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Yeah, gear, spending money, a lot of money. I will share my findings so you can spend less and get best.

PDA Hardware [top]

For years HP IPAQ were the standard in the cockpit. The best one was:
- HP iPAQ hx4700, general test -> [link]. I recomend OS upgrade to WM 6.5, appropriate set to download here -> [link]
- Alternative with great screen in the sun model is also Ipaq 3850/3870, however it is quite old & slow and screen is not too big either.
Here is good comparisons of PDA's from Cumulus -> [link]

IPAQ times are however gone. With XcSoar release for an Android platform, a revolution started:
- One can fly with with wide choise of cheap and fast Android phones. This is completly new expeirence compare to IPAQs or PNAs.
- In-flight internet (weather check, webcams, live position tracking in internet) is possible.
- Digitalized Outlanding catalogs can be per finger click open on the screen.

The most popular in gliding because of great screen was Dell Streak 5-> [link].
I personally fly Samsung Galaxy Note 3.

Using new Android phones require a new approach to on-board wiring. I describe here my solution that I consider to work very well:lu
- Parallel data feeds: Flarm, LX7007, internal Phone GPS
- Data transfer from LX & Flarm via 2 independent Bluetooth adapters
- Power delivery via 12v->5V Autoadapter and then via USB Cabel to Android Smartphone
- Mounting - I use modified bicycle holder

Bluetooth Adapters
The key issue is conversion of Serial Data feed (Flarm, LX etc.) to Bluetooth, as Andoid phones do not have serial port. Here is a list of available BT-Adapters on the market:

Foto BT-Adapter Price inc. postage Desc Link
BT-Adapter from China 13€ Ready BT-Adapter from China via eBay. Runs with 5V.
I have just received one for my club - works very well. You need to only create a cable to your serial device (LX, Flarm etc.) and put is in a box.
BT-Adapter as Kit 32.9€
BT-Adapter as Kit - you must solger it (SMD) yourself. I use it myself, it is simple & reliable. Runs with 12V (good!). No box. [link]
SoarTronic Bluetooth BT1 47€ Developed specially for XcSoar with Flarm. Plug & play. It works however only with Flarm that has max 1 external display. No Box. [link]
Glidertools VFBT-1



Glidertools VFBT-1. Inc 5V Converter - thanks to USB Port, you can easily feed your Smartphone with power. Runs with 12 V. Inc. box. [link]
K6 BT 2 152.5€ Deluxe solution. The only adapert that can change baudrate on the fly (usefull for LX700x, a must for Volkslogger) with speciall protokoll that is build in XcSoar. Inc. box. [link]


PDA software [top]

I tested 5 software packages:

My choice is XCSoar (see my XCSoar page -> [link]). It is free (open source!), have all possible functions (inc. FLARM Monitor, On-line tracking etc.), good maps are available (same like for commercial products), it is being constantly further developed, best Airspaces support, there is PC part for planning and it has great use of PDA screen concept of all PDA programs. On the bad side it requires a little more manual config than commercial programs but offer best functionality.

The best commercial programs are StrePla & SeeYou (very, very similar). For your money, you will get a very comfy combination of PC program to plan & analyze flights and of course PDA program with all possible functions, very user friendly. An advantage it a very simple transfer of maps, tasks & waypoints from PC program to PDA and back. Commercial packages gives you for free a very good maps package, whereas StrePla offers on top of free satellite & vector maps also ICAO maps. However ICAO are very expensive and obviously valid only 1 year. SeeYou on the other side has best map color scheme. The only issue is price: 354EUR (PDA+PC).

I own also Winpilot (got it with my new glider). This program has best on the market use of PDA screen with fully flexible info-boxes, good maps, SUA etc. are available, waypoints search is great, you can use smart thermals database (need to prepare yourself) and if you have FLARM - it will show you even height, & climbing rate of gliders in range. The price is also reasonable - 250 USD.
BUT :-) SUA support is poorly done (you will get only heights in feet, SUA are badly to see), task management is again poorly solved, zooming out does poor details adjustment - map is hardly to use + generally no many functions & info boxes are implemented. Well - sorry XCSoar got it better (especially in newest release 6).

I tested shortly also free GPS LOG. For my taste it has not optimal use of PDA screen - many function buttons & info boxes are taking screen space for moving map and are difficult to read. However the program has many fans and is being constantly further developed.

For iPhone you can go with iGlide and WinPilot (both commercial). I have not tested.

Bottom line - save your money and go for XCSoar. If you like to have it extra easy - go for SeeYou (or StrePla). Possible combination is also XCSoar + SeeYou PC for analyze & planning. The only issue here is - you need to load maps, waypoints & tasks semi manually to XCSoar.

The best way to test PDA programs is to use Condor simulator (described above). It actually outputs NMEA signal with current position and it can be send to external PDA via Bluetooth or ActiveSync. This way you can see how the program works in real (simulated) flight - cool!
If you face connectivity issues (as I had) - use GPSGate -> [link]

Glider [top]

DG800B My very new baby: DG-800B

DG 800 S My ex-baby: DG-800S
Here some more info about it -> [link]

Well, if you take flying serious - there is no way around getting your own glider. When THE DAY comes - it is there and waiting for you :-)

My first glider was DG800S. Unless you fanatical about competitions - it is a perfect non-engine ship. It has a good gliding performance, excellent climbing in thermals, very comfortable, large cockpit, huge Plexiglas for best visibility & warm feet. Flaps for great thermal climbing, shot landings and good polar at higher speeds. Good, sensitive handling. The only issue for competitions is that even with max ballast, you at max with 45kg/m2. (However with new 800S competition you can be over 50kg/m2).

Now I did an upgrade to DG800B to be fully independent. It is being now significantly reengineered.

Other equipment [top]

Battery charging System in trailer (comming soon)

Oxygen system

Flying with oxygen in Alps is a must. I turn on my system above 3100m. Below you can find a few info on my system.


I still use the original EDS-A1 system (here is manual for it ->[link]). This is the first analog system from EDS and works really good. The new system (D1) is smaller, works longer on the battery and has more programs but it does not save any oxygen really.

The next thing you need is reductor with gauge showing the remaining oxygen preassure (the green guy).

I use 3 liter bottle with medical oxygen. You can buy one on eBay for 30-40 EUR.

Here is a good article on Nullhypoxie (in German) -> [link]


Bug-wiper (from DG800S)

You think, you do not need it? Too expensive? See those fotos from one of my flight:

Bug_Wiper Bug_Wiper

Performance loss is significant as you can imagine. Difficult to talk about laminar flow.

I use electric bug wiper from BWS - works great. Wipping takes 10sec per wing.
Here is how it works:

Bug Wiper Bug Wiper


Strating position In progress Full cycle


Emergency Pack

This small I have always attached tomy parachute. In case of problems, I have a few items that can save my live. Here is the list:
- signal gun with 4 red shoots
- small LED lamp
- bandages set
- swiss pen-knife
- whisle
- termal blanket
- lighter
- pain killer
- line with weight for tree rescue

Notpack 1 =>Notpack 2=>Notpack 3V

Notpack 4



„94% injured pilots damage their spine" - German accident research. Well you can do a little against it. The good solution is to use energy absorbing foam as your sit cussion. I could sew 12.5mm foam into my DG cussion, seplacing standard one. Even such a thin foam will absorb 10% of impact shock. 25mm will take 20% away. This can save you a serious spine damage.

Here are a couple of good articles in german & english:



ELT - Pointer 3000 Battery (from DG800S)

ELT require changing battery every 3-5 years. New battery for my ELT costs 80EUR, which is a little much from my point of view. I decided to build the battery myself, using 9V blocks put together. It worked very well & costed only 5 EUR, see the picture:

ELT Battery


DG 800B

From current glider - DG800B:
I use the following key components:
- Speed from Winter 82mm
- Altitude from Winter 58mm
- LX7007 pro IGC
- Artifical Horizon
- Funkwerk ATR 833
- Compass Winter
- Transponder TRIG TT21
- PDA: Samsung Note with XCSoar
- ELT ACK E-04

Special recommendation - get stronger 0.5 lambda Flarm Antenne PO1. It extends your Flarm range. Here some info in German-> [link]