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Cumulus Soaring, Inc. - Soaring News

In This Issue


Soaring 100


Zulu Romeo - Good Start

Holiday Gift Ideas

SPOT 2 $50 Mail-in Rebate

SeeYou Version 4.2

PowerFLARM Update

ClearNav News

Italian Vintage Sailplanes

Soaring Cafe

WA - The Life of Soaring Legend Wally Scott

Vintage Soaring Links

Torgoen Swiss Professional Pilot Watches

New Employee


Segelfliegen Magazine

Silent Flight Wines

SSA Convention

Photo Caption Contest

Condor News

Cross Country Soaring with Condor

Condor Cross-Country Training Available

Region 6 Condor Contest

George Popa Sculptures

Becker AR6201

Soaring Flight of the Month

SimplyKool Metallic Canopy Covers

Locomotive to Aeromotive

Digital Sectional Chart Downloads Threatened

Cross-Country Soaring

Soaring Safety Sites

Instrument Panel Photo of the Month

Bumper Quiet Vent and Yaw String

MH Oxygen builds the 3000th Pulse-Demand Oxygen unit

Lessons from the Back Seat Behind a Champion

Riding On Air

New Stuff

See ya' at the airport! - 2nd Edition

Photo of the Month #1

Photo of the Month #2

SALE Items

5 Videos from the 2011 U.S. 15-Meter Nationals

Fun & Interesting Soaring Links

Coming Next Month

Wrap Up


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Italian Vintage Sailplanes

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Torgoen Swiss Professional Pilot Watches

Cross Country Soaring With Condor

by Frank Paynter

Naviter Oudie

WA - The Life of Soaring Legend Wally Scott

LX Nav Nano
IGC Approved Flight Recorder

SimplyKool™ Metallic Canopy Covers

Soaring Beyond the Clouds - Einar Enevoldson Reaches for 100,000 Feet
by Bertha M. Ryan

Condor Soaring Competition Simulator

Advanced Soaring Made Easy

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Sailplane Grand Prix in the Andes
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Flight Computer Comparison

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PDA/GPS Cable Selection Guide

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Mounting Arm Selection Guide

Radio Comparison - Handheld

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Soaring Links


Polar Data for Many Gliders

Polar Data


November 20, 2011

Dear Soaring Enthusiast,

I hope all is well with you.  Life is good here in Minnesota.  The sailplanes are put away for the winter and we should be getting snow very soon. 

I keep intending to get these newsletters out much more often - but I just haven't had time.  I've been busy adding exciting new items to my web site, supporting customers, calibrating flight recorders, having a fun summer with my family, etc.  Because it has been a few months since my last newsletter, this one is quite large.  I hope you will find it interesting.  I do try hard to make it worthwhile and a good investment of your time.  It really is fun pulling together all the interesting articles and photos and links sent to me by glider pilots around the world. 

Favorite Soaring Adventure in 2011
Unfortunately, the weather in Minnesota didn't provide many great soaring days this year.  My favorite day was in July.  My good friend Dick Andrews and I brought the DG-1000 to a soaring r
egatta (just for fun soaring camp) in New Ulm, Minnesota.  It looked like it was going to be a great soaring day.  It started out very nice, but a storm building nearby killed all the lift for a short time in the mid-afternoon - forcing us to land at a lovely, small grass farm airstrip named Turner Field Airport.  The farmer, August Turner, came out to say hello and see if he could offer any help.  He was very friendly and seemed thrilled that we landed on his airport.  Of course, we complimented him on how nice the runway was and how much it had helped us out.  We asked him about his flying and he said he had a Piper cub.  He also said he flew Martin B-26 Marauder bombers in World War II.  He flew 36 missions.  Wow!  Out of all the airports in MN, we just happened to land on one owned by a WW II bomber pilot!  Cool! 

We were able to reach our towpilot and arrange for the club towplane to fly over and give us an aerotow.   We asked Mr. Turner if it was OK for us to get an aerotow out, and if he could help us tow the glider down to the end of the runway.  He then went to get a vehicle to use to tow the glider.  He came back with an antique tractor (visible in the background of the photo above) and kindly pulled the glider to the end of the runway.  He even ran the wing as we took off.  The soaring conditions had improved - so we had a nice easy flight of several hours after that.  We didn't achieve our cross-country objective, but we met a neat old pilot who was just tickled that we landed at his airport.  What a fun adventure!  As is often the case in soaring - it's not so much about the huge flights or big accomplishments, but more about the people you meet.

We had a good summer with everyone very busy.  My youngest daughter Sara enjoyed running track in the spring, horse camp in the summer,  and soccer this fall.  She also likes her piano lessons and singing in a community choir.  She's now in 4th grade.

Elle has also had a fun year.  She moved up to middle school where she is in the 6th grade.  She also plays the piano and sings in choir.  Horse camp was a huge hit with her.  She's currently in her first musical production as a chorus member.  She impressed us all with her performance in the Laker Idol singing contest last summer.  The photo at left was taken by Elle in the DG-1000 that I own a share of.

Adam just started high school!  I can't believe he is already in the 9th grade...  Like his sisters, he's a very sharp and friendly kid.  His biggest hobbies are reading, playing video games, and robotics.  He's involved in an amazing robotics team at his high school.

My lovely and brilliant wife Renee has also been busy.  She changed jobs recently.  She had been working as a public health nurse - full-time.  She now does that only 1/2 day every other week.  She also works 3 days a week as a phone triage nurse.  It is not as interesting and challenging as her public health nursing job, but it allows her to work 3 days a week and still get benefits.

You can see a few family photos here: www.remde.us

Fun Family Trip
In September I took the kids on one last adventure before school started.  The main reason was a rather historical/nostalgic one.  Nearly every summer when I was young my family went to a small amusement park in northern Indiana called the Enchanted Forest.  It was owned by my father's aunt.  We thought it was so cool to go to our "Aunt Trudy's amusement park".  Sadly, the Enchanted Forest closed down in 1990.  Fast forward to 2011...  This summer on the way home from the Ionia, Michigan soaring contest, I decided to stop to see the site that had been the home to the Enchanted Forest.   The site now was home to many waterpark rides, but sadly, the waterpark had recently closed.  It was surprising to me just how sad I was to see the park empty and neglected.  A few days later I did some online research and was very happy to learn that some of the rides from the old Enchanted Forest had been purchased and moved to a small amusement park near Madison, Wisconsin called Little Amerricka - and those very same rides are still in operation!  Cool!  Somehow I was glad to learn that the rides I rode as as kid were still making kids smile.  So, on a cold and rainy day in September, I packed the kids into the minivan and drove about 4 hours to Little Amerricka amusement park.  To be honest, I was wondering if I wasn't a little bit crazy to drive 4 hours to such a small amusement park that is really for kids much younger than my kids.  The kids weren't sure whether or not they were exited about it.  But they kindly agreed to go with me.  Fortunately, despite the lousy weather, we had a blast!  The park is home to the same, old, Mad Mouse roller coaster (visible in the background in the photo above) that I rode as a kid.  The Scrambler ride is the same one too.  And they had many other rides that weren't from the Enchanted Forest, but were identical to rides from the Enchanted Forest.  It was a great trip back in time for me - riding the Mad Mouse, Scrambler, bumper cars, and other rides.  The kids seemed to have almost as much fun as I did!  Thank you Adam, Elle and Sara - for going along with me on this nostalgic trip. 

Thank You
Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter.  There is a lot of interesting soaring news to report from around the world, and I have been very busy adding new products to my web site.   I hope you will enjoy it.  If you do, please tell your soaring friends about it by forwarding the following link to them:

Would you believe that nearly 4000 glider pilots from around the world read this newsletter?!  I am amazed and flattered.  I will do my best to keep it interesting and worthy of the time you spend reading it and clicking through the links. 

If this is your first newsletter - Welcome!  If you missed any of the previous issues of this newsletter, they are all available here:

Note: Click on the small images on this page to view much larger versions of the images.

Good Soaring,

Paul Remde

Soaring 100
Thank you Jim and Simine for making the 2 articles below available and supplying the photos!  I wish I could have been there.

Wright Centennial Attracts 10,000 to Kitty Hawk
by Simine and Jim Short

A century after Orville Wright’s final flying experiments at Kitty Hawk, NC, during which he soared his newest glider to a record duration mark of 9 minutes and 45 seconds, history fans, flying enthusiasts and weekend visitors met at the same spot to commemorate Wright’s achievement and the beginning of modern soaring flight. The event, called SOARING100, attracted over 10,000 visitors to the Outer Banks, NC venues of Jockey’s Ridge State Park and Wright Brothers National Memorial over the weekend of 21 – 24 October.

“We were overwhelmed by the attendance,” remarked event chairman Jim Short. “People are still enthralled by the Wright brothers story and excited about sport soaring, whether with sailplanes, hang gliders, paragliders or models.”

“The goal of SOARING100 to complete the story of the Wrights experiments on the Outer Banks and instill greater interest in the role of gliders over the last century was well-received,” added John Harris, president of the Rogallo Foundation, one of the partners in creating the event. “This was a remarkable grass-roots effort that happened because of the generosity, volunteerism and enthusiasm of all involved.”

Kicking off the event was the dedication of a National Landmark of Soaring, coordinated by the National Soaring Museum, at Jockey’s Ridge. The Landmark plaque honors those who have flown the Outer Banks dunes, including the Wrights, Francis Rogallo (father of the modern hang glider) and current sailplane, hang glider and paraglider pilots.

An historical symposium, coordinated by Dr. Tom D. Crouch of the National Air and Space Museum, focused on the role of gliders in the earliest development of the airplane, possibly the first such event. A “Legends of Hang Gliding” symposium, organized by John Harris, was another first at which hang gliding pioneers gathered to discuss the development of their sport.  “We were indeed happy that these unique events occurred at SOARING100,” said Lola Hilton, executive director of the First Flight Foundation, the lead partner for the event. “And there was more,” she added. “Individual speakers included NASA Space Shuttle pilot Susan Kilrain, National Park Service interpreter Darrell Collins who was the National Soaring Museum’s prestigious Barnaby lecturer and Amanda Wright Lane, great grand niece of the Wrights and featured speaker at the October 24 formal recognition of the Wright record.”

Flying sailplanes at Wright Brothers National Memorial and hang gliders at Jockey’s Ridge State Park dominated much of the program. At the Wright Memorial a flying Showcase of Soaring History featured 15 specially selected sailplanes and motorgliders, taking off from the First Flight Airstrip and landing on the adjacent historic ground of the National Park. After landing the Showcase pilots became docents, discussing soaring while showing their planes to the throngs of visitors.

Static displays included a just-completed replica of the Wright 1911 glider built by Rick Young of Richmond, VA and an as-yet uncovered version of the glider built by family and friends in honor of the late Jim Dayton of Mechanicsville, MD. Other displays included significant sailplanes and hang gliders and a World War II military gliding exhibit. A specially created video explaining the history and context of 1911 aviation and the reasons for the Wright soaring experiments, commissioned by the First Flight Foundation and sponsored in part by a grant from the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau, premiered at the Wright Brothers pavilion.

Formalities and speakers including Mike Murray, Superintendent of the Outer Banks Group of the National Park Service concluded the ceremonies on October 24.

The Soaring 100 Celebration
by Simine and Jim Short

It is tough to say thanks to the many people and organizations who helped in designing, creating and then executing this wonderful event! Reading the many entries on the web and hearing comments during the event, it was a success, particularly in safety, visitor experience, attendance, visual and audio impact, personal satisfaction and relations, fun and much more. We relayed the Wright brothers story and tradition but we also created new interest and appreciation of where and how motorless flight has grown since that memorable day on October 24, 1911.

A rough estimate indicated that more than 10,000 people came to Wright Brothers National Memorial and Jockey's Ridge State Park. Fifteen sailplanes were invited to participate in the Flying Showcase of Soaring History: a just-restored Grunau Baby (1930s), a Schweizer TG-2 (1943), Schweizer 1-21 (1947), Schweizer 1-23 (1948), Schweizer 1-26 (1955), an Olympia IIb (1948), Schleicher Ka-6E (1963), Glasflügel Libelle 201B (1968), Schleicher ASW-20 (1978), Schleicher ASK-21 (1979), Schempp-Hirth Duo Discuss (1994), Schleicher ASG-29 (2000), DG Flugzeugbau DG 808B motorglider (2000), and the new Phoenix motorglider. Launched by a Piper Pawnee, furnished by Bermuda High Soaring, each glider took off from the First Flight Airstrip and landed like clockwork on the "holy" ground (the now-grassy area that covers the Wright brothers 1903 flight pattern). The visiting public was spellbound seeing the gliders land and then line up for display with docents explaining what soaring was all about.

The pavilion of Wright Brothers National Memorial housed a static display of sailplanes, which included a Baby Bowlus (1938), a Schweizer 1-26 (1954), HpH 304 (1995), and a just completed 1911 Wright glider replica. Hanging from the ceiling were several colorful and historically significant hang gliders.

The original vision was to introduce the beauty of the sport as it had evolved from Orville Wright’s 9'45" soaring flight. Talking with the SSA and others, this was possibly the largest concentration of soaring enthusiasts and the interested public, in one place in the United States since World War II. SOARING100 introduced the thought of motorless flight to many people and hopefully will bring in newcomers to the various sports of soaring!

New LXNAV V7 Variometer
The LXNAV V7 Variometer is a very sexy new digital speed-to-fly variometer and final glide calculator - with a built-in g-meter, FLARM traffic display and digital logbook. It is a speed-to-fly variometer with stepper motor driven mechanical needle (red pointer) and bright color display - and it fits into a standard 57 mm instrument hole. A rotary knob / push-button is used to move through display and setup screens and to edit parameters. The built-in 2 inch 320 x 240 pixel color display is used to display parameters such as vario average, thermal average, distance to goal, altitude, battery level, speed-to-fly push/pull indicator, MacCready setting, etc. A very cool use of the built-in color display is a FLARM "clock" display screen. I am especially impressed with the way the vario 20 second average (red diamond), MacCready (blue arrowhead) and Thermal Average (green "T") are displayed on the inside of the vario scale - making it easy to compare the MacCready setting to the thermal average, 20 second vario average, and instantaneous vario reading (red pointer). Another interesting feature is that a white arc is displayed around the inside of the variometer scale which indicates the maximum and minimum lift lift/sink rates over the last 20 seconds. That will be useful while centering thermals and deciding when to leave a thermal. A built-in logbook feature is also very nice. It makes it easy to update your personal of sailplane logbook with dates (if a GPS is connected) and flight times. A g-meter is also built into the V7 with g indication on the vario scale - just like a classic g-meter. A red arc on the inside of the variometer scale can be enabled to display the range of g readings encountered. It can be reset manually and it automatically resets on take-off. The small red diamond that defaults to the display of average variometer can be configured to display the instantaneous g reading. The V7 can provide 5V power for a PDA or PNA.

The V7 sells for $1595 and the V7D 2nd-seat repeater sells for $560. This is going to be a very popular unit.  I will have units in stock in a week or 2.

All the cool new features pioneered in the V7 will quickly get into the V5 variometers that are used with LXNAV LX8000, LX8080 and LX9000 flight computers.


LXNAV now offers a new AHRS (attitude and heading reference system) for use with their flight computer systems. It is a 1200 € (about $1680) option. The LX Styler software can be used to place and size the AHRS display on any screen on your LX8000, LX8080 or LX9000.


LXNAV Nano - Free software upgrade
A free software upgrade is available for the LXNAV Nano.  When you connect your Nano to your PC and run the Nano configuration software it will tell you if your configuration software or Nano firmware need updating.  It will also take care of the update for you.   If the software doesn't show any version checks, then you may need to upgrade the PC software manually.  You can download the NanoConfig software directly onto the memory card in the Nano.  The software is available here: http://www.lxnav.com/download/software.html

The new version offers several advantages - such as increased battery duration of 28 hours - so I highly recommend doing the upgrade.


Zulu Romeo - Good Start

Zulu Romeo - Good Start is a wonderful soaring documentary from the 1974 World Gliding Championships in Waikerie, South Australia.  In 2010 I received a DVD copy of it from a soaring friend.  The person that gave him the copy said that the film could not be sold, and that original legal copies could not be made because the masters were destroyed by fire.  I tried to find anyone associated with the film but did not have any luck.  I therefore decided to make free copies available to customers that ordered $100 or more of product from me in a single order.  It was a nice way to say "Thank you for your business."  I started including the DVDs in mid 2010.  I have sent out hundreds of them since then.  The response has been overwhelming!  I have received very warm thank you notes from glider pilots around the world.  Some of the comments were along the lines of "I was there.  I hadn't seen the film in many years.  Thanks!".  It has been fun to share this bit of soaring history with fellow glider pilots.

It is a great film.  If you love "The Sun Ship Game", you'll also love this film. It has many soaring legends in it: Helmut Reichmann and his wife Heidi, George Moffat and his wife Suzanne, Ingo Renner, Tommy Beltz, Hans-Werner Grosse, Klaus Holighaus, etc.  It does a great job of documenting the excitement of the contest, but my favorite feature of the film is the way they ask the same questions of many pilots, and get many very different answers.  "Is physical conditioning important?", "Is the crew as important as the pilot?", "Are you flying for your country, or yourself?", etc.  The answers really give insights into the minds of the competitors.  I love this film.  I will continue to send it along with large orders for some time to come.  I can't sell you a copy, so please don't ask. 

Recently I received the note below from the producer of the film.

I produced and directed the ZRGS documentary nearly thirty seven years ago and I would love to show a copy to my kids. The original masters were destroyed in a fire some twenty years ago and I nearly fell over when I came across the various ZRGS discussion posts totally by accident.

We shot the film on 35mm which is why the original was of such high quality. Of course that poses problems with the equipment you have to lug around to support the format but it was worth it. The crew and I had a wonderful couple of weeks living in the lap of so many really great characters, Helmut Reichmann, Ingo Renner, George Moffat - the list goes on.

Our helicopter pilot was cool as a cucumber and from day one the sailplane pilots trusted him implicitly to maintain the pre-planned separations. They all used to take it in turns to snuggle up under our portside where John Haddy the cameraman operated the Tyler 35mm camera mount with me hanging out on a safety line to act as a windshield for the zoom lens ! I was saddened
to learn of Helmut's death in the nineties. He and Heidi and I became good friends and we visited them in Saarbruken on a number of occasions in later years. The writer, my good friend Peter Wier, was killed in a parachute accident also in the nineties. Gee it brings back a lot of memories. If I
could get hold of a DVD I would be very grateful.

Kind regards,

Johnnie Walker

Of course, I sent him a copy immediately and asked him to send me more information about the film.  As a fan of the film, this was getting very exciting!  The very next day after responding to him in an e-mail, he sent me the notes and images below.

Hi Paul,

You've no idea what a thrill it is to track down a copy of the ZRGS doco after all these years. The power of the internet ! I remember the documentary was a major undertaking for us at the time as we were a small boutique film production company, Picadilly Picture Corporation, mainly specialising in high end film and TV commercials.

Over a few beers after work one Friday night in 1974, I recounted a conversation I had had during the year with a glider pilot in Germany who had talked enthusiastically about the forthcoming world championships to be held at Waikerie in South Australia.

As cameraman John Haddy and sound recordist Ron Green and I were partners in the film company, we sort of looked at one another, nodded in agreement, had a couple more beers and started to work on a production plan over the weekend. The three of us had all worked extensively overseas in Europe and Asia and always had a leaning towards a high quality 35mm format. Having talked John Haddy out of trying to do a 70mm widescreen epic, we did our schedules, worked out our equipment lists, talked to Peter Clemence, a superb helicopter pilot who both John and I had used previously in Hong Kong, hooked in Peter Wyer from a client ad agency as our writer, purchased an eight berth caravan with tent extensions, an SUV to tow it and several dozen cases of Victorian beer.

The gig cost us well over $140,000 which was a lot of money in those days but you know how it goes when you are young and silly: "get your motor running, get out on the highway etc . ." Well in this case it was the skyway. We lived and breathed soaring for the next fortnight and then the convoy left for Waikerie about 800 miles away in the top corner of the Victorian/South Australian border. (It's huge vista type country where we had shot a series of GMH car & Fosters beer commercials the year before on a 77,000 acre sheep and cattle property that sat on both sides of the border line).

As all the competing planes and crews started to arrive for practice week, the aerodrome took on the feel of a medieval jousting tournament. Banners, pennants and flags fluttered on tent poles, eating halls, fuel trucks, tug aircraft, recovery wagons with their crews studying detailed maps in English. Pilots plotting courses using the huge wheat silos dotted about the countryside as on course marker points. And above us all, a blazing blue sky with white puffs of what we came to know as cumulus clouds.

Our arrival caused a great stir around the tent and caravan city camped on the aerodrome because a full blown 35mm production is not low key nor is it for the faint hearted. Several camera crew, a jib-arm camera crane for elevated ground work, camera dollies and tracks for set up stuff, lighting truck, grip truck, camera truck with refrigerators for the film stock and, in the middle of this circus, a glistening Bell 5 seat helicopter equipped with a floating gimbal Tyler camera mount and harnesses for the cameraman and the director where the door used to be.

For a while there during practice week it seemed nearly everyone around the aerodrome and from the town itself were hovering around watching us work, getting our master shots of pilots briefings, recovery crews on walkie talkies, tug pilots getting used to individual preferences, filming the race preparations and gathering some pre-race cameos. Like George and Susan Moffat patching their high performance plane with our silver backed 'gaffer tape', young guns like Tommy Beltz looking cool, affable quietly spoken heros like Helmut Reichmann, Heidi Reichmann always with an umbrella over the cockpit, wonderful local hero Ingo Renner trying to keep a low profile and not to let hometown hype cloud his judgement. The not to be named Australian glider pilot/farmer who added a little something else to his wing tanks so that on his low swoop flyover at the opening ceremony he could spray the diluted mixture over the crowd of politicians. I think we laughed and laughed until our sunburns crackled. The French with their sausage and cheeses. The meticulous and hard working German support crews who loved to have a beer with us as the sun went down and all their planes were safely home. Not to mention the troupes of various young ladies also enjoyed our nightly crew bar-b-ques and aforementioned cases of Victorian beer.

The racing itself was really exciting and I think the doco captures all of that. At least I think it did last time I saw it about 35 years ago! I remember at the time that John and I felt we had taken the 'air to air' stuff to a new level. Lots of practice in factory Boeings over Seattle. Our helicopter pilot was cool as a cucumber and from day one the sailplane pilots trusted him implicitly to maintain the pre-planned separations. They all used to take it in turns to snuggle up under our portside where John Haddy the aerial cameraman operated the Tyler 35mm camera mount with me hanging out on a safety line to act as a windshield for the zoom lens ! And of course Peter's wonderful voice over and laconic comments gave the film a whole dimension.

It was screened on the BBC a couple of times in prime spots, on German ZDF a couple also. On ABC television in Australia. And that was about it. Our planned sales in the US didn't ever get off the ground, so to speak, because apparently we missed the buying season in the US and after that it was too late. Bit of a shame really as we lost a bucketful of money on the venture.

But on the other hand Paul, it was worth it to us because the soaring fraternity loved it. It made people happy and we made lots of friends. Our special thanks to a family in town who provided great hospitality and unfortunately we can only remember the lady of the house as Patricia Palm Trees in memory of the trees that lined the driveway as we lurched back to the aerodrome after dinner. And thats what's life is all about isn't it ? Friendship and the bonds it creates.

I was saddened to learn of Helmut's death in the nineties. He and Heidi and I became good friends and we visited them in Saarbruken on a number of occasions in later years.

By the way, I don't worry about you personally giving copies of ZRGS away. I am delighted that you and your customers find it such a useful promotional item! But I would like in future for you to slip a note on the pack saying that it is for their personal use only and should not be used for public screenings without first emailing me for permission. As the owner of the copyright for such screenings, permission will not be unreasonably withheld. (Of course.  I'll be glad to include the note. - Paul)

Kind regards and all the very best .

Johnnie Walker

PS - Bit of a sobering thought: all the main members of the crew except me have passed away.

John Haddy - Cinematographer
Ron Green - Sound Recordist
Peter Wyer - Writer
Barry Halloren - Senior Grip
Stuart Springer - Lighting
Peter Clemence - Helicopter Pilot

The note below was sent after 5 or 6 e-mails that included the wonderful images above.

There we go Paul.

A few bits of pictorial material from a draft sales brochure. Whew. This is like dredging up a part of my life that I thought had been destroyed in a fire at my film editor's offices/storage basement about twenty years ago. All my film masters were lost - about fifteen years of commercials, documentaries, three feature movies and several TV series episodes. It was such a tragedy. And now here's a blast from the past. Can't wait to get a copy Paul. I'm very grateful.

Kind regards


Thank you Johnnie for sharing that fascinating look into the making of the film!!!  Thank you also for the many images you sent and I have included here.  But mostly, thank you for your hard work making the film.  It is obviously something you are very proud of - and you should be!  It is great to be able to contribute (in a small way) to the documenting of this piece of soaring history.

Now I imagine that many of your are sitting on the edges of your seats, wanting to watch this film!  I wish I could sell you a copy.  I can't do that, but I can give you a free copy with your next order of $100 or more.  Of course, I'm flexible on that number - especially for customers that have purchased a lot from me in the past - and for soaring friends.  However, I do recommend that you e-mail me to remind me to include the film. 

I hope you enjoy the film as much as I do.  Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have any connection with the film.  I'm always interested. 

I imagine Johnnie would welcome friendly notes about the film.  He can be reached at  johnnie at walkerco dot com dot au.

Holiday Gift Ideas
Are you looking for some low cost items to give to soaring friends, or gifts to ask for from you friends or loved ones? Below are a few ideas.

Gift Certificate - The Perfect Gift Torgoen Swiss Professional Pilot Watches
Italian Vintage Sailplanes
by Vincenzo Pedrielli
Other new Books
2012 Soaring Photos Calendars

Cross Country Soaring With Condor
book by Frank Paynter
Other new Books
Condor Soaring Competition Simulator
Sailplane Grand Prix in the Andes
Blu-ray or DVD

Other DVDs
SimplyKool™ Metallic Canopy Covers
Advanced Soaring Made Easy
New 2nd Edition
book by Bernard Eckey
Other new Books
SPOT-2 Satellite Messenger

$50 SPOT-2 Rebate
May 1 to December 31, 2011

Soaring Beyond the Clouds
Einar Enevoldson Reaches for 100,000 Feet
by Bertha M. Ryan

Other new Books
See ya' at the airport!
2nd Edition
by Charlie Spratt
Other new Books
WA - The Life of
Soaring Legend Wally Scott

by Samantha Hilbert Thomas
Other new Books
The Sun Ship Game
on DVD

Other DVDs
Locomotive to Aeromotive
Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution

by Simine Short
Other new Books

Riding On Air: Ridge, Wave, & Convergence Lift
by Rolf Hertenstein
Other new Books
DuoDiscus Model Kit
Other Model Kits
LS-8t Model Kit
Other Model Kits
Minimoa Model Kit
Other Model Kits
Blanik L-13 Model Kit
Other Model Kits
SPOT 2 $50 Mail-in Rebate - May 1 to December 31
SPOT is offering a nice incentive to buy a SPOT 2 this year. It is a $50 mail-in rebate that is only available from May 1st through December 31st, 2011. It only applies to the SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger (SPOT 2) - not the SPOT Connect. You pay the normal $149.95 price for the hardware and use the mail-in rebate form (along with a copy of your invoice and the box bottom) to get $50 back in the mail.


SeeYou Version 4.2 Available Soon
Naviter will soon be releasing an cool new version of SeeYou for the PC.  It is definitely worth the $83 upgrade price, but I suppose I'm biased because I sell it.  You can see the new features in the image below.

The new features in SeeYou 4.2 are summarized below.

  • Pictures Gallery
    The new picture gallery makes it possible to view photos from your flight the progress through while you view the flight log.  You can drag and drop pictures from your flights to SeeYou and the pictures will be automatically referenced to your flight. This will work "out of the box" provided that camera time and UTC offset in SeeYou are setup correctly.  If camera time was inaccurate it's still possible to adjust it through Edit > Flight properties > Photos.  It's great fun to browse through your old in-flight pictures and reference them to the flights in which they were taken.  Flights that may have been somewhat boring to watch in SeeYou now become exciting because you now will see your good pictures from the cockpit to view along with the flight log.  A new ".igcx" file format has been created to make it easy to manage the flight logs and images in a single file.  Using the new file format you can save your flight data as an "igcx" file and send it to your friends.  They can then enjoy both pictures and the flight track from your flight by opening the single file with SeeYou 4.2 (or higher).  This is a very exciting new feature!  It will really amp-up the fun of sharing flight logs with soaring friends - and reliving your favorite flights of the past.
  • Instrument Panel
    The new instrument panel shows the Winter instruments (altimeter, variometer and airspeed) for the flight you are replaying.  The instruments are, of course, available for all available units (altimeter in feet or meters, ASI in km/h, knots or mph, vario in m/s, knots or fpm).

Customers who already own a license for SeeYou version 4.x can download the upgrade for free from www.naviter.si

If you are using an older version of SeeYou, you can upgrade to version 4.2 for $83 here: SeeYou-Upgrade.  If you do not own a license for SeeYou, you can purchase one for $155 here: SeeYou.


PowerFLARM Update

PowerFLARM Portable Status
Many PowerFLARM Portable units have been shipped to customers.  The customers who haven't received their PowerFLARM Portable units should receive them in the next week or 2..

PowerFLARM Portable Hardware Upgrades
FLARM will be sending out instructions in the next few weeks on how to send your PowerFLARM Portable in for upgrade.  The upgrade is necessary if you received one of the units in the first batch.  The upgrade includes some upgrades to internal components, antenna changes and a software upgrade. 

PowerFLARM Brick Status
The latest news from FLARM is that they plan to have PowerFLARM Brick prototypes at the SSA Convention.  I still am hoping that we will have units to sell and deliver at the SSA Convention - but I imagine that is unlikely.

Customer Feedback
The great news is that glider pilots that flew with PowerFLARM at the Uvalde soaring contest gave it overall very positive reviews.  Despite the antenna issues, it enhanced safety dramatically and was very easy to use.

PowerFLARM Firmware Upgrade
Version 1.04 of the PowerFLARM firmware is available as a free upgrade.  It improves ADS-B reception and Mode S reception.  I can now see nearby ADS-B traffic on the display with the unit sitting on my office desk.  I can't wait to fly with it! 
Please read completely the upgrade instructions. 
Upgrade Instructions:

Firmware File: PF1.04_2593.fw - To download the file, right-click on it and select "Save Target As...".  I recommend saving it directly to a microSD memory card.

The latest PowerFLARM news is always available here:


ClearNav News

ClearNav Variometer Update August, 2011
The ClearNav variometer is getting closer to being available.  Below are the latest photosfrom the ClearNav web site.

The latest word is that they expect to be able to start shipping units to customers in early 2012.  I look forward to seeing it at the SSA Convention - if not earlier.  You can see the latest news on their web site here:

Quite a few customers have pre-ordered units.  I can't wait to fly with one.


ClearNav Flight Computer News
A new software version for the ClearNav Flight Computer became available in September of 2011.  It includes:

  • OLC Support
    • OLC distance achieved during the flight may be displayed
  • Easier more intuitive Task Entry/Selection/Edit. The Task List tab has been moved to the Ribbon Menu.
  • New Pilot Selected Display Options Available:
    • L/D to Active Waypoint
    • Achieved L/D current glide
    • Speed to Fly for MC setting, glider weight and glider polar
    • GPS Ground Speed
    • Achieved Distance on Task
    • Wind Component(HW/TW)
    • Time of Day
    • Track Error
  • Added map zoom level of 15 mi, nm, km to reduce screen clutter
  • TAT last turn area - predicted total task time if turn now
  • SUA color fill on/off option
  • Password Protected Pilot Profile (for club gliders)


Italian Vintage Sailplanes

I am a big fan of the Martin Simons "Sailplanes" series of books.  It is fascinating to read about the history of the sailplanes and sailplane designers and builders of the past. 

This new book is not by Martin Simons, but it is a similar book.  It will be in stock in a few days. 

Below is a review by Martin Simons.

This beautiful book is an important contribution to the history of soaring in Italy. It fills a gap in the literature of this subject, drawing favorable attention to the work of Italian sailplane designers, constructors and pilots. 

In the English speaking world little has been known of them hitherto. Here is the climax of years of careful study and research by Vincenzo Pedrielli, the author.

It will become recognized as essential for anyone who is fascinated by the story of the Italian gliding movement as it paralleled the extraordinary worldwide growth of this sport.

It is clear now that designers such as Luigi Teichfuss, whose aircraft for the first time are fully described here, and other engineers such as those of the Aeronautica Lombarda and the students of the Milan Polytechnic, made important contributions before 1939.

The Morelli brothers at the Gliding Centre of the Polytechnic of Torino, founded in 1952, and Edgardo Ciani with his extraordinary Spillo of 1954 and later designs, were fully up to date or even ahead of their contemporaries in other European countries, Japan and the Americas. Italian sailplane designers are now getting the recognition they fully deserve.  It is impossible now to see these splendid, and sometimes not quite so splendid, aircraft flying, nor can pilots hope to climb into their cockpits and take off. They can, however, be flown in smaller form. Francesco Camastra’s accurate drawings and the photographs included will be an invaluable resource for model makers who until now have had very little access to detailed information of this kind.

Vincenzo and Francesco, thank you!

Martin Simon


Soaring Cafe
SoaringCafe.com is a great resource for gliders pilots.  It started in January of this year and has really "taken off".  Creators Bill Elliott and Rand Baldwin have provided many interesting and timely soaring news articles.  They do a great job of searching for and creating interesting soaring articles from around the world.  Well done Bill and Rand!

Below are links to my favorite recent articles on SoaringCafe.com:

A season in the sun – 12 contests in one year - by Frank Paynter
SOARING100 Introduces 10,000 to the History and Sport(s) of Soaring
Concordia Update: Ailerons, Flaps, and Winglets
Gliders Used in 1948 Arctic Rescue
Re-Dedication of Barnaby Plaque at Wright Brothers National Memorial
Deviations, Part I - by John Cochrane
Flying TATs with ClearNav
Concordia: First Assembly of Wings to Fuselage
PowerFlarm Installations at UvaldeGlide
back to the sertão
Yet Another (!) U.S. Record Wave Flight by Boettger and Bennett
In Memoriam – Kai Gertsen
A few of Kai's excellent soaring articles are available as free downloads:

Intro To Cross-Country Soaring
Off-Airport Landings

WA - The Life of Soaring Legend Wally Scott

The life story of Wallace A. Scott, who during his 36 years of soaring pushed the limits of how far one can fly without an engine. His Texas childhood and his families movie theater business set the roots for an adventurous life. He learned to fly in a J-2 and continued his flying career in the US Air Corps during WWII. He came to soaring later in life but quickly made up for the missed years by starting his quest for long distance records within a few years after learning to fly a glider. He became a pioneer of free distance, straight out flight and won 4 FAI international records, 20 Lewin A. Barringer Trophies for longest flight, and numerous other awards. The book incorporates Wally’s own words by using his personal journals and Soaring magazine articles as well as interviews with his wife Boots. In addition to his lifelong romance with flying, there are many other facets to this man, called the ‘John Wayne of soaring’, that make this book a fascinating addition to your soaring library.

  • 20-time Winner of the Lewin A. Barringer trophy
  • Two-time Winner of the Smirnoff Derby (cross-U.S. sailplane race)
  • Set 4 World Soaring Records
  • Wally's Longest Flight in a Sailplane: 808 miles (1300 km), Out & Return Flight, July 14, 1995

Review by Paul Remde
Wally Scott was an amazing man.  Author Samantha did a fantastic job of pulling together material from several sources and creating a nice, easy-to-read summary of Wally's life and major accomplishments.  I'm sure many current soaring pilots knew Wally as the pilot that George Moffat battled and beat in the classic film "
The Sun Ship Game".  He flew a huge ASW 12 with great skill in that film.  He was a tough competitor, but mainly he enjoyed long-distance record flights.  It is remarkable that he had the longest flight of the year in the U.S. for 20 years out of his 36 years of flying sailplanes!  I enjoyed reading about his early life, experiences flying C-47's in World War II, and his adventures in sailplanes - especially his articles as printed in Soaring magazine.  It is certainly a motivational book!  It has me excited and enthused to do more long soaring flights myself!


Vintage Soaring Links
I just love old soaring photos and videos.  I'll try to include a few here each month.  The links below were supplied by the Vintage Soaring News e-mail list sent out by Josh Knerr.  Thanks for sending all the great links and photos Josh!!!

Chris Wills Memorial Flypast
The flypast from the Chris Wills Memorial Day, Lasham Airfield, 25th June, 2011
Chris Wills was a famous British glider pilot and founder of the Vintage Soaring Association.  He passed away in May of 2011.

VSA Classic Sailplanes Group on Facebook
For those of you who are part of the Facebook generation, the youngest branch of the VSA (the classics) now has its own Facebook page! share you're pictures, videos, events, thoughts, and gossip... And make sure you click on "like" to let all your friends know about us! Check the link below! - Josh

Neat old magazine cover

Horton H-1-B in Argentina

The last flight of Hanna Reitsch

In June 1978, Hanna Reitsch made her last great flight over the Alps.  With 66 years to succeed in a final personal best.  Hanna Reitsch would fly as far as any glider pilot before.  This is a reconstruction of her last great flight for a TV portrait of Hanna Reitsch in September 2010.

Schweizer 1-23h ads in Soaring magazine, September 1960, sent by Cam Martin

Bowlus-duPont Albatross & Dragonfly, and a Franklin PS-2 at Grand Central Air Terminal in Glendale - Link sent to VSA by Raul Blacksten

A newsreel of Richard Dupont setting a new USA glider distance record in 1933 - flying at Big Meadows.
- Link sent to VSA by Raul Blacksten


Torgoen Swiss Professional Pilot Watches
Torgoen Overview by Paul Remde
I have been a fan of fine watches for many years.  I can't seem to justify spending $4000 to $8000 on some of the wonderful pilot watches on the market today.  The Torgoen watches capture the spirit of those watches - at a fraction of the price.  They are not cheap replicas, they are Swiss quartz watches that don't pretend to be anything they are not.  They don't feature screw-down crowns or sapphire crystals or automatic mechanical winding mechanisms, or sweep second hands, but they are priced so you can buy 5 or 10 of them for the same price as a single high end pilot watch.  I love the large faces (40 mm diameter crystal) and simple, understated, classy designs.  My favorites are the
T10 watches.  Their dials seem to be inspired by the watches from Bell & Ross and Sinn and actual aircraft clocks from years gone by.  I plan to mount T10301 watches on the instrument panels in the DG-1000S sailplane I fly.  Their simple design with black face and large white markings fit in perfectly - looking a lot like a Winter variometer or altimeter or airspeed indicator.
Torgoen Watches -  Made to Look Like Aircraft Instruments
Torgoen T10301 Watch
my favorite
Winter Variometer Torgoen T26101 Watch Winter Altimeter

My 4 Favorite Torgoen Watches


New Employee
On June 3rd of this year Kristine Swan joined the team here at Cumulus Soaring, Inc.  Kristine takes care of shipping and receiving and general office organization.  She's doing a fantastic job and has a great "Can do.", "How can I help?" attitude. She lives nearby in Savage, Minnesota and is a wife and mother of 2 wonderful children.

Both Kristine and my wife Renee will be helping out in my booth at the SSA Convention in February.  Thank you Kristine for taking care of the other stuff so I can focus on customer support and marketing!



GliderSource.com is a very impressive site created by glider pilot Bill Palmer to make it easy to sell any used soaring item - sailplane, motorglider, towplane, flight instrument, parachute, PDA, trailer, anything.  The site is database driven, making it easy to search for anything you are looking for. 

I had previously hosted a similar site at www.soaring-classifieds.com.  But Bill's site is much easier to use, both for the buyer and seller, and it is much more powerful and automated.  Therefore, my site now points to his site.

I have no business relationship with Bill - other than buying an ad on his site.   I fully endorse and recommend it.  It is a fantastic resource for glider pilots.

My favorite things about the site:

  • Sellers can create ads with links and photos and even videos very quickly and easily - less than 5 minutes
  • Buyers can find items quickly because the site is very well organized and you can search on key words.
  • Pages dedicated to categories make it easy to see only the types of items you are interested in.
  • Buyers can learn instantly and automatically of new items for sale by signing-up for e-mail or Facebook notifications of new items for sale.  That way you can grab the item you want before it sells to someone else. 
  • View all for sale items on a map
  • Free resources such as glider buying tips
  • Very easy to manage existing ads

What does it cost?  Bill does not charge for the site, but he does kindly ask for a small donation after you sell an item.  It is not required, but it is a great way to thank him for his wonderful efforts.

Below is a more complete list of the cool features of the site.

  • Instant ad creation with virtually unlimited room to write your ad
  • Rich-text formatting (text formatting, bullets, underline,etc) to enhance the readability of your ad
  • Multiple large photos, super easy to upload, automatically re-sized to fit the ad space.
  • Video - include your YouTube video right in the ad
  • Links to other websites - if you already have a web site for the item, link directly to it
  • Total ad control 24/7 - edit all aspects of the ad, turn on and off, mark sold
  • No fixed expiration dates - ads run as long as you need them to
  • Powerful search (text, author, manufacturer, Google map) - making it as easy as possible for readers to find your ad
  • Share buttons - helping you get the word out about your item
  • Contact form - built in message functions, making it easy for buyers to contact you
  • Automatic instant email notification - subscribers instantly notified of new listings, subscribe and get the jump on new items
  • RSS feed - subscribe to the most recent items list using an RSS reader like my.yahoo, iGoogle, and many more.

I hope you will find this new resource as useful and handy as I do.  Please try it!

Go There Now

Segelfliegen Magazine
There is a new digital soaring magazine available called Segelfliegen.  The Editor in Chief is Helge Zembold.  The first English language version was released in October.  You can see details and order it here:

The cost is 7 € (Euro) (about $10) for each issue.  Payment is done using PayPal. 

It is my impression that the print version of Segelfliegen has been published in Germany for several years.   This international English language digital version is new. 

I purchased a copy and was very impressed.  It contained good, timely information and interesting articles and very nice photographs.  I particularly liked the article on the DG-1001TE and the one on Gordon Boettger's 2256 km flight.  Actually, there were many, many excellent articles in the 69 pages.  It is a high-quality publication.  The artworks and layout are fantastic.  The best comparison I can think of is the British Gliding Association's magazine "Sailplane & Gliding".

The only minor complaint I have regarding the digital content is that it is very difficult to print it.  I prefer to print publications like this and read them while relaxing on the couch or while eating breakfast.  I tried printing using both the online (web browser) reader and the downloaded Zinio reader.  In both cases, it does not allow me to print the entire document.  I would need to print each page individually - which would take a long time.  I find that very frustrating.  I paid good money for it and I want to have a nice printed copy.  Certainly, one could argue that digital content should not be printed - to reduce the use of paper.  I understand that, but I'd prefer to be able to print it.  I guess it is just that when I'm sitting at my computer, I'm working.  It is not as comfortable sitting at my computer as it is sitting on the couch.  I don't like watching TV shows on my computer either.  I prefer the comfort of my couch.  I guess the ultimate solution would be to make it possible to buy a glossy, printed version and have it mailed to me.  It is an excellent magazine and I'd be willing to pay extra for a printed copy.  I have spent far too much text complaining about this minor issue. 

Did anyone besides me catch the irony in the paragraph above?  I'm laughing at myself because I'm complaining about printability while writing in my own digital online newsletter.  However, I would argue that my newsletter is easy to print if you want to - but then you'd lose the ability to click through all the great links to interesting soaring sites and products.  And you wouldn't be able to see all the high-resolution images (nearly every image in this newsletter can be viewed in high resolution by clicking on it).  I'm sorry for my contradiction.  I guess I feel that their publication would work well in printed form while mine is really best read online.  Maybe that makes me old fashioned...?  Maybe next time I'll  create my newsletter as a PDF file that can be printed, but with working links. 

Segelfliegen is a great magazine.  I highly recommend it!!! 


Silent Flight Wines

Silent Flight Wines is a South Australian based owned & operated Wine Distributor.

Inspired by the 'free-flying spirit', this wine was produced to be stocked airfield bars across the country to give the Aviation Industry a wine that was crafted for them. This is how Silent Flight Wines was born.

We have our well loved, 'First Solo 2007 Shiraz' for sale on our online webshop. This Shiraz is the first to be released under the Silent Flight Wines label. It is a smooth Shiraz that has been aged in American oak. Full flavour with hints of vanilla and the slight peppery aftertaste that a Shiraz should have. Is nice to have with a meal or just on its own for the occasional relaxing drink after a days flying at the airfield.


SSA Convention
The Soaring Society of America Convention will be held from Thursday, February 2nd, through Saturday, February 4th in Reno, Nevada.  Past conventions in that part of the country have been very well attended. 

The SSA Convention is always fun.  It is great to hang out and catch-up with other glider pilots.  It is also a great opportunity to see the latest new sailplanes along with some lovely vintage sailplanes.  The speakers are often extremely interesting as well. 

The keynote speaker at the annual awards banquet is Capt. Barry Schiff.  You have probably read some of his articles in AOPA Pilot - for which he has been writing for 48 years.

Cumulus Soaring, Inc. will be there of course.  We will have a large booth with plenty of room to display and demonstrate the latest soaring instruments.  We will also have many soaring books and videos and pilot watches on display.  My wife Renee and office administrator Kristine will be there to help with orders. 

Note: Due to the long distance between my office in Minnesota and the convention site in Reno, I will not be driving a truck full of stuff this year - as I have done in recent years.  I will be flying to the convention and shipping to the site my demos and a few hot items to sell.  Therefore, if you have a particular item that you want to buy from me at the convention, please order it in advance or expect to have it shipped to you after the convention.  If you pre-order, I will hand deliver items to you at the convention.  I will offer something like free shipping on all orders over $100 received at the convention for items that I don't have in stock at the convention.

I very much look forward to meeting many of you that I have not met before.  It will be fun to be able to put a face to your names.


Photo Caption Contest
OK, I need you to help me come up with a good, funny or ironic caption to go along with this photo.  E-mail me your favorite caption for the photo and I'll add it to this newsletter along with your name and location (city, state or province, country), and perhaps include it in a future newsletter too.  The best one (I decide) wins a free copy of "Sailplane Grand Prix in the Andes" on Blu-ray or DVD.   The contest ends on December 1st.

The photo was taken and sent to me by Jay Campbell (56).  In fact, Jay handled the concept, execution, photography and even sacrificed his own PDA for the photo.  Yes, that is a wooden stake, driven through the heart of the PDA.  It makes one wonder just what lead to the untimely end for this particular iPAQ h4700.  Was it the lack of sunlight visibility, or the tendency for that model to overheat and shutdown...?  Or was it soaring software that re-booted every 5 minutes while in flight (only while in flight)?

Certainly, many soaring pilots have had tough days with PDAs.  PDAs require a certain amount of care and maintenance to work well in a glider.  Yet many glider pilots do use PDAs in the cockpit.  I do often.  They aren't perfect, but they are a good compromise of price and performance.  When taken care of and prepared well, they can be extremely reliable. 

My quick thoughts...

  • "What do you mean "battery low, shutting down"? - I'm about to round the freakin' turnpoint!!!"
  • "So, you won't cooperate, eh...  We will only take so much from you...  My patience has limits."
  • "As soon as we land, I'm tellin' you....  I'm going to KILL this damn thing..."
  • "What? "Overheating, Shutting down"?!!!  The task is about to open...!!!"
  • "You wanna know what I think of PDAs? Here, hand me that wooden tent stake and a 10 pound sledge hammer and I'll show you!"
  • "Here lies the PDA of Fred, it failed in flight, and now it's dead."

Captions sent in by readers:

  • "Paul, Please accept my order for one ClearNav." - Duane Eisenbiess
Condor News
I recently had the good fortune to fly with a group of Condor racing pilots on a Tuesday evening.  It was an online race.  I was sitting in my office in Minnesota while the other pilots were at their home computers.  Sean Fiddler organized an online race in the Mifflin, PA Condor online world.  It was a lot of fun ridge running in a Discus 2 on a cold fall evening.  I had a blast!  I got a little bit of a late start - which was good because then I could see everyone out in front of me - leading the way.  I was doing fine until I was distracted by real life (RL).  My wife asked me to please make some copies for her - so I asked my son Adam to please take the joystick for a few minutes.  Adam is pretty good at flying flight simulators and at flying a full size glider with me, but he had never flown a water ballast laden hot ship before...  Unfortunately he got a little slow and it went into a spin.  I wasn't able to recover before impacting the ridge.  The funny part is that I was embarrassed, so I sent a text message out to the other competitors (just hit Enter and start typing) and tried to explain the situation "My wife asked me to make a copy for her and then my son Adam took over and accidentally got into a spin...".  The response I got back was something along the lines of "That old excuse... If I had a nickel for every time I heard that one...".  The good news is that the race was setup with very non-restrictive rules, so the glider automatically recovered and I was able to continue the race.  I didn't win, but I learned a lot and had a ball.

Condor Gaining Popularity
Condor has been selling extremely well this year.  Many pilots are using is for racing tasks, flight instruction, spring refresher flights, etc.  It is a great program.


New Condor Sceneries
Below is a list of a few of the many new Condor sceneries that are available at:

  • Uvalde, Texas, USA - Site of the 2012 World Soaring Championships
  • Area 51 - Small photorealistic (161x161 km) scenery covering the Tonopah Test Range, Nevada Test Site, Nellis Gunnery and Bombing Range and Area 51 in the Nevada desert.
    In Real, this is restricted airspace and area.
  • Hood River HD - A small High-resolution, photoreal landscape of the Columbia River Gorge area from the PacificNW 2.0 Landscape.
  • Colorado 1.2 is a Terragen/photoreal landscape of Colorado's Front Range. This is were the Rockies meet the prairie lands. The mountains are Terragen based and the flat land is based off of NASA satellite images.
  • Logan 1.01 - Photo-realistic scenery in standard resolution.
    Logan is the site of the 2011 US 15 meter Nationals (July 19-28 2011) and it covers northern Utah, southeast Idaho and southwest Wyoming including all the active gliding sites frequented by NUTSO (about 95% of the Logan Utah contest area).
    Includes the Great Salt Desert, Great Salt Lake, Wasatch Front, Ouinta Mtns, Salt River Range, Wind River Range and Grand Tetons.
  • Nevada 1.0 - Nevada is a Terragen/photoreal landscape of the high plains desert just north of Sunny Las Vegas. Some of the most remote countryside in the USA.
  • San Diego 1.1 - South West California / San Diego scenery (freeware version) with low-res textures but fully compatible (for multiplayer flights) with the payware (and hi-res) version available from SimMarket.
  • New Mexico
  • Central Florida
  • Grand Teton National Park - Grand Teton National Park is a United States National Park located in northwestern Wyoming, south of Yellowstone National Park
  • Virgin Islands

Condor Corner Articles
You may have seen the many excellent "Condor Corner" articles by Frank Paynter and Scott Manley in Soaring magazine.  Did you know they are all available on my Condor web page here:

Cross Country Soaring with Condor

The goal of the book is to teach sailplane pilots how to use Condor to become better (faster, safer) cross-country soaring pilots.  If you are not a pilot of full-size gliders, you can use the book to improve your skills and speeds when competing with other Condor pilots online.  Frank is a very experienced cross-country soaring pilot.  In recent years he has been flying in many soaring contests each year - and doing well in them.  During the off season (when his glider is put away for the winter) he flies Condor - a lot!  He spends many dozens of hours racing in Condor - with the goal of gaining experience that he can apply in the cockpit - to help him win races.  It seems to be working for him.  He's good, and he does a very good job of passing on many speed and safety related tips in a clear and concise way.  The Table of Contents gives you a good idea of what to expect from the book - as does the Introduction.  The book starts with the basics of how to use Condor, and moves on to advanced cross-country soaring tips and detailed instructions for getting into online racing with glider pilots around the world with Condor.  Anyone interested in using Condor to improve their cross-country soaring or sailplane racing skills should get this book. 


Condor Cross-Country Training Available - by Frank Paynter
For the second year, I (Frank Paynter) am offering one-on-one cross-country mentoring sessions using the Condor soaring simulator. As instructor I host a Condor server on my PC here in Columbus, Ohio, and the student joins it from wherever they are - all they need is a good internet connection (i..e DSL or better). A regular telephone connection is used as an 'open mike' intercom for conversation.

I started this on an experimental basis last year, and it seemed to work very well. Comments from students/mentees was uniformly positive. This year I am charging $25/hour with all proceeds going to the U.S. Soaring Team fund. I have no interest in making money at this, but I have found that charging a reasonable fee tends to make everything work a bit better, and besides, the U.S Soaring Team needs all the help it can get ;-).

I will host 3hr blocks on Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 7-10pm U.S. East coast time, starting on Wednesday September 28, 2011 and running through Thursday February 23, 2012. You can sign up for a block by going to a free calendar/appointment package I have set up at http://condorxc.calendarspots.com.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact me at paynterf[at]gmail.com. Experienced cross-country racers with an interest in mentoring less experienced pilots are encouraged to contact me - I will be happy to help you get up to speed in Condor and start your own Condor cross-country racing 'camp'. Flying in Condor over the winter months certainly beats looking out the window and waiting for spring!

Frank Paynter

Region 6 Condor Contest
Sean Fidler and Frank Paynter are organizing a live (not online) Condor soaring contest get-together in January - probably somewhere in Michigan.  Great weather and good fun are guaranteed!  What a fun idea.

The text below is from the web site for the event. 

The awesome photo at right is of John Sullivan in his Ventus 2 (UFO).  It was taken by Aaron Kiley.  He also took the photo below.  Very nice!  Be sure to click on them to view the larger versions.

How would you like to get together with other Soaring and Condor enthusiasts at a central location and duke it out over a weekend to find out who is the best over a 4 series, with a Tee-shirt for all attendees and awards for the top three places? If your answer is YES, here is your chance!

The first ever live Condor Contest will be organized as much like a real-life regional SSA sanctioned contest as possible. Weather will be realistic and non-trivial. Tasks will be 2-3 hours in length and will feature typical TAT/AAT & MAT racing tasks set in the most beautiful, fun and challenging locations in the world (all within the same weekend!). Rules will be U.S. Contest rules.

Friday Jan 13 - Practice evening
Saturday Jan 14 - Contest Day 1 & 2 - Morning and Afternoon tasks.
Sunday Jan 15 - Contest Day 3 & 4

Weather: There is never bad weather in Condor! We guarantee outstanding soaring weather!!!

Awards: Trophies will be awarded to the top three finishers immediately following Contest Day 4!

Entry Fee: $25 (includes a T-shirt). Payable at the door.

Details: https://sites.google.com/site/region6condorcontest/home

George Popa Sculptures
Cam Martin sent me a link to George Popa's wonderful sculptures.  He offers a wide variety of sculptures - including sailplanes and airplanes.  You can see some of them below.  They include Schweizer 1-26, Schleicher ASK-21, Minimoa, and ASW 20 sculptures.



Becker AR6201
October 11, 2011 - Becker Avionics Announces TSO certification of AR6201 VHF-AM Transceiver

Press Release

This radio is destined to be extremely popular for use in sailplanes. The small size, low current drain, excellent quality, low voltage operation, and large, clear graphical display make it ideal. You can find lower cost, lower quality radios, but you will probably end up paying more for them in the long run with repairs and down-time. Wouldn't you rather have a radio that just always works! This radio is worth the investment.

The hottest feature of this radio is its "Scan Mode". In scan mode (also called dual watch function) the device can monitor two frequencies (active and preset) at the same time. An arrow points to the frequency (active or preset) from which the audio is derived. The active frequency has priority. If a signal is received on both frequencies at the same time, you will hear the transmission being received on the active frequency - and the preset frequency is inverted and blinking - to indicate that you are missing the transmission on the preset frequency.

There is other good news.  Users of Becker AR4201 radios can easily switch to the AR6201 - the wiring harness connections are compatible.  You can therefore install the AR6201 using the same wiring harness as used by the AR4201.

This new radio is already very popular.  I received 3 of them today and they have all been sold!  I expect more to arrive in a week or 2.

AR6201 Brochure


Soaring Flight of the Month

On September 24, 2011 Geoff Pratt made a very interesting flight in his PIK 20 E auxiliary powered sailplane.  He started in Burketown, Australia.  His note on the OLC web page states: "Morning glory flight NW then SE to Adels Grove continue with thermal flight back to Burketown."  That may be a bit understated.  He flew 941.5 km (OLC distance) and much of the flight was out over open water.  It must take a brave pilot to fly out over open water in a sailplane.  Congratulations Geoff!  If you read this, please send a detailed report for the next newsletter.

I'm sure most of you know what a Morning Glory looks like, but I thought I'd include the images below to clarify - just in case.  They can stretch for hundreds of miles.  The photos below are not from the same date or location - but I believe they were taken in the same region.

Please send me a short write-up of your best recent soaring flight - and I will try to include it here.  Please include a link to the flight on the OLC and a few photos.

SimplyKool Metallic Canopy Covers
How many times has this happened to you? You get out to the flight line and wait a while for your turn to fly. While waiting, you keep your sailplane's canopy closed - because you don't want your expensive canopy damaged by being slammed closed by the wind. Meanwhile, the sun is beating down into your glider - heating up the inside, but with the canopy closed there is no air circulation - so everything inside the glider gets hot - very hot - probably over 140° F hot!!! (OK, I'm just guessing at how hot - but you know it gets hot.) Your expensive soaring instruments are baking in the sun. The metal buckles on your seat belts and parachute harness are too hot to touch. The paint on the instrument panel cover gets discolored over time. Your PDA gets so hot it shuts down. Your glider battery doesn't like the extreme heat - and doesn't last as long as it should because of it. After you get into the glider, you feel like you have entered some medieval torture chamber.

Problem Solved!
SimplyKool™ Metallic Canopy Covers are designed solve the cockpit heating problem. They are made of shiny metallic stretchy fabric that reflects the majority of the sun's energy away from your cockpit - and they fit your glider's canopy like a glove. They are elegant in their simplicity, and lightweight and easy-to-use. Just slip it onto you canopy after you rig the glider and it will keep the cockpit cool until you remove it just before takeoff. You can even leave it on while you get into the cockpit to keep the sun off until immediately before takeoff. It compacts down into a very small space - so you can take it with you while you fly. After landing you can put it back on in a few seconds to keep things in the cockpit cool while you download your flight log and tidy up the cockpit.

Locomotive to Aeromotive - Octave Chanute and the Transportation Revolution
 - by Simine Short
Few people (even well-read glider pilots) understand just how much Octave Chanute contributed to the development of aviation in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Did you know that hundreds of gliding flights were safely performed over the Indiana dunes near Lake Michigan in the years around 1896 in gliders designed by Octave Chanute? Did you know that he acted as a mentor to the Wright brothers and witnessed some of their early flights? At the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, William Avery performed glider flying exhibitions in a glider designed by Chanute and using an electric winch that was also designed by Chanute. Octave also acted as a clearinghouse of aviation information - meticulously collecting every document he could find on the subject and sharing them along with friendly letters of support to aviation pioneers around the world.

Simine Short has a passion for aviation history and has thoroughly researched and documented the life and work of Octave Chanute in this book. She also included many wonderful photographs and diagrams. Well done Simine!!!

As a mechanical engineer, MBA graduate, and glider pilot, I found the entire book very interesting. It is an amazing trip back in time - to the time of steam ships and steam locomotives. Octave Chanute was an amazing man, engineer, and pioneer. The first half of the book covers his early life and his work for railroads - helping them extend across the central U.S. He was a respected railroad bridge designer (first in wood - later in steel) and was responsible for innovated work in railroad tie preservation (life extension through the injection of preserving chemicals). Any glider pilot will find his life and accomplishments fascinating. The life history and engineering parts of the beginning of the book are a welcome look into what makes-up the character and experiences of the man - helping to explain his later aviation achievements. Glider pilots will find the last 1/3 of the book the most interesting - which details his aviation accomplishments.

Cool quote in the front of the book

"From the locomotive to the aeromotive," shouted the noisiest of all, who had turned on the trumpet of publicity to awaken the Old and New Worlds. ...  A flying machine must be constructed to take advantage of the natural laws, but it is not necessary to copy Nature completely.  Locomotives are not copied from the hare, nor are ships copied from the fish.  To the first we have put wheels, which are not legs; to the second we have put screws, which are not fins.  Besides, what is this mechanical movement in the flight of birds, whose action is so complex?
- Jules Verne, The Clipper of the Clouds (1887)


Digital Sectional Chart Downloads Threatened
The note below was posted on the rec.aviation.soaring newsgroup on Friday, November 18th by Lynn Alley.  Lynn provides a fantastic resource for glider pilots at http://www.soaringdata.info/ and is obviously knowledgeable on the subject.

Please sign the online petition.  It is pretty easy to do using the www.whitehouse.gov web site.  You'll need to create a user account, but it is extremely easy to do.  The link to use is at the bottom of the note below. - Paul Remde

As most of you are probably aware, digital versions of sectional charts are currently available for free download from the FAA.  However, Aeronav, the branch of the FAA responsible for digital chart publication, has apparently decided to withdraw them from free publication. Here is a quote from a letter sent to some subscribers (by the way, I'm not one of them; I have seen excerpts from the letter posted on the Internet):

"FAA's Aeronautical Navigation (AeroNav) Products has reengineered its business processes. One of the changes that we have identified is the need to have clear agreements with Authorized Agents on the distribution and packaging of our digital products. As safety is the
key mission of the FAA, it is imperative that the integrity of our navigation products is maintained in digital forms just as it is in paper forms. April 5, 2012 will be the last edition of our products
that will be distributed to individuals or businesses without a license agreement."

This change is likely to have an impact on the Soaring community. As things stand now, the vendors and developers of Soaring software such as SeeYou, Strepla, and GlidePlan have unfettered access to these sectional charts. They can and do provide updated versions as free
downloads. The same applies to the Open Source community. The concern is that the proposed license agreement would almost certainly restrict free redistribution. There are rumors that the FAA will disallow removal of the legends and edge material in redistributed versions -- that would make seamless stitching of charts impossible.  They may also prohibit the reprojection necessary to display the charts properly in a rectangular grid, such as is used in virtually all glide computers and flight planning software. There are likely to be substantial costs involved in becoming a licensed redistributor.  Faced with these restrictions, the developers of soaring software are
likely to simply withdraw support for US sectionals, and current digital representations of them in soaring products will become a thing of the past.

It is interesting to note that Aeronav maintains that safety is the key reason driving this change. I feel some skepticism about this. I have never heard of an accident or incident that was caused by lack of "integrity" of a redistributed digitial product. It seems more likely that the change is motivated by money, as there is an is an ominous reference to "pricing structures" in the letter sent to subscribers.

Here is a link to an EAA article about the change:

There is an online digital petition in opposition to the change at
this link:

Lynn Alley

PS. The airspace and airport information on my website comes from a different part of the FAA, and is not threatened at this time. One worries about the future though, if this policy should become the established norm.

Cross-Country Soaring - Back in Print
Helmut Reichmann's extremely popular book "Cross-Country Soaring" is finally back in print.  It had been out of print for about a year.  It is "flying" off the inventory shelves again.  It remains one of my favorite soaring books.


Soaring Safety Sites
Below are links to 2 awesome web sites dedicated to soaring safety.  They feature great training videos and safety tips.

British Gliding Association - Safe Winch Launching


Soaring Safety Foundation - Accident Producing Video Clips

Instrument Panel Photo of the Month
I sell a lot of soaring instruments, but I rarely get to see them installed and ready to fly.  I really enjoy receiving photos showing how the items purchased from me have been put to good use.  It makes my job more interesting and fun! Feel free to send me a photo of your glider panel if you especially proud of how it looks.

The instrument panel above includes a few items purchased from me by Avron Tal of Israel.  He purchased the Naviter Oudie, TruTrak Pictorial Turn & Bank, Borgelt B500 and other instruments and books and videos from me over the last 5 years.  The video in the link below was taken by his friend in a PIK 20E they own together.  Sitting at my desk here in Minnesota, it is fun to see the instruments from here flying over the Dead Sea.  It is also neat that we glider pilots from different parts of the world have much in common.

Soaring Near the Dead Sea
Glider pilot from Israel in his Pik20E. The flight is above the Dead Sea along the Jordanian boarder. Landing along the lake is Masada air strip at -400m (400 meters below sea level).


Bumper Quiet Vent and Yaw String
John Morgan ("Bumper") makes some very nice, simple, inexpensive products for sailplanes. For fun he flies a Schleicher ASH 26 and an Aviat Husky A1-B.  His Quiet Vent and Yaw String products have been extremely popular.  I've shipped hundreds of them since I started selling them earlier this year.

Quiet Vent
The Quiet Vent is a very simple device which reduces noise from a Mecaplex flip-out window vent by 10 dba (as measured in ASH26E at 60 knots). Price: $9

Note: The red area that is visible in the photos above is the plastic adhesive backing which is removed when the item is installed. The Quiet Vent is clear.

MK IV Yaw String
The MKIV Yaw String is an elegant and useful addition to any sailplane. It is available in red and blue colors and either wool or synthetic material.  Price: $15

Features of the MKIV "high tech" yaw string:

  • A clear turbulator base raises the yarn 0.038" above the canopy to reduce static cling or scratched canopy plastic.
  • Easy to remove for replacement leaving no tape residue.
  • Looks much nicer than tape and yarn.
  • Includes optional (meaning you can opt to install it or not install it) index dot.
  • Available in either original natural wool or synthetic yarn in red and royal blue.


Mountain High Oxygen builds the 3000th Pulse-Demand Oxygen unit
Building on its leadership in general aviation oxygen systems, Mountain High’s aviation oxygen technology for general aviation and rotorcraft has built number 3000 of the two-person “MH EDS O2D2 Pulse-Demand *FADOC™ Oxygen Delivery Unit”. The MH EDS O2D2, designed and manufactured in Oregon, is the only single unit, portable, two-place, digital Pulse-Demand oxygen system available and is used through-out world by experienced pilots, both civilian and military.

* FADOC™ = Full Authority Digital Oxygen Control

The MH O2D2, with the patented digital electronic “Pulse-Demand” *FADOC™ oxygen delivery system was tested by CAMI (FAA Civil Aerospace Medical Institute). The O2D2 enables the pilot and passengers to fly at pressure altitudes up to 25,000 feet with absolute oxygen safety and comfort. The O2D2 digital pulse-demand system reduces oxygen consumption dramatically. Different from the “standard” constant flow systems, the O2D2 pulse demand system wastes no oxygen during the breathing cycle. The average user will enjoy a conservative consumption drop of four (4) times or more compared to the manual constant flow systems. The system operates, with one or two people, for up to 50 + hours on three AA alkaline batteries.

Easy to use, the two-person O2D2 reduces oxygen system workload to almost nil. There are no oxygen flow indicators to watch or manually operated constant flow valves to adjust due to altitude changes. The O2D2, through the various modes, automatically delivers the required oxygen pulses for changing altitudes… for both the pilot and passenger or with an additional O2D2, two additional passengers. MH EDS O2D2 is a fully functional portable system. The portable system consists of an aluminum oxygen cylinder (buyer has a choice of sizes), a cylinder carry case, seat back holding straps, primary reducing regulator, low pressure service line, all connection fittings, the MH EDS O2D2 FADOC™ unit, breathing cannulas, face masks, batteries and a tote bag…everything needed for a complete supplementary oxygen system, including a limited warranty.

A variety of options are available to meet specific pilot needs, including lightweight composite cylinders, four place regulators, adapters, Oxy-Arm boom cannulas and comfortable silicon facemasks with built in noise cancelling ClearSpeak™microphones.


Congratulations to one at Mountain High on this major milestone! - Paul Remde

Lessons from the Back Seat Behind a Champion - by Ron Clarke
The notes below were provided by Ron Clarke after flying for 2 days with Karl Striedieck in the "Seniors" soaring contest in Florida.  Ron is a very experienced cross-country and racing pilot (he's good, and fast) - so it is very interesting to read through his notes from those 2 days.  Thanks for sending this to me Ron!

The photo at right shows Karl in the front seat, Ron in the back seat and John Good chatting with Karl.

Lesson One

It’s early March and the sun is shining down in Florida.  A couple of practice days lie ahead of the start to the 2011 soaring competition season.  I’m lucky, very lucky as I’ve managed to arrange a ride in the back seat of a Duo Discus and I plan to soak up as much as is possible about how to do it well.  The pilot in command is a legend in our lifetimes.

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I’d heard many differing opinions about such experiences. What follows is mine:

Attitude is what counts I know, and as if to emphasize the point we’re the third to take off on the first of two practice days - Blue skies and relatively early - time in the air under whatever conditions offered is seen as acceptable, after all these may be the contest type conditions!
Amazing to me but within the first seconds of flight behind the tow plane the pilot verbalizes potential actions if needed " Straight ahead, straight ahead" he says until it’s "field to the left" as we pass 100ft agl.  Something ingrained maybe 40 years ago but still sensible discipline.
In the first strong lift at reasonable height we release from our tow and careful thermalling allows a climb out from 1600 agl. - no need to go higher if you’re confident that the lift is good.

Did I say careful thermalling?  Maybe more correctly skillful thermalling - very close speed control and very accurate and tight turns, with precise corrections to ensure we maximize use of the thermal cores.  I’ve always believed in "tighter rather than wider" but my skills at the stick showed less than acceptable performance when given a chance to fly the Duo!

With lift in the 2.5 knot range and thermals in the blue to only 3500agl. conditions were challenging, but we flew 80 miles o/r - never in serious trouble.

Always looking for birds, of which there are more than average numbers in Florida skies and taking note of ground features that might trigger lift we progress - basic stuff one learns about thermal sources.  But one more thing - how often do you the pilot look down carefully when in a good thermal and verbalize the likely source of the lift you find yourself in?  Parking lots, an orange grove, the brown ground.  Always add to your data base of knowledge about thermal sources - a good reminder.  Never faster than necessary and usually pretty straight on course (less deviation than the 30 degrees I accept).  Feeling the air as we go would be my description - turning into wind to take advantage of any streets of lift and then getting back to course when lift diminishes . Long glides rather than stopping for lift unless it really feels like average or better. Oh, did I mention the downwind side of the many lakes in this area? - Not a good idea when the working band extends down from 3500 to 1500agl.  Many times we looked for landing options when down to 1500agl, using both the computer and discussing field options in sight.

The cockpit was well sealed, quiet and we flew with the window vent closed, opening it only to freshen the air when thermalling - sometimes with a hand out to scoop in more!  Radio talk was strictly minimum.

Lesson Two
Did I mention the importance of Attitude in my first write up?  Today was the "official" practice day so guess what.  With near to 55 gliders wanting to fly our pilot decides to take the positive approach, set the pace and take off first.  Into the blue once more, but as we need to wait until all are airborne for a start we do some considerable touring up the first leg, gaining reasonable info re the thermal strengths and heights.

The Start was good - right at maximum thermal height on the edge of the circle and we’re number two to start - Dick Butler was first but I don’t believe we ever saw him.  A good long first glide out despite the relatively low start height and would you believe it - no one in sight following us when we stop for the first good thermal.  Such good fortune must be taken advantage of so we keep going with some reasonable ability to cruise in blue lift streets - Never fast though.

Today was very similar to the first day with respect to thermal tops - maybe close to 3600msl, and our pilot whistled more.  He told me "I whistle when happy (high) and when nervous (low)".  The further north we flew the tougher it got so we whistled and turned back south.  Then some real lessons - the first save was over a landable but not desirable field - pasture land with poor access. We widened the search area and with the help of a couple of vultures hooked a thermal from around 900ft agl.

By dialing in computer info on airports en route we tip-toed back south much as I would have done so under such marginal conditions - it worked well and we were mostly in range of airports.  Back past Seminole Gliderport and on south - never high - the best heights had been an hour ago.  We clipped the second turn circle and headed back north.  We tried the same area where a reasonable thermal had helped us earlier but no dice - "Lift is where you find it" - no guarantees.  Now for a real lesson - we’re headed home but out of range of an airfield with just some cattle pastures reachable.  Cruising north at 800agl we find a weak thermal and climb to 1200agl so now the first order is to identify landable fields. There are some but many with cattle in them - not good.

There is a fire ahead - but if it doesn’t work - what then?  We agree on a field near the fire, cattle or no cattle.  Lower and lower we get but closer also to the fire.  It will be one pass through the smoke and if it doesn’t work downwind, base and into the field.  Now we’re in the smoke at 500agl but no lift.  We exit the smoke onto a downwind for the pasture and peep, peep, the vario speaks.
We’re still in position to land in the pasture but less than 500agl.  One more turn and the peep, peep, peep continues with no loss in altitude.

"What now?" our pilot says.  My confidence in his superb thermalling skills causes me to say "let’s stay with it" and he does - climbing away from around 400agl to sufficient height to make the third turn point circle and then turn for home.  Interestingly the lift was not in that smoke but next to

Final glide was decided upon based on a safety margin of 500feet above field height at a MacCready setting of 4 knots.  This is the only time in the 7 hours in that back seat that we flew above 90 knots as the excess height is burned off within the last 3 miles to the landing field.

The landing pattern is at a crisp speed and a good margin kept with plenty of airbrake although not during any turns.  Landings were executed with precision, gentle considering a goodly amount of airbrake on final, but with a graceful round out.

What a unique experience.  We were on course for just under 3 hours, covered around 160 miles but only once above 3000agl - most of the time between 1800 and 2500 ft above the ground.  Our average climb rate was 1.9 knots.  In all a most enjoyable flight .  Confirmation to me that one of the great beauties of soaring is that one never stops learning .

Many thanks Kilo Sierra.

Ron Clarke

Riding On Air - Ridge Wave and Convergence Lift
The latest addition to Bob Wander's Gliding Mentor series is Rolf Hertenstein's brand-new opus Riding on Air: Ridge, Wave, & Convergence Lift.  

Rolf's previous book "Thermals" has been extremely popular.

Overview by Bob Wander
We think the title says it all. As a long-time airplane pilot and gliding pilot who first learned to fly in mountainous country, I am amazed and delighted at all of the things that Rolf explains in this book that have been a mystery to me for many years. Most soaring pilots have some appreciation of ridge, wave and convergence lift; I wish EVERY soaring pilot had the depth of knowledge and experience with these types of lift that Rolf has, and that he reveals in this book. We would all be the safer for it! Riding On Air contains what you need to improve your soaring performance in ridge, wave, and convergence lift. Furthermore, you'll learn why these types of lift sometimes disappear, seemingly without warning to the under-prepared pilot; and that in turn can lead to close scrapes (at best), or to disaster (at worst).

Another thing that surprised me about this book was how often convergence lift is present, even when far away from mountains or oceans or other large-scale geographic features. I now see convergence events in the atmosphere almost-daily frequency, because I have learned what the physics of these convergences are, and how to recognize them by visible signposts in the air.


New Stuff

Goddard P-ColibriII-1 Cable
For connecting an LX Navigation Colibri II to a Goddard PS-5a power converter. DB-9f at PS-5a end and mini-USB at Colibri II end. The PS-5a provides 5V power for the Colibri II. The cable's DB-9f connector housing has a built-in RS-232 to TTL data level converter which allows the Colibri II to communicate with any PDA.


Goddard Cable-Oudie-LNav-0p3
Cable, 0.3 m (11.8 inches), Naviter Oudie Power/Data Cable to Cambridge L-NAV
It is possible to setup a Naviter Oudie to output GPS data and "distance to target" information for use by a Cambridge L-NAV or S-NAV. This cable has a male 6-pin RJ connector that plugs into the back of the L-NAV and a female RJ45 (8-pin) connector for connection to the Oudie's power/data cable. The Oudie must be configured to send GPS data out as described below.

How to send NMEA data using Oudie:
a) Put the latest version of SeeYou Mobile on the Oudie. It can can downloaded from www.naviter.si in the Download > Oudie Firmware menu.
b) Start SeeYou Mobile and exit, make sure that "Save profile" is checked.
c) Connect the Oudie to a PC as described in the Oudie manual.
d) Using Windows Explorer (My Computer) on the PC, In the Oudie's memory, open the "Settings" folder and edit the profile file (DEFAULT.XML if only one profile is used, otherwise edit the profile you will be using). It is a text file that can be edited using Notepad.
e) Find text "COMOUTPARAMS", and change it to "<COMOUTPARAMS>COM4:4800,N,8,1</COMOUTPARAMS>" and save the changes to the file.
f) Start SeeYou Mobile, set input to "Serial", under "Port settings" select "COM1"


Winter Flight Hours Counters

Mid-Continent Electric Analog Clock

Soaring Beyond the Basics

New 3rd Edition
by Dale Masters

Winter W-1115 Ball Bank Indicator

Digital Water Meter Kit (for waterballast)

Revell LS-8t Model Kit

Cables for Connecting a PDA to a PC for use with Condor
Keyspan USA-19HS USB Serial Adapter


See ya' at the airport! - 2nd Edition
A new 2nd Edition of "See ya' at the airport!" by Charlie Spratt is now available.  The book was updated to include a new forward by Karl Striedieck, and two additional chapters: The Tube and Sailplane Racing News.  Friends and fans of Charlie will want this new updated version.

Accolades for See ya' at the Airport!:
Charlie Spratt is the best CD I have ever flown under and that includes contest in many countries as well as five World Championships. Fortunately he writes with the same understanding and decisiveness he brings to contest directing. Soaring would be very much the less without his inputs, his experience, and his totally distinctive language. It's all here, told with his inimitable sense of humor. Enjoy!
 - George Moffat

The National Soaring Museum exists to record and relate the story of soaring in America. How better to do that than to publish a book by Charlie Spratt? Inspired by soaring and an inspirer of those who soar, Charlie is one of our sport's master story tellers. With this first NSM-published book, he has set the bar high. Good start, Charlie!
 - Peter W. Smith, Director National Soaring Museum

"The Gate" has left his signature on many facets of US soaring competition, not the least of which has been his unmatched interactions with all the people who participated in some way. There will never be another Charlie and having this record of his involvement with the sport is another of his gifts to us all.
 - Karl Striedieck

1st Edition copies: $5
2nd Edition copies: $20


Photo of the Month #1

The awesome soaring photo above was a joint effort photograph by John Sullivan and Aaron Kiley.  They are both professional photographers.  The sailplane is John Sullivan's Ventus 2cxM.  Their photo web sites are below.
John Sullivan - http://skypics.com/
Aaron Kiley - http://aaronkileystudio.com/

I'm a hobby photographer  - so while admiring the photo, I was scratching my head, trying to figure out how they got this lovely shot.  I can tell from the perspective and wings that a very wide angle lens was used.  But to use a wide angle lens - you need to be very close to the subject - too close for air-to-air work with 2 gliders.  Fortunately, they were willing to share how they created the photo - along with photos of the setup they used.  Thank you Aaron and John for the excellent photo, and the information on how it was created.  Very interesting!


John and I got together as two photographers both loving aviation, soaring, and photography/video. We played around with the best angle for the GoPro. I figured straight nose would minimize the effect of the wide lens and would show the whole world, if not the curved fisheye look. The GoPro is a really nice quality unit for video, but it’s still images are a little weak. We did only one test run with the nose cone not painted yet. We just turned the GoPro on (on the ground) and let it run the entire flight. Then one image I fixed the yellow nose and took the arm out that held the camera. Pretty easy in Photoshop. But the image is a capture from the HD video, so the quality is quite low.

For the future, John is working on a radio control articulated arm. The GoPro is very light, but we might consider putting a digital SLR on next such as the Canon T3i. It’s light weight for a DSLR, and shoots amazing video and stills. John has painted and finished the nose cone so the next images will look much better. I might be able to take the mount arm out of the video as well. It’s a little tricky editing and might not work perfectly, but it will reduce attention to that area of the image.

On a side note. Building mounts on automobiles is very popular in editorial and advertising still photography. If you look at the VW Jetta on my web site, (coming round the corner with tree swishing background) this was done by building a tripod with carbon fiber legs directly onto the car. Well sort of. Two 14 foot poles. One attaches under the side door of the car, the other under the grill. These two poles meet at the camera end and are held together and a camera is mounted at that spot. Lastly a wire is run from the camera end of the mount, over the top of the car and secured. This wire holds the rig and camera a few feet off the ground. To make the image, I set the exposure to about 10 seconds. During the exposure the car is driven or usually rolled very very slowly so no bouncing or vibration causes the car to be unsharp. In Photoshop, I remove the poles and the wire.

Aaron Kiley

Photo of the Month #2

This photo was taken by Terry Delore.  It arrived in my inbox in an indirect way.  I received it from the Vintage Sailplane Association mailing list.  They received it from Ian Dunkley who sent it in March.  Ian received it from Terry and sent it along with the note: "Attached is a pre quake photo that Terry Delore sent out when reporting that he was OK." (after the earthquake in New Zealand).  What an awesome photo!!!

Please send me your favorite soaring photos and I'll include my favorites here.  I just love soaring photos!
SALE Items

Compaq Aero 1500 Pocket PC - Used - $75, New - $95
I have purchased a few of these classic and valuable Pocket PCs from customers that traded up to other devices.  Many glider pilots still love this old PDA because its black and white display is easier to read in sunlight than newer color PDAs.  Glide Navigator II soaring flight software runs great on it.  All the units have been thoroughly tested and approved by Cumulus Soaring, Inc.

All units include:

  • Good screen with no major defects or deep scratches - some units with defects are available at a lower cost
  • Wall charger
  • Desktop cradle (not for use in a glider)
  • New main battery
  • New backup battery
  • Soft case
  • Stylus
  • All buttons tested
  • Serial port tested


Borgelt Digital Average Display (DAD) for B400 - Large - New
Sale - These units are somewhat obsolete - since the B400 and B500 have been replaced by the B700 and B800.
- $75 (formerly $105) - Details

Borgelt B500b Speed-to-Fly Variometer with Audio and Averager - With GCD2 Glareshield Control and Display and GPS - New
Sale - This product is somewhat obsolete because it has been replaced with the new Borgelt B800.  I have 2 new B500b units in stock - both are 57 mm units.  I also have 2nd-seat repeaters in stock in 57mm and 80 mm sizes.  Note that this product includes the GPS and GCD2 display.  Prices on other sites for the B800 do not include those items.
$950 (formerly $1730) - Details
+ +

Borgelt Repeater for B400 or B500 - New
Sale - These units are somewhat obsolete - since the B400 and B500 have been replaced by the B700 and B800.
$195 (formerly $330) - Details

Borgelt PDA_PS - PDA/Logger Power/Data Connection Module with Serial Data Combiner - New
Sale - These work fine with either the B500 or B800. I have reduced the price to get them out of my inventory.
$95 (formerly $179) - Details

EW microRecorder IGC Approved Flight Recorder - New
Sale - The price at right is the sale price. These are new units and a very nice product. They have been very popular. However, they have not been selling well ever since the LXNAV Nano was introduced.
Sale: $495 (normally $595) - Details

Slightly Damaged Copies of Advanced Soaring Made Easy - 2nd Edition
Very slight cosmetic damage (scratches and dented corners)
Only a few damaged copies remaining.
$49.95 (normally $59.95) -


Wanted: Cables and Cradles for Compaq Aero 1500 PDAs
Let me know if you have any good, used power/data cables or cradles for the Compaq Aero 1500 PDAs.  I need any I can find because the power/data connectors used in the cables are no longer available.  The Goddard cable part number is AeroC-1.  Cambridge cradles for Compaq Aero 1500 are also wanted.

5 Videos from the 2011 U.S. 15-Meter Nationals - by Bruno Vassel
I had the very fortunate opportunity to finally fly in my first national soaring contest in Logan, Utah last month in a highly modified ASW-20B and carried along my video equipment in case anything interesting occurred during any flight... ;) I ended up with around 40+ hours of amazing footage that I have slowly been going through.

Here are the first 5 videos that have come from going through the raw footage. I have another half dozen or so additional videos in mind that can be made from video content not covered yet in these first videos. Editing just takes a lot of time so this process is taking a while.

If you like the videos please rate it a thumbs up and even better, please also subscribe to my youtube channel so when additional videos get posted you will be notified. This now makes over 60 soaring videos (and one tooth extraction video) I have posted so you have plenty of mountain soaring content on those days you are too lazy to do your work or do anything productive for that matter. I hope you all enjoy and please try to watch in as high of youtube HD setting as your computer will run smoothly and in full screen mode. :)

Glider Racing into Thunderstorm
31 minutes of crazy cockpit footage of Day 1 in the 15-meter Gliding Nationals for 2011 out of Logan, Utah. The first turn point took us right into a huge thunderstorm. A few smart pilots flew to the east of the storm and touched the turn cylinder. The rest of us did not see that option and flew right into the belly of the beast. Well more than half of the gliders got caught in the storm and landed out.

This video shows pilot Bruno Vassel IV - B4 flying a highly modified ASW20B into a small gap in the rain trying to touch the turn cylinder and get out. Shows dozen of lightning strikes WAY too close, really cool looking rain, massive sink trying to get out, getting very low over the mountains while still in the storm in heavy storm front turbulence and rain, radio chatter of other gliders landing out at both airports and in fields in the middle of the storm, a lightning strike right next to the glider and when all hope was almost lost hitting an 11+ knot thermal (1,100 feet per minute lift) that took the glider back up to cloud base and saved the day.

Yes, a lot of people are going to criticize the decision to even fly into this storm. You are probably right. I wanted to share this because it shows how flying into a "gap" in a thunderstorm might look not all that bad but the storm can quickly close in on you and things go from bad to worse much quicker than you would like. Hope you both enjoy and learn to stay away from thunderstorms while soaring. :)

Glider Almost Hit by Lightning in Thunderstorm
First Day of the 15-meter Gliding Nationals contest - This lightning strike was during the infamous thunderstorm where more than half of the contestants landed out. Shows pilot Bruno Vassel IV -B4 flying an ASW20B low and in the front side turbulence of the storm northwest of Preston Idaho. Check out the pilot's hands after the strike. Scared the crap out of him! :)

Glider Landing in Tall Wheat Field

Yes, I now know go for the dirt not the grass! Thank you, lesson learned. This video was taken on day 5 of the 2011 15-meter Nationals out of Logan, Utah. After a tough day getting around the course I took a big gamble and went way deep into the second to last turn cylinder to a very good looking cloud. It paid off with a huge thermal that took me to cloud base. That is the beginning of this video with me giggling in delight. One problem, the day had died (I didn't know this) and I still had 91 miles to make it home...

This video shows pilot Bruno Vassel IV - B4 flying a highly modified ASW20B in the final 10 minutes trying to find lift over a small ridge and getting forced out into the valley because of sinking off the ridge. I spend a good amount of time circling low trying to decide on the field and then landing.

PLEASE READ: Why did I pick the wheat field instead of the plowed field? The plowed field was freshly plowed within the last few days. The furrows were deep and also running the opposite direction from how I wanted to land - up hill. You can also see that there is a large depression running in the middle of the field effectively cutting it in half. It was also much more angled than the wheat field. The only gate I could see from the air was on the corner of the wheat field where I came to a stop within 30 feet. The biggest reason why I picked the wheat field is that I thought I saw the crop was not as tall but we all then saw that was wrong. OK, lesson learned you can not judge crop height in the air other than by color. Glad everything worked out and the glider stayed going straight on landing. Hope you enjoyed and please don't flame me too bad for choosing the tall field, at least I shared the video with you. :) Bruno

3 Gliders Racing Salt River Range in 2011 Nationals Championship
The full 42 minute version of 3 gliders racing each other over Wyoming's amazing Salt River mountain range during the 2011 15-meter national gliding contest. The glider taking the video is an ASW-20B piloted by Bruno Vassel IV. The glider shown at the start of this video is John Cochrane (BB) flying an ASW-27B and the second glider in the middle of the video is Tim Taylor (TT) flying a Ventus 2a. All gliders were fully ballasted. My 20B was 1157 pounds and had a wing loading of 10.3 pounds. Hope you enjoy! Bruno

Gliding Salt River Range - 47 Min Raw Footage (glare shield cam on a practice day)

July 14, 2011 Practice day for 15 meter Nationals glider contest with a dozen gliders flying from Logan northeast to north of Palisades Reservoir and down south to Afton Wyoming. This video shows raw footage (shot using a Contour+ video camera) of pilot Bruno Vassel IV flying B4, an ASW-20B over some spectacular scenery.

The first part shows the Palisades res and mountains just south of the Grand Tetons. The next part shows the ridge run south to Afton getting pretty low in the process. The last part is just spectacular showing ridge soaring the high parts of the Salt River Mountains range just east of Afton Wyoming.

I debated cutting up this video and editing it into something smaller but thought it would be interesting to keep as a whole for when you are bored on a long winter's weekend and feel like watching some extended gliding. Enjoy!

Almost all of the footage was taken with a Canon HF20 HD camcorder sporting a fish eye lens and 12 volt 9 amp hour external battery pack with a custom voltage reducer to record 7+ hours in 1920hd. It was mounted over my right shoulder using a RAM mount and two small articulating arms. I really like this setup. Some of the hand held videos and the video taken from the glare shield is from a new Contour+ which works ok but seems to get really hot in the sun and seems to have a limited battery life of around 45 minutes when hot.

Thanks for watching and comments both positive and negative are always interesting,

Bruno Vassel IV - glider "B4" (ASW20B)

Fun & Interesting Soaring Links
Below is a collection of fun and interesting soaring and aviation related links.  Click on the images to view the video or photo.

Awesomeness in the Alps, soaring from La Motte du Caire! Filmed over 2 weeks with wave, thermal and dynamic ridge lift providing the fuel for memorable flights with spectacular views. - From Balleka's Channel

Glider One Man Rigging Demo
- Frank Paynter
Evan Ludeman (T8) took this video of me assembling my Ventus 2bx at Wurtsboro last week, using my el-cheapo single-rig system. The video has not been edited in any way, and assembly that morning was actually a little slower than usual ;-)

Preston Vihlen's 1st Solo at Hawks Nest in the 2-22. Saturday, November 5, 2011 - Steve Vihlen

Fun Fly 2011 - Steve Vihlen
Memphis Soaring Society Fun Fly 2011. Lawrence Field, AR
Club members gather for an end of summer fun fly contest over the
weekend of September 9-11.

The Overcast Day - Steve Vihlen
A good turnout at Wolf River for a day of soaring, however, less than forecasted conditions made for a challenging day.

Hot Day at Wolf River - Steve Vihlen
A hot day at the field as three friends, SA, DY and SV try to find cooler temps at cloudbase.  Wolf River Airport, Rossville, TN.

Cordele 2011
A short overview of the Std ClassNats/Region 5 South contest at Cordele, Georgia. A great week with fantastic weather.

John DeRosa's Aviation Web Pages - very nice

Freedom's Wings Canada -
York Soaring Association -
Gliding through the air at 2,000 feet above the ground can be extremely therapeutic.
Charles Petersen is shown sharing the excitement with a thrilled passenger.

Discovery / Science Channel's "How It's Made" Gliders episode
Schempp-Hirth Factory


Small car, Small motor, Big Launch
Cool idea!  Luka Znidarsic's FES (Front Electric Sustainer) gets a quick autotow launch from a small car with 105 hp engine to several hundred feet, then uses the FES to climb out.


Sean Fidler, ASG 29, GoPro Hero HD, November 1, 2011
The best part is the high-speed pass at 4:35.

DG-1001TE Self-Launch
The first self-launch of the DG-1001TE.  It is normally not a self launcher, but rather a "turbo" / "sustainer".  But it seems to have plenty of power for self-launching.

DG-1001TE Flight
Excellent video showing the new DG-1001TE.

Details on the DG-1001TE on the DG web site:

German Aerobatics training seminar

Celebrating 50 years of human-powered flight
That is Derek Piggott as the pilot

Clelia's 98th Birthday Glider Flight

Discover Gliding
From New Mobility - The magazine for active wheelchair users

AOPA - Challenges: Powerless flight - A fixed-wing pilot goes motorless
By Dave Hirschman

Microsoft Flight
Microsoft is working on a new PC flight simulator game called Microsoft Flight.  It is not available yet, but an announcement is expected in December.  Thank you to my brother Kevin (Microsoft employee) for clueing me in to this!

"Old 666"

Electric Airplane Wins $1.35 Million Aviation Prize
The largest prize in aviation history was awarded Monday to an electric airplane made in Slovenia that won NASA's Green Flight Challenge.
The first place prize of $1.35 million was awarded to team Pipistrel-USA.com of State College, Pennsylvania for their flight in the Taurus G4, made by a privately owned Slovenian company named Pipistrel.
The second place prize of $120,000 went to team eGenius, flying an electric aircraft developed at the Institute of Aircraft Design of the University of Stuttgart, Germany.

Private Rocket Launch to 121,000 feet
On September 30, 2011 at 11:08am, Derek Deville's Qu8k (pronounced "Quake") launched from the Black Rock Desert in Nevada to an altitude of 121,000' before returning safely to earth. Above 99% of the atmosphere the sky turns black in the middle of the day and the curvature of the earth is clearly visible.

Lake Keepit Soaring Club Newsletter - Excellent!
Lake Keepit, Australia

Oudie Competition Tutorial for Area Assigned Tasks
by Richard Frawley



Lyle Forsgren's homebuilt motorglider project

IGC Reader is an iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad application to view and play IGC flight log files. You can open IGC files from websites or import them via iTunes and other supported applications.

Hitler learns that his application for Soaring Gold Badge has been rejected.  Funny!

Mountain Waves and Downslope Winds
Free online training course

445th FLTS tests new USAF Academy glider
With the U.S. Air Force Academy's recent purchase of 19 new gliders to replace some of its aging gliders, the 445th Flight Test Squadron at Edwards Air Force Base has the job of testing one of the academy's new TG-16A (DG-1001) gliders.

Minnesota glider pilot Bob Hanson flying in Grenoble in a DuoDiscus

Peep Lauk's beautiful self-launching flying wing sailplane in Estonia


Coming Next Month
  • PowerFLARM Status Update
  • ClearNav variometer status update
  • LX9000 Demonstration Video
  • New PDF format?
  • More fun links and soaring news from around the world
Wrap Up
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter.  I hope you have found it interesting. If you did, please tell your friends about it.  Please mention it in your local soaring newsletter.  Please direct them to:

I consider myself a servant.  Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you find the right soaring instruments for your needs, or help you learn how to use an instrument or software product.  Also, let me know if you have any suggestions for products or services to add to my web site, or ways that I can serve you better.

I feel blessed because I love my job.  I enjoy serving the soaring community.  Like you, I am passionate about soaring.  Thank you for your business, I sincerely appreciate it.

Fly Safe,

Paul Remde

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Cumulus Soaring, Inc.
8661 Connelly Place | Savage | MN | 55378 | USA
1-952-445-9033 | paul@remde.us