XCTracey - a minimalist smartwatch vario

What is it?

XCTracey turns your Garmin smartwatch with GPS, pressure sensor and compass into an autonomous vario display for the wrist. You will be able to see crucial information at a glance without the need of pairing with another device.

Fast, sensitive data (acoustics) still requires a "real" (mini) vario! We actually recommend the solar-driven XCTracer mini III GPS which weighs only 34g.

XCTracey has many features:

  • altitude: auto and manual calibration, max altitude and altitude over launch
  • vario: customizable integration up to 30 seconds, vario bar, direct analog data, three customizable color areas
  • ground speed with current L/D
  • wind arrow: heading relative, with wind speed, indication of deprecated measure, based on last full circle (experimental)
  • compass with north and launch indicators
  • end-of-flight detection: customizable, "landing" icon, can be disabled
  • launch detection: customizable, also manual
  • optional 2hz display (may stutter on weaker watch models) (experimental)
  • config/status screen
  • optional permanent backlight (PermLite)
  • local time, airtime and battery status
  • ParaFlightBook-Interface: Read your tracks and get valid IGC directly out of XCTracey
  • no smartphone app required (everything is done on the watch)
  • no online connection, no data collected

The current manual can be downloaded here.

What does it cost?

Nothing, it's all free! But clearly I appreciate any PayPal donation to keep me motivated...


A smartwatch is not a vario! Neither sensors nor system stability reach the reliabilty of a flight instrument. This is why Garmin categorically rejects flying apps and data fields in their app store, but encourages alternative ways like side loading (see below).

Any flying with XCTracey, especially without a reliable instrument, happens at your own risk! We aren't taking any responsibility for accidents or damaged devices (including the sideload process), and I strongly recommend the use of real flight instruments.

Supported watches

XCTracey runs on most models of the families

  • vivoActive
  • ForeRunner
  • Fenix 5/6

A full list of supported devices is in the Garmin-Appstore.

How to install

Download and Installation by Garmin AppStore. We recommend using the Connect app to install directly to paired units. See here for a detailed list of supported devices:


XCTracey will appear in the activity list of your watch.


In case of runtime errors connect the watch like you would do for a sideload and check the directory GARMINLOGS. You may send whatever you find there alongside with a full error description to me, but I won't guarantee any reaction time.