Our answer to the EAA challenge to reduce the rate of Loss of Control In-flight (LOC-I) accidents is the provision of a community developed and supported open source instrument and protocol “System of Systems” suite. Developments in avionics technology has helped prevent loss of control (LOC) situations by providing increased situational awareness through advanced displays, relative wind visualizations, sensors, and aural and haptic feedback devices. However, these technologies are often cost prohibitive to experimental builders and/or are not integrated into cockpit audio, visual or haptic feedback systems. These solutions require proprietary solutions to be engineered.
MakerPlane provides these same technologies in a high quality, comprehensive, community owned solution that most builders can incorporate into their aircraft, without spending a lot of money. Our solution provides the high situational awareness of a full glass cockpit that can include an Electronic Flight Information System (EFIS) with key anti-LOC solutions such as an integrated AOA/turn coordination/ airspeed visualizer, audio warnings, a moving map, digital Engine Information System (EIS), Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS) unit, haptic stick shaker and so on at a price point which would allow it to be installed on even the cheapest ultralight aircraft.
Underlying this solution, MakerPlane provides a common avionics digital protocol called the Controller Area Network – Flight information Exchange (CAN-FiX), a derivative of CAN-Aerospace, that enables others with unique anti-LOC solutions to quickly integrate with our ecosystem. The MakerPlane ecosystem includes a hardware and software development infrastructure that gives current and future innovators an easy on-ramp to build upon the community infrastructure with their unique hardware or software solution. The open architecture allows any developer to integrate their system into other sensors, displays, gauges, input devices and so on easily using CAN-FiX for interoperability with other compliant systems. Hardware or software interfaces can be built to convert different protocols into the CAN-FiX specification through our free CAN-FiX Gateway without needing to re-engineer the original system.
We provide software libraries and documentation for developers to achieve this. It is our intent that this will allow inventors and developers with unique anti-LOC solutions a quicker time to deployment and to market to ultimately save lives. This is proven with the integration of recent innovations in anti-LOC technologies such as relative wind visualization and dangerous situation aural warnings.
We also have interfaces to popular free and payware flight simulators that allow bench and simulated flight testing for most use cases before installation into an airframe and actual flight tests. One of the key benefits is the low cost to implement and all plans will be free to download from the MakerPlane website.
The software is already available from the MakerPlane open source Github code repository. The hardware is very easy to put together and install into a panel or sensor location with very few wires needed between modules (typically transmit, receive and power wires). Using a 9-pin connector hub, installation can be as simple as plugging the module into a board.
For the first time, the aviation community has a common and open infrastructure to build and integrate their unique solution into a modern digital aircraft environment.