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Total Energy – Part 1: Exchange of Energy between a Glider and the Atmosphere

François Ragot


The Total Energy variometer of a glider takes into account the dynamic energy exchanges with the atmosphere. Unfortunately glider pilots take them erroneously as resulting from an effective vertical speed of the air.  Furthermore the present day TE variometers measure the speed, and accordingly the kinetic energy of the gliders, in relation to the surrounding air, and not in relation to a constant speed inertial referential as they should do. Consequently, their indications of dynamic energy exchanges are gathered together and delayed.  As a result, both effects mislead the accurate information necessary for an optimal location of thermals.  Using modern gyrolasers, accelerometers and GPS techniques, it is now affordable to improve our TE variometers.


Aerodynamics, Design

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