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In-flight weather, traffic, and GPS navigation for the price of a tank of avgas.
In-flight weather, traffic, and GPS navigation for the price of a tank of avgas.
In-flight weather, traffic, and GPS navigation for the price of a tank of avgas.
344 backers pledged $77,369 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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FlightBox ADS-B Receiver Kit

$77,369

344

ADS-B For Everyone

If you’re a pilot, chances are pretty good that you’ve heard about ADS-B. You probably know that an ADS-B receiver can make flying safer and more efficient by providing real-time weather, traffic, TFRs, and other flight data to your Apple or Android tablet. You probably also know that all of the ADS-B receivers on the market are really expensive. That’s about to change. 

FlightBox Prototype (iPad Not Included)
FlightBox Prototype (iPad Not Included)

FlightBox is an ADS-B receiver based on the incredibly popular Stratux open source project. FlightBox is built from off-the-shelf hardware and free software, making it much less expensive than proprietary ADS-B receivers. FlightBox costs as little as $150 and offers the same features as competing products costing as much as $1000.

FlightBox is offered as a “quick-build” kit. The kit can be assembled in less than five minutes using nothing more than a phillips screwdriver and a pair of pliers. The software comes pre-loaded - no computer required. You simply make a few connections, put the cover on, and you’re ready to fly.

Supported Aviation Apps

FlightBox supports all of the most popular aviation apps. So far we have confirmed operation with:

  • ForeFlight (iOS)
  • WingX Pro (iOS, Android)
  • FlyQ EFB (iOS)
  • DroidEFB (Android)
  • iFlyGPS (iOS, Android)  
  • Avare (Android)
  • Naviator (Android) 
  • AvNav (Android) 

If you have a favorite EFB or navigation app that’s not listed, let us know.

Features

Subscription-Free In-Flight Weather

FlightBox receives continuous, free weather updates from ADS-B ground stations. In-flight weather gives you a huge edge in aeronautical decision making by providing you with a near real-time view of conditions in your area and across the nation.

Current weather products include: 

  • NEXRAD radar
  • METARs
  • TAFs
  • Winds / Temps Aloft
  • AIRMETs
  • SIGMETs
  • PIREPs

Additionally, ADS-B’s FIS-B service also gives you:

  • TFRs
  • NOTAMs
  • SUA (Special Use Airspace) activity

Future enhancements to the ADS-B weather system are expected to add lightning, turbulence, icing, cloud tops, and AWOS.

ADS-B Traffic

FlightBox is available as either a single-band or dual-band system. The single-band version is able to receive traffic data directly from aircraft equipped with 978 MHz (UAT) ADS-B Out, and also re-broadcast traffic provided by ADS-B ground stations. Dual-band systems add the ability to receive traffic data directly from aircraft equipped with 1090-ES transponders. Traffic data includes the identity (call sign or tail number) of the target, their location, distance, heading, and speed.

It’s important to understand that ADS-B traffic is advisory only and will be limited if your aircraft does not have ADS-B Out. For a full review of the requirements and limitations of ADS-B traffic, please see this article on the FAA website.

WAAS GPS

While many modern tablets and smartphones include GPS capabilities, they generally lack the precision of a separate WAAS-capable GPS receiver and significantly increase the drain on your battery. FlightBox incorporates a high precision WAAS GPS module with a 10 Hz update rate. This provides your app with a highly accurate position - typically between 10 and 30 feet. It also provides GPS altitude, ground speed, and ground track data.

Antenna Options

FlightBox will include rubber-duck ADS-B antennas but it's designed to give you options. You can use the included SMA connectors to link to an external antenna. You can add SMA extension cables to reposition the rubber ducks. Or, you can connect directly to the MCX couplers on the radio modules. We've done testing with several antenna designs, including an innovative J-Pole antenna that can be affixed to a window, windshield, or (for composite aircraft) sidewall.

J-Pole Antenna
J-Pole Antenna

Built To Last

Most electronics spend their lives in comfort. Portable ADS-B receivers don't. They live on a glareshield that gets up to 160°F - on a cool day. That's why we're building FlightBox to withstand temperatures that would melt most enclosures into slag. The production case will be made from Boltaron - a space age plastic that's engineered to withstand years of heat, UV, vibration and just about any other abuse you and your airplane can dish out.

We've also gone the extra mile with the components. The radio receiver modules, wifi module, and GPS have all been extensively tested. We're sourcing the parts from reputable suppliers and testing each component prior to shipping it out.

Easy To Assemble

The FlightBox kits are made up of between 8 and 10 parts (plus a few screws) and typically take less than five minutes to assemble. The software comes pre-loaded so you DO NOT need a computer to get running.

Assembly of a prototype FlightBox - final kit may differ slightly
Assembly of a prototype FlightBox - final kit may differ slightly

Easy To Use

FlightBox is even easier to use. The software comes preconfigured so all you need to do is:

Step 1: Connect FlightBox to power.

Step 2: Connect your tablet or phone to the "FlightBox-XXX" WiFi network.

Step 3: Launch your favorite EFB aviation application.

That's it. FlightBox will immediately start listening for ADS-B and GPS signals.

Open Source

FlightBox is built on the power of open source. Open source is a collaborative development method that leverages the expertise of a community of volunteers to create software or hardware. Open source has a number of advantages over proprietary development. Cost is the most obvious, but others include community support, faster bug fixes, and fewer flaws due to a much broader review of the code.

Open Flight Solutions is dedicated to the idea that open source and open standards can reduce the cost of aviation while enhancing safety. We are actively participating in the Stratux project and will continue to do so. We have budgeted $10 from each FlightBox sale for reinvestment in the Stratux project. This will go towards continued development, testing, and project infrastructure. 

In The Box

Each FlightBox kit will include:

  • Custom rugged case
  • Raspberry Pi Model 2 B computer
  • Pre-loaded Class 10 data card
  • Edimax Wifi interface module
  • NooElec SDR receiver module(s)
  • WAAS GPS module
  • Antenna adapter cables (aka pigtails)
  • Custom ADS-B whip antenna(s)
  • High power USB cable
  • Assembly and user's guide

Please note that FlightBox does not include an internal battery. For users who want a completely portable system, we have tested and highly recommend the Anker E3 10,000 mAh battery pack. We've also tested and can recommend Anker's PowerDrive2 adapter.

Supported

One of the challenges of open source hardware / software is support. Open Flight Solutions stands behind FlightBox. We're including free email and web support with every FlightBox. If you have questions or issues, let us know and we will do everything we can to help.

Upgradable

If you choose to back the single-band version of FlightBox and later decide you want the additional traffic data provided by a dual-band version, fear not. We plan to offer an upgrade kit. The case is designed to work for either version, so installation of the upgrade will just take a few minutes with the screwdriver and pliers.

Future Enhancements

The Stratux community is hard at work on additional features, including AHRS (attitude / heading sensors used for virtual instruments and synthetic vision). FlightBox is designed to make hardware upgrades simple and inexpensive. Simply remove the cover and replace it with a new one that incorporates the additional hardware. Work on AHRS is already under way and should be available soon. We hope to eventually add support for:

  • AHRS
  • Pressure Altitude 
  • Airspeed
  • AoA
  • Carbon Monoxide Detection
  • Magnetic Heading

(Note that some of these enhancements will only be available for use in experimental aircraft.)

Easy Updates

The Stratux software is continually improving. To make it simple to upgrade, FlightBox incorporates a simple software upgrade process. Just download the update to your computer, connect to the FlightBox’s wifi network, point your browser to the update screen and drop the update. FlightBox takes care of the rest.

Our Campaign

Kickstarter is the perfect way to launch a product like FlightBox. By backing this project you're helping to cover the up-front cost of design and production for the custom case. You're giving back to the open source project. You're also helping to launch what we expect to be a revolution in cost-effective DIY avionics - something that can truly help make GA safer and more affordable.

About Us

Open Flight Solutions is a different kind of startup. We're not venture funded. We're not looking for an exit. We believe that the future of general aviation - more specifically, "personal aviation" - will depend on innovation and collaboration. Our mission is to help more people enjoy the thrill of flight by offering affordable solutions to traditionally expensive problems. We believe in open source, open standards, freedom, and passion.

Risks and challenges

FlightBox is based on the Stratux open source software which has been tested by hundreds of users around the country since the summer of 2015. That eliminates the biggest hurdle. Development is ongoing but the basics - ADS-B weather and traffic - are tested and working.

As with any hardware product, we're at the mercy of our suppliers. We've found multiple sources for most components and do not expect any major supply-chain issues.

The developers of many popular aviation apps have expressed support for the Stratux open source project. Some have actively participated. However, there is no guarantee that any particular app vendor will continue to support the Stratux software on which FlightBox is based. We're doing our best to ensure compatibility, but we can't guarantee it.

As with all things aviation there is always the chance that our regulatory friends at the FAA could add complications. At this point non-installed advisory systems like FlightBox have been tolerated (even grudgingly promoted) by the Feds, but there is no guarantee that they will not change their policy at some point in the future.

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Support this project

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    FlightBox / Stratux / Open Flight Solutions Coffee Mug

    Enjoy a cup of open source joe at the airport. This mug - sure to become a collector's item - will feature our logo. You'll also be immortalized on our Backers Wall Of Fame. Thanks!

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    12 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Single-Band FlightBox ADS-B Kit - Early Bird

    Be one of our first 50 single-band backers and save $50.

    This is the base model. It includes a single 978 MHz UAT ADS-B receiver and a WAAS GPS receiver. $10 per unit will be reinvested in the Stratux project for the development of new features and functions.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    Limited 49 backers
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  3. Reward no longer available

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Dual-Band FlightBox ADS-B Kit - Early Bird

    Be one of our first 50 dual-band backers and save $50.

    This is the advanced model. It includes both the 978 MHz UAT receiver and a 1090-ES receiver plus a WAAS GPS receiver. $10 per unit will be reinvested in the Stratux project for the development of new features and functions.

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    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only United States
    Reward no longer available 50 backers
    $
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Single-Band FlightBox ADS-B Kit

    This is the base model. It includes a single 978 MHz UAT ADS-B receiver and a WAAS GPS receiver. $10 per unit will be reinvested in the Stratux project for the development of new features and functions.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    7 backers
    $
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    Dual-Band FlightBox ADS-B Kit

    This is the advanced model. It includes both the 978 MHz UAT receiver and a 1090-ES receiver plus a WAAS GPS receiver. $10 per unit will be reinvested in the Stratux project for the development of new features and functions.

    Less
    Estimated delivery
    Ships to Only certain countries
    223 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (30 days)