Introducing FlightBox Pro

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Introducing FlightBox Pro

FlightBox Pro – FAA Approved For Permanent Installation

I’m extremely pleased to announce that Open Flight Solutions has received FAA approval for FlightBox Pro, a new version of our FlightBox ADS-B / GPS / AHRS system which can be permanently installed in certified aircraft as a minor alteration. FlightBox Pro, priced at $675, provides weather, traffic, WAAS GPS, barometric altitude, G-force, and advisory attitude data to applications running on tablets, smartphones, and portable navigators. Coupled with a tablet and a mount, FlightBox Pro serves as the core of a powerful yet inexpensive MFD.

FAA approval means that FlightBox Pro can be installed permanently: mounted to the airframe; wired to the avionics buss; connected to external ADS-B and GPS antennas. A permanently installed system is more convenient, reduces clutter in the cockpit, improves ADS-B and GPS reception, and provides more accurate AHRS and G-meter functionality. Installation can be done by any licensed A&P mechanic or repair station. The process typically takes one to two hours – less if you have existing antennas. The FAA approval permits the installation of FlightBox Pro on any Part 23 / CAR3 airplane and any Part 27 or Part 29 rotorcraft. The installation is deemed to be a minor alteration under most circumstances, requiring only a logbook entry.

FlightBox Pro is the first multifunction system to be approved under the FAA’s NORSEE policy. NORSEE stands for “Non-Required Safety-Enhancing Equipment”. The policy was created in 2015 as a simplified means of reviewing and authorizing products which have the potential to make flying safer. NORSEE is one of several efforts by the FAA to improve the safety of the legacy fleet. Other NORSEE-approved products include a line of iPad and iPhone mounts from Guardian Avionics – great for creating that MFD.

FlightBox Pro is available for pre-order today and is expected to ship in April. The $675 package includes the FlightBox Pro, a dash-mount GPS antenna, cabin-mount 1090 and 978 MHz ADS-B antennas, SMA extension cables and an antenna mount bracket. We are also offering a number of adapters for those who want to connect their FlightBox Pro to external antennas that use BNC, TNCF, and other connector styles. Avionics shops and many A&Ps should be able to fabricate appropriate connections.

Open Flight Solutions does not currently plan to sell external antennas. You can use inexpensive transponder / DME antennas (typically $25 – $35 each) for both ADS-B bands. Aviation GPS antennas are generally quite a bit more expensive, but you can often find used antennas left over from upgrades at a reasonable price. We tested FlightBox Pro using an AeroAntenna AT575-9 that had been connected to an Apollo GPS — it worked flawlessly.

For those who’s A&P or avionics shop demand proof, here’s a link to the approval letter from the FAA.

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17 Comments so far

George GuildPosted on  8:22 pm - Mar 6, 2017

AHRS works with ForeFlight in this new configuration?

    ssokolPosted on  8:30 pm - Mar 6, 2017

    No – the AHRS feature does not work with FF at this time. We hope to convince them to work with us in the near future. All the other features of FlightBox work with FF.

MattPosted on  8:25 pm - Mar 6, 2017

I assuming this approval does not allow the flightbox to be used to satisfy the 2020 ads-b mandate?

William HoltPosted on  8:46 pm - Mar 6, 2017

Needs to work with Foreflight,( most popular flight planner) seems useless if it doesn’t, sorry

Deane TPosted on  9:03 pm - Mar 6, 2017

Does this use WiFi or Bluetooth to connect to the tablet? What about a battery backup?

    ssokolPosted on  9:06 pm - Mar 6, 2017

    It uses Wifi – it creates an access point to which your tablets and smartphones connect. No backup battery at this point, though we may consider building one at a later date.

Dave SpraguePosted on  9:20 pm - Mar 6, 2017

Is the AHRS upgrade in a FlightBox we lucky 200 already have, with the new software, going to be in effect a FlightBox Pro for non permenant installation (or even permenant Installation)? I am assuming and hoping that is the plan.

How is the standalone software for the AHRS coming (incase Foreflight continues to stonewall you)? WIll that be available when Pro is released?

    ssokolPosted on  9:30 pm - Mar 6, 2017

    It’s pretty close. The pro has a DC-DC converter that lets it connect with ship’s power. It has dual USB accessory ports. The Pro case makes it easy to mount. And of course it comes pre-assembled, tested, burned-in, and with a one year warranty.

    I spent some time over the weekend working on the utility app for iOS which will have the attitude display. You can also use the display that’s part of the web interface on the new beta. It’s actually pretty good, if not very conveniently located. My goal is to submit the iOS code to Apple by this next weekend.

SergePosted on  2:41 am - Mar 7, 2017

Can I still use my Garmin Apollo GX50 GPS unit with external antenna ( just like the one pictured )
and have FlightBox Pro connected to the same antenna? What about stick-and-ball antenna?

    ssokolPosted on  8:19 pm - Mar 7, 2017

    Hi Serge,

    You might be able to find a GPS signal splitter, but it would likely be more expensive than another (used) antenna. Splitting a really low-power signal like GPS is usually a bad idea.

    You cannot use a splitter with the stick/ball L-band on your transponder – that would fry the FlightBox’s receivers. You can use a separate L-band antenna that is located at least four feet from any transponder, DME, or UAT transmitter antenna. You will need a splitter to feed it into both the 978 MHz and 1090 MHz SMA ports on the FlightBox Pro. Each will get only half the signal it would receive if it had its own antenna, but I’ve found that to be generally acceptable – I still see 3+ UAT towers and 1090-ES traffic as far out as 50 miles.

Capt Al Blakely CD1 (ret’d)Posted on  5:29 pm - Mar 7, 2017

Hi Steve. I have tried to install the 2nd beta program for the ahrs. For some reason it will not take. When I do it the FlightBox shuts down and about 30 seconds later it starts up again, but alas the upgrade did not take. Will this be included in the approved software coming out shortly.

    ssokolPosted on  8:11 pm - Mar 7, 2017

    Hi Al,

    Yes – it will be incorporated into the main firmware and made available for installation through the FlightBox Utility app on iOS and (hopefully) Android. If you get a chance, please send me a screen shot of your status page from the web interface.

    Thanks,

    -S

RandyPosted on  2:41 pm - Mar 13, 2017

can my flight box be updated to this one thanks Randy

    ssokolPosted on  3:37 pm - Mar 17, 2017

    I’m afraid not. Because it’s FAA certified we have to keep the Pro completely separate from our DIY and portable systems. You can upgrade your FlightBox with most of the same features, but it can’t be made into a Pro and installed permanently.

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