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 of June. We have enough parts in stock to cover all orders currently in our queue. Order that come in from here on will be queued and delivered as soon as parts arrive.
There is at least a limited silver lining: the delay will free up more time to work on the FlightView app and to take care of some important back-office projects. Thanks to everyone for their patience, and apologies to anyone who ends up waiting an extra couple of months for their gear.