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Thread: Power Flarm day at Williams

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Power Flarm day at Williams

    March 11, 2012
    First time I ever operated a Power Flarm.

    Rex had four units available for us to use for the day, and he had fabricated simple installation plates to mount it to the glare shield in each of the gliders. Mine was a bit special, since I already had a shelf along the side of my panel that I used for PCAS and that I was now going to use that shelf as a Flarm mount.

    Rex gave one unit to each of us, Ray, Pete-98, Jim and me.
    I watched over his shoulder as Rex demonstrated to Jim how to use it.
    I was busy fine tuning the mounting plate for my ship that Rex had fabricated in less than 10 minutes. Rex was the tow pilot so I did some fine tuning on the plate before installing it in the ship, while he did a few tows.

    Ray was on takeoff roll when I finally got mine mounted in the cockpit, and I never got a chance to even turn mine on for first time until I was off tow at 2,000 ft.
    I didn't even adjust anything and it worked fine. I zoomed in and zoomed out. I could see Pete-98 since he was about 4 miles away, about 1,500 to 2,000ft above me.
    I made a few radio calls and confirmed everyone's positions as I saw them on the Flarm.

    I usually saw the target on the Flarm before I saw the glider itself. In fact, I would never have seen the gliders unless I knew where the Flarm had told me to look for them - especially if they were were 4 or 5 miles away... but that was just fun spotting other gliders - and to tell where everyone else was flying.

    On the ridge it was time for serious collision avoidance. We were flying head to head, all within a 500 ft altitude band. With our ground speeds each being between 70 and 90 kts, that put the closure speeds between 140 and 180 kts. It is very hard to see a glider coming straight at you, even if you know he is there, until he is less than 10 or 20 seconds from passing over, under, or through you. It was a totally clear blue day. Sun was off to the side and not in our eyes. I could see eagles and hawks a mile ahead of me, but damn if I could see the gliders each time. We were each reporting our distance from a nearby turnpoint along the ridge. Ridge South TP or Rumsey Gap TP. When I was four miles separation I was intently looking for the traffic coming at me. The Flarm was mounted high on the panel and I could see it in my peripheral vision as I looked out the window. 5 out of 6 times, the flarm showed the target before I could see him visually. The display turned red and made a loud alerting sound each time we passed with a few hundred feet of each other. I am a believer!
    Monkees: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfuBREMXxts

    Shrek: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUyu5prWjTE




    After witnessing that demonstration on today's flight I really don't want to fly along that ridge with other gliders coming straight at me, unless we both have a Flarm. "They" should prohibit all gliders from flying on the Whites ( on the east side of Bishop) unless everyone is Flarm equipped. There is a procedure, established by Bob Seamans of Minden some 10 years ago for collision avoidance on over the Whites, but it is archaic compared to the Flarm approach.

    It is no different along the Mendos!

    On the Mendos, we all fly the same convergence lines traveling from Goat to T-15, over the top of Alder Springs, etc.
    It is a narrow highway of lift and on a good day we are all flying well over 70 kts. Not much different than the ridge flying that we experienced today, except for the fact that there will typically be more altitude separation along the Mendos.

    Now that I've flown with Flarm, I want everyone around me to have one! I'll certainly have mine on and operating!

    I'm a believer
    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 03-11-2012 at 10:15 AM.
    Peter Kelly

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    WSC, San Anselmo
    Posts
    447

    Re: Power Flarm day at Williams

    Thanks for the writeup, Peter. Informative and educational for those of us who have not yet flown with the Power Flarm.
    Sounds like it was a great day to be ridge soaring!
    Ginny Farnsworth G3
    Past President
    Valley Soaring Association

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    169

    Re: Power Flarm day at Williams

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post
    March 11, 2012
    First time I ever operated a Power Flarm.

    I'm a believer
    "I'm A believer" is a phrase that usually scares me because it tends to come out of the mouthes of religious or political fanatics. But I agree with Peter, after using the Power Flarm it is easy to see that it is an effective tool that can significantly reduce the chances of a midair collision. It's a good thing.

    Jim D. - 1B
    Last edited by Jim Darke; 03-13-2012 at 12:04 PM.

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