Variometers, or varios, are electronic devices that help balloonists with many aspects of their flights:
First of all, varios augment a pilot’s senses for something we humans are ill equipped to detect: vertical movement. By indicating vertical speed, both optically and acoustically, the vario tells the pilot whether he is climbing or sinking, and how fast. Our varios do this with incredible precision, allowing balloon pilots to use their scarce resources (gas and ballast) in the most economical way possible. This way we help them fly longer, and safer.
Knowing the exact altitude is also crucial to balloonists. They need it to stay within permitted airspace, and to provide correct information when communicating with airspace control. They also need it to build their mental image of the different layers in the air, with their different wind speeds and directions.
Another aspect that adds to safety is the wireless envelope temperature transmission. Knowing the temperature at the top of the balloon helps pilots stay within the safe zone, and extends their equipment lifetime.
Modern balloon varios also show speed and flight direction, they record the flight and allow a detailed post-flight analysis.
Flytec Balloon varios
FAI Balloon Competition Logger
Volirium varios for paragliding and hang-gliding
In addition to the above, we are also the makers of the Volirium varios for paragliding and hang-gliding.