FlightAware Blog Home    Introducing PiAware 6

FlightAware is excited to announce that PiAware 6 has been released. This version includes a new adaptive gain feature, updates to the PiAware LCD image, performance improvements for Raspberry Pi's with slower CPUs, and more. You can read the full release notes below.

  • Adaptive Gain:
    • Adjusts receiver gain automatically to find a reasonable gain setting for the local RF environment.
    • Adaptive gain is enabled by default on new installations only. For existing systems that are upgraded from an older version to 6, adaptive gain is disabled by default -- we don't want to break existing systems that already have an appropriate gain chosen. For those existing systems, adaptive gain can be manually enabled after upgrading if desired.
    • Adaptive gain is currently only supported on 1090MHz receivers using rtlsdr-type (FlightAware Prostick, etc.) dongles.
    • Adaptive gain is intended to choose a reasonable gain setting without requiring manual tuning, but the discovered gain setting is not necessarily the best setting in all cases. Manual gain tuning is still useful.
    • For more details, see GitHub
  • When dump1090-fa is run on a slower CPU (Pi Zero / Pi Zero W / Pi 1, or other armv6 system) it will disable more expensive decoding options by default to reduce the CPU load. This default can be overridden by the `slow-cpu` piaware-config setting on sdcard installs, or by the `SLOW_CPU` setting in `/etc/default/dump1090-fa` for package installs.
  • For package installs, the format of the `/etc/default/dump1090-fa` configuration file has changed. Upgrades from 5 will automatically convert your existing config file to the new format.
  • PiAware LCD Image Updates:


  • Minor Changes:
    • dump1090-fa: reduce CPU use further when --no-fix-df is used
    • dump1090-fa: don't demodulate DF24 Comm-D ELM messages (they are uncommon and dump1090 does not make further use of them). To re-enable demodulation, use --enable-df24.
    • dump1090-fa: exit and restart promptly if the SDR dongle wedges
    • dump1090-fa: Add --enable-antenna-power HackRF option (via @VasiliyTurchenko / PR #123)
    • dump1090-fa: Meteorological Routine Air Report (MRAR) Comm-B message decoding. dump1090-fa will decode these messages, but they are uncommon and the data is not yet displayed in SkyAware.
    • dump1090-fa: improved recognition of some Comm-B message types
    • dump1090-fa: rtlsdr's AGC gain setting, previously enabled by setting gain "-10", is now considered just another gain step at around 60dB gain. The legacy -10 value is still understood.
    • dump1090-fa: Stratux-format output includes current gain setting (via @b3nn0 / PR #144)
    • dump1090-fa: report errors encountered when writing json files
    • dump1090-fa: enable rtlsdr bounce buffer zerocopy performance workaround on 64-bit ARM, too (via @wiedehopf)
    • SkyAware: restrict overlay rendering to covered areas (via @wiedehopf / PR #137)
    • SkyAware: update aircraft database to 20210817
    • SkyAware: add a deterministic rule for finding Australian registrations from ICAO address; improve Australian aircraft type data
    • PiAware sdcard: Update Underscore JS library to v1.13.1 to address security vulnerability CVE-2021-23358 (however, we believe piaware-web's use of the library does not expose this vulnerability)
    • PiAware sdcard: dhcpcd configured to restart if it fails for any reason
    • PiAware sdcard: PiAware software versioning is displayed on the PiAware Web Status page

To upgrade an existing PiAware, visit your My ADS-B Stats Page, click the gray gear icon, and send the “Upgrade and Restart PiAware” Device Command.

For PiAware installations running Debian Jessie OS, you may run into issues upgrading to 6 due to Jessie being no longer supported upstream. We advise installing the latest SD card image with Buster OS as we will be ending Jessie support in the near future. We will send a follow-up email to you with more information and instructions on upgrading and re-claiming your existing PiAware.

Download Links:

For those interested in joining the ADS-B community, FlightAware offers step-by-step instructions to build a PiAware Receiver for under $100.

ADS-B hosts located in areas needing additional coverage might be eligible for a FlightFeeder, a free, prebuilt ADS-B receiver.

FlightAware invites you to join the ADS-B network. You'll become part of a community of aviation hobbyists across the globe and start seeing the skies in a totally different way.

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FlightAware Blog Home    Introducing PiAware 6

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