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Vario? altimeter


outkast
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I was looking at buying a vario but then thought that I dont really need to know if I am rising or dropping, just my altitude will tell me that, so I thought of maybe buying a GPS that has an altimeter included, has anyone got one of these or could recomend a good one.

Cheers, Dave.

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A Vario is great for when you want to turn off your motor and thermal....

Or when your landing on a thermic day with the motor stopped...

They ALL make a loud noise for up and down, which is handy.

I like to thermal so have a solar one fitted to my helmet at all times, dont always use it but handy when I do.

most GPS Varios are not accurate as far as I am aware, I have the Garmin something CX or something and that has a real barometric altimeter, as apposed to a GPS one.... I am sure someone into this stuff will be a little more accurate than me...?

SW :D

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there is a suuko x10 watch which is all singin and dancin i was looking at saves carryin all the stuff expensive toy but it has good reviews and write ups on it the military use it , just a thought it is the way i am gonna go we carry enough without all the gps and altimetres

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I have an alti/vario, flytec 6005. I'd always recommend one. They are great for seeing your height and also the rise and fall average whilst flying! normally shown in m/s. I use the garmin emap gps which is a fairly oldish model but works great and has a big screen

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I use a Garmin eTrex Vista C which has everything that I need built into one small unit - Bright colour screen, GPS maps, a barometric altimeter and a magnetic compass.

I have put some sticky backed velcro on the back and it stays nicely on top of my front mounted reserve. A lanyard attached to the harness ensures that it doesn't disappear!

Was fairly cheap from Ebay at £78 nearly new!

One on ebay for 90 quid- http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/GARMIN-ETREX-VISTA-C-HANDHELD-OUTDOOR-GPS-1-YR-WTY_W0QQitemZ350118034889QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item350118034889&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1345%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

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As one of the resident geeks I'll try and avoid too much detail but...

The way GPS works means that it simply cannot give an accurate altitude measurement. The maths and the physics are against it. I've watched a stationary GPS with an excellent view of the sky change its altitude measurement by 50m in the space of 30 seconds. To see why, get a piece of A4 paper, hold it in portrait orientation, draw yourself a little satellite about 5 cm to the left of the page at the top. Draw another one on the right. Draw you at the bottom of the page. Now draw a line from each satellite to you with a blunt pencil or a thickish pen.

GPS.jpg

Look at the diamond where the two lines over lap (where you are). You could be anywhere in the yellow diamond (below). The left and right point of the crossover is much smaller than the top to bottom. GPS is far more accurate horizontally than vertically.

diamond.jpg

Keep in mind that in real life the satellites are 400 miles above you and so the triangles are much bigger and longer and thinner. You get the picture.

Barometric pressure is the only way of giving a decent measurement of altitude during a flight (unless you have a radar altimeter but I know I can't carry one ;-) ) There is no substitute for a properly set up barometric altimeter but remember that you may have to set it several times during the day if the atmospheric pressure changes during the day. A good map is your friend.

If you don't particularly care about absolute altitude then a Vario (which works on pressure again) will give you the most accurate feel for if you're rising or falling. The air pressure is measurably higher at your feet compared with at your head.

Having said all of that - I use a Suunto X9i watch. The GPS tells me where I am and the barometric altimeter gives me a good enough measure of altitude together with an almost usable visual vario. It gives me what I want but none of the tools are "best in class".

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How do I find it? Hmm. It is both the most excellent piece of gadgetry I've ever owned and slightly disappointing all at the same time.

The ability to go flying for a day and then download the entire flight into Google Maps and analyse the heights and speeds is terrific. Having an altimeter, a compass and a GPS on your wrist whilst flying is great for the basics but the vario is only updated every couple of seconds so it certainly isn't a soaring instrument.

I've used it whilst trekking in the wooded mountains of Northern Georgia and again, being able to keep an eye on things and knowing that I can turn the GPS on and know for sure where I left the car is fab. Maps where not a lot of use, even if they existed of that area.

Suunto's heritage is diving watches and the X9i (and X10 I think) are waterproof and pretty rugged. Mine has survived jet skiing around the bays and inlets of the New Jersey shoreline which involved a lot of getting wet ;-)

In all circumstances you can't beat the purpose built instruments, a Garmin with a decent external antenna will always give you a more accurate fix and a Bräuniger alti/vario will tell you if you're sinking by a couple of feet a minute, but neither are fixed to your wrist.

As a geek I find the Suunto Windows software to be almost unusable. It smacks of something written by a couple of blokes in a garage using VisualBasic which is a shame because it could be so much better with just a little more thought given to the user interface.

So, to sum up... Would I buy another one? Yes.

Hope that helps answer your question.

Stuart

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I use a Garmin Forerunner 405 for running and find the GPS sensitivity and position fixing to be really good.

Garmin 60SCX is unbeatable for me. Terrific functionality and excellent utility for storing and uploading tracks. The compass is excellent, the altimeter fine as a rough guide but no more as explained by Slim. Bräuniger alti/vario is great for the important aeronautical stuff.

60SCX.jpg

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I use the Garmin 60csx for GPS capability and recording my flight tracks/measuring ground speeds and the like but most of the time fly only with a Vario (Flytec 6010). I don't fly much with a GPS in my local area because I know my way around. The islands only span about 100miles long by 30 miles wide.

However a point that has not been mentioned is that the Garmin GPS eats batteries in comparison to my vario. The Garmin will only last a few flights before its two AA batteries are exhausted, whereas the vario can manage about 40 hours. But if you are flying in unfamiliar surroundings or somewhere with lots of scenery that looks the same (most of England! :wink: ) use the GPS. It was a lifesaver for me when I got lost amongst the patchwork of fields in the flatlands of Norfolk. I just had to follow the track back to where I started.

John Coutts, Shetland.

www.couttsphotos.com

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Garmin eTrex Vista C have one like Ian (irm750). Recommended by my instructor and he was right, has absolutely everything one needs if not more!!!!!

Easy to use and read and is ever so small and compact!!

I like to keep things simple and easy. I can download all sorts of maps abroad and it has everything one needs!!

I would really recommend this to all novices like me!!!!!!!!! :)

Mike

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Garmin eTrex Vista C have one like Ian (irm750). Recommended by my instructor and he was right, has absolutely everything one needs if not more!!!!!

Easy to use and read and is ever so small and compact!!

I like to keep things simple and easy. I can download all sorts of maps abroad and it has everything one needs!!

I would really recommend this to all novices like me!!!!!!!!! :)

Mike

Can I upload airmaps to the eTrex Vista C? Thinking about trying to hunt one down...but would like to be able to put on the airmaps...

Cheers

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