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What Is It

Flarm BasicThe FLARM collision avoidance system was developed for glider pilots, by glider pilots. FLARM warns FLARM-equipped pilots of impending collisions plus gives the location of non-threatening nearby FLARM-equipped gliders. It only works if both gliders have FLARMs. FLARM knows about the unique flight characteristics of gliders, and stays quiet unless there is a real hazard.

There are three versions of the FLARM that are mentioned on these pages.  The Classic FLARM and the two new PowerFLARM versions under development for the US market.  A comparison of the features for all three devices can be viewed here.

The Classic FLARM, shown at right, is a small box including a GPS, a low power VHF transmitter/receiver for exchanging flight path information between gliders, an onboard computer for analyzing your flight path and those of gliders within a 4 km radius, and an interface for displaying alerts. FLARM also includes a flight recorder (some models are IGC approved up to and including the three Diamonds).  Click this link to learn more about the Classic FLARM features.

Classic FLARM is widely used around the world, including most countries in Europe, Australia, South Africa, Israel.  Over 14,000 FLARM Classic and compatible devices by licensed manufacturers have been installed in gliders, motorgliders, towplanes but also rescue and air force helicopters and hanggliders. However, Classic FLARM systems do not meet US FCC requirements and they should not be used in the US or Canada. 

PowerFlarm Front View.jpgThe new PowerFLARM unit will be available shortly in Europe.  In the US, the PowerFLARM will be made available in two versions, the system designed for mounting on top of an instrument panel (shown to the left), and a version without the display and knob to be mounted behind the panel.  The addition of the "behind the panel" version is a new development in the PowerFLARM product line and recognizes the need for a cleaner, permanent mount desired by most private glider owners.  Both US PowerFLARM versions will be available in April 2011 and will be FCC approved for use in the US.  Both PowerFLARM  products implement all the capabilities of the "classic" FLARM (FLARM-to-FLARM communication) and additionally can detect nearby aircraft equipped with ADS-B systems or Mode C or S transponders.  PowerFLARM is based on a more powerful processor and a fully redesigned and higher range radio transceiver, but remains fully compatible to "Classic" FLARM.  

PowerFLARM combines

  • The FLARM collision-avoidance system
  • An 1090-ADS-B receiver
  • A transponder detector
  • An IGC certified logger suitable for badges, contests, and OLC
  • A serial output, which can provide traffic enriched GPS data for a flight computer, PDA or transponder.

The PowerFLARM shown above is a single small unit that can run on either internal "AA" batteries or from external 12V aircraft power.  The "behind the panel" PowerFLARM version will not have the "AA"battery feature; however, all other features are the same.  The "behind the panel" unit allows for direct connection with various flight computers, e.g. the ClearNav, SN-10, or LX-8000; and, several External Displays are available as well.  Technical specifications can found be here.

PowerFLARM provides a comprehensive collision-avoidance system. It understands the flight characteristics of gliders and includes warnings for potential collisions with aircraft that have mode C or S transponders or 1090ES ADS-B-Out systems.

PowerFLARM is not an ADS-B transmitter nor a transponder.  If you want FAA Air Traffic Controllers and commercial aircraft (jets) pilots and their TCAS collision-avoidance systems to see you, you should couple PowerFLARM with a Mode S transponder with 1090ES (Mode C works but is no longer recommended).

Click here to read about what it does ...

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