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Cumulus Soaring, Inc. Newsletter

In This Issue


NK ClearNav Update

New Soaring
Operation in
Southern California

Cambridge Aero Instruments Update

New - Sailplane Models

New Schempp-Hirth Arcus

New K6 Bt
BlueTooth Adapter

"Friends of CSI" Update

New Alexander Schleicher ASH 31 Mi

Dick Butler's Concordia

SALE Items

Sailplane Postage Stamps

Tennessee Ridge Soaring Video

ChicagoLand Glider Council Seminar

New Products

New Printable Video and Book Catalog

OLC Convention in the USA in 2009

Parachute Repack Cycle Extended

Low Cost Pulse Oximeter Options

Pipistrel Adds Apis to Product Line

XCOM Panel Mount Radios to Be Made In the USA

News from Naviter

DG-1000 M

Fun and Interesting Links

Coming Next Month

Wrap Up


Subscribe to This Newsletter

Join Our Mailing List

Popular Items



NK ClearNav

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

Glide Navigator II


SeeYou Mobile

Bowlus Maxi Gap Seal Tape

Softie Parachutes from Para-Phernalia 

Quick Links



Issue: 7

December 23, 2008

Dear Soaring Enthusiast,

Merry Christmas!!!  I hope you have a wonderful holiday season with family and friends and a that the new year brings you joy.  My family is looking forward to celebrating Jesus' birth and, of course, the kids are very excited about opening presents from Santa and family.

Winter has definitely set in here in Minnesota.  It has been an especially cold and snowy start to winter.  Yesterday I enjoyed some sledding on a large nearby hill with my daughter Sara.  I am looking forward to some downhill skiing with my son Adam and ice skating with both Elle and Sara.  And yet I am already looking forward to getting the gliders out in spring.

Christmas Card
Every year I have a lot of fun pulling together my favorite family photos and putting them onto a photo page to send out as our annual Christmas card.   I'm a very proud father and husband, so I have made it available as a PDF for you to see here: Remde Family Christmas Card.  It looks better when printed onto Christmas paper with a colorful border, but at least you can see the photos.  As you can see in the photos, it has been a wonderful and fun year.

Christmas Song Lyrics
A few years ago, I collected a bunch of lyrics to Christmas songs into a 3 page PDF file.  You are hereby challenged to print it and sing the songs with your loved ones this holiday season. 
Christmas Song Lyrics

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:

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

Good Soaring,

Paul Remde

NK ClearNav Update

Production ClearNav Units Shipping Now
It is an exciting time for NK - the first production ClearNav units are now shipping!  I have several units sold and more on the way to me in a few days.  I can get as many as I can sell, so please order from me. 

I have been asked recently whether I feel the ClearNav is ready to ship.  I can sincerely say yes, it is ready.  I have been playing with my ClearNav quite a lot while working on writing the manual.  The first pre-release units were delivered to customers in June of this year.   Since then it has been flying in gliders all over the USA.   NK has received a lot of very positive feedback on the ClearNav.  They have listened to their customers and made some nice improvements to both the hardware and software.  The major changes are listed below. 

Software Changes
The most noticeable change is that the "NIA" (Numerical Information Area" on the bottom of the screen has been replaced.  Previously, it was necessary to use the yellow Focus button to select the NIA when you wanted to change the MacCready setting or edit or view task data.  While I thought the previous arrangement was very easy to use, I agree that it is now even easier.  The main Ribbon Menu is used to access the MacCready setting and task data.  The bottom of the display is now used to display a variety of user selectable flight data windows.  I like the changes very much.  There are dozens of other improvements as well.

Rubber Bumper
It was decided that the metal edges on the ClearNav could (theoretically) cause scratches to the glider canopy if the ClearNav is mounted using a RAM arm, and the glider is flown in rough turbulence - such as on a ridge.  Therefore they have created a new rubber bumper that goes around the outside of the unit.  I haven't seen it yet, but it sounds nice.  I believe it will be standard equipment.

Nexus Board - Now Nexus Junction Box
The Nexus board is a circuit board that mounts either on the back of the ClearNav, or behind the instrument panel.  It worked well as a circuit board, but it didn't look "finished".  It will now be enclosed in a box to make it look much cleaner.  I can't wait to see it.

Behind Panel Mount & Recessed Mounting Trim
The original "In-Panel" mount took up a lot of panel real-estate because the hole in the panel had to be as large as the entire ClearNav unit.  A very clever ClearNav user named Kolie Lombard came up with a nifty mounting solution which NK is now making a standard (and probably popular) mounting option.  The photos above and below show Kolie's installation.  He needed to fit the ClearNav into his Diana 2's very small instrument panel.  The solution he came up with seems obvious in retrospect, but no one else had thought of it.  As you can see in the photos, the ClearNav is mounted recessed back into the panel.  The hole in the panel is
the size of the LCD display only - not the entire ClearNav box.  Notice that the instruments to the sides and above the ClearNav are mounted very close to the rectangular "tunnel" that goes back to the ClearNav's LCD display.  There are 2 huge benefits to this mounting system.  The first is that the ClearNav is mounted back far enough such that it does not interfere with instruments mounted next to the LCD "tunnel".  The second benefit is that the ClearNav's display is mounted "in the shade".  That means that you can turn the ClearNav's powerful backlight down - and use less current - giving more flight time on your glider's battery.  NK will sell their version in 2 parts.  The "Behind Panel Kit" makes it possible to mount the ClearNav on the back of the instrument panel - while making a hole in the panel that is the size of the LCD display (not the entire ClearNav).  The 2nd (optional) part is the "Recessed Mounting Trim", or "tunnel".  It can be used with the "Behind Panel Kit" to mount the ClearNav back several inches behind the panel.  Brilliant!!! These new mounting options will be available very soon.

IGC Approval - In Process
A ClearNav unit was sent to the IGC a few months ago for IGC Approval testing.  There have been some back and forth communications between the IGC and NK - which is good - it indicates that they are testing it now.  Approval is anticipated soon.  When approval is received the plan is to be able to upgrade production ClearNav units with the new IGC Approved software using the standard USB Flash Drive software upgrade.  Customers with "First Flight" pre-production ClearNav units will probably need to send their units back to NK for upgrade after the approval is received.

Will Software Updates Be Necessary?
It is certain that the ClearNav software will continue to be improved and upgraded over time.  That is a good thing.  The great news is that upgrades can be done in a few minutes using a USB Flash Drive.  There is no need to connect a PC or PDA to the ClearNav - ever.

Order Today
I will, of course, ship units in the order that I receive orders for them. You can see details and order here: Details

NK Variometer Update
I talked with Alix at NK about their future products.  As they have said all along, they plan to offer a complete line of soaring instruments.  However, they have not made much progress yet on their variometer because they have been focused on getting the ClearNav ready.  The new variometer will almost definitely not be available in 2009. 

New Soaring Operation in Southern California
Starting in January, sailplane instruction, tows and rentals will be available at CrystalAire Airport (46CN) in Southern California. Located along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains just North of Los Angeles, Southern California Soaring Academy is the only soaring site located in Los Angeles County.

The Soaring Academy is a membership-based non-profit educational corporation and information about the benefits of membership will be available shortly. A new web site, www.soaringacademy.us, will soon have all the details.

Operating one Pawnee 260 until late spring, the fleet will consist of a DG-1000, a DG-505, a Blank L-13, a Grob G-102 and a Grob-G-103. By summer the fleet will have expanded to three Pawnees and several more sailplanes.

With varied soaring conditions and a tradition as a premier soaring site, CrystalAire Airport has long been a favorite of beginning and experienced pilots alike. The soaring tradition will continue at Crystal but look forward to expanded community involvement, seminars, group classes, vacation packages, escorted cross-country and many social activities.

Contact Ron Gregg at a1@alphaone.us or +1 (310) 383-9473 for more information.

Cambridge Aero Instruments Update
There have been several interesting developments in regard to Cambridge Aero Instruments over the last few months - all of it good news!

302 and 302A USB Port and Flash Memory Upgrade
In the previous newsletter, I announced a new 302/302A flash memory upgrade from Cambridge.  They have now announced a new USB port upgrade as well.  Both upgrades can be done at the same time along with calibration of the flight recorder for $175.  All new units will include the USB port and memory upgrade.  All the units in my stock have been upgraded.  You can get your existing 302 or 302A upgraded by contacting Cambridge directly.

This is fantastic news.  It will be very nice to be able to download flight logs to a PC through the USB port - especially since most new PCs don't have a serial port.  It is also nice because it shows that Cambridge is working to improve their products.  The 302 will continue to be a very popular instrument for many years to come.

The Cambridge 302 is the perfect companion for the new NK ClearNav.  In the long run NK will have a new variometer to use with the ClearNav, but they say that is at least a year in the future.

New - Sailplane Models
(dozens of them - in stock now)
I have long been a fan of scale sailplane models.  I built a fair number of scale model airplanes in my youth, and I currently have a scale sailplane model hanging over my office desk.  It is loosely suspended by thread - giving it the freedom to dance and sway  - as if ever working to find the core of some great thermal. 

A nice sailplane model, like any work of art, is enjoyable to look at.  Sailplanes are certainly elegant and efficient machines.  When I look at a sailplane model, I see the lovely long wings, and the purpose built aerodynamically optimized fuselage, but I also see the history of that particular sailplane.  Every sailplane type has an interesting history.  There was a person, or group of people, or company that put their hearts and minds into the development of that particular sailplane.  It may have been the descendent of many, similar (or quite different) sailplanes in a long line of sailplanes.  I see all that when I look at a scale model sailplane.  I also see the potential for adventures to come.  I see the cross-country soaring flights that await me in the future.

But sailplane models are more than just fun to look at.  Sailplane models can be a great tool for introducing the sport of soaring to others.  Sailplane models look great hanging over or sitting on your desk at work, or sitting in a display counter at the local gliderport.  They are a great way to encourage friends and colleagues to ask you about soaring.  Just think how many more people would ask you about soaring if you had one of these models prominently and proudly displayed!

They are also great to admire while waiting for your new full-size glider to be delivered, or while waiting for spring as your glider is hibernating in its trailer for the winter.

Model sailplane kits are also a great way to promote soaring with kids. Building a model glider is fun and a kid that hangs a glider from his bedroom ceiling is more likely to get into flying gliders in the long run.  Buy one for your kids and grandkids and nephews and nieces - and help them build it.  I sincerely believe that glider model kits are a great way to introduce kids to gliders.

Sailplane Model Kits
I recently debarked on a fun and interesting hunt for sailplane models, and my hunt has paid off!  My weapon in this hunt was the internet.  A few months ago, the only glider model kits I was aware of were the very nice Revell Germany ASK-21 and LS8-a/18 kits that I have been selling for a while.  But some Google searches and looking through online model stores around the world led me to dozens of other model kits.  When I found one brand, I searched for online model stores around the world that sell that brand.  I then searched their inventory for terms like "sailplane", "glider", etc.  In that manner I found many other brands of model sailplane kits.  I discovered the wonderful models made by Ardpol in Poland, Planet Models and Czech Master Resin in the Czech republic, and Heritage Aviation Models, Ltd. in the U.K.  I found dozens of wonderful and interesting scale sailplane models.  Thanks to e-mail and the internet I was able to establish relationship with these manufactures and start buying their model kits to sell to my customers.  As the kits started arriving from around the world I put a lot of hard work into scanning multiple images of each kit - including scans of the raw parts, box covers  and assembly instructions.  I also tried to include a few sentences about the history of every glider model.  It was a lot of work, and I'm not done yet, but it is a labor of love.  It is fun to document these wonderful kits and make them available to glider pilots everywhere. 

Finished Sailplane Models - Extremely Nice!!!
After collecting a wide variety of unassembled model kits, I decided to pursue a relationship with a company that makes pre-assembled scale sailplane models.  I am very happy to announce my new relationship with HPH Models of the Czech Republic.  Their artists make amazing scale model aircraft.  Each model they make is a scale replica of an actual full-size aircraft.  The customer sends them many photos, line drawings and details of the original aircraft, and HPH makes an extremely detailed 1:25 scale model of it.  Every detail is matched to the original aircraft.  HPH is the same company that also makes the full size 304C, 304CZ and 304S and SE sailplanes.  The models are made of the same materials as the full size gliders (epoxy resin and glass cloth hand laminated in negative molds). Their scale model sailplanes are much more expensive than the sailplane model kits mentioned above, but they are truly museum quality scale models - to be cherished and admired for many years.  Imagine having a scale model of your glider sitting on, or hanging over your desk...

For More Information
To learn more about the many available finished and unassembled model kits - go to the Scale Models - Overview and Tips page.  There you will find links to the many available models, and tips and links to pages with tips on building scale models.  Below are links to all the models pages.

As you can see, I am passionate about these models.  I hope you will find these new web pages interesting and useful.  I hope you will get excited about sailplane models as well.  Even if you are not interested in building a model kit, you may find it interesting just looking through these kits - it is like a trip back through the history of soaring.

New Schempp-Hirth Arcus
There is a new and exciting sailplane that will soon be announced by Schempp-Hirth.  It is called the Arcus.  It is a new 20 m, flapped, 2-seat sailplane.  The fuselage comes from the DuoDiscus XL (long nose version) but the wing is all new.

One of the most interesting aspects of this lovely new sailplane is the available electric motor version.  It will eventually be available in the following configurations:

  • Pure Glider
  • Sustainer
  • Self-launching (with gas-powered motor)
  • Self-launching (with electric motor system - from Lange)

I have long been a fan of the Lange Antares.  If you have ever seen one up close you will know that it is an amazing work of engineering excellence.  The idea of merging a glider that is similar to the very popular DuoDiscus (with a new higher performance wing) with the electric motor and power system from the Antares is a truly exciting idea.  What a lovely combination!

I must admit that, while I see the many benefits of auxiliary-powered sailplanes, I have never been a fan of putting smelly and noisy gasoline powered engines into sailplanes.  Electric power is so much more clean and elegant - and quiet.  Perhaps I am biased by my background in the industrial automation/motion control industry, but I believe electric powered sailplanes are the future.  I look forward to learning more about this sailplane.  I can't wait to fly one!
(I have no business relationship with Schempp-Hirth or Lange Aviation.)

 - Details on the Schempp-Hirth web site

Details on the Arcus E on the Lange Web Site
There are no links to the pages below from the main Lange web site.

Letter Sent to Select Customers by Schempp-Hirth in Nov. 2008
The text below is from a letter that was forwarded to me by a soaring pilot in northern Europe.

"News Release
To those interested in our new 20 m two-seat glider ARCUS

For several years now we have been working on the idea of a completely new concept for a two-seat glider for the 20 m class.  Since this idea has developed into a real project that has taken on concrete form, we are, in response to many requests, issuing this News Release to announce our completely new glider which will be named ARCUS.

In the past years we have been encouraged by the many developmental findings and experiences we obtained from today's great handling single-seat gliders in know we could incorporate that knowledge into a concept for a new two-seat glider.  Most important in all this always remained the pure joy of soaring.

Therefore, our goal was to develop a glider that would add significant new elements to the worldwide, increasingly popular two-seat 20 m class and on the other hand, give all those who enjoy flying a two-seater a high performance yet easy to handle and in many cases and independent alternative.

The achieve this, the ARCUS will have a completely new flapped wing.  In choosing this profile, both the wing's geometrical design and the wing's method of construction were approached in a completely new way.  New calculation and simulation programs were combined with tested data and trusted empirical knowledge.  Thus, we were able to use a vast body of state of the art optimization knowledge, unavailable before.

From all this information crystallized a beautifully shaped, rather narrow and, above all, prominently arched wing surface - first angled forward, then arched back.  This shaped called for the appropriate name ARCUS (lat. = the Arc).

It is too early to make claims regarding glide performance.  The first rough calculations however are very promising.

But the wing design is not only geared towards glide ratio.  With the use of well proportioned wing surfaces and harmonized aerodynamics, we tried to achieve the best possible handling and climb results also under high wing loading.  The flaps play an important role in this.  Especially in the configuration of self-launcher, the flaps will provide the additional Ca necessary for a smooth take-off performance.  In addition, the integrated full span flaperons will provide impressive maneuverability.

For the fuselage we are using the new "L" - cockpit already used in the new NIMBUS-4DLM and DUO DISCUS-xL.  The feedback from our customers regarding its ergonomics, safety and roominess is overwhelmingly positive so there will be no open wishes.

To complete the comfortable ride, we will install the sprung gear used on the DUO DISCUS-xL with its light and well braking Beringer wheel.

The ARCUS will be available in various engine configurations.  In addition to the pure glider configuration - most likely the standard version - there will also be a sustainer version using the reliable Oehler-Turbo system with the Solo 2350-engine and its new automatic ILEC control unit.  As mentioned earlier, there will also be a self-launching ARCUS.  For this version we will use the already certified NIMBUS-4DM Binder system with the Solo 2625-2 engine, from which we expect a superior take-off performance and climb rate.

As a unique alternative, we also plan on offering an electrical version.  This will be made possible through our co-operation with Lange Aviation in Zweibrücken.  This is also where the engine will be installed and serviced.

The work on the new ARCUS is in full swing.  The prototype's fuselage has already been built and we are working on the wing molds at full blast.  Of course, lots of work remains to be done.  So as not to put ourselves under unnecessary time pressure which may force us to make compromises, we are not setting a deadline for completion.  Nevertheless, we are working hard to get this new sailplane in the air in 2009.  At this point it is not sure if we can start the production line the same year.

We are sending you this News Release because you have shown interest in a glider like this in the past.  Even though not all details have been worked out at this time, we offer you the opportunity to purchase a position on this new glider.  To purchase an option, please contact your local dealer.

We hope our concept for this new glider appeals to your and that we may hear from you again.

Yours sincerely,

If you are interested in the electric version of the engine and have questions about the technology used and options available, we ask you to contact Lange Aviation directly."

New K6 Bt BlueTooth Adapter
The K6 Bt BlueTooth Adapter allows soaring instruments to establish a wireless connection to BlueTooth enabled PDAs and PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices).

Recent Pocket PCs and other user interface devices do not have RS-232 serial ports - making it difficult to connect them with soaring GPS units. However, most current PDAs (Pocket PCs and Palm devices) and PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices - such as the HP iPAQ 310) do have a built-in BlueTooth radio. But no soaring GPS offers BlueTooth capability - which is where the K6 Bt comes in. The K6 Bt is a BlueTooth transceiver which makes it possible for soaring GPS and flight computer units to talk through the K6 Bt over BlueTooth to the PDA or PND. It is a 2-way communication so data such as MacCready and water ballast settings can be exchanged between the PDA and soaring flight computer. The BlueTooth connection is even password protected so that it cannot be intercepted or received by another device.

Example Systems Using the K6 Bt
(Click on the images below to view larger versions.)

Comm Port Baud Rate Switching
Some soaring GPS, flight recorder and flight computer products automatically switch baud rates when doing jobs such as transferring waypoints, task declarations and flight logs.  The K6 Bt has established a freely available protocol which makes baud rate changes possible, as long as the software on the PDA is setup to support the baud rate switching.

Compatibility - PDA or PND
Most current PDAs (such as the iPAQ 110/111/112, or iPAQ 210/211/214) and PNDs (Personal Navigation Devices - like the HP iPAQ 310 series) have BlueTooth radios built in.  Any device with a built-in BlueTooth radio should work fine.

Compatibility - Soaring GPS or Flight Computer or GPS Flight Recorder
Any soaring instrument with a standard RS-232 serial port (every one I can think of) should work fine - as long as the soaring software on the PDA or PND supports the K6 Bt and the desired soaring instrument.

Great for 2-Seat Gliders!
The K6 Bt makes it much easier to install a PDA in the back seat of a 2-seat glider.  The BlueTooth radio signals can reach easily from the nose of the glider to the PDA in the back seat.  Therefore, there is no need to run PDA power/data cables from the nose of the glider to the back seat.  However, a K6 Bt unit is required for every PDA.  It is not possible for more than 1 PDA to talk to a K6 Bt.  It is possible to connect 2 K6 Bt units to a single soaring GPS unit (such as a Cambridge 302, or LX Colibri, or EW microRecorder, etc.).   Another thing to consider is that the PDA's built-in battery may not last through a long glider flight.  See the note
Power for the PDA or PND below for suggestions.

Compatibility - Soaring Software
It appears that special communications protocols are used - especially where baud rate switching is required.  Therefore, the K6 Bt will only work with soaring software that is customized to work with the K6 Bt.
  SeeYou Mobile has been tested and works well for sending GPS data to the PDA and exchanging MacCready and other data between the PDA and a Cambridge 302.  However, at this time I have not been able to successfully send a task declaration from SeeYou Mobile to a Cambridge 302 or download a flight log from the 302 using SeeYou ConnectMe.  SeeYou says they are certain those functions will be working soon.  I tested using iPAQ hx4700, iPAQ 210 and iPAQ 310 units and a Cambridge 302.  I was not able to establish a connection between the 302 and the PDA or PND when using Glide Navigator II or the Cambridge 300 Utility.  It may be that I just need to more testing.  It is my understanding that the Cambridge 300 utility doesn't work with the K6 Bt because the baud rate is changed for flight log downloads.  The K6 Bt can handle that, but the Cambridge 300 Utility does not support the K6 Bt.  I would think that Glide Navigator II would work with the K6 Bt since there is no baud rate switching, but so far my tests showed that it did not work.

Power for the PDA or PND
Although there is no data cable connection to the PDA or PND, you will probably want to power the device with 5 V power to ensure that it will have enough power to last through a long soaring flight.  Two good options for providing 5V power would be the
Goddard PS-5a or the Socket Mobile Power PackNimbus cradles can be purchased with a DBCAI connector for connection to the Goddard PS-5a or a USB-A connector for connection to the Socket Mobile Power Pack.


Size: 2.80 x 1.97 x 1.14 in (71 x 50 x 29 mm)
Weight: 2.0 oz. (57g)
Input Power: 5 to 14V, 25 mA (Standby) and/or 40 mA (transmit mode)
Baud Rates: 2400, 4800, 9600, 19200, 38400, 57600 and 115200 Baud

Power/Data Cables
Cable-K6Bt-FLARM-0.3 (also works with Volksloggers)

Example Systems
Cambridge 302 with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
Cambridge 302A with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
EW microRecorder with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
LX Navigation Colibri with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310

Video showing the establishment of a data connection between an iPAQ 314 and a FLARM unit - using a K6 Bt BlueTooth connection.

 - Details

"Friends of CSI" Update - Please Join the Club
In May of this year I announced the new "Friends of Cumulus Soaring, Inc." club.  It is truly a win-win arrangement in which discounts, free shipping, free phone support, and interest are given in exchange for loans to my company.  I am extremely grateful to the generous soaring pilots that have joined the club since then. 

I am still hoping that many more glider pilots will show their support by joining the "Friends of Cumulus Soaring, Inc." club.  The loans received so far have been a great help, but I still have a long way to go in regard to reducing my high interest rate bank debt.  Please consider joining the club. There are many good reasons to join. 

You can learn more about the "Friends of Cumulus Soaring, Inc." club here:

New Alexander Schleicher ASH 31 Mi
Alexander Schleicher has just announced an exciting new auxiliary-powered sailplane - the ASH 31 Mi.  It is unlike any other sailplane on the market because it can fly as either an 18 m or 21 m span sailplane.  What a clever idea!  20 years ago gliders were stretching their 15 m wings to 16.5, 17.5 and then 18 meters.  After a while, nearly every 15 m span glider was available with "18 m tip extensions".  That way the glider could be raced as a 15 m glider and flown recreationally with quite a bit more glider performance in 18 m mode.  Eventually the 18 m span became very popular so that now there is a popular 18 m FAI racing class.  Some of the latest 18 m racers can be flown in 15 m mode also (ASG 29, Ventus 2cx, etc.).  Now that it could be said that 18 meters is the norm, Schleicher has designed a glider that can race as an 18 m ship, and also race in the Open Class as a 21 m span glider.  I imagine that pilots that put on their 18 m wingtips for "recreational" flights 10 years ago will now put their 21 m wingtips on for "recreational" flights.  It appears that this sailplane is targeted at the same type of pilots that snatched up about 250 ASH-26 E.  It looks like a lot of fun to me!

The prototype of the ASH 31 Mi is currently being built. The maiden flight is planned for the first half of 2009.  The start of the serial production has been scheduled for the beginning of 2010.
(I have no business relationship with Alexander Schleicher.)

 - Details

Dick Butler's Concordia
I recently found this interesting article about Richard Butler's super-sailplane - the Concordia.  It is not a new article, but it is still very interesting.   The article was written by Wolf Herold.  His interesting web site is here.
 - Concordia Article

While looking through Wolf's web site (the English version) I found the link to his interesting "home video" of the Mountain Wave Project.
 - Mountain Wave Project web site

 - Video of Mountain Wave Project Trip

SALE Items
New United Instruments Altimeter - 20,000 ft, Kollsman in inHg
I have overstocked these units.  They are less than 1 year old and in perfect condition.  $725 (normally $860)
Discounted Units Sold Out

Used ILEC SN10-2 2nd-Seat Repeater: $620 
This unit had the screen replaced at ILEC in Germany last spring and was lost in transit for many months.  It is in perfect working condition.  This is a fantastic deal for someone that wants a spare backup unit, or has a 2-seat glider that needs a 2nd seat repeater to go with an existing SN10B in the front seat.  The RAZ vario meter is not included but is available for $175.  The required wiring harness is not included but is available for $80.  For a total of $620 + $175 + 80 = $875 you get a complete system.  That is $620 off the $1495 price of a new system.  Note: This is not an independent SN10 system.  It is the 2nd-seat "slave" to an SN10B.  Please send me an e-mail if you are interested in buying it.  You can see details on the SN10-2 here:

Winter MacCready Ring for Pik 20b
This ring was ordered in the wrong size. It is designed for use on a standard 57 mm Winter W-5453 variometer in knots.  It does not include a bezel ring, but they are available if necessary.  Most Winter variometers made in recent years already include the necessary grooved bezel ring.  A set like this one normally sells for $83. I am selling it for $45.
 - Details

Winter MacCready Ring for 304 CZ - 17m
I'm not sure how I ended up with this extra ring, but I don't need it. It is designed for use on a standard 57 mm Winter W-5453 variometer in knots.  It does not include a bezel ring, but they are available if necessary.  Most Winter variometers made in recent years already include the necessary grooved bezel ring. A set like this one normally sells for $83. I am selling it for $45.
 - Details

Soaring Beyond The Basics - 1st Edition
Since the 2nd Edition of "Soaring Beyond The Basics" is now available, and I have a few of the 1st edition remaining in stock, I am selling the 1st edition versions for $6 each.  Or you can buy both versions for $24.95 and give the old one to a soaring friend, or leave it at the gliderport.
 - Details


Sailplane Postage Stamps
In the Winter 2008 edition of "Bungee Cord", the newsletter of the Vintage Sailplane Association, Simine Short proposed a very interesting idea.  Use your favorite soaring photo to create soaring postage stamps!  The service is available at http://photo.stamps.com.  You can upload any image you choose, arrange it as desired, and order your own stamps.  Of course they are accepted by the U.S. Postal Service as standard postage.  Several postage amounts are available.  I created the stamp shown above in a few minutes.  Of course, they do cost more than twice as much as the stamps you buy at the post office, but they are a great way to promote soaring.  You do save a little when you order 2 sheets of 20 stamps.  40 stamps came to $36.97 including $2.99 for shipping.  That is 92.425 cents for each 42 cent stamp.  Feel free to use any of the photos found here: http://www.cumulus-soaring.com/contest.htm.
Tennessee Ridge Soaring Video
The note and links below are from Rand Baldwin in Madison, Alabama.

(To watch it in high quality, click on 'watch in high quality' below the lower right corner of the video window. For a full-screen view, also click on the rectangle immediately to the right of the speaker icon and just above the quality click area.)

The link above is to a 10-minute video taken by Michael Poe of Nashville, TN last Sunday (December 21, 2008), when he and two other Eagleville (Puckett Field, TN) pilots flew ~400 miles along the Sequatchie Valley and Lookout Mountain ridges. Michael flew his ASW-20, Werner Ruegger his LS3, and Bob Richard an ASW-27. Cloudbase was about 6,000' MSL, so they had no trouble jumping the ~14-mile non-landable gap between the south end of the Valley and Lookout Mountain below Chattanooga. Check out the Google Earth file showing the view north from the south end of the Sequatchie Valley.

The flights are posted on the OLC Web site.

Bill Elliott and I flew the a similar route during our 2006 and 2007 national record flights, although we had to leave the ridges and thermal to a turnpoint near Oak Ridge, TN to achieve our declared distance.


Below is Michael Poe's description of the flight:

Bob, Werner and I got a tow from Marion yesterday courtesy of Chilhowee glideport. Launched around 10am (we could have gone an hour earlier) and flew 400 miles on the Sequatchie and Lookout ridges. Was a personal best distance for all three of us on the shortest day of the year.

No records were set - had some technical glitches with the declarations

Winds on the ridge were 300 @ 20knots most of the day - got stronger at the end to 26 knots..

Flew to Crossville Y, then back to Marion - the transition to Lookout was a breeze - 5 - 7 knot thermals to 6000 msl yesterday right where we needed them.

We all went south on the little ridge to about 7 miles from the end of the ridge near Gadsden, AL. We basically flew 'til we were down to about 1500msl - 700 agl or so - and 65 knots - there were no cu's so we decided to turn back as it would have been difficult to reach all the way to Gadsden airport. The little ridge south of Gadsden was extremely turbulent compared to the ridges north of Ft Payne and Sequatchie - think we were flying thru rotor coming off the mini-ridges to the upwind side. We actually found some wave action flying in the valley between the two ridges.

Transition from Lookout went off good as could be - still had nice cu's to mark the route over the 12 miles of no mans' land.

Then back to Hinch mtn and home to call it a day. Was probably the most fun I've ever had on a flight. The three of us stayed together the whole day except when Werner got stuck on Lookout mtn at the end. He still was able to find a good thermal at 4:15pm EST to make it back over.

Was great practice for the 1000 k attempts earmarked for the spring.



ChicagoLand Glider Council Seminar
The ChicagoLand Glider Council is sponsoring a day long spring soaring and safety seminar open to all soaring pilots. Safety, medicine, racing, competition, gear, gliders and gab will be on the agenda.

The ChicagoLand Glider Council is a non-profit organization of over
200 members which was formed in 1937 and has a long history of
dedication to the advancement and safety of soaring flight. The
Council hosts off-season (October through April) meetings with
scheduled speakers and refreshments at a local venue. The Council
also provides youth grants and helps underwrite local soaring events.

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

7AM - Doors open for registration
7AM-8AM - Continental Breakfast buffet
8AM - Seminar begins SHARP!

The location of the seminar is Elgin, Illinois (northwest of downtown Chicago) along Rt 90 at the Business Conference Center of Elgin Community College’s impressive and modern Seigle Auditorium.

Confirmed Speaker List
John Cochrane - Competition & Cross Country Soaring
Dr Dan Johnson (AME) - Aviation Medical Issues
Jim Short and Dave Schuur - Vintage Soaring Aviation
Paul Remde - Soaring Electronics
Trace Lewis and Scott Manley - Condor Soaring Virtual Reality

Registration Form

Costs, hotels, directions, etc - see http://chicagolandglidercouncil.com/seminar/


John DeRosa
President, ChicagoLand Glider Council

Minnesota Glider Pilots,

I'm (Paul Remde) planning to drive down to Chicago for this event.  Does anyone want to join me for the 6 hour drive?  We could also split the cost of a hotel room.

Paul Remde

New Products
The products below have recently been added to my web site and inventory.  Click on the images and links below to go to the product pages.

Larsen Base Station Antenna
5/8 Wave Antenna
For use on RV or SUV, etc.

New ILEC SN10 Wiring Harnesses
for use with EW microRecorder

New Second Edition

Free Download

Free Download

New Printable Video and Book Catalog
Sometimes it is nice to be able to print a complete list of the available soaring books and videos. The PDF file below is just such a list. You can use it to highlight books and videos to be purchased by friends and family members as gifts.

Other Catalogs
In the future I plan to create a similar catalog that lists all the products I sell.  In the meantime, please print and review the online catalogs here:

 - Catalog by Manufacturer
 - Catalog by Category

I bet you will see several products that you didn't know were available from Cumulus Soaring, Inc. 

OLC Convention in the USA in 2009
The On-Line Contest will be hosting the OLC Convention USA 2009 in San Diego CA. The convention will be located at the Hilton Hotel San Diego Airport/Harbor Island from 2pm-5:30pm.

 - Details

Parachute Repack Cycle Extended
It has taken a long time for this to go through, but finally, as of December 19th, 2008, the mandatory parachute packing interval has been lengthened for 120 days to 180 days.  This is great news!

 - Details

Low Cost Pulse Oximeter Options
Pulse oximeters are a fantastic investment in safety.  They measure your blood oxygen saturation level - which is very important when flying gliders at high altitude.  The great news is that there are several extremely low cost options available.  There is no good excuse not to use one.  I don't currently stock or sell pulse oximeters, but I do hope you will buy one if you plan to fly at altitudes requiring oxygen.

Eric Greenwell recently found some very interesting options for pulse oximeters and posted them on the rec.aviation.soaring newsgroup. I did some research and found some similar items. They are listed below. The last one sounds very interesting to me because it mounts on your arm (making much more comfortable in flight) and it offers alarms. The alarms would be very nice because the unit could warn you if your oxygen level was getting too low.

Pipistrel Adds Apis to Product Line
The text below is from the Pipistrel USA Newsletter
(I have no business relationship with Pipestrel.)

Multiple World Record holder the Apis is a high performance single-seat 15m glider and advanced light aircraft with self launching capabilities.  With the addition of the Apis to the product line, Pipistrel is now the most dynamic small aircraft producer IN THE WORLD and the ONLY AIRCRAFT PRODUCER offering both single-seat and two-seater side-by-side self-launching gliders, two-seat motorgliders, UL two-seat go-the-distance aircraft, trikes and propellers.

Previously produced by AMS Flight d.o.o. under a license arrangement with a Pipistrel, the Apis project has been completely acquired by Pipistrel and all operations, production and ordering are now handled entirely through Pipistrel.

The Apis aircraft is currently undergoing a massive redesign to productionise the aircraft for serial production with many new introductions including retractable undercarriage, much larger cockpit, electric engine option etc.  More information on the Apis aircraft will be available early 2009 with orders currently being accepted for deliveries starting in February 2009.

XCOM Panel Mount Radios to Be Made In the USA
Wednesday, October 15, 2008

“Narco Avionics and XCOM Avionics, Manufacturing Partnership Agreement

Fort Washington, Pennsylvania – USA. Mr. Michael Coates, CEO and President of XCOM Avionics and Mr. Alan Hanks, CEO and President of Narco Avionics, Inc. have announced their October 9, 2008 signing of a “Joint Manufacturing Agreement”, whereby Narco Avionics, Inc. will Manufacture, Inventory, Service and Support, the XCOM Avionics, XCOM VHF 2 ¼” COM Transceiver.

All manufacturing and support operations will be conducted from the Narco Avionics, Inc. Fort Washington, Pennsylvania Manufacturing Plant by regular Narco Avionics Employees and will be supported by XCOM Avionics, a well known Australian Company, Engineering and Technical Support Personnel.

Coates and Hanks have both expressed great enthusiasm for the new venture and acknowledged very positive feelings about future program expansion possibilities including several new product lines and ongoing product certification.

XCOM Response
Since the radios inception the XCOM has been built in Australia with a large majority (approximately 90%) of our product being shipped internationally with most of this going to the USA. Production issues in Australia have forced us to look for another manufacturer, we tried several manufacturers in Australia but none of these could offer reliable and quality production which basically meant we had a fantastic product that was being let down by poor manufacturing which was out of our control. The best way around this is to find a manufacturer who is already familiar with avionics and has the ability to manufacture correctly to TSO standards, will stand behind their work and most importantly take pride in what they are doing!

For this reason we have entered into a cooperation with Narco Avionics who are the world's longest standing avionics business. This partnership gives XCOM the complete confidence that our product will be manufactured and tested beyond the standards which are required for efficient and continuous, long-term , durable operations. It really means we can stand behind our product with more confidence than ever before and it also gives Narco exposure to the LSA, experimental and Ultralight market which is rapidly expanding.

For our customers, it gives you the confidence that the product is being made in the USA to the same standards that Narco currently produce too. It gives you a local service centre which is able to commit fully to the repair or updating of XCOM radios (if required) and it also means that the price to our US customers will come down because most of the parts that are used in the XCOM radio are actually sourced from the USA, then sent to Australia (which costs a lot of money in freight) produced into the radio and then shipped back to the USA (which costs a lot of money in freight) overall our customers will find a number of improvements which include better customer service because they are not geographically isolated on the other side of the world, delivery and repair times will be quicker and the price of the radio will come down.

Overall the future for XCOM Avionics and our customers is strong and we really appreciate the ongoing support of our customers.

 - Details on the XCOM Radio

News from Naviter
Naviter has released version 3.9 of SeeYou (for the PC).  The new features include:
  • 18 new glider models for the 3D View

    Duo Discus and Nimbus 4

    Schweizer 1-26
  • Autoselection of a glider model for 3D
  • Order your own personalized glider model

  • Added option for Start on observation zone entry

The new 3D sailplane models are:

  • ASH 25
  • ASW 20
  • ASW 28
  • DG 100
  • DG 1000
  • DG 800
  • Schempp-Hirth Cirrus Standard
  • Schempp-Hirth Discus 2
  • Schempp-Hirth Duo Discus
  • Schempp-Hirth Ventus 2
  • Schempp-Hirth Nimbus 4
  • Jantar Standard
  • Blanik L-13
  • Lak 19
  • LS 4
  • LS 8
  • PW 5
  • Schweizer 1-26

The new 3D models are a lot of fun.  It is interesting to view one of your big flights as if you were flying it in a Nimbus 4, or a Schweizer 1-26. 

The great news is the anyone using SeeYou 3.0 or higher can upgrade to version 3.9 for free.  What a great Christmas present!

Tip: To get the new 3D gliders to appear in the 3D view

  • Install version 3.9
  • Go to: Tools/Options/3D View/Symbol/Style: Custom (or Autoselect)
  • Symbol File: c:/Program Files/Naviter/SeeYou/Models

 - Details

SeeYou Mobile for iPAQ 310
The iPAQ 310 is a PND (Personal Navigation Device) with a large, high-resolution screen.  Naviter is in the testing phase of a new version of SeeYou Mobile that runs on the iPAQ 310.  I've tested it a bit and I'm very excited about it.  Since the iPAQ 310 has a built-in GPS (and street maps of entire countries) it makes a great portable soaring flight computer system.  I believe they have enough beta testers at this time.  Hopefully it will be released in a few weeks.

 - Details on the Naviter web site

 - iPAQ 310 Overview on PDA/PND Comparison page
 - iPAQ 310 Example System on PDA/GPS Example Systems page
Example Systems
Cambridge 302 with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
Cambridge 302A with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
EW microRecorder with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310
LX Navigation Colibri with K6 Bt and iPAQ 310


DG-1000 M
DG announces the new self-launching version of the popular DG-1000.

I have been fortunate to have 2 good friends who own a DG-1000.  They have both taken me with them on many soaring adventures in it.  It is a lovely sailplane.  A self-launching version is very interesting!

 - Details

Fun and Interesting Links
Below is a collection of fun and interesting soaring links.

Mt. Rainier wave photos: http://www.komonews.com:80/weather/blog/35631614.html

Cool winch launch photo

Fun soaring video:

Cool 1/4 scale model with extreme detail, amazingly documented. Be sure to see all the pages by clicking the numbers. http://www.retroplane.net/frankfort-model/page1.htm  http://www.retroplane.net/cinema2/accueil.htm 
assembly and flights:

Other awesome scale models

1/2 scale DG-1000 by Simon Cocker of the U.K.
Link 1, Link 2, Link 3, Link 4, Link 5

other interesting scale models:
Link 1, Link 2

Crazy gliders:

Neat old soaring photos- link from the VSA mailing list. Thanks Josh http://images.google.com/images?q=Aircraft+Gliding+source:life

Interesting rare aircraft - Thanks Dan Shallbetter http://rareaircraf1.greyfalcon.us/UNITED STATES.htm  from Dan http://rareaircraf1.greyfalcon.us/

Tony Condon Cherokee II landout video: http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=5IjZZTsgUAI

Boeing 707 Barrel roll

Gliders into camping trailers (caravans): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCkzxOcwg_Q  http://archive.oxfordmail.net/2001/5/9/63207.html

Stanford Helicopters Learning
http://news-service.stanford.edu/pr/2008/pr-heli-091008.html  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-QUkgk3HyE

Interesting photos - not soaring related: Link

Dynamic soaring (models) videos:

Excellent Soaring video by Sebastian Kawa:

Coming Next Month
  • More fun links and soaring news from around the world
Wrap Up
Thank you for taking the time to read this newsletter. I hope you have found it interesting. If you did, please tell your friends about it.  Please mention it in your local soaring newsletter.  Please direct them to:

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

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

Fly Safe,

Paul Remde

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