Eastern Sailplane Announces Retirement as U.S. Schleicher Representative

After more than 30 years, John Murray, the U.S. Schleicher representative based in Waynesville, Ohio, has decided to spend time on other personal pursuits. "Linda and I have been committed to Schleicher and promoting soaring as a profession and a passion. But it's time now to pursue other things besides the day-to-day business of being a representative," Murray explains.

"I approach this with great anticipation for the next stage of my life. And, I have huge doubts that I'm doing the right thing. Then I look again and realize it is the right thing and the right time," Murray says." I deeply thank all of you who have supported me so loyally all these years. It has been a wonderful ride."

Effective June 6, 2015, Eastern Sailplane will begin the transfer of support inventory to Rex Mayes at Williams Soaring in Williams, Calif. Rex and Noelle are the next Schleicher dealers representing the U.S. As such, Williams Soaring will handle sales, service and parts for Schleicher. Contact Williams Soaring at 2668 Husted Road, Williams, CA 95987; Phone 530-473-5600; Fax 530-473-5315; Email info@williamssoaring.com.

Says Murray, "I wish them and Schleicher nothing but continued success. They are certainly on a roll at the moment with the best trainer, 18/15 meter, 20 meter two place, 18/21 meter self launch and open two place. Their product line is remarkable at present. I hope that continues."

Murray will not quite float away as Eastern Sailplane will continue its FAA repair station. "As an active repair facility I will maintain spares stock as necessary to support repair activity. I'm looking forward to maintaining many of the friendships I made over the past 30-plus years. I'm very grateful for those many years of support."

John Murray, Eastern Sailplane

"If you have not updated your in flight computer system for a while, NOW is the time!"

From John Murray (LX).

It has been two years now since I first flew the ClearNav when Chip Garner had to leave a contest unexpectedly and sort of handed me a pile of very beta looking hardware and said "Good Luck. Please let us know what you think". Amazingly with no manual or printed words or Chip present, I started to figure it out while also winning New Castle that year. Since then there have been about 6 upgrades in software and three complete hardware revisions. Neilsen Kellerman (NK) is very serious about bringing out a serious soaring instrument and has expended tremendous resources to improve this product. There are many times I would have walked away saying "better is the enemy of good enough" but they have been brutal at taking a design which is really quite good and improving it further at great effort and cost. My hat is off to these guys. I think they will be deeply involved in US Soaring for many years to come. Not only are they supporting CN equipment but they have hired Gary Kammerer away from Cambridge (About 10 years experience with CAI all the way back to Vermont days) and he is supporting L-NAV and M-20/25 GPS which CAI has ceased doing. Neilsen Kellerman IS A CLASS ACT! They deserve our support.

The Difference
So what is so cool about a ClearNav to make you want to upgrade from a PDA?

  • The screen! The 3.5" X 4.5" screen is huge and really clear (hence the name). It is easy to read in all lighting and temperature conditions. The sun cannot wash out the screen making it unreadable. The temperature tolerance of Clear Nav is just way better than any PDA. The contrast stays clear, the color stays crisp and the screen never "blacks out" due to heat. What a concept- it simply works in the environment for which it was designed!
*It is easy to use. The touch screen had to go as it added a layer of plastic to see through, which reduces both screen clarity and brightness. The Clear Nav is controlled with a remote controller. This works fine but the remote can also be added with improved access with an inexpensive ($325.00 see below) stick mounted controller from Eastern Sailplane. With the remote, I felt the control was as good as or better than the touch screen PDA's. With the Eastern Sailplane stick controller it is much better. Most of your time is spent on the main screen. A large color moving map, the Amoeba glide calculator, wind direction display, average climb, Mc , Airport info, runway relative to glider, Special use airspace, and glide solution are all right there. Most of the adjustments necessary are simply scale changes. Once again, very simple and straight forward. The latest task screens also show how far into at TAT turn point area you should go. This I found is a very interesting new feature that I use a lot. Note the Red and Purple circles, which we call the Amoeba. You will pass the read circle @ 500 feet and be on the ground at the purple circle. Note the turn point between the two lines, you will get to that point with about 400 feet of altitude.
The Amoeba 
Note Red and Purple lines 

So what is "hidden"? Simply, it is everything you would need for flight setup and ground set up. That is also how the menus are presented. One very easily found "press Menu!" for things you need in flight. List of points, Mc, Bugs, water, Wind, map orientation, back light task issues map and screen options... The second menu is for things probably done on the ground. It is also simple. Press Menu then enter the first menu box "setup menu" this drops you into things like -pilot names, polar, special use airspace, Task directory, way points, flight recorder, tools. The point is that it makes a lot of sense. 1- seldom do you need to change from main screen while flying. 2- Press "menu" and you have the things you need once in a while while flying. Like bugs, water or find a point not on the screen on a complete alphabetic or dist list. 3- Press menu and then locate setup icon and you go to things usually done on the ground. (like enter polar or change databases.) It does make sense, at least to me!

What have they done to improve the ClearNav over a PDA.?

  • You can always see it. It is large and clear.
  • It is pretty easy to use.

USB Panel Mount
  • Database management is a lot easier. The memory is almost unlimited for our purposes. This means for the "file management challenged" you have someone help you once a year. Load all the databases you might need all year. Then when you arrive anywhere, it is about 2 min to find SUA's and a list for the glider port you are at. If I can do it you can do it! Also using a memory stick is really easy. If you do not understand it, have some one help you at their computer, then just plug in the memory stick to a USB port. turn on the computer, down load is automatic. Much easier than the old days.
  • Software updates. Very simple to get from NK website and simply plug into the USB port. Again, If I can do you can also.
  • Did I mention that you can stop thinking about your computer all the time? When you leave the gliderport simply turn off the computer. It will be just as you left it six months later. You do not have to manage PDA batteries at home. In my case I will not have to drive back home to get the PDA because I forgot it. This just works. More stuff they have done well. Task management and flight statistics. NK understands the Area tasks we fly in the US and include these on the screen. (ClearNav suggests turning on an arc displayed on the screen as optimum for time and distance on an area task. Very simple and intuitive)

* Task entry has been in a state of constant upgrade all last season. It is getting really good. This area will probably improve some more, but it is definitely ready for prime time. Note the blue arc in the picture is not at the turn point. The computer is automatically telling the pilot to go deeper into the circle to anywhere on the blue arc (lower left of image) to optimize the time on course.
Blue "Optimized" Arc 

More philosophy
The Clear Nav is not a PDA on steroids. NK realized early that just producing a large PDA with identical software from PDA's would not be worth the money or exploit the new technology in the newly available screens. If you are thinking about a large screen instrument which uses PDA software, The ClearNav is way beyond this approach. Everything in the CN project is aimed at being the best on the market. I feel they got there.

Mounting options
The ClearNav can be mounted in a number of ways. Behind the panel, on the panel or on a RAM mount. Each of these has it's advantages.

The Tunnel Mount : If you have all small inst. and a new panel I suggest an in panel mounting. There is Big news here! Last fall a customer developed a "tunnel" mount for his ClearNav which allowed panel mounting in a tiny panel (Dianna) It sets back the installation of the ClearNav about 1.6 in. behind the panel so that space is saved by allowing small Winter instrument to "underlap" the ClearNav. More important to most of us is that it is a drop dead beautiful installation! Even if the recess in not necessary for space, It just looks great! I used the first one in my ship and really like the results. See the picture of my new panel. We call it the "tunnel mount" Not only does the recessed mounting display the ClearNav beautifully, it also provides shade which seems to allow for the lowest back light setting which has a positive effect on current draw.

The RAM Mount : Here is an example of the RAM mount. It can be used in cockpit layouts where no space is available for any other instrumentation. This configuration also allows you to move the display in the tilt and up-and-down planes.

The On-Panel Mount : The on panel mount is just that. The ClearNav is simply mounted on the front of panel. This is a very simple way of mounting. it also allows the ClearNav to overlap instruments to save space. Note the Air Speed Indicator (ASI) in the picture is partially underneath the ClearNav which saves mounting space.

The Updated Eastern Sailplane Stick Controller for ClearNav

Eastern Sailplane has developed with fellow club member Joe Simmers, (ASW-27 owner) a better stick grip controller for ClearNAV. The goal was to keep it in the $325 price point, but present a better looking and more durable controller, with the same excellent ergonomics as the earlier design . The side benefit is easier installation. before, we had to shorten the stick. That is no longer necessary. We made and tested some aluminum prototypes They were very comfortable to the hand and the controller pad was very easily accessed. We think we will switch to black Delrin (a hard plastic) as the color is deeper than anodizing so scratching is not an issue. Check this out. It is very cool!

  • Want more? Then view the NK ClearNav's FAQ's homepage here

You can email me at john@easternsailplane.com or call the shop at 513.897.5667. I will be waiting to hear from you.

John Murray