John Marzulli has a wonderfully built and painted Zenith 701. He lives in Ballard, Washington, and flies from Arlington Municipal Airport (KAWO).
While John and I have exchanged a few e-messages over the last few years, this year’s edition of the Arlington Fly-In was our first chance to meet up face to face.
John was at the fly-in, camping with his 7-year-old daughter, Penny, living a truly wholesome aviation experience. (He and 11-year-old daughter Genevieve have camped at prior fly-ins and 3-month-old son Nicolas is next in line.)
By day, John is a software engineer. Using that knowledge, in partnership with his desire to keep aviation affordable and experimental, he showed me his homemade HUD (heads up display) that he built for about $430, including the Stratux ADS-B receiver.
With the Stratux HUD, John aims to “bring an affordable heads up display system into ANY cockpit,” while focusing on “improving traffic awareness and to reduce the amount of time pilots reference tablets or an EFB.”
Heads up. Such a novel concept.
Between attending to the needs of Penny, John fired up the unit to show me what it is capable of displaying.
On the topic of traffic, the Stratux HUD has multiple display options.
The AHRS + ADS-B View displays attitude information, as well as traffic. The display shows a full 360° sky view. The center of the screen is directly ahead, while the far right and left edges represent what is directly behind you, or nearly so.
It took me a few moments to get my head around what the display was showing me. But it packs a good deal of information into a tidy space.
The Traffic View is the same as the AHRS + ADS-B View, minus the attitude data.
The Traffic List View is the view I find most interesting. It is simply a list of the eight closest aircraft. The N-number, if available, the bearing to the target, the distance, and relative altitude all show up on an easy to read and understand list.
If I were flying in busy airspace, this would make for a compelling display. Start at the top and work your way down the list (nearest to farthest) and keep ’em all in sight at a safe distance.
Stratux HUD project information, including the build list with links to Amazon (where else?) can be found at github.com/JohnMarzulli/StratuxHud.
While I’d like to think I could put together both the Stratux and the accompanying HUD, after reading through the project details, I think it would take me a while to do. Thus, the eternal trade-off between price and convenience.
If you are at all handy, computer-wise, this might make for a fun project that has the potential to open your eyes to the traffic around you, while keeping more money in your wallet, so you can actually go flying.