Home Software Online METAR Tool GlassPack
About GlassPack
GlassPack is an evolutionary step in avionics for experimental aircraft. Using an assortment of inexpensive, small, simple, and fast computers, microcontrollers, and sensors, combined with off-the-shelf tablet computers, cell phones, and our custom software, GlassPack allows the experimental aircraft builder/owner to create a custom avionics system for their aircraft. The design is simple, yet infinitely expandable, allowing the builder and/or 3rd parties to add new sensors and instruments, while providing even novice software engineers the ability create impressive visual components that render complex data to tablets and cell phones in ways that reduce pilot workload. We offer everything from ready-to-install systems to detailed instructions on how to Build Your Own GlassPack.
GlassPack is Open
GlassPack is an open-source system, for both the hardware and software. This means there is nothing proprietary about the system, you have full access to the hardware design as well as all of the source code used to create the software. Everyone is encouraged to submit their own ideas for improvements or additions to the system, and those with the skills required to develop hardware and software are free to do so. Even if you are not a hardware or software developer, you will benefit from this open system because other people and companies will be able to easily extend the core features in GlassPack, making those enhancements available for you to use in your aircraft.
GlassPack Core
The GlassPack Core consists of a small, but very capable, computer, and an add-on board that contains a microcontroller which connects to various sensors. The most basic set of sensors include GPS, barometric pressure, temperature, humidity, magnetic heading, and gyroscopes used for pitch and roll measurements. These sensors are found in all GlassPack systems, and provide what we consider to be the minimum amount of data needed to create a usable avionics system. From the data provided by these elementary sensors, we can derive a great deal of information about the position, location, altitude, attitude, speed, and general environment an aircraft is operating within.
Beyond the Core
While a great deal of information is extracted from just the Core components, GlassPack is infinitely expandable. The add-on board that plugs into the base computer not only contains the microcontroller used to communicate with sensors, but has space to plug in many additional sensors (I2C, SPI, and Analog/Digital), and many of those can be further expanded simply using expansion blocks. All 4 of the base computer's USB ports are also available for future expansion, and the GlassPack Core already knows how to communicate with them. So what do we envision being plugged into all of these expansion ports? The short answer is anything you want! We would like to see engine monitoring (EGT/CHT), radio controls, transponder controls, auto-pilots, flight data recorders, etc. The possiblities truly are endless.
How Does GlassPack Work?
You can think of GlassPack as a consumer and publisher of data. It consumes data from internal and external sensors using various mechanisms, and publishes this data to any device that requests it using the standard web HTTP protocol. Any web browser or device that can make an HTTP request over a Wi-Fi connection can receive data from GlassPack. Authorized devices can also send data to GlassPack to be published to others. For instance, an external computer that monitors engine sensors can send their data to GlassPack using USB, I2C, SPI, or HTTP over Wi-Fi. The end user can configure GlassPack using a simple web-based Control Panel.
What Does GlassPack Look Like?
We are finalizing our design now and will publish pictures once we reach the point when doing so will will accurately represent the final product. But it will be a small box that contains the The base computer, GlassPack add-on board, the sensors that comprise the Core unit, an external GPS antenna, and a power converter that will accept 8-50 DC volts. It must be wired to an aircraft electrical system that can provide at least 2.5 amps of current. It will not have a built-in battery backup system, though that can certainly be installed by the aircraft builder/owner. This was a deliberate decision on our part and goes along with the open philosophy of the system. We only require 8-28 volts and 2.5 amps, how you choose to get that to GlassPack is entirely up to you.

As far as how it looks installed on your instrument panel, that depends on how you intend to use it. In most cases, the display will be rendered on an iPad, Android tablet, or cell phone. What is shown, and how, is entirely up to you. You will be able to use GlassPack as nearly your entire instrumentation system, or use just a part of it, like barometric pressure, to display altitude on a cell phone. Being open source, we are actively encouraging app developers to create many different displays, on many different devices and platforms, for GlassPack. You can develop your own, use those we provide, or choose software from others that communicate with GlassPack.
**** Looking for User Interface Developers ****
We are rapidly approaching the final stages of hardware and software development and are looking for people interested in developing User Interface components for GlassPack. This will be the actual instrument panels that GlassPack users will see and interace with. If you have experience with HTML, CSS, JavaScript or iOS or Android app development and would like to greatly influence the launch of GlassPack, please see the GlassPack Developers page for more information.