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
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.
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.
by Paul Remde
Photos by Brian Utley
and Paul Remde
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
(click on the images in this article
to view larger versions)
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.
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
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
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.
FLARM and ADS-B
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
SPOT Satellite Messenger,
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.
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
Below is a list
of some of the gliders on display. It is not all
Bob Carlton’s twin
turbojet powered Alisport Silent
Ventus 2cx, and Discus 2c
SZD Diana 2
Rhönbussard restoration by Jerry Wenger
There were many very interesting talks given during
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.
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).
Contest (OLC) awards for the USA were given out by
Reiner Rose of the OLC and Doug Haluza of the
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:
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
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:
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.
"Friends of CSI" Club
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.
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
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
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
The level of benefits varies with the amount of the
loan. Please see the table below.
Interest Earned after 3 years ***
orders of $200 or more
orders of $100 or more
Discounts apply only to orders paid by check.
But the discounts apply to ALL products sold by
Cumulus Soaring, Inc.
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.
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.
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
receiving your check I will send you a promissory
note for your records.
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.
many of you have already shown your support by
buying from me as much as possible. That has
been appreciated very much!
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
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!
- Ted Wagner
- Larry L Roberts
- Renny Rozzoni
- Greg Shugg
- Al Macdonald
- Andy Durbin
- Motti Pikelny
- Vit Hradecky
- Peter Smith
- Steve Koerner
- Mark Fisher
- Larry Goddard (maybe)
- James Pokorski
- James Lamb
- John Murphy
- Stephen Michalik
- Larry Pardue
- John Banarhall
- Gerald Simpson
- Ryszard Krolikowski
- Don Golden
- Mike Evans
- Steve Vihleen
- Sterling Star
- Angel Pala
- Steve Dee
- Steve McLaughlin
- Evan Ludeman
- Robert Williams
- George Caldwell
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
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.
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
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
- 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
- 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.
- Soaring Pilot
- SeeYou Mobile (click on image below to
view larger version)
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.
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.
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
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:
However, you will only see tracks on that page if I
have used my SPOT in the recent past.
Recommendation by Eric Greenwell
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,
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.
going to see a lot of SPOT units at your local
the SPOT Video Tour
Guided Tour Videos with Survival Expert Les Stroud
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.
- 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.
been extremely popular this spring.
Review of the Canopy Cap by
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,
radios seem to be much more popular here in the USA. I own an
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.
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
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
- 200 memory locations in 4 banks - The
IC-A14S has 100 memory locations in a single bank.
- Ability to clear an unwanted memory
- 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.
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...
like my new A14. I predict that it will be a very
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
radio with BP-210N Ni-Mh battery and wall
Additional BP-210N Ni-Mh battery, $50
Li-Ion battery, $75
alkaline battery pack, $18
desktop rapid charger (required for Li-Battery
back) with wall charger and AD-101 adapter, $83
cigarette lighter power supply for car, $55
are in perfect condition. This is a great
radio at a great price, from someone you can trust.
Standard Price: $605
Sale Price: $295
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.
on New iPAQ 210/211/214
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
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.
Nimbus Cradle for iPAQ 210, 211 and 214
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
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 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.
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
- Inexpensive ($699)
- Small size
- 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
- 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.
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
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!
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.
Book - Gliding: Theory of Flight
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.
CFIG (Certified Flight Instructor - Glider) Stephen
Nesser - Chief Flight Instructor of the Minnesota
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.
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.
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
owners will find useful information on structure
and design that will aid in maintenance and
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
Becker Transponders 5% Off
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.
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
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
- Sailplane Racing simulator (Join races
with pilots anywhere in the world, or host your own race with your
- 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
I have just done some testing (playing) with a few
Condor options that you may be interested in.
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.
Instruments is still building and supporting the
Cambridge 302 and accessories. I currently
have 302, 303, and 306 units in stock.
(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.
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
microRecorder Issue - Free Upgrade
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
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.
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.
Airspace updated for 2008 (not US Airspace)
for Aircotec XC Trainer
flight declaration to Flarm
option for Start on observation zone entry
Competition script from TXT file
fixes in communication DLLs
Miscellaneous other bug fixes
version is available here:
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".
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
- 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.
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
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.
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
Below are some links to photos of Chris' plane:
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.
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
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:
I can't wait
to see the full length film!
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
Maps in Under 5 Minutes
from GlidePlan Creator Matt Herron Jr.
I am pleased to announce that at the suggestion of
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.
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
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.
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
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:
Aerodynamics of Argentavis
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.
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
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
Link to Article
and Interesting Links
Update on the Jonker JS-1 by Leo Benetti-Longhinni
Waco CG-4a Glider Restoration Project
xcskies.com Weather Service
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
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.