SteFly at Deutscher Segelfliegertag

SteFly at Deutscher Segelfliegertag

  • Posted by Stefan
  • On 17. November 2016

It was our first public appearence at the German gliding day at the 29th of October in Berlin. There was a huge afflux of people on our booth and we had interesting discussions and feedback of the OpenVario project. Some people asked how SteFly is involved in the OpenVario project. The following draft should visualise the connection between the different projects.


On top of the developement chain, there is XCSoar, a great OpenSource navigation software. XCSoar has proven to work perfectly for gliding navigation for free flights as well as for competition flights.  This is also documentet by more than 100.000 downloads on the Google Play Store. Because XCSoar is “only” a software which can be installed on consumer devices (smartphones, tablets, PNAs), the next logical step was an Open Hardware device with a perfectly readable display in bright sunlight and some sensors to build a full glide computer. The Akaflieg Graz launched the OpenVario project at the end of 2012, nearly at the same time as Stefan Langer started building a similar device with the same transflective display, but with an embedded computer module from Toradex. At the beginning of 2013 Toradex started an embedded design challenge for students in which Stefan Langer participated with the “SteFly gliding computer”. It was a more or less simple device: a panel mounted 7″ PixelQi display with XCSoar, which is controlled by a remote grip stick. One year later at the final submission, Stefan Langer won 10.000 USD for his project and was invited to present his developement at the Embedded World in Nuernberg on the Nvidia booth.


After this success, Stefan decided to join the OpenVario project, and he made his remote stick developements available for Lateron he adapted two new displays (5,7″ and 7″ by Chefree), constructed housings and other input devices. SteFly would like to help spreading OpenVario glide computers to people, who doesn´t have the knowledge and time to build their devices completely on their own, but would like to fly with it and perhaps have the intention to help developing (e.g. software) for this Open Source project.

7" Openvario

With a cheap DIY (Do It your Own) kit with soldered PCBs and all parts you need to complete the device, we try to get the right balancing between selfbuilding, time and price. The kit is pre-built, so you can finish your OpenVario glide computer in less than two hours. Preorder your OpenVario DIY kit now for 620€ (incl. VAT; inlc. sensor unit; excl. input device) and get in February 2017, just in time before the European gliding season!




Stu Larimore
Is there a dealer in the US? This looks very good.
    No, we are sorry. At the moment we only have direct marketing from Germany. In some cases, we can arrange to send an demonstration device e.g. for clubs. But this option is only available in Germany, in some cases within Europe.
Mirko Giusti
The GPS antenna is integrated into the system?
    No, the OpenVario has no integrated GPS antenna. You need to connect an external device like Flarm, logger or an other evario.
Robert Seccombe
Stefan, Your work is outstanding. As soon as I became aware of the existence of OpenVario my first thought was, would I be able to run the "Top Hat" version of XCSoar? I like very much the idea of your rotary module and was happy to know that it can be used in conjunction with your joystick. My personal preference for the placement of such a device would be along the left cockpit wall accessible without having to reach to the instrument panel; and in the form of two concentric knobs with a push button and the three function buttons located below the knobs at the 4 6 and 8 o'clock positions. Another question I have has to do with the configuration of the interfaces of your unit versus that of the one currently on the OpenVario website. It appears that you have used a different adapter board doing away with two of the RJ45 ports. I'm guessing that with your practical experience you determined that only two are really necessary; I am curious as to your reasoning behind this. Also, can the D-Sub 15 connector be of any use other than just power in? In reading through the Software First Steps section it occurred to me how handy it would be to have a USB port located on the instrument for easy memory stick access. Maybe you could make a recommendation how best something of that nature could be accomplished.
    Hello Robert, at the moment, the OpenVario community only supports XCSoar and LK8000 in an early state. Because everything is open source, you can implement Top Hat by yourselfe with the required Linux programming skills. The dual rotary device you mentioned is very easy to build on your own. I´ve already built one input device with the E37 encoder, but without extra buttons. A friend successfully installed it in his Std. Cirrus with a small 3D printed housing. We implemented short press (return), long press (menu) and double click (ESC) user inputs, to fully controle XCSoar with this device. On top of this, he is using a remote stick. This setup is a great and comfortable option for some gliders. But in my Std. Libelle there is not enough space around the left cockpit wall or seat shell. The new adapterboard is nice to have and in my opinion more professional for the installation, but at the end when it is built in the panel, both devices have the same functions. I didn´t have time to upload the design files up to now, but will publish them soon. For updating and data transfer from and to the OpenVario, I highly recommend to add an external USB port in the panel. That´s easy to implement, but it´s true that an integrated USB port in the front panel of the OV would be nice to have. Cheers, Stefan
Robert Seccombe
After having read more thoroughly through your Facebook I see where you answered the question Dec 28 as to the other uses of the D-Sub. Do I see an RJ45 on the end of the Cubieboard that is not normally accessible? I also saw your explanation on the use of the different adapter board. Also, I would like to know if for me to keep costs down, would the files to produce the enclosure and screen bezel be available for me to fabricate, while purchasing all of the other components from you? Thank you.
    Hi Robert, the RJ45 socket on the Cubieboard is an ethernet port and not capable to use as serial port. For some programming and updating tasks it would be nice to access. Perhaps in the next housings I will add this cutout. Yes, you can do this! Most of the files are already uploaded on my thingiverse profile: When you need something and don´t find it on the internet, you can send me a mail and I will provide you with the design data. Cheers, Stefan
Hi Stefan, I also have a Libelle. Could the open vario be separated into the screen (mounted on the instrument panel) with rest of the hardware mounted in the for example the base of the instrument panel, with the display connected by a longer cable? Many Thanks Paul
    Hi Paul, in general it is possible to use a longer LVDS cable and seperate the sreeen and the other electronics. But I don´t have a longer LVDS cable on stock and I don´t know where to get one. If you are interested, please write me an email. Best regards Stefan
Helmut Morsbach
Lieber Stefan, ich bin ein pensionierter aber passionierter Segelflieger, der zwischen 1952 und 1964 in Kapstadt (Fisantekraal) u.a. 5 Stunden in der "Minimoa" in der Tafelberg-Welle flog, bevor der Klub nach Worcester umzog. Mein Frend Mansell Willimas und ich haben dein Video über den Segelflug Worcester-Gordons Bay und zurück mit grossem Interesse gesehen. Mansell (lebt in Nord-Kaifornien) hat nun folgende Fragen dazu: Helmut, those scenes with the gliders flying just above the sea, almost same level as the road: that is from Hangklip to Kleinmond. I know it well, had a few (power aircraft) flights there and also by car. .... In one segment of the glider flight you can look east and see Kleinmond and beyond to the Bot River lagoon. SO, they were ridge soaring with south easter winds. The last bit of the video the glider is crossing over Steenbras reservoir, with Gordon's Bay on the left. As the video begins with air tow from Worcester it is a mystery how they got to the coast and we don't know where they landed do we? Also, in the scene where we look down and see another glider flying fast and low, above the waves, we have to presume that he has an engine because he is not going to find any lift, and there is no place to land. I don't suppose ditching in the sea was considered. All in all, a fascinating video but it raises many questions. I think the pilot(s) owe us an explanation. It is probable that the video we see is a composite of a number of different flights, but even so, where did they land? Can you try contacting them, or maybe ask someone at the Worcester club? I've played the video several times. Oh, if we had such machines in the Fisantekraut days! ----------------- Mit Segelfliegergruessen, Helmut (Morsbach)
    Hallo Helmut, das Video wurde an einem Tag aufgenommen und ist nur ein Zusammenschnitt aus diesem Tag. Wir haben uns von Worcester aus an den Victoria Peak schleppen lassen und haben erst einmal im Hangaufwind Höhe gewonnen. Anschließend sind wir ins Lee geflogen und haben eine Welle bis zur maximalen Luftraumhöhe (FL 85) genutzt, die auch weiter in den Süden gereicht hat. Im Endeffekt haben wir dann erst an der Küste wieder Höhe im Hangaufwind getankt, da wir durch die Luftraumeinschränkung tiefer fliegen mussten. Beide Segelflugzeuge hatten einen Turbo Motor, den wir im ganzen Flug aber nicht benutzt haben. Die Motoren sind auch nicht sehr zuverlässig und man sollte sich immer zusätzlich eine Außenlandemöglichkeit bereithalten. In unserem Fall war das ein Strand oder im schlimmsten Fall das Meer. Die Hänge wurden aber mit 60 km/h Wind vom offenen Meer angeblasen, was eine sehr hohe Zuverlässigkeit für Hangaufwind bietet. Zurück sind wir komplett im Hangwind und ohne Welle geflogen. Auch der Hangaufwind ging bei der Windstärke deutlich über die Grathöhe hinaus, weswegen wir entspannt an die nächsten Hänge fliegen konnten. In dem Flug sind wir dann noch einige 100 km am Hang an der "Front-Ridge" geflogen. Weitere interessante Videos dazu: Von einem anderen Tag, aber gleicher Flugweg wie der Rückflug: Beste Grüße Stefan

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