Yesterday I tried GliderGuider in possibly the most difficult conditions possible – blue thermal soaring. Hardly a cloud in the sky and the only things casting shadows were the remnants of a 30-glider grid launch who seemed to congregate on me as I found my first thermal after launch!
This doesn’t profess to be a proper field trial but just a few personal comments having flown the system properly for the first time. Immediate thoughts:
- It does what it says on the tin. After flying with a HP PDA the brightness of the screen really does make a difference. Yes, you will always get reflections off any screen but the brightness really helps to ‘burn’ through the reflections to retain readability;
- Like all electronics of this type external power is a must for lengthy periods airborne. As I haven’t sorted out a permanent feed yet I used a Power Monkey type battery to keep it powered up and had no issues at all. It even told me when it was swapping from internal power to external which was pretty smart;
- GliderGuider comes with a suction mount device which is well up to the job. Small and compact, the stem of the mount is curved and there is only one adjustable ball joint but it has a good range of movement and I had it set up how I wanted it in seconds;
- The default speaker volume is loud. I could hear it while on tow and it did give me a surprise once or twice when giving me information. Having said that I would rather loud than too quiet so will leave that for a few more flights before considering any adjustment;
- Size does matter! When looked at next to a PDA the difference doesn’t seem the big but it makes a big difference in the air. Equally, even though I had it mounted in ‘landscape’ mode (running LK8000) it did not seem to impinge on cockpit space any more than the PDA.
- Talking of LK8000, this was the first time I have tried using the software and found it very intuitive. I still need to do some setting up on the system and playing with the simulator but it looks good. One thing that did amuse me was just after landing there is a ‘bing-bong’ noise that sounds just like the fasten/unfasten seat belts on an airliner and the screen caption ‘landed’; really makes you feel like you have arrived!
Ninety minutes of local flying went no-where near testing the system to any sort of limit but so far I’m impressed.