Pilots across the US have been relying on the Stratus ADS-B receiver for nearly 3 years now to deliver subscription-free in flight weather and traffic to their iPad and ForeFlight. While this portable receiver delivers all the tangible benefits promised from the FAA’s ADS-B system, it does not meet the 2020 ADS-B Out requirement that pilots need to comply with when flying in airspace that currently requires a transponder.
To satisfy this requirement, pilots will need to equip their aircraft with an ADS-B Out system, which takes the form of a new or updated panel-mount transponder (portable devices do not comply with the FAA’s stringent requirements). In addition the transponder must include or be connected to a WAAS GPS source to provide accurate aircraft position data.
While there are several low-cost ADS-B Out transponders on the market, the added complexity of integrating with a WAAS GPS has proven expensive for aircraft owners from both an equipment and installation cost standpoint. And even after the ADS-B Out system is installed, aircraft owners then face additional costs to add the ADS-B In solution to their panel for displaying weather and traffic.
Appareo, the developer behind Stratus, recognized the situation that many pilots face with this deadline and developed a new low-cost 1090ES ADS-B Out transponder, the Stratus ESG, that takes a new approach to this problem. This all-in-one solution replaces your existing transponder with a modern digital device that is approved for all altitudes, including the flight levels. The transponder includes an integrated WAAS GPS, eliminating the need to purchase or upgrade an existing GPS.
Appareo also recognized that the cost and complexity to install many of the existing ADS-B Out transponders is exceedingly high, so they focused on developing a system that would be simple for avionics shop to install. Stratus ESG connects directly to the existing belly-mounted transponder antenna and also includes a WAAS GPS antenna. For typical single-engine piston aircraft, Stratus ESG will require approximately half the installation time as compared to a remote-mounted 978 Mhz UAT ADS-B Out system.
What really makes the Stratus ESG unique though is its direct integration with the portable Stratus 2 receiver. Once installed pilots can connect their portable Stratus 2 with a few wires to the Stratus ESG, allowing the portable Stratus 2 to take advantage of the exterior remote-mounted GPS and ADS-B antennas to deliver position data, weather and traffic to an iPad running ForeFlight. In addition to improved reception, this allows you to mount Stratus 2 out of sight under the panel or in a glove box. This connection will also deliver power to the device, eliminating the need to charge it in between flights.
Pilots flying with the Stratus 2 portable ADS-B receiver will also see a significantly improved traffic picture in ForeFlight after equipping with Stratus ESG. As we’ve discussed in the past, the only way to receive the complete traffic picture in ForeFlight (or with any ADS-B In traffic display) is to participate in the ADS-B system by transmitting ADS-B Out, and flying with Stratus ESG allows you to satisfy that requirement.
Stratus ESG is currently in the FAA certification process and will complete final submission for certifications late this year. It will sell for $3,490, which includes the digital transponder, GPS antenna and install kit.
For more information on the ADS-B system, check out our latest webinar video on the topic: Understanding ADS-B, a Pilot’s Guide