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Is FLARM helpful?

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Old December 3rd 15, 04:18 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Is FLARM helpful?

On Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 2:51:32 AM UTC-8, XC wrote:
On Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 2:12:05 AM UTC-5, jfitch wrote:
On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 8:01:51 PM UTC-8, John Cochrane wrote:
Can't any technology that preserves the integrity of our sport while enhancing collision avoidance via FLARM also be applied to ADS-B signals? It would have the added benefit of painting non-contest aircraft further away since they are tagged under a different category.


The idea that seeing gliders a few kilometers away via flarm destroys the "integrity of our sport" seems a little far-fetched. Certainly it is not an idea universally held.

The echo of how GPS would do the same thing is hard to ignore. Heck, apparently when Kronfeld put in the first variometer, there was complaining that pilots would lose their seat of the pants skills and they'd all fly around staring at the little pellets all day long.

John Cochrane BB

It seems that we have a solution to a technology problem with no objective evidence of its actual existence, being addressed against the manufacturer's recommendations, supported by far less than a majority of the pilots using it, which is likely to be obsolete in less than 5 years. Did I miss anything?

Politely, yes you have missed a few facts in there. I and others have seen a competitor use FLARM to track a talented competitor out the gate, follow him half way around the course, jump to another, better thermal solely based on information on the FLARM display and win the day. This was a short task so that was all it took.

Others in Europe thought this FLARM following was not worthy of our esteem. It was quite out of control at the World Championships. I am not sure if the specs came from outside FLARM or were internal but the engineers put a team together to address this issue. Somebody thought a lot about this problem and developed a solution.

Know this type of flying was happening, we had a national contest using the available stealth feature of FLARM. Collision avoidance warnings were found to be quite satisfactory in this contest mode. There were a few who had trouble configuring initially but at the end of the event pilot satisfaction was close to 100%. I don't know of anyone who disliked actually using it..

I still believe the competition mode can be implemented just as well or better with ADS-B technology.

Those in this forum who are strongly opposed to FLARM stealth mode are those who have not tried it. I suggest we have a few more contests with FLARM to allow others to gain experience with it. With all this debate and heightened awareness, plus some good tasking, plus the warnings provided by mandatory FLARM at Nephi I am sure will be a very safe contest.


I'd like to see some data. We have anecdotes that this type of flying occurs and that it materially affects the scores. We have many more anecdotes about alien abduction, but not everyone accepts it as fact. The only data I have seen has been put forth by Andy, and it seems to disprove the stealth position. Surely if the practice is that widespread and to such great effect, someone can put produce evidence - not just anecdotes - for their case. Regardless of how it is spun, only 30% of pilots in the SSA poll favored mandatory stealth (20% in regionals), while 40% said non-stealth Flarm enhances enjoyment and only 24% said it hinders. There is some data, and it can hardly be spun as popular support. I believe the chances of getting the FAA to hobble ADS-B for the sake of a few glider pilots is vanishingly small.

So again:

No objective evidence of a problem has been given.
Manufacturer recommends against it.
No popular pilot support in the SSA poll.
Obsolete by ADS-B in a few years.

Why are we doing it?
Old December 3rd 15, 04:24 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tango Eight
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Default Is FLARM helpful?

On Wednesday, December 2, 2015 at 10:19:12 PM UTC-5, XC wrote:

Can't any technology that preserves the integrity of our sport while enhancing collision avoidance via FLARM also be applied to ADS-B signals?

Infeasible on open system. Get ready for a lot more data in the cockpit.

I'm not cheering, just observing. My advice to the RC: deal with the inevitable. Anything you can do on a phone is in the competition cockpit right now whether you want it or not. That includes ADS-B in, weather, private communication, tracking, AHRS. The chief limitation now is communication with the rest of the world. That's only going to become more reliable, ubiquitous, inexpensive.

Mandating stealth mode for comps may be feasible and enforceable and even have some tactical impact for this year and next. In five years time it will be as pointless as trying to ban GPS.


Evan Ludeman / T8
Old December 3rd 15, 04:38 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
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Default Is FLARM helpful?

As Andy says. We've been doing a lot of buddy flying and XC mentoring utilizing Flarm. Works very well for this purpose.


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