Since 2019, we are releasing multiple versions of our acclaimed obstacle database. High-resolution regional databases provide a maximum level of detail for helicopter aerial work and HEMS/MEDEVAC operators. The European Alps database has also been updated in this process with new, critical objects.
As the storage capacity on FLARM devices is constrained, the quantity of obstacles in each database needs to be actively managed. Particularly in the Alps database – which spans several regions – some classes of objects are ignored. We omit objects that are highly visible or do not normally pose a threat to recreational flying. See the original post for details.
One example is power lines. These are not in the Alps database. There are, however, some power lines in mountainous terrain that – having a low height above ground – are hugged by terrain and thus extra hard to spot. This was unfortunately made clear by a recent collision of a glider with such an obstacle (the pilot survived, thankfully).
We are committed to improving our products, also by learning from unfortunate events like these. In many countries, flying is only resuming now after the lockdowns, so it is a great time to introduce an update. The new European Alps database (Alps 2020-5) got an additional handful of power lines that may be useful when flying close to the terrain. The decision of what to include is based on a restrictive heuristic (the storage capacity is limited), so only few power lines are included.
The update is available now in the webshop. It is free of charge to those who have already purchased the Alps 2020(-1) database. If this applies to you and you would like to update, you can access it by going to the “Devices” tab on the “My Account” page (you need to be logged in). In the rightmost column under “Licenses”, you will find the new item “OBSALPS2020-5”. Click on this link to download the new database for each of your devices. The old version is still visible and called “OBSALPS2020”.