Primarily for general aviation discussion, but other aviation topics are also welcome.
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By dewidaniels
#1710879
This thread shows the strengths and weaknesses of FLARM.

FLARM was invented in 2004 as a means of close-in collision avoidance (not traffic awareness) for gliders, which often fly in close proximity to each other, especially during gliding competitions, but which fly at relatively low airspeeds (45-90 kts).

FLARM has a very large number of users within the gliding community in the UK and in mainland Europe. It provides very effective collision avoidance for gliders, giving a clear visual and aural alert of potential collision with a low false alarm rate, and without needing to spend time heads-down looking at a traffic display. FLARM is also very low power, which is an important consideration for gliders, which rely on batteries to provide electrical power. Naviter has recently introduced the Oudie 5 with integrated FLARM, so we can expect increasing numbers of paragliders to transmit FLARM.

FLARM has since been extended to become a traffic awareness system, first by the introduction of FLARM Radar in software such as SeeYou Mobile and dedicated traffic displays such as FlarmView, later with the introduction of the Open Glider Network (OGN) and websites such as https://live.glidernet.org, and most recently by the support for OGN rebroadcast (OGN-R) in PilotAware.

OGN-R is a very worthwhile development. It greatly increases the effective range of FLARM but (and it is a big but), both the FLARM-equipped aircraft and the PilotAware-equipped aircraft need to be in line of sight of an OGN-R ground station. This is not a problem in the flatlands of southern England, but is more of a problem in Wales and Scotland, where there are fewer OGN-R ground stations but also mountainous terrain, so that low-flying aircraft can be out of line of sight even when relatively close to a ground station.
Dave W, Smaragd, Stu B and 1 others liked this
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By gaznav
#1710963
Muzzlehatch wrote:
Seeing stuff 10s of miles away is useless in practice


Couldn't disagree more.

Took off of a few weeks ago, got in the air to see PAW/SD showing masses of gliders all along my planned route. Did an on the fly re route in SD to a route staying well clear and never saw a single glider with the Mk1.

Yes I could have followed my originally planned route and been warned when close, had my eyes out on stalks and no doubt a few uncomfortable moments. But knowing of them well in advance allowed for a far safer and less stressful reroute.



Dave W wrote:I take your point and agree with that value, but that's strategic flight planning more than tactical collision avoidance, which is what I meant.


Which you could do looking at “Spot the gliders” on OGN during the pre-flight planning :thumright:
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By Muzzlehatch
#1710968
Which you could do looking at “Spot the gliders” on OGN during the pre-flight planning


True this will tell you where they are when you are doing your pre-flight planning, not sometime later when you are in the air.
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By mooney75
#1711317
dewidaniels wrote:This thread shows the strengths and weaknesses of FLARM.

You (and others) are forgetting that most FLARM installations today are in powered aircraft and many of these use external antennas. I have a PowerFLARM with the AV-75 antennas and have above 10 km range without any issues.

FLARM is the standard for collision avoidance today. Even if more people would have ADS-B Out (which very much looks like won't happen, and not just because it would congest the 1090 MHz frequency), you still need a collision avoidance system, i.e. FLARM.
By Straight Level
#1711337
M57
Are you saying that you see gliders fitted with standard flarm at 10km?
I also have power flarm fitted and often don't see gliders until I'm on top of them.
I find Flarm equipment to be toy town quality at Garmin prices.
Flarm is a rip off an I hope that it never gets anywhere near to been mandated here in the UK.
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By mooney75
#1711345
Straight Level wrote:Are you saying that you see gliders fitted with standard flarm at 10km?

I see all kinds of aircraft with Flarm, not mostly gliders, depending on the area in which I'm flying. I don't know if it's the older classic flarm or PowerFlarm, don't think it's possible to see that. My range is between 10 and 15 km in all directions, thanks to the external antennas.
Straight Level wrote:I find Flarm equipment to be toy town quality at Garmin prices.

I have difficulty seeing how you can see it that way. What exactly do you mean by "toy town quality"? There are many different Flarm devices from different manufacturers, some better than others. There are probably some, especially the older ones, that were not really aviation quality. Flarm is also a standard, not a company, and cannot be compared to Garmin. You can compare Flarm to e.g. ADS-B. I have a PowerFLARM Core installed with an EASA approved minor change using external antennas. It doesn't get more professional than that. The newest FLARM device, AIR Traffic from AIR Avionics, uses the same hardware as their certified radios and transponders and comes with all certifications that you (don't) need:

https://www.air-avionics.com/?page_id=253
By Shoestring Flyer
#1711350
Straight Level wrote:I also have power flarm fitted and often don't see gliders until I'm on top of them.
I find Flarm equipment to be toy town quality at Garmin prices.
Flarm is a rip off an I hope that it never gets anywhere near to been mandated here in the UK.


As someone who is still weighing up the pro's and cons of EC systems the only thing that has held me back to date has been the price/installation cost of PowerFlarmCore.
So your thoughts that it is a 'toy town' product make it interesting quite why you say that. Can you please provide more info/thoughts etc please?
Is this PowerFlarm portable?...or PoweFlarmCore? Do you have external top and bottom antenna's because as mooney75 points out it seems this is a necessary requirement to get it working properly?
By dewidaniels
#1711356
Straight Level wrote:I find Flarm equipment to be toy town quality at Garmin prices.


Why do you say that? My FLARM F5 is 14 years old and still works perfectly. It's still supported with free firmware updates from FLARM, with no annual subscription fee to pay. What's toy town about that?
mooney75 liked this
By Straight Level
#1711481
Hi
I have Flarm , paw and hopefully adsb next week after the jaloppies annual thanks to the latest CS-STAN.
I have powerflarm portable, price nearly £2k .
The power connector is a 2.1 dc jack, about as secure and as strong as a tooth pick.
The external gps antenna has a tiny mmcx connector.
The flimsy plastic battery housing cover clips on as easily as it falls off.
A low resolution display the size not much bigger than a postage stamp.
A decent RJ45 connector that sends flarm data to a Pilot Aware.

When you look at the Flarms quality of engineering compared to say a transponder / nav or com unit, (Trig ty96 for example) it's toy town / christmas cracker quality in comparison, for very similar money.
IMHO, Farm is way over priced for what it is.
SL
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By mooney75
#1711495
Straight Level wrote:Hi
I have Flarm , paw and hopefully adsb next week after the jaloppies annual thanks to the latest CS-STAN.
I have powerflarm portable, price nearly £2k .
The power connector is a 2.1 dc jack, about as secure and as strong as a tooth pick.
The external gps antenna has a tiny mmcx connector.
The flimsy plastic battery housing cover clips on as easily as it falls off.
A low resolution display the size not much bigger than a postage stamp.
A decent RJ45 connector that sends flarm data to a Pilot Aware.

When you look at the Flarms quality of engineering compared to say a transponder / nav or com unit, (Trig ty96 for example) it's toy town / christmas cracker quality in comparison, for very similar money.
IMHO, Farm is way over priced for what it is.
SL

Aha, so when you say 'Flarm' you actually mean 'PowerFLARM Portable'. That one must be like 15 years old by now. I only saw it once in a helicopter. I don't believe many people are using that particular model. Most pilots probably wouldn't want something as important as a collision avoidance system to be portable in the first place.
By PaulisHome
#1711497
mooney75 wrote:
dewidaniels wrote:This thread shows the strengths and weaknesses of FLARM.

You (and others) are forgetting that most FLARM installations today are in powered aircraft.... .


I don't think that's even close to true.

For evidence, look at the OGN tracking system. Powered aircraft are easily distinguished from gliders, and there are very few on there that are Flarm based rather than PilotAware, which are also shown.

The exception are the RAF Tutors, but there aren't that many of them.

Paul
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