FIRMWARE PRIOR TO v2.2r0.
That means everyone who has a FlightView system out there – installed or not – will need to do the update. The process is pretty easy and I have detailed instructions. Jump down to the section cleverly entitled Updating To v2.2r0 for details.
Changes And Enhancements
The system now includes a database of 500,000 obstacles (antennas, towers, tall buildings, etc.) throughout the US. Obstacles that are within 1000 vertical feet of your altitude are displayed on the map when the aircraft is moving. To see them you’ll need to zoom in so that the distance ring on the map is at or below 3 […]
I’ve put together a “hot-fix” update that includes a number of fixes and a few small features. As a hot-fix, this update will need to be installed manually (rather than from the FlightView app). As none of the fixes are critical, feel free to skip this unless you need one of the two new features. These include:
Trig transponder configuration – required only if you have a Trig TT21 or TT22 transponder connected to your FlightView system.
Gear deploy reminder – posts an audio and display alert reminding the pilot to verify gear deployment.
You can download the hot-fix here. You will need to install it manually. The process is fairly simple:
Power on your FlightView system (or at least your FlightBox Pro EXP).
Connect to your FlightBox’s Wifi network (starts with “FlightBox-“) from your computer*.
Open your web browser and direct it to 192.168.10.1 – the IP address for the FlightBox. This will take you to the Status page.
Use the Menu to select the Settings page.
On the Settings page, click the “Click to select System Update file” button.
Select the hot-fix file (update-fbp-FlightBox-stratux-v2.1r1-4c112c5a43.sh).
Click the button that now reads, “Install update-fbp-FlightBox-stratux-v2.1r1-4c112c5a43.sh”
I’ve been compiling frequently asked questions about FlightView and now have a pretty good start on a “living” document. I will be adding to this on a regular basis. If you have a question that’s not on the list, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best answer it.
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