If you have never made a first flight, it is normal not to understand what the noise is about. However, if you watch the paragliders from the take-off, you can hear it in the distance…

Here is a video preview:

So can you hear it?

The gossips at the take off have a lot of imagination about this sound. No, it’s not a glider detector that beeps when you fly too close to each other. Nor is it an alarm that warns the pilot to take a break after flying too long! Nor will it beep to warn of lack of oxygen if you climb too high!

This is the sound of a variometer, the on-board instrument of many pilots.

Similar to aviation, the pilot equips himself in order to be more efficient and to have reference points in flight. The variometer can be equipped with a screen that will show the rate of climb and descent of the glider. The rate of an instrument generally varies from -5 m/s to +10 m/s.

With or without a screen, the variometer makes noise to indicate this information without the pilot having to look at it.

Its main use is to help us optimise the search for thermals and validate our sensations, it “beeps” at us if it goes up and we can thus “centre” the thermal (read the article “How does a paraglider stay in the air?“).

In addition to indicating the rate of climb, most instruments also show the altitude at which we are flying (alti-variometer). There is also a gps (alti-vario-gps), G-meter, and many other options (airspace display, world topography, etc…) for the more experienced and competition-oriented pilot.

syride sysnav
Stodeus vario bip bip
syride sys evolution

Syride Sys’Nav

Stodeus Vario Solaire

Syride Sys’Evolution

Now you know what that noise is that you can hear during your prestige flight or at a take-off.

However, if this bothers you during the flight and you wish to be as quiet as possible, don’t hesitate to ask the pilot to turn the sound down or off!

See you soon in the air!

Lorenza

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