Scott Penrose


Scott is an expert software developer with over 30 years experience, specialising in education, automation and remote data.

Altair Pro Glide computer and display !

The Altair is a glide computer based on the open source XCSoar plus an amazing hardware platform and software additions. It is not only easy to use but fully readable in direct sunlight and large enough to read more easily than a PDA and small enough to fit into a Glider Cockpit.

Add an approved logger and battery backup - this is a very valuable addition to gliding.

John Wharington developed this with Triadis engineering and is one of the primary developers of XCSoar and designer of Vega

XCSoar 6.x

Notes on using XCSoar 6.x with Altair (and Vega).

Your USBKey should now look like this:



  • Step 1 - Plug in the USB Key and Turn on the Altair
    • Allow update of Firmware (WARNING: This will loose data)
    • Update XCSoar - this will put the Triadis 5.x version onto Altair internally
  • Step 2 - Optional - Copy XCSoar 6 to internal memory
    • You can now optionally copy XCSoar 6 into internal memory.
    • My recommendation would be to leave 5.x on there for now as a backup
    • 5.x Triadis version also has access to some Vega functions that XCSoar 6.x does not
    • HOWEVER: If you find a nice stable 6.x you are happy with, you can install
    • THEN you can install new versions onto your USB key and test them
    • OR you can have more than one USB Key
  • Step 3 - USB Version
  • Step 4 - Multiple USB Keys
    • Consider multiple keys
    • 1 - With altair (firmware), ToAltair and FromAltair - installation key - you can use any USB Key, it doesn't have to be dedicated
    • 2 - Dedicated USB key - small (physically) with XCSoar.exe and XCSoarData directory

Some important notes:

  • If you run XCSoar 6.x, and you have a USB Key with XCSoarData - it will automatically use that directory.
    • The Altair Firmware asks if you want to use that directory, but it always uses it anyway
  • If you use the XCSoar.exe and XCSoarData on the USBkey, you can use the internal memory as a backup system. Just turn off the Altair, remove the USBKey and turn it back on - now it will run internal version. I recommend maintaining preferences manually, but using the ToAltair directory method to copy maps etc across.

Altair / Vega Configuration:

  • NOTE That XCSoar 6.x config/preferences/profiles are not compatible with 5.x - you need to start again for your configuration.
  • Device Configuration:
    • Altair detects the correct special com ports for Altair, e.g. Vario, Radio, Internal GPS
    • Make sure you set device type - e.g. Vega, Baud rate etc

Special Configuration

Removing the menu item text labels (that don't line up) has been waiting approval in the code, until it is approved, you can do it your self by using the following XCI (XCSoar Input File).


  • Gliding