Nationals 2019

Flarm & instrument configuration

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As you will know from reading the local rules and email updates, we are operating a trial at the request of the BGA to mandate use of Flarm and the selection of ‘stealth mode’ (formerly ‘privacy mode’). This trial follows feedback from competitors at the 2018 Club Class Nationals. The aim is to reduce the likelihood of leeching and gaggle flying by reducing the visibility of gliders that are not in close proximity, whilst maintaining the safety benefits of proximity alerts and local situational awareness.

This local rule is complemented by new national rules on the use of communications technology. These rules prohibit communications with ground crew for anything other than safety messages (to prevent the passing of competitors’ position information) and also prohibits the use of internet-based technology in the cockpit. This means that the only data link you are allowed to use in-flight is from your glider’s Flarm receiver.

We hope that competitors will appreciate and follow the spirit of these rule changes, which aim to ensure that pilot skill is the primary measure of success in a gliding competition. This trial will be watched closely by the BGA – and possibly the IGC which is also looking to reduce the increasing part that Flarm plays in competitive gliding.

Note that whilst we expect voluntary compliance, we may, at any time, choose to inspect competitors’ aircraft to ensure compliance with these rules, including requesting an IGC trace from the Flarm or other instrumentation units to determine their settings, if required.

Technical information

All gliders competing in the Club Class Nationals this year are to have a Flarm receiver with the following settings:

  • Stealth mode (PRIV) – ON / 1 – this reduces your visibility to gliders that are not in close proximity.
  • No Track mode (NOTRACK) – OFF / 0 – this ensures that ground tracking for spectating and safety will continue to work.
  • The Flarm unit’s ID must be static, i.e. the option of a revolving ID that changes daily is not permitted.
  • The Flarm unit’s ID must be declared on your competition registration form. If you have defined an ICAO address as your Flarm ID, then this should be declared on your registration form.

Flarm config tool

Flarm’s configuration tool can be used to generate the correct configuration – please click here. An illustration of the required settings is shown below.

If any competitor requires assistance to achieve these settings within their Flarm units, help will be available at Aston Down on Friday 24th. You can also get in touch with any questions here.

Note that the old ‘privacy’ mode is replaced with ‘stealth’ mode, which has been improved by the Flarm team following feedback from previous trials. Just to confuse everybody, the config setting is still ‘PRIV’ for stealth mode.

LX Flarm Config Tool

Flarm Stealth mode information

Summary of stealth mode behaviour from the Flarm system release notes:

Feedback

As always, we value your feedback, so please let us know your thoughts on this trial during and after the competition. You’re also welcome to get in touch with the BGA Competitions & Awards Committee directly with your feedback.

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