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Galileo is an Open Source (and Open Hardware) glass cockpit system design for general aviation aircraft, and specifically experimental aircraft. Its components are designed to be within the construction skills of individuals with at least some experience assembling circuits and soldering PCB components. If donations are sufficient to cover production costs for the hardware, developers will offer kits and/or preassembled hardware components where appropriate.


Recent News

07/09/2004 - PCBs and components for work from 07/08 ordered.

07/08/2004 - Air data, bus voltage, and bus current designs completed.

07/08/2004 - Senshi (16-bit) motherboard design completed.

07/02/2004 - USB-to-CAN transceiver v2 prototype PCBs and components ordered.

07/01/2004 - USB-to-CAN transceiver v2 prototype PCBs designed. The new design uses the correct CAN bus pinout per the CiA spec, includes a jumper-selectable termination resistor, uses the correct footprint for the Microchip CAN bus controller, and uses larger pads for the resonator footprints to make them easier to solder.


Why Design a Glass Cockpit?

There are a number of glass cockpit options available, but plenty of reasons to design a new one:

Open Source and Open Hardware Design
All existing options are proprietary in nature, and generally treated as "mystical" devices whose functions are rarely discussed or understood. Although significant effort goes into FAA and other agency certification, many of the devices marketed at the experimental aircraft market do not undergo this review and certification. An Open design allows you, the builder, to examine all aspects of the system's operation if you so choose, or even modify them to suit your needs.
Robust and Reliable Distributed Design
Galileo is designed around a distributed network of display panels and sensor modules that communicate via a CAN bus, which is considered reliable enough by the automotive industry to transmit airbag-deployment signals. The bus is highly fault tolerant, and can survive short circuits, noise, and other problems. Further, both display panels and sensor modules may be redundant, allowing the pilot to continue receiving critical data in the event of individual module failures.
If that's not enough, Galileo will be lighter than traditional "steam" gauges, and will consume far less power. It will provide data logging, allowing builders to find and identify glitches that could be precursors to more serious problems, and also to "fly the plane" during failures and identify problem sources later.
Significant Functionality
Galileo will provide much more functionality than a traditional glass cockpit system. Most of the reasonably priced systems force the buyer to choose individual data elements, such as attitude display OR engine data OR a moving map. Systems that provide all of these elements at the same time are both expensive and large, which may make them unsuitable for many cockpits, especially if redundancy is desirable.
Low Cost
By focusing on an Open design and free software, Galileo will cost significantly less than other options. While there is no doubt that many of the commercial vendors have earned their money, the aviation market is also a victim of minimal competition and low sales volumes. A simple cooling fan might cost $60 despite the fact that it is functionally identical to a $3 computer cooling fan. Flying is a rich person's game, but at times this state of affairs becomes ridiculous.

How Free is Free?

All software associated with this project is Open Source and thus may be used without any cost to the builder.

However, low cost does not necessarily mean free. Galileo relies on and requires certain hardware components for its operation. These must be either constructed by the builder or purchased. It is not the goal of this project to produce these modules commercially, especially since commercial funding for production activities is not available. However, if donations are sufficient, preassembled modules will be made available to builders lacking the wherewithal to construct their own. ^ TOP

Other Projects

Galileo is not the only such attempt, and if you are interested in this type of effort you are encouraged to visit the following sites for additional options: