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Cumulus Soaring, Inc. Newsletter

In This Issue


2008 SSA Convention Review

New "Friends of CSI" Club

NK ClearNav Update

Tasman FP10 Flight Pack

SPOT Satellite Messenger

Canopy Cap

Closeout Sale on Vertex Standard Radio Accessories

ICOM IC-A14 and IC-A14S

ICOM IC-A6 Demo for Sale

Update on New iPAQ 210/211/214

Nimbus Cradle for iPAQ 210, 211 and 214

New Flightline FL-760 Panel Mount Radio

The Leading Edge

Everybody's First Gliding Book!

Gliding: Theory of Flight

Sale - Becker Transponders 5% Off

Condor Sailplane Racing Simulator

Wingtip Skids

Cambridge Update

EW microRecorder Issue - Free Upgrade

SeeYou Version 3.81

Vario Ringtone

Donate to the SSA-OLC

Grey Eagles Foundation

GlidePlan Update

Transponder Overview Article

The Aerodynamics of Argentavis

Fun and Interesting Links

Coming Next Month

Wrap Up


Subscribe to This Newsletter

Join Our Mailing List

Popular Items



SPOT Satellite Messenger

EW microRecorder

Cambridge Aero Instruments
302, & 303

LX Navigation Colibri

Nimbus iPAQ Cradles

Mountain High Oxygen Systems

Tasman V1000 Variometer

Borgelt B400 & B500

SeeYou Training CDs

Glide Navigator II


SeeYou Mobile

Bowlus Maxi Gap Seal Tape

MRX Collision Avoidance Systems by Zaon Flight Systems

Softie Parachutes from Para-Phernalia 

Quick Links



Issue: 5

May 20, 2008

Dear Soaring Enthusiast,

Thank you for taking the time to read this issue of the newsletter.  There is a lot to report this month since my last edition was published just before the Soaring Society of America Convention in February. 

I have improved the format of this newsletter to make it easier to read.  I have also changed the way it is delivered.  In the past the e-mail newsletter contained all the articles and images in the e-mail itself.  Then I would copy the e-mail to my web site to make it available in the long run.  Going forward the e-mails I send will be short notes with links to newsletter pages on my web site.  The main advantage to this new approach is that I can create newsletters more easily.  I also intend to use this new approach to make the information on the web site more up to date.  I will make the current month's newsletter a working document that I will add to as new information becomes available.  I will send e-mail announcements about updates on a monthly basis, to remind you to check out the latest updates.  The new format will be similar to a blog because updates will be easy and available immediately.  I hope you like the new approach to the newsletter.  Let me know if you have any suggestions for improving it.

The newsletter is formatted for easy printing to make it easy to read at a convenient time.  The downside to that approach is that you can't click on the many links to interesting web sites and you use a lot of paper that could be saved by reading the newsletter on your computer screen. Save a tree - read it online.

2008 SSA Convention Review

by Paul Remde
Photos by Brian Utley and Paul Remde

The 2008 Soaring Society of America Convention was a great success.  I think most everyone that attended would agree.  There were many great speakers, interesting new products and lovely gliders to admire.  As an exhibitor I was tied up in my booth for most of the convention, but I did talk to many glider pilots about their favorite show events and products, and I did take the time to see all the booths and take-in as much as possible.  As a person that sells and supports soaring instruments, software and other high-tech products, I was especially interested in the new products. 

My booth at the SSA Convention
(click on the images in this article to view larger versions)

It was wonderful to see the SSA on the road to financial recovery after a tough couple of years.  I am very appreciative of everything the SSA does for U.S. glider pilots.  The SSA still has a lot of debt, but two SSA members made extremely generous offers to help encourage SSA members to help pay down the debt. Diane Nixon-Black offered to match donations up to a total of $25,000 and Peter Smith of the National Soaring Museum offered to match up to a total of $2,500 for anyone that makes donations to both the SSA and the National Soaring Museum.

Several events ramp up before the official first day of the convention in Thursday.  The CFI Revalidation Clinic hosted by Bob Wander was in session on Tuesday and Wednesday and several vendors held training sessions on Wednesday.  It is impressive how many people arrive early to take advantage of the free product training. 

Thanks to Volunteers!
I owe much thanks to the many volunteers that helped me at the convention. First I must thank my wonderful Dad, Richard Remde.  He did a fantastic job helping me in the booth and it was great spending the week with him.

Thank you Brian Utley for making the long drive from Minneapolis, MN to Albuquerque, NM and back with me in a very noisy rental truck.  I always enjoy talking with you and learning from you.

Thank you to everyone that helped setup, tear-down and work in my tradeshow booth.  Below is the best list I have.  I apologize if I'm missing someone.  Thank you so very much.

  • Howard Banks

  • Terry Edmonds

  • Jean Egan

  • Dickie Feakes

  • Robin Fleming

  • Don Kawal

  • Leslie King

  • Renny Rozzoni

  • Quay Snyder

  • Rudi Verstraelen

  • Ray White

  • Jeep White

  • John Zimmerman

FLARM and ADS-B Meeting
I have long been a fan of the FLARM collision avoidance product and would love to see it or something similar take hold in the USA.  To try and get the ball rolling I proposed a “FLARM / ADS-B in the USA – a Meeting of Minds” meeting that was held on Wednesday.  The idea blossomed beyond my wildest dreams!  Thanks to the hard work promoting the meeting by Minnesota soaring pilot Mike Schumann, the event turned into a real meeting of minds which included brief talks by industry leaders from around the world.  I would estimate that there were about 200 glider pilots in attendance.

At the meeting Bernald Smith gave an introduction to ADS-B and the NPRM (Notice of Proposed Rulemaking).  Bernald has worked hard over the years to make sure the F.A.A. hears the voice of glider pilots.  His work for us is greatly appreciated and his talk was very interesting. 

Robert Strain of MITRE gave an extremely interesting talk about a low cost ADS-B transmitter that his company has designed.   As opposed to the $9000 ADS-B products on the market at this time, their prototype had a parts cost of less than $200.  They are working on an ADS-B transceiver that should be ready in August of 2008.  They are a government contractor that developed the product and would never produce it but would license the technology to other companies (at a very reasonable price).  One of the biggest goals of this meeting was to introduce their company and projects to avionics manufacturers in hopes that a low cost product could be made available for use in gliders in the near future. 

Urs Rothacher of FLARM gave a very interesting talk on the extremely successful FLARM product.  Over 9000 units are in use around the world. 

Andrej Kolar of SeeYou talked about SeeYou Mobile’s support for FLARM and emphasized that it is very important that pilots not spend too much time staring at displays in the cockpit. 

Bill Hall of Sandia Aerospace talked about their ADS-B products for general aviation. 

Jason Clemens of Zaon talked about their very successful MRX and XRX products. 

Marco Vladiskovic of D-S-X gave an overview of their products. 

There were several informal meetings held by the key players after the first meeting on Wednesday and I am really looking forward to seeing some new products as a result in the next few years.  I hope that Zaon or Sandia or some other company will license the MITRE ADS-B technology and produce a $1000 ADS-B transceiver in the near future.  There are some real hurdles.  So far, the F.A.A. is indicating that the GPS engines and the units themselves would need to pass rigorous tests and be “certified” – which would be very expensive for the manufacturers.  We are hoping that we can avoid that for VFR use.  Certainly it would make sense to keep the cost low so that more airplane owners would be willing to adopt the units. 

My dream is that in 1 to 2 years from now many glider pilots will be voluntarily using low cost ADS-B ADS-B transmitter/receiver units.  They will show nearby traffic where you are and they will allow you to see nearby traffic - not only traffic that has an ADS-B transmitter.  If you are near a radar controlled airport with ADS-B transmitting you would also see all traffic that has a transponder because the ADS-B system will broadcast all traffic information to ADS-B receivers - cool!  Then we can start promoting the benefits to general aviation and ultra-light pilots through AOPA magazine and Sport Aviation (EAA) magazine, etc. so that eventually small planes will start using the technology voluntarily. To be honest - I sincerely hope that the FAA mandates it in 10 years so I can see ALL traffic.  I imagine I'm in the minority on that wish.  I hate mandates, but I love improved safety and it will only work for us if everyone embraces it.

Hot New Products
The SSA Convention is always a great place to see the latest hot new soaring gadgets and gliders.  This year the ones that got the most attention were the NK ClearNav, LX8000, SPOT Satellite Messenger, Sage Variometers and Canopy Cap.

There has been growing interest in the use of winches in the USA and this year there were winch manufactures from the UK and USA with very interesting products to show.

Gliders on Display
There were many lovely gliders on display at the convention.  My favorite display was the Schleicher Rhönbussard glider restoration project by Jerry Wenger of Powell, Wyoming. It was assembled as an uncovered wood frame and it was obvious that a lot of hard work had gone into the restoration.  It was lovely!

Below is a list of some of the gliders on display.  It is not all inclusive.

  • Duo Discus-X

  • ASG-29

  • Carat

  • Alisport Silent

  • Bob Carlton’s twin turbojet powered Alisport Silent

  • SparrowHawk

  • Schempp-Hirth Ventus 2cx, and Discus 2c

  • LS-10

  • DG-1000 Turbo

  • SZD Diana 2

  • Stemme S10-VT

  • Schleicher Rhönbussard restoration by Jerry Wenger

There were many very interesting talks given during the convention. 

One that was mentioned often was the talk about using soaring flight simulators for glider flight instruction and maintaining proficiency by Trace Lewis and Scott Manley.  They are using the Condor Soaring Simulator with great success. 

Urs Rothacher of FLARM gave a well received talk on “Collision Avoidance in VFR, Four Years of Experience with FLARM Collision Warning Devices”. 

Einar Enevoldson gave an update on the Perlan project (http://www.perlanproject.com). 

The Online Contest (OLC) awards for the USA were given out by Reiner Rose of the OLC and Doug Haluza of the SSA-OLC. 

Prof.  Loek Boermans’ talk on “Improvement of Sailplane Performance by Airfoil Design” was also very well attended and well received.  

Garret Willat gave a talk on “Unlocking the Secrets of Flying Faster” that intrigued many cross-country soaring pilots.  He recommended a few good books on the subject including “Competing in Gliders”, “Cross-Country Soaring”, and “Flying Faster and Further” (which is available as a free download from the Gliding Federation of Australia at: http://www.gfa.org.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=393&Itemid=184). 

Kempton Izuno’s talk, “One Approach to High Definition Video” was very interesting.  He is using high definition video to teach subtle soaring tips.  You can see a few examples here: http://hdsoaring.blogspot.com/.  He definitely has a great idea and hope to see many more videos from him in the future. 

The talk by Uys and Attie Jonker, developers of the Jonkers JS-1 Revelation 18 m Sailplane from South Africa was also very interesting.  You can view an interview of them by Kempton Izuno here: http://hdsoaring.blogspot.com/2008/02/ssa-convention-interviews-jonker.html.

Like many “regulars” at the annual SSA Conventions I always really enjoy simply socializing with the many wonderful people in our friendly little community.  There are so many extremely interesting people involved in soaring and it is fascinating catching-up with them and learning about their most recent projects and diversions.  Since the SSA has opted to not organize a convention next year, I will really miss seeing everyone in 2009.
New "Friends of CSI" Club
Please help support Cumulus Soaring, Inc. in a way that is great for both you and for my company.  The Estimated Total Benefit to you could be as much as $1800.

Fortunately, Cumulus Soaring, Inc. has been growing very nicely over the last 5 years.  I love my job and enjoy supporting soaring pilots.  However, high interest rate bank loans are making it tough to make a good living.  The business has grown to a point where I need to hire someone to help out with order processing and I just can't afford to do that right now due to bank interest payments.

As you can probably tell from the many product comparisons, this newsletter, my soaring-links.com and soaring-classifieds.com web sites, and other value added resources on my web site - I am working hard to support the soaring community.  If you feel my company and services are valuable, please consider helping out.

The plan is simple.  To join the "Friends of Cumulus Soaring, Inc." club, you send me a check as a loan for either $1,000 or $2,000 (see plan comparison table below).  I pay back the loan to you with interest in 3 years.  During those 3 years, you receive free phone support, discounts, and free shipping (depending on the level of membership).  This is definitely a win-win deal.

If enough people join I'll be able to pay down my bank debt to a point where I can afford to hire a person to help out with processing orders.  That would free me up to support you and the rest of the soaring community better.

The level of benefits varies with the amount of the loan.  Please see the table below.

Summary of Benefits
Loan Amount Discount
FREE Phone Support FREE Shipping ** Interest Earned after 3 years *** Estimated
$1000 4% 10 hours
($400 value)
On orders of $200 or more $200 $900
$2000 8% 20 hours
($800 value)
On orders of $100 or more $400 $1800

* Discounts apply only to orders paid by check.  But the discounts apply to ALL products sold by Cumulus Soaring, Inc.

** Free shipping will be done using the lowest cost option available - such as UPS Ground.  Shipment within the USA only.  If you require expedited shipping or shipping outside the USA you will need to pay the difference between standard shipping and the desired shipping.

*** The interest rate is 6.266%, compounded annually and paid at the end of loan.  At the end of the 3 year loan I will send you a check for the amount of the loan plus the interest earned.  Or you have the option to renew the loan for another 3 years.  In that case I will pay you the interest only.

**** It is difficult to estimate the total benefit since it depends on the amount you order and therefore the amount of the discount and the shipping. I have assumed that you will spend $5000 with my company over the 3 years. If you opt for the $1000 loan and spend $5000 your savings from the discount would be $200. If you opt for the $2000 loan and you spend $5000 your savings from the discount would be $400. The $200 and $400 savings numbers were used in the calculation of the Estimated Total Benefit.  Some will spend more (and save more), some will spend less (and save less). This is not a promised benefit, just an estimated benefit. You are not required to spend any particular amount of money. Also, the Estimated Total Benefit assumes that you use all the free training hours. The estimated shipping savings is $100 (for the $1000 loan) and $200 (for the $2000 loan).  Clearly, the more you plan to spend, the more the $2000 loan option makes sense, because of the higher discount.  Note: The Estimated Total Benefit does not include the payback of the loan. For example, if you loaned me the $2000, you would get the Estimated Total Benefit of $1800 plus the return of the $2000 from the loan.

Perhaps the best benefit is that you will know that you are helping to support my company and my family. And by helping me, you help me support the world soaring community.

Upon receiving your check I will send you a promissory note for your records.

Please seriously consider lending your support.  My family and I would greatly appreciate it.  Please send your check to the address at the bottom of this page.

Certainly, many of you have already shown your support by buying from me as much as possible.  That has been appreciated very much!

Thank you,

Paul Remde

NK ClearNav Update

The new NK ClearNav development is moving along nicely.  The first batch of "pre-release" units should ship in late May.  Each dealer will get 5 at the end of May and 5 in mid June.  The release versions should ship 6 to 8 weeks after that - depending on how the testing goes with the pre-release users.  Chip Garner has added some nice new features which are documented on my NK web page.  I have also updated the price list with a few recent changes. 

I am very excited to report that I have been contracted to write the manual for the ClearNav.  I was flattered to be asked to write it.  I will be diving into it this week and will have a preliminary version ready for the pre-release customers.  I'm delighted to be a part of the ClearNav team!

Below is a list of people who have asked to be on my ClearNav waiting list.  If you wish to be added or removed from the list, please contact me ASAP.  I will need firm orders from the first 10 on the list ASAP.  Please place orders using the web site and send a check.  I believe that some of the people on the list below are on multiple dealer lists - so some will drop off now that it is time to order.  Also, some of the people on the list were only interested, not ready to order.  It looks like NK has a hit on their hands!

  1. Ted Wagner
  2. Larry L Roberts
  3. Renny Rozzoni
  4. Greg Shugg
  5. Al Macdonald
  6. Andy Durbin
  7. Motti Pikelny
  8. Vit Hradecky
  9. Peter Smith
  10. Steve Koerner
  11. Mark Fisher
  12. Larry Goddard (maybe)
  13. James Pokorski
  14. James Lamb
  15. John Murphy
  16. Stephen Michalik
  17. Larry Pardue
  18. John Banarhall
  19. Gerald Simpson
  20. Ryszard Krolikowski
  21. Don Golden
  22. Mike Evans
  23. Steve Vihleen
  24. Sterling Star
  25. Angel Pala
  26. Steve Dee
  27. Steve McLaughlin
  28. Evan Ludeman
  29. Robert Williams
  30. George Caldwell


New Tasman FP10 Flight Pack

There is an interesting and unique new soaring product available from Tasman Instruments. Tasman is known for the successful V1000 variometer from Australia. The new FP10 Flight Pack is a small flight data module which turns a V1000 variometer into a speed-to-fly variometer. A PDA with soaring flight software is required to display the speed-to-fly data.

Glider pilots that already own a Tasman V1000 variometer will find the FP10 Flight Pack attractive because it is much less expensive than buying a speed-to-fly variometer.

The FP10 takes in GPS data from an external GPS (not included) and adds air data such as true airspeed and vario readings to the data stream and sends it to the PDA.

The best part about the Tasman solution is the modularity of the design.  You can start with the Tasman V1000 and add the FP10 and other items later.  Or start with the EW microRecorder or LX Colibri and PDA and then later add the V1000 Variometer and FP10 Flight Pack, or...

Two Versions of the FP10

  • FP10 ($510)
    If your soaring GPS can provide 5V power for the PDA then the FP10 will pass the 5V power through to the PDA as well. 
  • FP10-s5V ($575)
    If your GPS does not provide 5V power for the PDA then FP10-s5V version can efficiently convert 12V power from your glider battery into 5V power for the PDA.

Compatible with All Goddard soaring data cables!
The PDA and GPS connectors on the FP10 and FP10-s5V are identical to the connections on the Goddard  PS-5a power converter.  That is great because it means that all the standard soaring cables in stock at Cumulus Soaring, Inc. will work great with the FP10 and FP10-s5V.

Data Sent to PDA

  • GPS Data - All GPS Data (GPS not included) from an external GPS is passes through the FP10 to the PDA.
  • Variometer (current value) - Used by the Thermal Assistant in SeeYou Mobile and other soaring software to help you find the center of the current thermal.  Also used for thermal history graphs on the PDA.
  • Variometer Average - Displayed on the face of the Tasman V1000 Variometer and made available to the PDA software.
  • True Airspeed (TAS) - The Outside Air Temperature gauge and barometric pressure sensor make it possible to calculate True Airspeed.  The PDA can use the GPS data (ground speed) and True Airspeed data to calculate accurate vector wind speed and direction.
  • Barometric Altitude - Sent to the PDA and used to calculate the True Airspeed.

Compatible Soaring Flight Software
The soaring flight software listed below uses the flight data supplied by the FP10.

  • XCSoar
  • Soaring Pilot
  • SeeYou Mobile (click on image below to view larger version)

Several complete example systems are show on my Tasman web page.  A complete system with soaring flight software on a PDA, Tasman V1000, GPS Flight Recorder, etc. will be every bit as powerful and full featured as the most advanced soaring flight computer systems available.

It will be interesting to see how many Tasman V1000 owners upgrade to a system with the FP10 Flight Pack. 


SPOT Satellite Messenger

The new SPOT Satellite Messenger was a huge hit at the SSA Convention.  Since the convention I have sold dozens of them to glider pilots around the world. 

The SPOT Satellite Messenger is a revolutionary device and service combination. It has a built-in GPS and uses satellite phone technology to send GPS position data to friends, family and/or emergency rescue personnel in the event of an emergency. It can also send "OK" or "Help Needed" messages via e-mail or mobile phone text messages. By clicking on the link in the e-mail message your friends and family can see exactly where you were when the message was sent on a Google map web page. The unit can also automatically send position updates every 10 minutes that can be viewed on Google maps when logged into the SPOT user web site.

New Feature - Shared Pages
On April 23, 2008 Spot released a new feature for Spot users and their friends and families. You can now create up to 10 Shared Pages which can each display different information from your Spot or multiple Spot units (in the same account). The pages can display OK, Help and track messages all on the same page, or you can select any combination of those messages for display.

You can see an example Spot Shared Page here: Paul's Spot
However, you will only see tracks on that page if I have used my SPOT in the recent past.

Recommendation by Eric Greenwell

"As a retired guy with a motorglider, living 5 miles from the airport, in an area with good soaring conditions, I frequently am the only glider flying. It doesn't take long for me to be out of radio reach of our base station and modern cell phones are unreliable in the air, so nobody knows where I am. My wife is looking forward to our new SPOT showing her where I am, any time she wants to stop by her computer. So, peace of mind for my wife, some extra security for me, and a quicker, safer mission for search and rescue if I go down. She does wish we had something like this 30 years ago, when I didn't have a motorglider and didn't get home almost all the time!" - Eric Greenwell, Richland, Washington, USA

To me the most fun SPOT feature is the Spotcasting (Track Progress) feature.  It automatically sends your position to the SPOT server every 10 minutes.  The track positions can be viewed in a web browser by anyone to which you give your spot tracking web address.  It will be really fun to track the progress of your soaring friends - and some of the worlds best soaring pilots during their flights.

You are going to see a lot of SPOT units at your local gliderport. 

Check out the SPOT Video Tour
Guided Tour Videos with Survival Expert Les Stroud


Canopy Cap

The Canopy Cap is designed to be a light weight, compact, reflective shade cover for use when rigging and while waiting on the grid. The simple design allows easy access and your cockpit is always shaded and cool. When you are ready for take off, slip the cover off and stow it in the included storage bag in the glider while you fly.

Important Notes

  • The light weight design is not meant for extended use outdoors.
  • It is not a replacement for a heavyweight, all weather cover.
  • Do not use it while trailering as it won’t allow the canopy to be locked. 

These have been extremely popular this spring.

Check out the Review of the Canopy Cap by Greg Arnold.


Closeout Sale on Vertex Standard Radio Accessories

Vertex Standard - No Longer Sold Here
Unfortunately, Vertex Standard USA has changed their pricing policies - making it impossible for small businesses like this one to make a profit selling their products.  It is a bummer since they make nice radios.  However, ICOM radios seem to be much more popular here in the USA.  I own an ICOM radio and I stock and sell a lot of ICOM radios and accessories. 

I have drastically reduced the prices on the Vertex Standard items I have remaining in stock.  I will not be ordering any more of their products so when they're gone, they're gone.  I only have a few items left but all the items shown on the web site are in stock.  All accessories are 50% off the previous prices.  The prices on the web site are the sale prices.  If you own a Vertex Standard radio - this is a great opportunity to buy accessories at great prices.

New ICOM IC-A14 and IC-A14S Handheld Radios

The new IC-A14 and IC-A14S radios are very interesting.  They seem to be great replacements for the IC-A6 radio.  The main improvements are slightly reduced size and longer battery life.  Also the IC-A14 and IC-A14S ship with a desktop charging stand.  However, they don't ship with a headset adapter (which is included with the IC-A6).  The IC-A14 ships with a Lithium Ion battery.  I like that both the IC-A14 and the IC-A14S can be "cloned" (copy all the memory channel settings) easily using a cable between the 2 identical radios.  No PC is required.  However, PC software is available to make it easy to setup and program the memory channels and program multiple radios. You can even enter 8 character text descriptions for the programmed memory locations.

The IC-A14S is a stripped-down and simplified version of the IC-A14.  It does not have a numeric keypad and also does not support several advanced features that are found in the IC-A14. 

Features that are in the IC-A14, but not in the IC-A14S:

  • Full numeric keypad
  • Weather receive
  • Duplex operation (call flight service station on one frequency while receiving a VOR station on another frequency)
  • 200 memory locations in 4 banks - The IC-A14S has 100 memory locations in a single bank.
  • Ability to clear an unwanted memory channel
  • Fast selection of 121.5 emergency frequency by pressing the [FUNC] key and then the [121.5] (0) key.

Why buy an IC-A14S?
The IC-A14S is missing many advanced features that are found in the IC-A14 and yet it sells for the same price.  That seems a bit strange.  The reason is that the IC-A14S is designed for ground crews.  The goal was to keep it as simple to use as possible.  If the IC-A14S had weather channel receive capability I would recommend it for soaring club use.  I think weather data is a very important feature.  Since it doesn't have weather channel receive capability I don't recommend it to glider pilots or plan to sell many IC-A14S units.  If weather data is not important to you, and simplicity is, than this is the radio for you.

What is next from ICOM?
It appears that the IC-A14 is the replacement for the IC-A6, but what about a replacement for the IC-A24 NAV/COM radio?  I can't say anything for certain, but I believe they plan to release a new IC-A15 radio soon to replace the IC-A24.  They have not announced anything, but when playing with the PC setup software and my IC-A14 I noticed that there was a menu option for an IC-A15...

I really like my new A14. I predict that it will be a very popular radio.


ICOM IC-A6 Demo for Sale
My ICOM IC-A6 demo is for sale.  I will now be using an IC-A14 for my demo unit.  The A6 is in perfect condition and includes all the accessories listed below.  The only complaint I ever had about the A6 was the mediocre battery life.  Since the kit below includes 4 battery packs and 2 chargers, battery life should not be an issue for the new owner. 
  • IC-A6 radio with BP-210N Ni-Mh battery and wall charger, $249
  • Additional BP-210N Ni-Mh battery, $50
  • BP-211N Li-Ion battery, $75
  • BP-208N alkaline battery pack, $18
  • BC-119N desktop rapid charger (required for Li-Battery back) with wall charger and AD-101 adapter, $83
  • HM-112 speaker/microphone, $75
  • CP-20 cigarette lighter power supply for car, $55

All items are in perfect condition.  This is a great radio at a great price, from someone you can trust.

Total at Standard Price: $605
Sale Price: $295

 - I'm sorry, but this item has already SOLD

I will sell the kit to the first person that contact me about it.  Please do not offer to buy only part of the kit.  I plan to sell it complete.

Update on New iPAQ 210/211/214
A few months ago I reported that I was disappointed in the new iPAQ 210/211/214 units because they did not have a built-in RS-232 serial port - making it difficult to use them with a soaring GPS.  Since then I have seen the light...  A customer wanted a very nice portable system utilizing a PDA with a large screen and a CF Card GPS.  I recommended the new iPAQ 210.  I ordered it for him and set it up at my office for him.  I was extremely impressed with the iPAQ 210.  The screen is the same size as on my iPAQ hx4705, but it seems a little bit brighter.  My guess is that it is brighter because the backlight on my hx4705 is 2 to 3 years old (lights generally decrease in brightness as they age).  Or because the iPAQ 210 does not require a glare reducer - which would slightly reduce the brightness.  In fact, I was so impressed with the 210 that I bought one. 

A few months ago Kolie Lombard told me that he had successfully used an iPAQ 210 with a CF Card serial port (plugged into the top of the 210) to connect to a Cambridge 302.  At the time I thought it sounded a bit clunky.  But after playing with a 210 I decided to work on making a clean solution.  With the help of Larry Goddard, we now offer a very nice solution.  For details, see the article about the Nimbus cradle immediately below this article.

The Bad News
The only bad news is that I have found that Glide Navigator II does not work well on the new iPAQ 210.  Previously we had found a similar problem with iPAQ hx4700 units - Glide Navigator II crashes on my hx4705 after about 8 hours.  A few customers reported similar problems with their hx4700 units.  Unfortunately, GN II crashed after only a few hours on my iPAQ 210.  GN II still works great on all other Pocket PCs.  We will work to fix this issue soon.

The Good News
SeeYou Mobile works perfectly on my iPAQ hx4705 and my iPAQ 210.  I tested SeeYou Mobile with a
Socket Ruggedized Serial I/O CF Card and my iPAQ 210 and my Cambridge 302 and they worked perfectly for 24 hours.

New Nimbus Cradle for iPAQ 210, 211 and 214

Larry Goddard and I have created a new Nimbus cradle option for iPAQ 210/211/214 owners.  The system includes a Nimbus cradle with a mini-USB connection built into the base of the cradle that provides 5V power to the PDA.  A Socket Ruggedized Serial I/O CF Card plugs into the top of the PDA and connects to a DB-9 connector on the back side of the cradle. 

The Bad News
It is not quite as elegant as other iPAQ cradle setups because of the need for the
Socket Ruggedized Serial I/O CF Card connection.  Also, the Socket Ruggedized Serial I/O CF Card ads $159 to the price of the system.

The Good News
The iPAQ 210/211/214 is a great Pocket PC that you can buy new for much less than the hx4700 cost when it was new.  The hx4700 units sold for $600+ when they were new.  The 210 can be purchased for $429.  Many of my customers are not very excited about buying a used iPAQ hx4700 because they worry that they will get a poorly maintained one - or worse.


New Flightline FL-760 Panel Mount Radio

The new Flightline FL-760 is a very inexpensive ($699), small and lightweight VHF aviation transceiver.  It is not a TSO'd unit.  It fits into a small 57mm (2 1/4") instrument hole.


  • Inexpensive ($699)
  • Small size
  • Lightweight
  • Simple
  • Music input jack (mono)
  • Dual Frequency Display (Easy to enter new frequency in the standby line and the use the flip/flop button to swap the active and standby frequencies.)
  • 32 Memory Channels
  • PRI button - One button press to access a primary (user programmable) frequency such as 121.5 or your home airport.


  • Non-TSO - I think that means that it can be used in experimental aircraft, but not certificated aircraft.
  • The minimum input voltage of 11 VDC makes it questionable for use with a 12V glider battery.  However, 12V batteries normally charge to 13 or 14 V - so it may be OK.  A 14V battery is probably necessary (but I really don't like 14V systems because the 2V batteries don't last and it is difficult to find a good 14V charger.  The specifications state that the minimum voltage is 11.7 volts.  I told my dealer that 11.7 volts was a big problem for use with a glider battery and he said that the manufacturer said that it would operate down to 11 VDC.
  • High standby current of 300 mA (compared with 50 mA for a Dittel FSG 2T)
  • Does not work with dynamic microphones as supplied by Dittel, Filser, Becker, Peiker, etc.  But it should work well with the XCOM boom microphone which uses an amplified electret microphone.

It is difficult to predict whether or not this radio will be popular with glider pilots.  The price is great, but the high standby current and 11 V minimum voltage may be a problem with 12V glider systems.


New Book - The Leading Edge - An Adventure Story
The Leading Edge - An Adventure Story is the exciting story of New Zealand gliding pioneer Dick Georgeson. Includes many wonderful photos and maps.  An adventurous soul leads to a great book!


New Book - Everybody's First Gliding Book!

Overview by Bob Wander
The 45 articles that comprise Everybody’s First Gliding Book! answer the questions that newcomers want to have authoritative answers for - such as:

  • Can an ordinary, normal person (... errrr, umm, like... me?) learn to fly gliders?
  • Is gliding really fun? What’s it like to learn to fly? Where should I go to learn to fly?
  • What risks am I undertaking as I learn to fly?
  • What are the medical requirements to become a glider pilot?
  • If I get airsick, what can I do about it? Does it mean that I cannot learn to fly?
  • Why is learning to fly so frustrating at times?
  • What is a learning plateau, and why do I feel so stuck on one?
  • How important are the flight instruments? Do they always tell the truth?
  • What books and Web resources are available if I decide to learn to fly gliders?
  • What tests do I have to take to become a glider pilot?
  • What flight maneuvers must I learn?
  • How many lessons will it take for me to go solo the glider for the first time?
  • How much will it cost to get to solo standard in a glider?
  • Are there national standards for glider pilot training? If so, where are they found?
  • What books and materials will help me to learn to fly? Where can I buy them?
  • Does the FAA know about this glider thing? Does the FAA set training standards?
  • What Federal Regulations will I be required to study?
  • I am an airplane pilot. Will my airplane skills help me in glider flight training?
  • Is the glider maintained as carefully as airplanes are required to be maintained?

And dozens of other questions and answers, as well. I hope this book helps you to make your dream of flight come true.


New Book - Gliding: Theory of Flight
Gliding: Theory of Flight is the 2nd edition of the official manual of the world famous British Gliding Association. This book is recommended reading for all glider pilots and instructors.  The illustrations and explanations are fantastic. It is a great first book for new glider pilots.

Review by CFIG (Certified Flight Instructor - Glider) Stephen Nesser - Chief Flight Instructor of the Minnesota Soaring Club

The British Gliding Association Manual: Gliding Theory of Flight, is remarkable for the depth of its explanations, the breadth of subjects covered, and its clarity. There are hundreds of illustrations which deepen the lessons, and would be especially helpful to visual learners.

As a glider flight instructor I strongly recommend this book to all gliding students. Mastery of the material in this book would go far to prepare any candidate (including transitional pilots) for their written and oral flight exams.

Seasoned pilots will find new information that will deepen their understanding of safe piloting (such as the cross coupling of gyroscopic forces in spins) and increase their technique for longer flights.

Glider owners will find useful information on structure and design that will aid in maintenance and inspection.
Overall, it will serve as an excellent reference book for any glider pilot’s library, and would be on my list of essential books for gliding pilots.

Stephen Nesser, CFI-G


Sale - Becker Transponders 5% Off
I received a good price on a batch of Becker transponders for sale at the SSA Convention.  I have 3 of the Becker ATC 4401-1-175w units remaining in stock. They normally sell for $1995.  I am offering a 5% discount for a discounted price of $1895.  That is $100 off.  The price in the price list on the web site is the discounted price. The price will go back up to $1995 price when the 3 units in my stock have sold.


Condor Sailplane Racing Simulator
Condor: The Competition Soaring Simulator is designed to recreate the ultimate experience of competition soaring on your PC.  A lot of attention was put in to create an environment which would create an immersion of real competition flying. This means that the aerodynamics and weather physics were the focus of the development. The result is amazingly real feel of flight in all flight regimes and weather conditions which challenges a real soaring pilot on a competition day.

Common Uses
Condor is much more than a simple soaring flight simulator. As the name implies, it is a great competition soaring simulator.  You can compete with soaring pilots in on other computers in the same room, or half-way around the world.  But it is much more than that.  Common uses include:

  • Sailplane Racing simulator (Join races with pilots anywhere in the world, or host your own race with your friends.)
  • Flight School - Learn how to fly aerotow, winch launch, fly the ridge, fly a final glide, etc. (See the Flight School section.)
  • Aerobatics trainer
  • Cross-Country Soaring simulator (thermal, ridge and wave flying possible)
  • Classroom training tool - Show students what a spin looks like and what the controls and control surfaces are doing during the maneuver.

I have created a Condor Tips document to help you get started with Condor.  Reading it will help you get up and running as quickly as possible.

Interesting Options
I have just done some testing (playing) with a few Condor options that you may be interested in. 

  • Plane Pack 1
    This is a $17 option which adds 5 additional sailplanes to the already impressive list of sailplanes that are included with Condor.  I think it is worth the extra cost.  The included sailplanes are:

    • Schleicher ASG 29
    • LS 10
    • Schempp-Hirth Ventus 2cx
    • Jantar 2b
    • PW 5
  • Alpi3
    Alpi3 is a very impressive "scenery" pack which allows you to fly in the European alps.  The detail is awesome.  I don't sell this option, but you can get it for 18 Euros here:
  • Force Feedback Joystick
    A good example of a Force Feedback Joystick with twist rudder control is the Saitek Cyborg Evo Force PC Flight Stick as found here.  It is a very nice joystick, but I must admit that I thought the force feedback features were not worth the price and some consider the stick shaking at stall a bit annoying.  I don't sell this item.
  • TrackIR
    The TrackIR device captures the movement of your head to pan the view in flight simulators and other 3D games.
    Please visit http://www.naturalpoint.com/ for more information. There is a fantastic video demo of the product here: http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=_AO0F5sLdVM 
    I have tested the TrackIR unit and I love it. it is especially useful when trying to look at the runway while in the landing pattern, or when looking up to view cumulus clouds.  I don't sell this option.
Wingtip Skids
Set of 2 wingtip skids.  They are made from a light weight black foam material.  Replaceable metal inserts are used to keep the foam from wearing away rapidly on hard surfaced runways.  Teardrop shape to minimize drag.


Cambridge Update
Cambridge Aero Instruments is still building and supporting the Cambridge 302 and accessories.  I currently have 302, 303, and 306 units in stock.

Gary Kammerer (support person extraordinaire) has unfortunately left the company.  Cambridge can therefore no longer support the "legacy" products such as the GPS-NAV, L-NAV and S-NAV.  They do have some component parts in stock however. 

The good news is that Cumulus Soaring, Inc. has been setup as a service dealer in the USA.  I am working with former Cambridge employee Rick Sheppe (designer of the GPS-NAV).  He can do repairs and calibrations.  For repairs that require parts from Cambridge - he will do the repair and I'll get the parts and bill the customer.  For calibrations and re-seals you can simply send the units to him along with a check.  Let me know if you have an older Cambridge item that needs repair.

EW microRecorder Issue - Free Upgrade
A bug has been found in the EW microRecorder.  The first line of the 'C' record in the IGC flight log file should have the date and the time of the declaration, but this is not appearing. There is still a secure date and time in the file, so there is no security implication, but it does not follow the correct IGC protocol.  The good news is that the bug has already been fixed.  The new firmware is version 7.71.  All previous versions should be upgraded.

I am aware of one pilot who had a problem with this.  EW says that the file shows that he declared and completed the flight, but the Hilton Cup judges don't seem to want to accept the flight as valid.  If you are planning to use your EW microRecorder for a badge or record flight then I recommend getting it upgraded immediately. 

If you purchased your EW microRecorder from me I will do the upgrade for free.  You will need to pay for the shipping to me and the return shipping.  If you did not buy the microRecorder from me I can do the upgrade for you for $30 plus shipping.  I can usually do the upgrade and get the unit back on the way to you within 24 hours. 

SeeYou Version 3.81
Version 3.81 of SeeYou for the PC is now available.  It is a free upgrade to anyone with a license for SeeYou 3.0 or higher.

Major Upgrades:

  • Airspace updated for 2008 (not US Airspace)
  • Support for Aircotec XC Trainer
  • Upload flight declaration to Flarm
  • Added option for Start on observation zone entry

Minor Upgrades:

  • Import Competition script from TXT file
  • Bug fixes in communication DLLs
  • Miscellaneous other bug fixes

The latest version is available here:

Vario Ringtone
How would you like your cell phone to sound like an audio variometer when it rings?  OK, it is probably just cool to us soaring techno-nerds...  You can download one example of a ringtone file using the link below.  There were other sources available - just Google "Vario Ringtone" or "Variometer Ringtone".

Donate to the SSA-OLC
The OLC is free to pilots and all labor is volunteer. Costs, for servers and bandwidth, are roughly $7 per pilot per year. Please donate at least your share! Amazon charges 30 cents plus 3% per transaction. Donations made here go to a separate SSA checking account and are forwarded annually to the OLC. After the Amazon charges and the wire transfer fee, all the money goes to the OLC. For more information contact OLC@SSA.org.  If you donate $250 or more please contact us at OLC@SSA.org. The SSA needs your name and address for federal tax purposes.  Please use the link below to make your donation today.  It is a quick and painless process - especially if you already have an Amazon account.

Click Here to Make a Donation

InsideSoaring.com - Behind the Yawstring - Podcast
InsideSoaring.com - Behind the Yawstring is an interesting podcast by Colin Barry (member of the Soaring Society of Boulder, Colorado) and Doug Weibel (currently Soaring Society of Boulder President).  The podcasts have a format that is similar to a radio talk show.  Four episodes are available so far.  I have enjoyed listening to them all.


Grey Eagles Foundation
This is an absolute must see video.  The link below is to the trailer (preview) for the "Grey Eagles" film.  But it is more than a film, it is a wonderful project.  The goal is to document the accomplishments of some of the brave pilots that fought to preserve our freedom in WWII.  The pilots from that era are gradually passing away so it is important to document this now. 

From the web site

Set against the backdrop of the “Gathering of Mustangs and Legends”, “Gray Eagles” tells the story of Jim Brooks and his grandchildren Jim, Maura and Virginia Smith. Since the restoration of Woods’ Mustang, “February”, Jim’s grandchildren have grown to appreciate more deeply their grandfather’s contributions to their generation. In a quiet epiphany young Jim’s eyes light up when he realizes what his grandfather accomplished in WWII. Hopefully the 26-year old Smith and his sisters will become the next keepers of the flame of this family’s rich aviation history.

While watching the film I noticed that the P-51 "February" that is featured in the film is the mustang owned by glider pilot and film maker Chris Woods.  Chris can be seen flying the P-51 in several scenes in the trailer.  As it turns out, Chris produced the trailer and will produce the film when funding has been acquired.

Below are some links to photos of Chris' plane:


The status of the project was unclear to me after looking through the web site.  I wanted to buy a copy of the film, but it turns out that it has not yet been produced.  Below is a note from Chris that he sends out to anyone interested in the project.

The Gray Eagles Foundation would like to thank you for your interest in our short "Gray Eagles" fundraising video clip. This important film project is being solely funded through tax deductible donations and we're hopeful that when the adequate funding is secured, the film will be completed in the summer of 2008. At that time, the 30-minute DVD formatted version will be available for public purchase through our website and given to high schools and colleges throughout the country free of charge. Although this story centers around one WWII veteran, Jim Brooks, there are so many other stories to be thankful for from those who also gave their service to this country during the world's greatest conflict. With this film, it is the goal of the Gray Eagles Foundation to inspire those from this generation and future generations to reach out and build family connections and encourage a culture of understanding and respect.

Your email correspondence will be included in a booklet specially prepared for Jim Brooks, which will be presented to him during the premier of "Gray Eagles".

Thank you!
Chris Woods
The Gray Eagles Foundation

It is very important to me that films like this are made.  Please consider making a contribution to help the project along.  To make a contribution go here: http://www.grayeagles.org/gifts.htm

I can't wait to see the full length film!

GlidePlan Update
GlidePlan is designed to help the glider pilot plan cross-country flights more intuitively, and create sectional markups suitable for use in the cockpit.

There are 2 great new introductory videos available online for GlidePlan.   They are perfect for anyone thinking of buying GlidePlan, and for new users of GlidePlan.  They are titled:

  • Introduction to GlidePlan
  • Contest Maps in Under 5 Minutes

They are available here: GlidePlan.

Update from GlidePlan Creator Matt Herron Jr.
I am pleased to announce that at the suggestion of John Seaborn,
GlidePlan will be making contest maps available for all 2008 SSA
sanctioned contests on our website. These maps will be constructed from current NACO sectional scans, valid as of the date of the contest. The map areas will accommodate overlay of the official turnpoints plus a buffer of about 50 nm beyond. All maps are designed for use with GlidePlan software and are provided free for download.

GlidePlan can import SeeYou formatted (.cup) turnpoint lists from the WW Turnpoint Exchange for overlay and customization on the maps.
The Region 5 South/Standard Class Nationals, and 18 meter nationals maps are already available for download at
Many thanks go out to John for his technical and strategic suggestions while working on the racing section of the SSA website, as well as his encouragement in making this possible.

Looking forward to a great racing season.

Matt Herron Jr.

Transponder Overview Article
Eric Greenwell has written a very nice article which gives an overview of transponder terminology and available products.  This article was originally published as two articles in Soaring magazine in February and March 2002, and updated January, 2008 for publication on the Soaring Safety Foundation web site.  Eric flies with a Becker transponder in his motorglider. 
The article is available here:
The Aerodynamics of Argentavis
The aerodynamics of Argentavis, the world’s largest flying bird from the Miocene of Argentina

This is an interesting article.  The first paragraph is copied below.

We calculate the flight performance of the gigantic volant bird Argentavis magnificens from the upper Miocene ( 6 million years ago) of Argentina using a computer simulation model. Argentavis was probably too large (mass 70 kg) to be capable of continuous
flapping flight or standing takeoff under its own muscle power. Like extant condors and vultures, Argentavis would have extracted energy from the atmosphere for flight, relying on thermals present
on the Argentinean pampas to provide power for soaring, and it probably used slope soaring over the windward slopes of the Andes. It was an excellent glider, with a gliding angle close to 3° and a cruising speed of 67 kph. Argentavis could take off by running downhill, or by launching from a perch to pick up flight
speed. Other means of takeoff remain problematic.

Link to Article

Fun and Interesting Links
Coming Next Month
  • Update on the Jonker JS-1 by Leo Benetti-Longhinni
  • Waco CG-4a Glider Restoration Project
  • xcskies.com Weather Service
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