Sign in to follow this  
cencored

Best simulator for Glider pilots?

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

I would like to practice gliding more as I believe I am more passionate about it than jets or GA single-engines and it is something that I think I will be much more likely to do in reality from a financial point of view. Therefore I would like to train my skills up in gliding.

 

 

This brings me to which simulator would be best to train gliding? It should be realistic but also visually appealing which is a must for me.

 

I currently run FSX and P3d and have practiced in FSX with the DiscusX add-on and cumulusx/wingex.

 

Also it would be nice to fly online with other gliders live. I have not yet found a place to facilitate this.

 

Any pointers would be greatly appreaciated.

 

Thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

I used to have Silent Wings, which was quite good.

 

I believe that the best one around today is Condor, although I'm happy to be told otherwise!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are a few programs around that can alter the tug behaviour, add a winch launch, add thermals and even one to add ridge lift to FSX.

 

Go over to Wolfgang Piper's page and load some of his gliders.

 

Use a scenery design program or scenery object addon program to create your own glider fields and static gliders (in line for launch or parked.  Somewhere I have a library of static objects for gliders, winches, trailers, tractors, vehicles, buildings, barns, hangars, etc. (for RWY 12).

 

Add some photo scenery or create your own using FSEarthTiles.

 

Buy or create some mesh for the areas you like to fly in (in areas where the default is not good enough).

 

Then FSX makes a wonderful gliding platform.

 

IAN

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely forget about gliders in FSX / P3D, even using CumulusX!, unless you just want to have a glider model in your fsx fleet :-/

 

FSX's flight dynamics fall very short from the level of detail required to properly model a glider, and there are many reasons for that.

 

Condor and Silent-Wings are presently the only viable alternatives, unfortunately both stagnated long ago...

 

From the flight dynamics PoV, and even some details of soaring weather, I preferred SW to Condor, although the vast community of active Condor users, the smoothness you can run it at max settings on even an outdated rig, and the many online competitions available online, great to enter if Autumn / Winter time will render useless your visits to the airfield, and you have a "sort" of alternative at home, then try Condor...

 

Aerofly FS V2 could bring good news, but we know almost nothing about when it'll be come available and how...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Must admit that I'd also forgotten about FSX as a soaring platform!

 

If you head over to the UK Virtual Gliding Association (UKVGA) then you will find links to lots of gliders, & also some sceneries & lift add-ons.

 

Well worth a visit!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forget about gliders in FSX, totally unrealistic.

 

Give a try to Condor, you won't regret it. It was originally designed for competition training.

Great models (some payware packs), great sceneries (some websites offer unlimited downloads for a very small yearly fee), great dynamics, great weather, great community, tons of online competitions. Any modern average PC can run it, full options.

Most people there fly gliders IRL, and use condor during winter when real life gliding activity is quite low.

If you own a decent joystick +trackir, prepare for a lot of fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

+1 to Condor. I wouldn't even consider anything else for Gliding. Your comment that you might get into real gliding caught my attention. Why don't you go to your local gliding port and meet with the CFI for a chat about your options and perhaps take an introductory lesson. If you are not in a position to do that right now see if you can order a copy of the Training Manual for the Soaring Association of America www.ssa.org or the Soaring Association of Canada www.sac.ca. assuming you are in North America. I am sure there are other association for other countries but I am not familiar with them. Considering human factors, following RW procedure when simulating flight that you intend to do for real is important!

 

Here are some more handy links:

 

The forum here is very good and they welcome those who are new to gliding and they are mostly real world pilots.

http://www.virtualsoaring.eu/download

http://www.condor-club.eu/home/1/

 

Of course their is no harm in gliding in FSX just for fun:

http://www.fsglider.de/p_e.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Check out Aerofly FS. Decent fotorealistic graphics and the best flight dynamics I have ever seen in a simulation.

 

The software is limited if you fly classic GA (not much system depth, no real navigation, very basic autopilot and planes don't use fuel and so on). But for gliding with a realistic feeling it is just awesome I think.

 

There are already some gliders as standard planes but also some payware addons meanwhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, Aerofly FS looks great and its lots of fun but the gliders flight is not like the real thing and the thermals and ridge lift are only like there RW counter parts in that they make you go up:-)

 

Condor has by far the best modeling of Glider flight dynamics and the lift. There is nothing to compare with it.

It is however a DX7 Program so don't expect the graphics to be up to days standards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never tried Condor so I can't compare.

What I find impressing with Aerofly in comparison to FSX and X10 is that you really have the feeling that you fly through air. And wind...feels like, well, wind. You really have to fight against it sometimes. Also if you fly near or low over a mountain you can feel updrafts and downdrafts. Quite nice.

Plus a stunning view out of the window.

I didn't know about Condor, guess I will check that out, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unortunately Condor has it's development stopped long ago.

 

True that almost every month new sceneries become available, or free, and they are excellent in terms of performance and effects, specially the mountains... Turbulence due to terrain effects aren't modeled as good as in Silent Wings, and even Aerofly FS IMO.

 

Aerofly FS is nice, that's true, and I look fwd for v2. But, even a turn in a glider, to catch a thermal, has it's effects way out of sync with reality. It would be disatrous if the RW gliders behaved that way on a turn, specially when tighter to stay in the thermal ....

 

Ridge lift and slope effects are also overdone, under most circumstances. You do not really have a thermal cycle modeled in Aerofly FS ( you have in Condor and SW ), nor does the simulation take into account important meteorlogical factors like inversion layer, temperature or even time of day...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks so much for the exhaustive replies guys. It is very appreciated.

 

I've just become realistic about my passion for flying and in Australia (which is where I currently live) it is very expensive to do you PPL and fuel costs, insurance, plane rental etc is only for  the wealthiest.

 

From what I hear, gliding should be way more affordable and gives you that feeling of literally flying with wings possibly much more than GA single engine flying. Also what I have always loved is the possibility to interact with the terrain in some way, such as in ridge soaring. Something that is probably much more dangerous in a cessna and most of the time you end up flying across the terrain at 3000+ ft. You don't really interact with terrain, or fly past some incredible mountain ridges in close proximity etc.

Not sure if that makes sense, it's more how I feel about it.

 

In that way I believe gliding suits me much better anyway aside from the obvious cost savings. I simply love the pure interaction with nature, be that sailing, kite surfing and now perhaps gliding.

 

I will purchase Condor and try to work my way into the scenery and glider models.

 

Is ther any real world weather for Condor (like Active Sky Next)? Or any texture programs such as Rex? I've got all that purchased for my FSX...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good decision making cencored, and Australia is a great place for gliding!!!

 

There is no ASN for Condor because the weather modeling is self contained in the soaring sim, unlike FSX where you need an external program to create good weather situations using detailled algorithms...

 

There are nonetheless graphic enhancements for clouds. Browse their forums and you'll certainly fins many, including freeware and payware.

 

Creating an account and paying for a whole year golden downloads and condor-club.eu is also very good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you actually want to practice gliding forget FSX, it's totally rubish. Condor is by far the place to go, the feeling and dynamics are really accurate. All of the guys on my (now previous) soaring club used this to practice while off season.

 

Next to the core, there are still new sceneries being developped every so many weeks and you can find plenty online matches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, unfortunately competition gliding in FSX requires cohones, and a lot of work to get it realistic. It does not cater for the "instant gratification" brigade. Much like achieving real world wings. I believe that the UK Virtual Gliding association has a 1% graduation rate, and a growing number of regulars most of whom are real world pilots. Food for thought..........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I am a glider pilot myself, at more than 34 yrs, have extensively used FSX and even it's best soaring simulation add-on - CumulusX! - and still think it's a loss of time if you really want to come close to what soaring, and specially soaring competition, means IRL... If it's just for a bit of fun and having gliders in FSX, then it's OK!, just like it is to fly the default helos....

 

The problem starts in the poor flight dynamics offered by FSX, when it comes to reproducing most of the aerodynamics characteristics of a "simple" unpowered aircraft, like a glider. Then weather, terrain and it's interaction with it, etc... all sum up to give a very poor outcome, IMO. To each each own, and Condor, or Silent Wings are on a very different league... I still miss SFS3 too ...

 

Cohones los tiengo hombre !!!! ;-) Vacadas nuchas tambien....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cencored

 

Give it a go... but it takes a little time and money to set up for soaring in FSX. 

 

Buy the licensed version of CumulusX!, and get WinchX! (free).  Delete or rename the 'thermaldescriptions.xml' file from your FSX root folder.

 

Set fair weather, and time and season around midday and Summer, and go soaring.

 

CumulusX! comes with its default settings, but has a range of variables that you can play with.

 

We most of us know that its not really that 'realistic', and that Condor was designed specifically to simulate competition soaring, but you can still have a lot of fun in FSX, and don't take too much notice of the nay-sayers.

 

I've flown gliders for over 30 years and it's OK by me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While this has degenerated into a mine is good yours is bad sentiment. It really depends on you goals and expectations. I find FSX to be superior gliding simulator in many respects. Why? Because I enjoy flying in many parts of the world with realistic or photorealistic scenery with accurate roads and even historic landmarks and turnpoints.

 

The real issue is flight dynamics, frankly, no simulatior gives that seat of the pants total immersion than actually flying gives you in your gut.

 

FSX does require addons and modifications to beome a fairly realistic glider sim, certainly out of the box it is poor, but with dedication it can be transformed quite well. This can be said about any FSX niche whether soaring, commercial flight simulation, or what have you.

 

The basics are Cumulus X, which has also various tow plane options, as well as a little program called Aerotow which is now defunct but can be found around the net. Yes you need a weather program if you want real world weather, but most often in soaring we pick our conditions for the day and by using the weather utility in Native FSX and Cumulus X you can generate reasonably realistic conditions.

Wolfgang Pipers glider collection has already been mentioned. and most include some form of  soaring navigation function, for more realism you can download and install XCSOAR which is a full scale glider computer. with this tool and Plan-G another mapping utility, you can calculate, design, and execute complex soaring tasks and track the real time performance of any of several full scale polars of actual sailplanes. In addition there is a way to log your flight as an igc file and replay it or analyze it with Cambridge software or SEEYOU software, the latter which you can replay in full color of realistic terrain mapping. There is much more to be discovered, I have gone on long enough, but to simply say FSX is rubbish is a myopic and limited view by those who have not invested the time to get FSX tweaked to glider simulation. Condor is great for those with limited and specific goals, but FSX opens the whole world to the art of soaring.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Granted, I have not tried XCSoar in FSX but I have tried Aerosoft's Discus X and CumulusX and have a long time ago tried the Configure the Tow plane to turn the way I wanted it to by tugging to the left or right on the Tow rope. (That never worked for me).

So are you guys saying that if I am on Final glide in FSX and XCSoar indicates that I will arrive 300' over the finish line if I fly the speed to fly Macready Setting in FSX, I will in fact arrive over the finish line a 300'?

I accept the GPS data from FSX would works fine with XCSoar but I doubt that Macready theory works in FSX!

I am happy with the way it works in Condor. It is realistic enough for me to be able to trust my speed to fly and fly tasks competitively.

Flying gliders in FSX is certainly possible but my experience is that its fidelity to RW soaring is far more limited than condors. In condor centering a thermal and the behavior of the vario is quite realistic. That is not the case FSX with Cumulus X. Cumulus X is not terrible and I believe it would be far better if not the limitation of FSX. Condor was designed to specifically model lift accurately. My Gliding club even uses Condor to train pilots. We wouldn’t even consider FSX as appropriate for that purpose. And since the vast majority of Real glider pilots would endorse Condor as the go to Soaring Sim, I would have join that chorus and direct soaring ab-initio glider sim pilots to Condor.

Not saying that Soaring in FSX is not fun or somewhat representative of what it is like to fly the real thing but in the case of a simmer and particularly on that has indicated an interest in gliding for real I would again recommend Condor if you must Sim.

However, personally I suggest that anyone interested in gliding should go take a flight and forget about Flight Sim of any kind until they are a least a solo if not licensed pilot.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Wolfgang Piper gliders in some cases come with a Mccready gauge function. not dependent on XCsoar. there are several ways to skin that cat in FSX. and yes it works reasonably well. There are two types of gauge sets in Wolgangs sailplanes one is the older Caiset system which relies of your manually loading GPS.NAV data into FSX. the other more recent is the B21 gauge set designed by British programer full scale a glider/ sim pilot Ian Forester Lewis. If you have an open mind try it , I can't explain it all here. Better yet visit the UKVGA they are a dedicated group of simmers and full scale glider pilots with a tremendous dedication to getting online multiplayer realistic glider simming accomplished. twice a week no less. I agree thermal modeling is probably better in Condor, it has  its advantages, but as I said it depends on your goals and expectations which is best for you. I feel that FSX offers a much richer wider experience than condor, but that is just me. I worked with the National soaring museum and for full scale training Condor is the go to program, but not everyone wants a trainer program and is willing to take some, give some with FSX. the point is FSX is not a terrible soaring simulator if you have the patience to sort it out. Dismissing it out of hand as terrible is really not fair.

I design scenery for FSX and in particular some glider fields that have realistic buildings and runways, this eye candy for me and apparently about 250 others who have downloaded it is worth the effort.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried Wolfgang Piper's ASW 27 some time ago. I cant remember if it was in FSX or if I shoehorned it into Prepar3D V2. I did have trouble with the sound but I quite enjoyed the brief flight. Alas I no longer us FSX and my FSX install is Vanilla and used almost exclusively for making my ES scenery work in P3D. I have tried using ASN with the Discus X shoehorned into P3DV2 and it doesn't do a bad job of Ridge lift also the thermals it generates do seem to come off darker and paved areas on the terrain and If I can remember correctly they seem to correspond to the Cu. That's about as far as their similarity with real thermals Goes.The DiscusX doesn't seem right to me Prepar3D V2 and the Instruments certainly do not work right. Anyway I will have to give Gliding is Prepar3D another go and see where it is at today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have P3d v2, FSX 32 bit system (xp) FSX on 64 bit system, (Win 7) X plane, Aerofly FS as well, i have sampled Condor but don't currently have on board.

If you use P3d, you may have some issues installing some of the things you need, i tried it and was moderately successful. You will want the latest Cumulus x, simlogger, latest updated Wolfgang Piper plane or planes, he constantly improves things. the problem with CX is the thermals are static, they don't move. but they do tilt with wind, and by manipulating the turbulence and tweaking CX you can get a reasonable thermal, just static.

other than that FsX holds a lot of potential. It is work to install all of the additional stuff and get it working but it is worth it if you have time and are a glider junkie. Its a bit of a trick to get XCSOAR working but if you know your way around virtual serial ports its not bad. It uses FSX GPS out. you also will need Peter Dowsons FSUIPC, latest version registered.There are a plethora of tutorials on the UKVGA site, and a great friendly group. http://www.ukvga.org/index.php

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow what have I dived into lol.

I think I would prefer a simulator that offers me most of those capabilities ouf of the box and if FSX requires lots of tweaking to get it right, I think I'd rather go with something like Condor which offers all of this already and possibly - from what I read - at a more RW like level.

 

I assume Condor is realistic straight out of the box without much ado, other than perhaps add secenery or gliders would that be fair to say?

I would neither have the time nor experience to tweak fsx at such a level.

 

Also is there good ressource/book which explains all the intricates of glider flying? I know for example that gliding is rudder intense, however have always found that you get away with less rudder use in FSX than in real life GA flying.

 

On a side note, I am shocked that Condor is still being offered for sale for a whopping ~$60 US, considering it's not even in development anymore...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes I hear you, its expensive. Unique Niche software! It comes with a few good sailplanes. There are 2 glider addon packs but you don't need them right away. and tons of freebees at Condor Club. You will need to read to get familiar with everything. Don't be afraid to enter on line contest. That is what its all about.

You need a good forcefeedback joystick. The MIcrosoft Sidewinder Forced feed back 2 is the recommended unit. A set of rudder peddles. If you have a Saiteck X52 you can use the throttle as a spoiler handle. Best advice I can give a beginner is stick forward speeds you up and stick back slows you down and its all about energy management. turning kinetic energy into potential energy and potential energy into kinetic energy. COORDINATE your turns. Your most important instrument is the piece of yarn taped to your canopy. Its called a yaw string. To coordinate your turn in a powered plan you "Step on the Ball". To do the same in a glider you "Put your foot in the hole". Keep that yaw stick straight down the middle of the canopy. Fly under the clouds! That's where the lift is. When you hear a the high putched bee bee bee. Start turning. When the pitch goes down tighten your turn. when  it goes up flatten your turn.

 

Here is the book you want. Its a bit advanced for a beginner but is a tour de force of soaring.

http://www.amazon.ca/Cross-Country-Soaring-Helmut-Reichman/dp/1883813018

Shop around for the book you might get a better deal and there is a paperback

 

Use the condor forum they are a very helpful friendly bunch:-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this