Flight Data Recorder

(Flight Data Recorder: Last updated May 8, 2023)

We have developed a basic Flight Data Recorder (FDR) for all our flight tests.

This recorder consists of a LattePanda single-board computer running Windows 10 (4G / 64G SKU model: DFR0419), equipped with a 7 ″ IPS 1024 x 600 screen with a capacitive touch screen overlay (fig. 1). This data logger shares the same 5-volt power supply as the EFIS and EMS.

Figure 1: The Flight Data Recorder placed on the keyboard of a 14″ notebook.

Any laptop running Windows could be used instead of the LattePanda. The latter has the advantage of its tiny size. Several USB ports capable of emulating a serial COM port are required.

The Windows program was written using the Processing Development Environment, based on the Java language. It allows simultaneous recording of serial data streams received by several USB COM ports.

Download here the Processing source code of the Flight Data Recorder. This program runs without modification on Windows; it could easily be adapted to other OS. You can download Processing here if you don’t already have it on your laptop.

This program can simultaneously record output data from the EFIS and the EMS, as well as NMEA sentences (at best, GGA, RMC, and VTG) from a GPS/GNSS connected to another available USB COM port. Raw NMEA sentences can then be converted to any GPS track format (GPX, KML…etc.) with GPSBabel. These tracks can then be studied in Google Earth or any similar application. If the data recorder is running in administrator mode, and a GPS/GNSS is connected, the system time of the PC is synced with the GPS time. Each line of each recorded file can be timestamped with the PC system time.

Some customization can easily be made in the source code. If you need a GPS, you can comment lines #156-157. If you need timestamping, you can uncomment line #325. You can edit lines #83-84 to select the folder and the name of the files where you want to record your data. A Windows 64-bit version of the executable files is downloadable here. This executable does not need a GPS and does not timestamp the data. If you need these functionalities, you have to modify the source code and rebuild the application.

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