Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By gaznav
#1636955
Ok, some ground rules first; I neither work for Uavionix nor am I being paid by them, I am a serving RAF aircrew officer, the head of aviation safety for the RAF Flying Clubs Assoc and also on the Board of Directors for GASCo. However, none of this matters as the following is my personal view and should be read as such.

On Thursday 6th September 2018 (yes 3 days ago) a development SkyEcho 2 arrived in the post. I was sent it by the company to test and give my thoughts - as both a keen commentator on low-power ADS-B and also as a current SkyEcho 1 user that I purchased just before Christmas 2017.

For the FLYER team, I approve the use of any of the attached photos and the information contained within should you want to use any of it in your great magazine.

Firstly, as many will know, I was keen on the first SkyEcho 2 (SE2) that I saw and I was not disappointed with this one either. It is an excellent build quality, feels rugged, has a substantial mounting system and comes in it’s own bespoke carry case with everything you need - the mount, a USB cable and the device. Here it is on the wing of my Condor:
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I mounted it on the rear window so that it would be out of my main field of view - not that this is big, about the size of a packet of 20 cigarettes, with no cables (it has a battery that lasts up to 12 hours!) and a wifi link to my iPad and an old iPhone 5S that I am using as my traffic display velcro’d to the instrument panel. Garfield is an optional extra should the unit fail [joke!].
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There is no need to use an App with SE2 as there is a nifty web feature that you point to with an IP address via the SE2 wifi link. Don’t worry the instruction guide is easy to follow. Here are the configuration pages:
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I will next post the airborne performance that I saw.
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By gaznav
#1636959
Here is the flight performance that I saw today. I flew out of Hinton in the Hedges, past Upper Heyford, Bicester, Westcott (WCO), Princes Risborough and back. This is what I saw:

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Even before climb out I could see the instrument traffic at Oxford Airport. Also that there were some others in the Cotswolds.

The mount for the SE2 was as solid as a rock. No lick and stick needed, just one of those great mounts by RAM. Also, the SE2 comes with a standard camera screw mount so many other mounts can be used.
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The first aircraft to trigger on the Sky Demon traffic display was this one on approach into Oxford.
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Here it is as a screen shot - Tim Dawson - could you put the current track from the GPS on the Traffic display as it would be really useful?
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Here is me turning away from that traffic and altering my course to the right. I never saw him/her even at 2 miles :shock: Must try harder!
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Next I will post some other screenshots including the UAT weather function.
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By gaznav
#1636965
Next up as I was just south of Bicester avoiding the glider site I saw that I was starting to receive weather from the UAT at Wycombe Air Park - about 25nm and I was at 2,400ft QNH (just over 2,000ft AGL). However as I approached Westcot (WCO) I noticed a helicopter travelling towards me about 1,700ft below following the powerlines. This is VERY poignant as this is near to where the tragic events unfolded between a light aircraft and helicopter which collided killing all.
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It demonstrates to me that if both aircraft had the benefit of ADS-B In/Out then we may not have unnecessarily lost these people - many of whom on here were their friends.

The weather mozaic for the whole of the UK was downloaded in less than a couple of minutes. Here is the current coverage from the UAT stations on trial in the South of the UK.
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Not a lot of weather down south so I zoomed in on Anglesey (having been at RAF Valley in the past where it normally rains day or night every day!).
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I then called up RAF Halton to see if my SIL=1 ADS-B was being tracked on Flight Radar 24 - it was and the Airfield Manager took this screenshot and sent it to me later.
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I later checked my flight was tracked on FR24 throughout, it was:
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I will give my final first impressions next.
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By gaznav
#1636971
So, first impressions are that my expectations were exceeded with this device. I was worried that the internal antennae may have reduced the performance but that performance appears better, or if not as good as, the previous SkyEcho model. Here is a screen shot zoomed out and I appear to be seeing an airliner nort east of Liverpool that is only 3,400ft above. I know that seeing traffic that far away is not much use, but it proves that the internal antennae are pretty damn good...
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This proves that SkyEcho 2 is here and very soon to be marketed. I don’t have the FLARMbridge as I do not have a FLARM to connect anyway - I would need to borrow one for a while to do that. It also, does not yet have the FLARM tx/rx function that is under development. Further, the concurrent use of Mode S is still not allowed (but hopefully soon) but a Mode 3/A with C can. But what I do have is a SIL=1 ADS-B transceiver, a UAT reciever that gets me weather and all in a great little ‘no fuss’ package with its own battery without any wires or antennae to snag on.

Finally, I gave Turweston Radio A call to see whether they could see me on their PAW OGN-R - yes, they can. Which is good news for everyone involved.

Would I pay £419 for it - you bet. I just hope they let me keep it, even at a reduced rate (one careful owner and all that!) :thumleft:
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By gaznav
#1636975
TLRippon wrote:Can I just ask why you don’t seem to have a transponder in this aircraft?


Hi TFLRippon, when I fitted the 8.33 radio at Easter I did fit a tray that could take a TRiG transponder and I left provision to wire it in. However, it comes down to price really - the cheapest Class 2 TRiG is £1600-£1700 before I start to fit it. Then if I want SIL>=1 then I would need a TN72 which is another £300 plus. If ADS-B takes off as it seems to be then the transponder may not be needed. I have never been refused a TMZ entry/transit as I have always called the controlling authority beforehand who has given me a route and a frequency to call.

Whilst, I would never say “never” to fitting Mode S in the future I really do hope that low-power ADS-B allows aircraft to access airspace without needing a transponder. Reading the recent CAA consultation on future airspace then that proposal seems to be on the table. I would far rather spend £419 than the best part of £2,000 when I don’t fly IFR, IMC or at night. 99.9% of my flying is in Class G.

I hope that makes sense?
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By ls8pilot
#1636979
very useful review thanks. I assume you have the full version of SD. Do you.know of any simple way of getting the radar display without full SD?

Assume all the traffic you saw was ADSB via mode s transponders?

If you get chance would be good to know how a TCAS equpped aircraft sees you...
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By gaznav
#1636983
Yes, I bit the bullet at Christmas and bought a monthly subscription for full SD. I don’t know about the Traffic display - maybe send Tim Dawson a PM?

Not sure, some could be SkyEchos too? Certainly the helicopter was most likely using a full up ADS-B solution. It looked like a red MD500 - the sort that was used in Magnum PI. But I didn’t stare too long as it was also great gliding weather by midday.

The only TCAS that would see this at the moment I believe is a Ver 7.1 with the ‘Hybrid Surveillance’ option. Still quite a rare breed but getting more popular as fleets transition to the higher standard of V7.1 for the EU 2020 mandate - but they sill need to take the option as well.

If anyone has access to a Hybrid Surveillance TCAS aircraft then I’ll happily come and lurk somewhere in the South of the UK to see if you can see me ;-)
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By seanxair
#1636989
Looks good. So a question, completely unloaded.

Would my PAW have shown the same contacts? I'm only interested in the the contacts shown, not weather, not SIL 0/1, not any other stuff.

Just the contacts. Same, less, more?
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By Flyin'Dutch'
#1636991
Thanks for sharing.

Looks a great bit of kit.

Any indication if the battery really lasts 12 hours?
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By Rob P
#1636993
So all the above is an alternative to using a Mode S Transponder?
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