Flight Instrument Review

Flytec Track

Greg Hamerton tests the new entry level Alti-Vario-GPS from Flytec. Aimed squarely at new pilots, the Track offers a robust, simple and accurate solution for basic flight information. 

Flytec Element up close

As a variometer, it’s one of the best in the business. I’ve always regarded Flytec as the gold standard when it comes to accurate vario tones, and the Track follows this fine Swiss tradition.

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Setup 1

Phone Vario GPS

Flight Instruments For Mapping

In this article I will evaluate a range of instruments in the search for a useful, reliable and simple mapping display. I have flown extensively with all these instruments to identify the practical issues they raise.

Ever since Garmin introduced affordable handheld GPS devices in the 90s, a moving map display has been an integral part of a cross country pilot's flight deck.

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Setup 2

Phone Booster

Instruments: FlyNet XC1 (50g) + phone running XCsoar

Flynet XCSoar

Sometimes an audio vario and tracklog is all you need, so if there's no airspace, no need for an averager and no need for groundspeed info, you can keep your phone in your pocket and go very light with this setup.

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Setup 3

Standalone Flight Instrument

Instruments: Syride SYS’Nav (+ phone running XCsoar on standby)

Syride SYS'Nav and phone

This setup works with many standalone flight instruments. Here the phone is kept in your pocket, and only pulled out if you really need it for complex long-range airspace interrogation or terrain mapping with topography (towns, valleys and rivers), which reduces the impact of the disadvantages (poor battery life, delicate, poor sensors).

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Setup 4

Kobo

Instruments: modified Kobo running XCsoar (with extended battery and gps+vario, about £220, 260g) + Garmin (£30, 180g).

Kobo

The Kobo was designed as an e-reader but some clever folk hacked the software and run XCsoar freeware on that platform. It can be a bit temperamental, depending on where you got your unit from and how the additional sensors were soldered into it.

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Setup 5

Oudie 3

Instruments: Naviter Oudie 3

Oudie 3

The Oudie 3 is one instrument that does everything. It is purpose-designed for XC pilots and competition flying, so it has features intended for  paragliding and hang-gliding, and there are some exciting developments on the horizon. Because your phone is not needed for anything, it's safe in your pocket and using a standard battery (unless you're using the live tracking app).

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Flight Instruments For Mapping

In this article I will evaluate a range of instruments in the search for a useful, reliable and simple mapping display. I have flown extensively with all these instruments to identify the practical issues they raise. 

Getting the right instrument is about understanding what your information needs are, and matching a device with your typical flying environment and aspirations.

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Syride SYS’NAV Instrument Review (by Greg Hamerton)

I first noticed the SYS’Nav after Andrew Craig’s review in Skywings Magazine. It’s easy to overlook this diminutive instrument because of its size and remarkably low price.

The more I used it, the more impressed I became. It leads the mid-range-instrument field, and threatens some of the high-end instruments too, offering a powerful navigation solution based on minimalism and simplicity.

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Combe Gibbet 25/03/2015

Trying A New Angle (by Greg Hamerton)

RASP predicted light winds of steady direction, cumulus clouds with reasonable height (3,500-4,000ft), 2m/s thermals and no inversions. The only limitations were the cloud tops around 10,000ft (might bring showers) and the likelihood of spread-out and shading due to the saturation of the air at altitude.

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