The answer is, quite unexpectedly ... Very.
It is possible to have a fully functional EFIS complete with real-time ADS-B traffic in three dimensions, complete with terrain aware companion digital mapping almost for free!
Holy HASELL checks Batman! ... How can this be? Surely the poor soul has lost what little remains of his altitude weakened mind!
The weak mind, I cannot dispute ... However, if you are willing to assemble the components yourself and depending on your skill at snagging a good deal for suitable Android hardware on eBay ... The happy reality is that all this can be yours for less than $250. This amounts to less than a parking fine in Australia.
Once all the bits are collected, it is a fairly simple matter of sticking the lot together. There is a little bit of technical know-how required to create the SD card for the Stratux software, but this is well documented and should not present any great difficulty.
And if assembling electronic doohickeys is not your thing, a pre-built unit can be ordered from the http://stratux.me website or from Aircraft Spruce. This will however add about $150 - 200 to the overall cost.
Now, all that remain is the software required on the Android device in order to display all these wonders. There are a number of commercial options available. See the Stratux website for the list .
Then there is, of course, our very own Kwik EFIS, available as beer-ware. Kwik's terms and conditions are pretty simple; If you like it, we can share a beer. For more details see: https://ninelima.org/efis
Tablet and smartphone apps have been used in our cockpits for some time now. Kwik EFIS and DMAP was developed locally and is provided to the flying community as free software (free as in freedom of speech).
Kwik EFIS has been developed for Android devices. In the spirit of open source (Apache V2.0 license) and for the budget conscious, it is available at no charge.
Kwik EFIS has recently been upgraded to interface seamlessly with the Stratux hardware. Flight testing has been encouraging and I have found that it was providing very useable information.
At time of writing, Kwik EFIS include airport databases and terrain data for the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Europe and Asia. Any airport in a database can be selected using the spinner buttons and the program will provide bearing and distance to that location. Also included is a flight director. A flight level is chosen using spinner buttons. The flight director will then guide you to the airport at your selected altitude.
The display layout has been loosely modeled on the Garmin products. A central attitude indicator (or synthetic vision) bordered by altitude and ground speed tapes. Altitude and Groundspeed are determined by GPS. True track is displayed at the top of the screen, and the slip ball at the bottom. V speeds are displayed according to the aircraft you have selected from the built in database. The white, green, yellow and red speed arcs are determined by the selected aircraft.
The companion application, Kwik DMAP, provides moving map. The DMAP can display synthetic terrain, airspace and a plan view of all ADS-B traffic. Simple swipe gestures can be used for zooming in and out or the zoom can simply be set as automatic.
This article will not be complete without mentioning the mammoth amount of work that has gone into the development of the Stratux software.
Since it sums up the project better than I could, I have shamelessly copied the following from the Stratux website:
Hello! Stratux is free software that enables DIY and low cost ADS-B receivers for pilots. It’s easy to build an ADS-B receiver from the parts list, or there are many inexpensive pre-built options available.
Stratux-based ADS-B receivers are the only full-featured receivers on the market that are compatible with every major EFB.
The Stratux software which makes all this so easy, was developed by Christopher Young, EAA 1184340.
Christopher turned an inexpensive miniaturized Linux computer, a digital radio tuner, and a Wi-Fi adapter into an ADS-B receiver that interfaces with most tablet apps on the market today to bring live weather and traffic to the cockpit. The software is free and open-source, meaning it is open to community development. He calls his software “Stratux.”
His work is available on GitHub at: https://github.com/cyoung/stratux