Saturday, April 02, 2016

Flymaster Vario Layout

When we (Shelley and I) started paragliding we bought Flymaster Nav SD varios. A variometer is a flying instrument that indicates the rate of ascent or descent. Typically, for gliding it has audible output - a faster higher beeps for ascent, and lower slower beeps for descent. The Flymaster has a lot of additional features - including an electronic compass, GPS, and airspace and regular maps. It can show you your speed and glide ratio. Using the GPS it can calculate wind speed and direction (this requires that you turn). It can even track/estimate the best recent thermal. One of the nice things about varios (and dive computers) is that all you really have to do is turn them on, you don't have to fiddle with them in flight.

One feature I like about the Flymaster is that you can design your own screen layout. The default layout seems a little cluttered to me and contains information that isn't useful to me. I've seen other recommended layouts that are even more cluttered. My eyesight isn't what it used to be and I wanted the screen to be as easy to read as possible. I've been through a few iterations but here's what I've been using for the last while:

On the left is what it looks like in the designer software, on the right is a photograph of the actual screen. Since it wasn't in flight some of the displays aren't active. (AGL is altitude above ground, GR is glide ratio, Dur is duration) I displayed the labels on the fields not because I use them in flight, but more as a reminder of where things are before I take off.

In comparison, here is the default layout:

Layouts can have multiple pages, I've only shown the first page here. The default layout has 7 different pages. My layout has a second page for a map, with the lat/long at the bottom. I've never used this in flight, it's more for if I land somewhere and need to know (or report) where I am. I also have a third page with the airspace map, which I haven't used, but could be useful some places.

If I'm coastal soaring or doing a sled ride, I may not use the display at all, I'll just stick the vario in the pocket of my harness. That lets me record the flight and still use the audible tone, without having to carry my console.

Disclaimer - I'm a newcomer to paragliding, I'm not claiming to be an expert. I'm just sharing what I've found useful in case it might be helpful to someone else.

If you have a Flymaster and you're interested in trying out this layout or using it as a starting point for your own you can download via this link

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