Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy an Openvario flight computer?
You can´t, you have to build it yourself. But sometimes you have the chance to buy one or at least some parts from another builder. Have a look at the Builders Blackboard.

Why shoud I build a flight computer myself?
There can be many reasons. Maybe you want a large, sunlight readable screen but don´t want to spend the value of an older club class glider. Maybe you want to fully understand how everything works, want to customize to your needs, or just like to build stuff.

What skills are required to build the Openvario flight computer?
Building the Openvario flight computer requires electronic, mechanical and computer skills. You need to solder SMD parts to PCBs, produce parts for the housing and load the required software. Considering all talents typically available in a gliding club you should be able to build one with a little help from some friends. You might want to team up with another builder near you.

How much will it cost to build the Openvario flight computer?
Well, this depends on a lot of factors. Can you build everything yourself as a hobby, or do you have to pay for somebody to do it? Do you build just one for yourself, or can you arrange for a group order? As a rough lower bound (but realistic!) estimate consider around 400€ for parts (including optional touchscreen and sensorboard).

What software can I use on the Openvario flight computer?
Basically you can use any software that works on the Cubieboard. Typical operating systems for the Cubieboard are Linux and Android, for use in a glider you will probably use XCSoar ( or LK8000. You can´t use SeeYou Mobile, Pocket Strepla or iGlide on Linux / Android.

How can I connect Flarm / Loggers / etc?
The glide computer offers four RJ45 sockets with power and data in an IGC compatible pinout. Each socket has an indiviual fuse in the power supply line. A FLARM or IGC logger can be connected with a any standard RJ45 cable. See more details here

Is this flight computer EASA / FAA certified?
No, it is not EASA or FAA certified. Note that this is exactly the same for all the fancy commercial electronic varios and flight computers you are probably used to.

Can I legally install it in my glider?
Ask this question to your airworthiness inspector. Can you legally install any other big brand (as well, non certified) flight computer? If yes, you should also be able to legally install the Openvario flight computer. If you are under EASA rules see CS-STAN, standard change CS-SC402a.

What exactly makes the Openvario Flight Computer “open”?
The Openvario Flight Computer isn't a product like other flight computers in the market. It's an opensource project, which means that you can take, use, distribute and modify all the documentation, and source code you find on these pages, as long as you do it under the terms of the respective license.

Is the Openvario Flight Computer an IGC certified logger?
No, due to the open nature of Openvario's Hard and Software, the Flight Computer (and any derivative thereof) cannot be certified by the IGC as a logger, which would require to store a hash key securely somewhere in the system. We don't include a crypto module, that would -by definition- contradict the principle of absolute openness which we want to hold up under all circumstances in this project.

Some of the technical data comes in proprietary formats. How exactly does this align with your statement of “absolute openness”?
Well, some of us do have a day time job that allows them to access non-free, professional software. This doesn't mean that you are required to use or buy this software. We make sure that there is at least one viable free alternative for accessing all files necessary to build the computer. For “DXF” files use qcad, for schematics (e.g. BRD files) help yourself with kicad, read PDFs use, uhm, your favourite pdf-reader. 3-D Models in various formats can be opened with FreeCad. The sensorboard was designed in Altium Designer, and we know of no open source solution able to work with them. However, Gerber files for having PCBs made are available, and a PDF shows schematics, both board layers and component placement. We would appreciate it and support anybody who wants to rebuild these files in an open format. Anyway, if you still think that there is something “closed”, despite our claim to keep this project absolutely free and open, bear with us, and let us know.

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