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Mechanical Vario



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 23rd 07, 06:25 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Jeff Runciman
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Posts: 11
Default Mechanical Vario

This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.

Would love to hear what people have in their panel.

Jeff



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  #2  
Old September 23rd 07, 07:19 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bob Whelan[_2_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 27
Default Mechanical Vario

Jeff Runciman wrote:
This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.


Apparently I feel a need to start a religious war...

Electron movement can cease (open circuit, low battery, component
failure), become too energetic (short), pneumatics can fail (blockage,
leak). Everything has a life.

Which failure modes have you encountered most often? Which have you
heard people complain about most frequently? Have you ever heard of a
mechanical vario *suddenly* dying from an internal (i.e. non-pneumatic)
cause? Do you feel comfortable with all your panel eggs in an
electronic basket? How much thought to true redundancy have you given?

Your answers to questions as these may clarify your views.

Any approach is a double-edged sword, and there will be some who
(rightly) point out that frequency of failure is somewhat related to
frequency of use...and these days (both discrete-component based and
IC-basd) electrics are ubiquitous in sailplanes, and thus a
frequency-of-failure based assessment is to some extent invalid. That
noted, when I got into soaring, electric varios were still a newfangled
item, yet despite the relatively low frequency of them in panels, there
seemed to me to be an inordinate frequency of complaints about electric
(radio, cario) failures. IMHO, that's still true today, probably
because electric systems a a) ubiquitous, b) seemingly simple and
relatively foolproof for any basically-educated-hack to implement, but
c) are in fact complex (chemically, physically, electronically,
conceptually).

Each of my personally-owned sailplanes when purchased had real
electrical systems in them, including the one I've flown since 1981.
Eventually its radio died, then its (uncompensated, used only for audio)
Ball electric vario. Today I use a handheld radio, and one day I hope
to remember to borrow my wife's Malletec for its audio. Only one person
ever has criticized my thermal etiquette (his experienced passenger
later privately told me he disagreed with the criticism), and my fun
meter has never felt seriously handicapped by the absence of electronic
input. My Sage continues to work perfectly, accompanied by the usual
A/S, (sticky) altimeter, and (little-used) whiskey compass. There are
at least three naked instrument holes in the panel.

Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur.

Regards,
Bob - a K.I.S.S. fan - Whelan
  #3  
Old September 23rd 07, 07:50 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Bill Daniels
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Posts: 687
Default Mechanical Vario


"Jeff Runciman" wrote in message
...
This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.

Would love to hear what people have in their panel.

Jeff


I think most people would agree that a backup vario is needed. They would
disagree whether the backup should be mechanical or electronic. I chose a
Borgelt B40 electronic vario as a backup since it has an internal backup
battery, audio and averager.

As to whether electronic or mechanical varios are more reliable, I have 4
varios in my "Cabinet of Ancient Instruments". Three are mechanical and one
is electronic. All still work except that the mechanical instruments all
indicate +1 Kt. due to the radium paint on the needles becoming lighter with
age.

Any technology can fail but happily, failures are very rare in today's
instruments.

Bill Daniels


  #4  
Old September 23rd 07, 08:06 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Martin Gregorie[_1_]
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Posts: 276
Default Mechanical Vario

Jeff Runciman wrote:
This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.

Would love to hear what people have in their panel.

What's already on your panel?

I have an SDI C4 with a Borgelt B.40 as backup (it has a 9v battery as
emergency power). I initially had a PZL mechanical as backup, but Mike
Borgelt recommends that you don't mix capacity (flow rate) instruments
with pressure sensing instruments on the same TE probe. The full story
is he

http://www.borgeltinstruments.com/in...stallation.pdf

on page 3 under "Pneumatic". Consequently I's just decided to swap the
PZL for a pressure sensing instrument when a used B.40 became available.
I'm very pleased with it. Its easy to read, has a fast response, and
complements the C4 very nicely. The B.40 is excellent for finding lift
while the C4 is very good for centering up thermals and for
inter-thermal cruise.


--
[email protected] | Martin Gregorie
gregorie. | Essex, UK
org |
  #5  
Old September 23rd 07, 09:41 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Brian[_1_]
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 363
Default Mechanical Vario

After flying most of an afternoon on just the Mechanical, after my
electric failed, I purchased a B40. I really like having the Audio on
my Backup Vario.

Brian
CFIIG/ASEL
HP16T N16VP

  #6  
Old September 23rd 07, 11:26 PM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Dan G
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Posts: 245
Default Mechanical Vario

On Sep 23, 6:25 pm, Jeff Runciman
wrote:
Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel?


Another way of asking the question could be "who has ever had their
primary vario fail?"

If my primary (electric audio) vario failed it most likely be because
of a general power failure, which would have also have left me without
radio, GPS and logger. If I did want to use a mechanical vario, I'd
have to go "heads down", which is something I just won't do. I'd fly
home via the seat of my pants.

So, no mechanical vario here.

I did once have a battery go flat on me as the previous pilots of this
club aircraft had not put the battery on charge and I'd not checked
the voltage during the DI - I learnt a lesson there. On another
occasion with another club aircraft the electric vario had broken but
it took a long time for it to be fixed and people were still getting
it out - I turned down flying it. Not interested in thermalling while
looking at a dial.


Dan

  #7  
Old September 24th 07, 01:04 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Tony Verhulst
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 193
Default Mechanical Vario

Jeff Runciman wrote:
This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.


Just today, The vario indicator of my Cambridge 302 started pointinng
every which way except what was really happening (just after I told some
one how reliable it's been for the last 5 years :-) ), the audio worked
just fine. It sure was nice to have my Winter mechanical - although a
good electronic vario would have sufficed as well.

Tony V
  #8  
Old September 24th 07, 07:04 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
ContestID67
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Posts: 232
Default Mechanical Vario

I agree that having two varios is a must. 1) Electronic/electric/
audio as audio is invaluable. 2) Mechanical because it just won't
fail.

A side benefit is that my Cambridge 302 electronic vario is small
2-1/2" while my Mechanical is large 3-1/4". Thus I find myself
glancing at my large mechanical as it is easier to read but listen to
my electronic vario as it is easier to listen to ;-)

Best of both worlds.

- John "67R" DeRosa


  #9  
Old September 24th 07, 07:34 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Roger Worden
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 60
Default Mechanical Vario

Just recently I experienced a low battery situation which affected the
electronic vario in my club ship. The vario did not just fail, it started
giving me unreasonable readings. Eventually I figured it out when the needle
started swinging wildly - I knew the battery was getting low but it took a
few minutes to recognize the wierd behavior. The ship did not have a backup
vario installed, but I had an electronic micro-vario clipped to my hat.
DEFINITELY have a backup of some sort if you're going cross-country... as
others said, the choice of type is up to you.

Roger

"Bob Whelan" wrote in message
...
Jeff Runciman wrote:
This question was posted earlier but I was hoping for
a few more responses.

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.


Apparently I feel a need to start a religious war...

Electron movement can cease (open circuit, low battery, component
failure), become too energetic (short), pneumatics can fail (blockage,
leak). Everything has a life.

Which failure modes have you encountered most often? Which have you heard
people complain about most frequently? Have you ever heard of a
mechanical vario *suddenly* dying from an internal (i.e. non-pneumatic)
cause? Do you feel comfortable with all your panel eggs in an electronic
basket? How much thought to true redundancy have you given?

Your answers to questions as these may clarify your views.

Any approach is a double-edged sword, and there will be some who (rightly)
point out that frequency of failure is somewhat related to frequency of
use...and these days (both discrete-component based and IC-basd) electrics
are ubiquitous in sailplanes, and thus a frequency-of-failure based
assessment is to some extent invalid. That noted, when I got into
soaring, electric varios were still a newfangled item, yet despite the
relatively low frequency of them in panels, there seemed to me to be an
inordinate frequency of complaints about electric (radio, cario) failures.
IMHO, that's still true today, probably because electric systems a a)
ubiquitous, b) seemingly simple and relatively foolproof for any
basically-educated-hack to implement, but c) are in fact complex
(chemically, physically, electronically, conceptually).

Each of my personally-owned sailplanes when purchased had real electrical
systems in them, including the one I've flown since 1981. Eventually its
radio died, then its (uncompensated, used only for audio) Ball electric
vario. Today I use a handheld radio, and one day I hope to remember to
borrow my wife's Malletec for its audio. Only one person ever has
criticized my thermal etiquette (his experienced passenger later privately
told me he disagreed with the criticism), and my fun meter has never felt
seriously handicapped by the absence of electronic input. My Sage
continues to work perfectly, accompanied by the usual A/S, (sticky)
altimeter, and (little-used) whiskey compass. There are at least three
naked instrument holes in the panel.

Sometimes I feel like a dinosaur.

Regards,
Bob - a K.I.S.S. fan - Whelan



  #10  
Old September 24th 07, 08:53 AM posted to rec.aviation.soaring
Jose Jimenez
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 19
Default Mechanical Vario

Jeff Runciman schrieb:

Do I put a mechanical vario or do I save space on the
panel.


Considering that the Bohli vario is the only truly accurate vario, I
woldn't want to fly without one.
 




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