The need to “See and Be Seen” has become more pertinent in recent years right across the aviation landscape – from Gliders and Balloons to Business Jets, Airliners and even military aircraft. As our skies get busier existing aircraft are also joined by drones and, in the not too distant future, eVTOLs / “flying cars”.
It is therefore relevant across the supporting associations of GAAC and in this respect is a common issue of concern to all.
A lot of research has been carried out under an initiative known as GAINS (General Aviation Improved Navigation and Surveillance) which AOPA UK was particularly involved with (AOPA CEO Martin Robinson chaired the cross-association Electronic Conspicuity Working Group, with Bob Darby also playing a leading role — especially in organising flight testing).
GAINS was supported by SESAR and Eurocontrol, and the report of initial flight testing of some devices can be found HERE.
More recently, in the UK, the Department for Transport (DfT) in early October launched a scheme allowing those purchasing EC devices to claim a 50% rebate (up to £250). Further details can be found on the CAA website at: https://www.caa.co.uk/General-aviation/Aircraft-ownership-and-maintenance/Electronic-Conspicuity-devices
At present the most popular devices are the uAvioniX SkyEcho II and Pilotaware, although the latter is not compatible with ADS-B Out as carried by commercial aircraft. Devices such as SkyEcho II work well with SkyDemon on an iPhone for the display, for example, or third-party displays can be used. Some, such as the new Aircrew device, can be installed in non-certified aircraft (generally administered in the UK by the LAA and BMAA).