Dear Soaring Enthusiast,
It is beginning
to look like spring here in Minnesota. We'll
be assembling the gliders in a few days. The
best soaring weather of the year is in the May/June
timeframe here - so I hope to get out and do some
cross-country soaring soon.
Version of this Edition
This is a preliminary version of the April
edition. There are some time-sensitive items
that needed to get out this week, so this newsletter
is going out as a very short edition. Much
more news and links will be added over the next week
or 2, so check back. I'll send an announcement
e-mail when the final edition is ready.
Thank you for
taking the time to read the
newsletter. There is a lot of interesting
soaring news to report from around the world, and I
have been very busy adding new products to my web
site. I hope you will enjoy it. If
you do, please tell your soaring friends about it by
forwarding the following link to them:
believe that over 3700 glider pilots from around the
world read this newsletter?! I am amazed and
flattered. I will do my best to keep it
interesting and worthy of the time you spend reading
it and clicking through the links.
If this is your
first newsletter - Welcome! If you missed any
of the previous issues of this newsletter, they are
all available here:
Note: Click on
the small images on this page to view much larger
versions of the images.
Schleicher ASH 30 Mi Maiden Flight
April 7, 2011
was a very big day for Alexander Schleicher in
Germany. Their latest sailplane, the ASH 30 Mi
flew for the first time. As you can see from
the photos below, it is a fantastically beautiful
sailplane. It has a wingspan of 26.5 m and
promises to be a very competitive open class racer.
You can see
more photos and text (in German) regarding the
maiden flight here:
language translation is available on the
SoaringCafe.com web site here:
You can see details on the sailplane here:
SPOT 2 $50 Mail-in Rebate -
15 to 17
Soaring, Inc. and SPOT are offering a special
promotion that is only valid for 3 days. Buy a
SPOT 2 unit April 15th through April 17th and you
will receive a mail-in rebate form that is good for
$50 back. You pay the standard $149.95 price
and get $50 back from SPOT by sending in the form
along with the receipt. No other soaring
dealers are providing this offer. Click on the
image at right for details.
However, if you
miss this offer, another $50 mail-in rebate offer
for the SPOT 2 will be available for SPOT 2
purchases from May 1st through July 31st.
Connect - Free 100 Type and Send Message bundle
If you are thinking of buying in the new SPOT
Connect - this is the promotion for you. If
you buy the SPOT Connect service plan between May
21st and August 31st, you will receive a FREE 100
"Type and Send" message bundle (normally $29.99).
Be sure to enter the required coupon code "SCTYPESEND"
when ordering the service.
Version 4.0 Available Now
just released version 4.0 of SeeYou for the PC.
The changes from the previous version are listed
below. I think the new version is great!
I love that it automatically downloads vector maps
and tells you when new airspace files are available.
I think it is worth the $83 upgrade price, but I
suppose I'm biased because I sell it.
+ Automatic download of vector maps from the cloud
(an online storage location)
+ Vector maps based on OpenStreetMaps.org
+ New color scheme Open Street Maps for those flying
in the flats
+ Automatic update of airspaces from the cloud
+ Inline offset for Airspace border for better map
+ OLC-plus optimization
+ Support for GPX format (import and export)
+ Support for Google KML/KMZ (export)
+ SeeYou Mobile Wizard for Oudie
+ Checking flight integrity
+ LX Nav Nano communication DLL
+ ERIXX logger communication DLL
+ City labels highlighted
+ OLC Super Direct Claim removed from SeeYou due to
- Automatic check for newer version
- Proxy settings for those behind one
- Support for new Sporting Code rules about height
- Zooming in/out with mouse wheel zooms at the
location of the mouse
- fixed communication with Flarm (firmware 5.x)
- Corrected HGT files updated
- numerous bug fixes and performance enhancements
download the new version here:
You can use
the demo version for 15 days. To buy an
upgrade license, go here:
Variometer Update April 12, 2011
Instruments continues to be pleased with the
performance of our prototype variometer and we
remain confident that when released it will
outperform any other vario on the market.
Unfortunately, delays in software and hardware
development, and establishment of vendors for
required parts and assemblies, necessitate a
delay in introduction of the production vario to
Product testing continues and we expect to build
ten pre-production units for further testing in
the next few weeks.
We apologize to our dealers and customers for
this delay. We expect you will be very satisfied
when the new ClearNav variometer does arrive.
Hardware and Software Functionality - With a Simple Software Upgrade
One of the design goals was to be able to supply an upgradeable
variometer system that can be upgraded easily. The design team has
met that goal, but rather than have hardware upgrades on the shelf at
the factory, they have decided to put the full package of sensors and
options into every unit. Users will pay for only the features they
want. For example, a user could start with a basic unit, then,
when they want to upgrade and enable some hardware of software function
in the future, they simply buy a software upgrade that is tied to their
unit's serial number - enabling any features and pre-installed hardware
they desire. The software upgrade is downloaded to a USB Flash
Drive and plugged into the variometer. The upgrade is performed at
power-up (I think). It's that simple. There shouldn't be any
need to send the unit back to the factory, because all the hardware is
pre-installed when the unit is first shipped - regardless of what set of
features are enabled.
I am very excited about the ease of
upgrade of the new variometer. You can buy a simple "club vario"
with audio and averager and upgrade it at any time to a powerful
speed-to-fly vario with GPS and IGC approved flight recorder - with a
simple software download and USB Flash Drive. Cool!
Note: Please buy the software upgrades
from your favorite soaring instrument dealer. The price will be
the same as buying it directly from ClearNav.
Below are my best guesses at the option levels, and prices. These
are not firm numbers or specifications. They are my best guesses
after discussions with Richard Kellerman over several months.
- Total Energy Vario with audio and
averager ($700 to $800?)
- Speed-to-fly variometer ($1100 to
- Speed-to-fly variometer with GPS,
wind calculations, and navigate home feature ($1900?)
- Speed-to-fly variometer with GPS,
wind calculations, and navigate home feature, and PDA data output
- Speed-to-fly variometer with IGC
Approved Logger ($2400?)
It consists of 2 components:
- Air Data Computer (ADC)
Black box mounted to the back of the variometer or remotely
Variometer display head mounted in the instrument panel. The
display can also be used as a 2nd-seat repeater.
for the new variometer are being taken now.
Flight Computer News
A new software version for the ClearNav Flight
Computer will be available soon. It will
include OLC (Online Contest) support and improved
is a great resource for gliders pilots. It
started in January of this year and has really
"taken off". Creators Bill Elliott and Rand
Baldwin have provided many interesting and timely
soaring news articles. Well done Bill and
links to my favorite recent articles on
V5 Variometer and LX 9000
Some of you may already be familiar with the new
LX 9000. It is a large, bright, powerful and
colorful soaring flight computer system from LXNAV.
I've been showing it to a lot of customers at
soaring seminars lately, and everyone is impressed
with the bright screen, fast processor, and the very
beautiful color variometer that accompanies it.
Well, the variometer has just been upgraded to the
new "V5" version. It has to be the best looking
variometer ever created. It has a mechanical red
needle for the main variometer meter (which is nice,
I prefer mechanical needles), but in the center of
the unit is a color display that shows a lot of
information in a very clear and clean format.
The image above shows the standard configuration for
the items on the screen, but many of them are
user-configurable. I like the little blue arrow that
indicates the current MacCready setting - by
pointing to the inside vario scale - cool! That
simple layout will make it very easy to compare your
current or average climb rate to the MacCready
setting. I also love the red "Average Vario" diamond
indicator and green "Thermal Average" indicator that
also track along the inside of the vario scale. The
speed-to-fly indicator is a series of bars/arrows of
the right side of the display. The are white in
color for low values but gradually go to red at the
outer values - to highlight the need to change your
airspeed. The variometer's scale range is displayed
in the top right corner of the screen. The 2 large
numeric display regions can be configured to display
a variety of different numbers - depending on your
taste - and they can be setup differently for the
cruise and climb modes. This new V5 variometer is
included with all LX 8000, LX 8080 and LX 9000
soaring flight computer systems.
9000 Overview Video
A quick overview video showing the LX 9000 (with the
first generation color variometer - not the new V5
vario) is available here:
New LX 8080
The LXNAV 8080 is a slightly smaller brother of
the LX 8000. The LX 8080 is designed to fit into a
standard 80 mm instrument hole - making it easy to
fit into most sailplane's instrument panels.
The LX 8000 did not fit into a standard instrument
hole. It has all the same features and
functionality of the LX 8000 and LX 9000. It
is supplied with the new V5 variometer.
- Very Popular
Nano GPS flight recorder has been selling extremely
well. You can see from the photo at right just
how small it is. The low $595 price is also
very attractive - along with the built-in battery
and built-in GPS antenna.
A short overview video showing the Nano is
WA - The Life of Soaring Legend Wally Scott
- Coming Soon
Vintage Soaring Photos
just love old soaring photos. I'll try to
include a few here each month.
- Production Cancelled
the new Cloudstreet
Journal digital publication by Steve Hines and Lee
Matke has ceased production after 4 issues.
The subscription base was rising, but finding good
content was proving difficult.
I am very sorry
to see it go. It was extremely well put
together. The content was very good and the
production quality was excellent. Perhaps the
soaring community was just not ready for digital
publications. I suspect that not enough people
subscribed to make it worth the effort. Also,
I suspect the timing was unfortunate - with other
free soaring news sites like SoaringCafe.com going
online at the same time.
Thank you Steve
and Lee for your efforts to get this going. I
hope we will see you involved in other soaring
publications going forward.
Cross Country Soaring with Condor - by Frank Paynter
- Coming Soon
of the Month
Send me a short
write-up of your best recent soaring flight - and I
may just include it here. Please include a
link to the flight details on the OLC and a few
Canopy Cap - Out of Production
Unfortunately, the manufacturer of
the Canopy Cap has been injured and has completely halted production.
She does not yet know when she will be able to re-start production. I
am still taking orders, but I have no way of predicting when they will be
able to ship. I will not bill your credit card until your Canopy Cap
ships. I will update this web page as soon as production resumes.
Locomotive to Aeromotive - Octave Chanute and the
- by Simine Short
- Coming Soon
Instrument Panel Photo of the Month
I sell a lot of
soaring instruments, but I rarely get to see them
installed and ready to fly. I really enjoy
receiving photos showing how the items purchased
from me have been put to good use. It makes my
job more interesting and fun! Feel free to send me a
photo of your glider panel if you especially proud
of how it looks.
Instruments GPS-NAV Model 20 -
This is an IGC approved (for everything but national and world
records) GPS flight recorder at an amazingly low
price of $395. Anyone with an L-NAV or S-NAV,
but no GPS-NAV, should snatch this unit up. It
doesn't look new, but I will test it to make sure it
is working and has a good seal and good backup
battery. I can also calibrate it for you while
it is here for $75.
Note: This unit
does not include the optional GPS-NAV LCD Navigation
Display, but those are available (new) for $410
Compaq Aero 1500 Pocket
Used - $95
I have purchased a few of these classic and valuable Pocket PCs from
customers that traded up to other devices. Many glider pilots
still love this old PDA because its black and white display is easier to
read in sunlight than newer color PDAs. Glide Navigator II soaring
flight software runs great on it. All the units have been
thoroughly tested and approved by Cumulus Soaring, Inc.
All units include:
- Good screen with no major
defects or deep scratches - some units with defects are available at
a lower cost
- Wall charger
- Desktop cradle (not for use in a
- Good (as far as I can tell) main
- New main battery
- New backup battery
- Soft case
- All buttons tested
- Serial port tested
Cables and Cradles for Compaq Aero 1500 PDAs
Let me know if you have any good,
used power/data cables or cradles for the Compaq Aero 1500 PDAs. I
need any I can find because the power/data connectors used in the cables
are no longer available.
Compaq Aero 1500 Pocket PC - Used
I have purchased a few of these classic and valuable cradles and
their accessories on the used market. Each cradle has different
accessories included, so please call me for a price. If necessary,
we can also discuss and desired accessories. Some include the RAM
mounting arms, some do not - but I have mounting arms which work great with this cradle.
of the Month
feature - Photo of the month
Please send me your favorite soaring photos and I'll
include my favorites here. I just love soaring
Interesting Soaring Links
Below is a
collection of fun and interesting soaring links.
PowerFLARM Status Update
ClearNav variometer status update
More fun links and soaring news from around the
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.