LED Flash & CalGnome
This blog contains all information about the LED-Flash and the CalGnome built and sold by How2Soar.
This part of the web site is still under construction.
Product descriptions / installation manuals
- for the SH-Canopy-Contact
- for the SH-Flash for Discus 1/2 & Ventus 1/2, with wide fuselage
- for the SH-Flash for Arcus & Duo X
- for the DG-Flash
- for the LS-Flash
- for the Antares-Flash (coming soon)
- for the AS-Flash (also for Shark and Silent)
- for the CalGnome
If you are about to order a "CalGnome", please read the manual in detail. There are order options which can only be understood in context of the paper (jumper in power source wiring / logic sense of micro switches.
The How2Soar flash is compatible with (has been fitted to) the following plane types:
It is pretty evident why people ask me if the flash impedes the field of vision in a plane.
Well, certainly, there is something new in your field of vision, but the obstacle is probably much, much smaller than you imagine. If you have a compass on top of your instrument panel, the flash sort of hides behind it.
The picture to the right is taken in Holger Backs LS10 (CEO at DG Flugzeugbau), camera held at the pilot's eyes position. Just the upper edge of the CFRP-boat is visible at all.
You may test this easily by your own. Fetch a piece of card-board and cut it to the size 6 * 16 cm and plug it into your cockpit instead of the boat.
People keep asking me about perceptibility and detectability of the LEDs. How bright are they ? Are they visible in the air ?
Here is what I know :
When the battery pool in your ship can feed app. 300 mA permanently into the flash, you should do exactly that. That way people with a poor FLARM (there are by far too many of those) or people with no FLARM at all (there are too many of those also) get warned too.
However, most glider pilots do not suffer from such excess battery power. Unused battery capacity of 5 - 10 Ah is scarce.
In my DG I do not have such an opulence of energy, a constant loss of 300 mA throughout the flight cannot be tolerated, even as I buffer my batteries with solar panels.
So what's to be done ?
The FLARM is source to a data stream obeying the NMEA protocol, issuing bulks of data every second. One type of data record among those in the bulk are PFLAA records.
Each such PFLAA record contains information about one plane in the reception area. Up to 50 planes may be followed by the FLARM at any one time. Each PFLAA record holds information regarding relative position of its plane to the receiving plane (that is you), course, relative altitude, and the level of thread generated by this plane (0 = no alarm - up to - 3 = urgent), corresponding to the FLARM documentation (Level 1 - time to crash 19-25 sec, Level 2 - time to crash 14-18 sec, Level 3 - time to crash 6-8 sec).
Thus these data records provide the means to continuously construct and monitor the air traffic situation : 'situational awareness'.
They also contain information about ADS-B data and about FLARMs in stealth mode.