The first time I flew with a GPS was in 2000. Originally I’d bought it for navigation, but
ultimately, the most important information delivered by the device was ground speed and
glide. Suddenly I understood how I moved through the air! This helped me tremendously in my
development to a cross country pilot. Even today, while free-flying, speed over ground and
glide are the two values I read from my instrument most often. I can judge altitude
visually, as far as necessary, climbs are indicated acoustically but to know about speed
and glide, I glance at the display every so often.
While talking with pilots in schools, at launches or in the LZ, every now and then I hear
about somebody who found themselves “suddenly” in a situation where they were no longer
able to advance into the wind with their glider. This is why to me, today, accurate wind
calculation has become an important safety feature, especially for pilots with minimal
Only few pilots are aware that the vario in their instrument is set up wrong for the
conditions they are currently flying in. In the fall or winter when thermals are weak, I
want to be informed about even the smallest climb so a sensitive vario with fast reaction
time is really important. In strong spring or summer conditions, this setting can be
distracting or even make me nervous. In these conditions I only want to be told about the
really strong climbs, to decide whether I turn in a thermal, or to continue on for
something better. To make choosing the right settings as easy as possible, we have
introduced preset vario profiles for weak, average and strong thermals. These profiles can
be adjusted individually by the pilot if desired.
The Element Speed combines all this in a compact easy-to-use device, and is therefore in my
opinion the perfect instrument for beginners and occasional pilots: It delivers exactly the
information they need to enjoy long and safe flights. No more, no less. Happy flying!