SoarPilot Basics


SoarPilot is intended as an aid to the pilot only. It should not be relied upon as the pilot’s sole means of navigation. As with all computer programs, the result is dependent on the data supplied. Great care must be taken in the setup of and data supplied to SoarPilot. However, once setup correctly SoarPilot has been found to be a very valuable tool to pilots of all levels from local flying to National championships.

Having a PDA in the cockpit adds a distraction. The pilot (that’s you!) must be very aware of this and care must be taken at all times to operate the software without sacrificing basic safety rules.
ALWAYS remember to keep a good lookout at all times !

Recommended Steps

It is a good idea to read the Introduction (if you have not done so already) to get an idea of what SoarPilot can do.

When you’ve completed all these steps, you can continue to get familiar with the Soaring Pilot program as described in the following section.

Become familiar with SoarPilot

Then, get SoarPilot connected up to a GPS or to a simulator program as below. It is - for safety reasons - highly recommended you become familiar with SoarPilot on the ground or as a passenger. This can be done by:

  • By replaying an IGC flight log into SoarPilot using a program like SeeYou
  • Flying in a dual glider, if possible on a cross country task. Dual flying can also be a lot of fun, and a good way to learn from other pilots.
  • Creating and “flying” a task using SoarPilot in your car (as a passenger), and in this way become familiar with the behaviour and sounds of SoarPilot.
  • Attaching your GPS in simulator mode (see your GPS manual)
  • Using tools like gpsfeed+ or GPSSIMUL (see Links page)
  • Page through the available menus, to see the displays and settings available.

See the Tip & Tricks section on a useful way to replay IGC files or use a NMEA simulator with SoarPilot without the need for 2 serial ports on your PC or 2 different PC’s.

Main Screens

There are 2 main screens used in-flight. They are

Final Glide Screen

The Final Glide Screen shows information on your altitude, course and speed, recent lift, the wind strength, and the target waypoint. Most importantly it gives you information on your arrival height at your target waypoint at various speeds, allowing you to choose the most appropriate speed to fly.

SoarPilot can use a single Goto waypoint selected on a GPS unit, or use it’s own database of waypoints. SoarPilot is much more powerful when using its own waypoint database. See the section on Loading and Saving Waypoints to find out where to find and how to load a waypoint database for your area.

Moving Map Screen

The Moving Map Screen shows a map centered on your current location. It can be configured to show the waypoints and airspace located within the map range 3), display similar information to the Final Glide screen. For the waypoints and airspace to be visible you need to load this data for the area in which you will be flying. See the section on Loading and Saving Data.

Using Lists in SoarPilot

The following lists used to display data in SoarPilot

Items are highlighted by tapping the required item, and all lists share the same buttons to scroll and highlight an item.

Using the buttons is easier than tapping the screen to select an item in-flight.

Button Function
Calendar Move one item up in the list. Moving to the previous page if required, but not past the start of the list
Phone Move one item down in the list. Moving to the next page if required, but not past the end of the list
Page-Down Move a page up in the list. Or to the last page if at the start of the list
Page-Up Move a page down in the list. Or to the first page if at the end of the list

How to Exit Soarpilot

You can not simply switch off your PDA using the power off button while SoarPilot is running. This is done on purpose to prevent accidental switch off during flight.

Tap on the Menu silk screen button, or the window title bar and select the Flight menu and select Exit SP.

You will be asked if you want to continue running SoarPilot.

You must tap the Exit button to exit Soarpilot.

Tapping the Continue button will return to the program.4)

1) which screen will show as default is configurable in latest versions
2) usually defaults are OK
3) The map can be zoomed in and out using the Page-Up and Page-Down keys
4) This is the default button when using the 5-Way Navigator
soarpilot/basics.txt · Last modified: 2008/01/30 12:06
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