FARGO, North Dakota (June 18, 2019) — Appareo today announced the acquisition of Aerovie, LLC, developer of the Aerovie electronic flight bag (EFB) suite that includes AHRS and synthetic vision, VFR sectional, IFR low/high, and geo-referenced approach charts.
Since introducing the first Stratus portable ADS-B receiver in 2012, Appareo has become the industry leader in the design and production of ADS-B equipment for general aviation. While the company has continued expanding on the hardware features and capabilities of Stratus receivers and transponders, it has been reliant on third-party flight apps to interface with the information provided by Stratus receivers. The first three generations of Stratus receivers (Stratus 1, Stratus 2, and Stratus 1S/2S/2i) were integrated with ForeFlight Mobile. The latest model, Stratus 3, was designed with “Open ADS-B Mode,” which means it integrates with any EFB app using GDL 90 protocol.
With the introduction of Stratus 3 last year, the engineers at Appareo began working with many EFB developers to ensure close integration with the newest model. Aerovie was one of the first companies to support Stratus 3 in its app.
“We were very impressed with the Aerovie team as we worked on the integration, and pleased with how smoothly it went,” said Appareo Aviation President Kris Garberg. “I started flying with the Aerovie app and Stratus 3 last year, and I was so impressed with the features and user experience that it became my ‘go to’ EFB.”
Garberg’s experience flying with Aerovie was the catalyst for Appareo to move toward this acquisition. Knowing that Aerovie was already performing well with Stratus 3, Appareo decided it was time to offer pilots a complete solution of tightly integrated hardware and software.
“All of us at Appareo Aviation are excited to work with Bryan Heitman and the Aerovie team to incorporate their exceptional EFB into the Appareo family, and offer a complete hardware and software solution. We plan to build on the success of Aerovie by adding many new features that will increase safety in the cockpit.” – Kris Garberg – President, Appareo Aviation
Some of the first additions to the Aerovie EFB will be features that Appareo developed for its own app, Stratus Horizon Pro. Introduced last year, Stratus Horizon Pro offers pilots helpful tools including backup AHRS, and Radio Playback, which captures Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications and saves them for easy one-touch playback. Additionally, there’s a beta feature called Radio Transcription, which converts ATC communications into text that’s displayed directly above the audio playback line.
“The product development team at Appareo Aviation has spent a considerable amount of effort developing speech recognition technology customized for aviation, and we’re excited to embed that cutting-edge technology throughout the Aerovie app,” Garberg said. “Our product roadmap is focused on creating a safer, more convenient way to fly. It centers around a beyond-glass strategy, which is the future of aviation.”
Bryan Heitman, the founder of Aerovie is a software developer, private pilot, and self-proclaimed weather geek. As the EFB market was getting started, Heitman considered how he could utilize his skills to create something valuable for pilots. When Lockheed Martin Flight Services announced in 2014 they would provide PIREPS into the national air system, Heitman saw an opportunity. He developed AerovieReports, the first app to deliver free PIREPS. AerovieReports grew a following, and Heitman began adding features. “As a pilot, I was using some of the popular flight apps, but there were gaps in their features. I decided to expand Aerovie to become a flight bag that provided everything I needed,” Heitman said.
Since then, Aerovie has evolved into a full-featured cockpit tool designed to make pilots’ lives easier and provide enhanced situational awareness. Aerovie is a leader for preflight weather planning, with tools designed to give pilots a deeper understanding of weather. For example, weather modeling products such as radar forecast, and a vertical weather profile tool that allows pilots to see conditions across their route of flight based on their aircraft speed and departure time.
“Being as committed as we were to providing robust and reliable weather tools, Stratus was definitely on our radar,” Heitman said. “We saw Appareo leading the ADS-B market with the best quality receiver available, but our customers couldn’t experience it until Stratus 3 was introduced.”
With the Aerovie acquisition comes good news for pilots who own older models of Stratus receivers. The first enhancement planned for the Aerovie app is support for Stratus 2, 1S, 2S, and 2i.
“We’re very excited to take Aerovie to the next level by joining the Stratus product family. Our companies have been aligned in our commitment to G.A. over the years. We understand the unique needs of a single-pilot operation versus a crew, and we’re committed to making flying safer and more friendly for that G.A. pilot,” – Bryan Heitman – Founder, Aerovie
Aerovie currently offers two subscription plans — $6.99 monthly or $69.99 annually. Current Aerovie app users will not experience a disruption in their service during the acquisition by Appareo. Once additional features are added to the app, current and new subscribers will be able to select from various plan levels. Those subscription options, as well as the app naming and branding, will be announced at a later date.
The terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed as both companies are privately held. For more information about Appareo Aviation, visit www.appareoaviation.com, and for Aerovie visit www.aerovie.com.
The Aerovie app is available on the App Store for iOS devices.
# # #
With two new products to introduce, AirVenture 2018 was one for the books!
Stratus 3 is the simple-to-use, portable wireless receiver that provides subscription-free weather, GPS information, backup attitude and ADS-B traffic on your tablet. The feature that pilots were most excited about is the Open ADS-B Mode, which was added so Stratus 3 could work with a variety of popular apps – both iOS and Android based.
Stratus Horizon Pro is a free app that delivers firmware updates to Stratus receivers, displays backup AHRS, and offers ATC Radio Playback when paired with a Stratus Audio Cable. Also coming soon to this app is ATC Radio Transcription!
The Oshkosh experience is valuable to a variety of our team members, not just the sales team. We always show up with a mix of folks from product development, engineering, marketing, sales, and support.
Mike Willers, Support Manager had this to say about his first time attending EAA AirVenture Oshkosh:
My team deals with a lot of questions and troubleshooting during the year, so it’s fun to get out and talk with happy customers at these shows and learn about how much our products improve their flying careers or hobbies. It’s fantastic to see how diverse our customers are from flying a few times a year to flying in large operations.”
See you at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019!
FARGO, North Dakota (July 20, 2018) — Appareo today announced a software addition to the Stratus family of pilot-friendly affordable avionics. Stratus Horizon Pro is a free iOS application that displays a backup Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS), delivers firmware updates to Stratus receivers, offers Radio Playback, and will soon include Radio Transcription. The company will exhibit this app along with its full line of Stratus products next week at the annual EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2018 fly-in and expo.
Stratus Horizon Pro displays supplemental attitude information driven by a Stratus receiver — essentially creating a “backup glass cockpit” on your iPad. The AHRS feature aligns itself automatically, so pilots can just turn it on and fly. Pilots will experience a very responsive pitch and bank instrument within the app, which becomes an excellent backup for emergency situations.
When paired with a Stratus Audio Cable, the Radio Playback feature captures Air Traffic Control (ATC) communications and saves them for easy one-touch playback. This gives pilots the ability to repeat radio communications without having to ask for a “say again.”
“Pilots are going to love the ability to tap their iPad for a quick audio playback, rather than ask controllers to repeat themselves,” said Appareo Aviation President Kris Garberg. “But we’re not stopping there. We have more exciting features in development for this app.”
Coming soon in the premium version will be a Radio Transcription feature. Similar to how visual voicemail works, the ATC communications will be converted into text and displayed directly above the audio playback line, providing a helpful visual assist for referencing previous audio clips.
“Receiving a clearance, ATIS or any other important ATC communication has never been easier when you don’t need to write it down,” Garberg said.
The speech recognition and language understanding technology that drives the Radio Transcription feature was custom-designed by the Artificial Intelligence (AI) division at Appareo. “Stratus Horizon Pro is an exciting first step toward AI-assisted technology for pilots,” said Appareo AI Systems Director Josh Gelinske. “We look forward to building on the core of this machine learning technology to reduce workload and increase safety in the cockpit. ”
At a global scale, speech recognition, translation, and transcription features are becoming increasingly more commonplace (e.g. Alexa and Siri). However, ATC communications present many unique challenges for these common speech recognition systems. The high rate of speech, noisy signal, narrow frequency band, and unique location identifiers are among those challenges. Appareo identified that shortfall in the existing technology and set out to develop a speech recognition system that would be customized for aviation.
“By using a custom-designed deep neural network trained on thousands of hours of speech and hundreds of hours of ATC data that we collected and transcribed, we’ve created a speech recognition system which can run on mobile devices without an Internet connection,” Gelinske explained. “Natural Language Processing is also used to interpret the output of the speech recognition system to present it in a more pilot-friendly format. For example, tail numbers, altitudes, runways, and frequencies are transcribed in a way that will be more helpful to pilots.”
“This new AI technology is the baseline for exciting features we have in our app roadmap,” Garberg said. “The Appareo Aviation product roadmap is focused on creating a safer, more convenient way to fly. It centers around a beyond-glass strategy, which is the future of aviation.”
Stratus Horizon Pro was designed to work with an iPad’s Split View, as well as the new Multitasking or “slide over” feature, which allows users to work with two apps at the same time. This means pilots can have Stratus Horizon Pro displayed as a small overlay, while continuing to run their favorite EFB. The app can be viewed in day mode, night mode, or HUD mode for those that have a heads up display. The Stratus Audio Cable (available to purchase here) is necessary to enable the audio playback feature. No cellular service or internet connection is required to operate the app. Available only for iOS devices.
# # #
Appareo is a recognized leader in the custom design, development and manufacture of innovative electronic and software solutions for aerospace and agriculture. Through the creative application of cutting-edge technologies, Appareo creates complex end-to-end solutions that include both mobile and cloud-based components. The company is privately held, with world headquarters located in Fargo, N.D., and design offices in Tempe, Ariz. and Paris, France. All Stratus products are designed, developed, built and supported in the USA. The company currently has a network of 540 dealers and was voted 2017 AEA Association Member of the Year.