Stratus3 and open GDL

Stratus3 ADSB-in receivers are marketed as having “open-GDL” mode, meaning they can be used with any EFB app. While that is technically correct, Appareo (the manufacturer) is not being entirely honest in this claim. If anyone in the vicinity of the Stratus3 attempts to connect to its wifi signal using Foreflight, then it will automatically switch to “Foreflight-only” mode. You can’t undo this even with a reboot. You have to install the Stratus Horizon Pro software to re-enable the open-GDL mode. Unfortunately, the Stratus Horizon Pro app will only run on Apple iOS. So if the reason you don’t use Foreflight is because you are not a fan of Apple, this turns the $700 Stratus3 into an expensive paperweight. All of this can only be interpreted as Appareo implicitly forcing their customer towards Apple and Foreflight.

It also seems Appareo has shared information with some other commercial EFB developers how to switch the Stratus3 back to open GDL. But they appear to be guarding this information closely. The truly open source EFBs like Avare are left without any help, even though Appareo continues to market its product as compatible with open-GDL.

Avare users are not “customers”. They are a community. They are also not afraid to try something new. As a community member, I wanted to find a solution to this problem. After all I believed Appareo’s claims and paid good money to buy their Stratus3. With a borrowed iPAD, I was able to run a wifi snoop to detect the command strings that were being exchanged. If you need that information, please contact me directly, or look in the Avare forum on googlegroups.

The long and short of it is, I was able to write a small Android app that can toggle the Stratus3. It is a pretty basic app that sends the command strings and then looks for the ADSB data packets. You can find this app on Google Play.

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