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Thread: why every pilot should have glider experience (with reviews of glider/soaring sims)

  1. Lightbulb why every pilot should have glider experience (with reviews of glider/soaring sims)

    the number 1 reason all pilots should have glider experience is, it will make you a better pilot. a safer pilot.
    just about every 'miracle landing' (like the miracle on the hudson) were only possible due to the pilots having glider training. Skully would have splattered his plane into a densely populated neighborhood killing everyone if he trusted the towers directions over his glider pilots training.

    but furthermore, soaring will quickly become your favorite way to fly!
    case in point, I fly with freedoms wings international

    our founder seen in the vid, irv stobel holds 3 world records (747 transatlantic speed records) was the 2nd person to fly 'the worlds fastest plane' (f106 i think it is) he was the 1st to put on a space suite, and has flown everything from military to commercial, but nothing ever excited him like gliders did.
    soaring, is also the only kind of flying that will often have the pilot giggling and exclaiming 'this is awesome' again and again, even if they have flown gliders for 4 decades.

    soaring and gliding are pure flight, powered by the atmosphere itself.

    lets start off with a little bit of history.
    in the beginning, a man strapped some wings onto his back, and jumped off a hill, gliding only a few seconds, and landing just a short distance away.
    the next step in gliding begins the earliest history of flight, the wright brothers flyer was originaly designed to be just a glider, adding an engine to a plane was 1st thought of as nothing more then a gimmick.
    this led to the age of the primary glider, still used today in some flight training schools to teach the very basics of flight. launchesd off a mountain, and landing in a valley below, flight records were set, with flight times recorded in seconds.
    Attachment 214504
    these had a best glide slope less then that of a cessna with a failed engine.
    performance improved alot over the years with glide slopes improving from 4-1 to now 70-1 (best l/d or lift over drag with a 70 miles for every mile of altitude lost) but whats more important is sources of lift were discovered.
    Attachment 214505
    this marvel of modern engineering is the perlan 2 space glider built to explore the upper atmosphere (and test climate change effects without contaminating samples with exhausts) it has nearly reached 80,000 feet and is attempting to reach 90,000 ft, without using any fuel.

    So how do you turn gliding into soaring?

    by mastering the atmosphere, thats how. the atmosphere is fluidic, dynamic, in motion, and full of energy.
    solar: the sun heating the earth creates differential heating. when you fly beneath cumulus clouds you may feel a strong bump. these are thermals, gliders can circle in these rising columns of air and climb. diving faster through the sinking air, to fly long distances at fairly high speeds.
    wind: wind energy is used in 2 main ways.
    Ridge soaring when wind hits an object, like a mountain ridge, it has nowhere to go, but up. Ridge running is some of the most exciting, and beautiful ways to fly.

    ridge running uses the strong winds flowing over the mountains to race along at high speeds for great distances. There is no way to get the pure epic beauty from any other type of plane, not only do gliders give you the best unobstructed views of your surroundings, but the strongest lift, the blazing fast speeds, are found close up and personal with the most remote and beautiful mountainsw in the world.
    wave soaring when the winds striking a ridge, and the airmass is stable, and the wind speed increases with altitude, mountain waves form downwind, often several waves many miles apart, and far away from the source will form, these standing waves are theorized to go clear to the stratosphere. these are how gliders are able to fly higher then jets, without using fuel. these mountain waves are what the perlan 2 space glider uses to get above 78,000 feet.

    gliding as a competitive sport has been around since flight has existed. Competition has been the primary driving force when it comes to advancements in aerodynamics and performance.
    Glider, or sailplane racing takes skill and courage. Even before the race starts, 40 or more gliders maybe circling together in a single thermal at close range in the pre race gaggle, each 1 trying to outclimb the rest to be in the best position for a fast start.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    then the race begins

    but thats not the only way to compete.
    Glider aerobatics raw powerless power and grace under g forces

    with g force limits up to 12 g's and extreme maneuverability glider aerobatics are not only graceful and beautiful, but a highly competitive sport all its own

    Soaring glider simulators the good the bad and the soso


    yes fsx has soaring, if you add cumulusx for thermals and ridge lift.
    advantages: very few, except being able to soar the entire world (like everest) and sightseeing (like the taj mahal and pyramids) or if you want to blow off some steam cause a certain golfers always golfing where you fly, shutting down your airspace every single weekend

    disadvantages: tow characteristics are practically comical, 'real world weather' even with the expensive rex weather engine changes too drasticly too suddenly without any real reasons for it. (but you can try soaring hurricanes, which i have multiple times)

    flight charachteristics are barely realistic, never once was able to spin it.
    biggest disadvantage is even if you create a glider specific multiplayer channel, jets, are fascinated by gliders and wil keep buzzing you or trying to fly the ridges your flying and crash over and over...often crashing into you and that brings me to crashing, no matter what you do wrong you just get a message 'you have crashed' unlike the others where you might spin from 60,000 feet with 1 wing ripped off and still have realistic control over the crashing.

    condor 1 and condor 2

    I will discuss both, but would recommend condor 2.
    condor 1 has thousands of user submitted sceneries with more added all the time so you can soar a big chunk of the world. condor 1 only has thermal and ridge lift, but is vastly superior to fsx in soaring weather generation. however the graphics and terrain detail level left room for improvement. flight and tow and winch launch characteristics are all very accurate, including tow plane prop wake, glider handling and performance. and realistic results from overspeeding (high speed flutter followed by loss of a wing) and excessive g forces
    enter condor 2, and the long awaited dream of realistic wave flights. condor 2 drasticly increases the terrain detail, ridge lift is even more accurately generated, and now, even mountain waves complete with lenticular clouds alow for altitude record attempts (many sceneries have records over 55,000 even 60,000 feet)
    advantages: highly accurate soaring, large community of competitive pilots, most real world glider pilots, from students using it as a training tool, to serious well known competition pilots using it to keep up proficiency during the off season, or just to compete in a virtual environment where taking risks has less catastrophic consequences.
    also includes a primary glider, and, an aerobatic 'swift'

    challenge yourself to intense competition against hundreds of pilots

    disadvantages: only runs on pc has fairly high vid card requirements (as you saw from the glitch in the 1 vid, solved by makings ome vid setting tweaks)

    silent wings

    silent wings alows competition against either real life pilots or ai pilots
    flight characteristics are pretty good, tow characteristics are excellent
    weather can be set to crazy unrealistic (like thermals to over 100,000 feet)
    it runs on pc linux and i think even mac

    advantages: cross platform - compete against ai
    disadvantages: extremely limited number of sceneries while condor has many hundreds maybe thousands (condor1 several hundred condor 2 more added all the time) silent wings might have 6-12

    for simulators I highly recommend condor 2 especially if you fly gliders for real. its the most accurate and has the largest most active community with daily records altitude records, multiple concurrent competitions, from beginner to world class.

    As I implied in the beginning, EVERY PILOT SHOULD HAVE SOME GLIDER EXPERIENCE. If you think like a glider pilot you are a safer pilot at all times.

    soaring is also the ultimate green sport, as well as making you even more aware of what the airs doing around you.

    I hope i have managed to make you take a 2nd look at soaring as 1 of the most intense, exciting, (or peaceful) ways to fly.

    Last edited by Nels_Anderson; 12-31-2019 at 01:26 PM. Reason: link fixes

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Boca Raton, Florida, USA.


    it is YOUR opinion.

    G. Kirschstein

  3. Default

    actualy it is FACTUAL it is the opinion of the airforce of most countries that now also include glider training
    and its simple common sense. since every simgle landing has to be perfect, since your constantly aware of being within safe gliding distance of a safe landing spot, you also learn to judge a power off glide slope to a 1 degree of accuracy, your always aware how far you can go given the altitude you have available plus your used to hands on stick flying not fly by dial, alowing advanced electronics to do all the real flying for you.
    so whenever anything goes wrong in a power plane, if your glider trained you know how to react properly and land safely.
    that is why literaly every single case of a 'mirical landing' the pilot was glider trained
    it can save lives
    its indisputable
    if you know how to fly, and land, without power, without advanced electronics, your going to be a better pilot

    so hows that opinion?

  4. Default

    seems the airforce finds value in it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Westminster, CO


    For real pilots there are benefits (safety and otherwise) for having some sailplane/glider experience. For real pilots there are benefits (safety and otherwise) to having tailwheel experience. For real pilots there are benefits (safety and otherwise) to having a large variety of different experiences, including flying many different aircraft types.

    But for simmers, the benefits to all that aren't nearly as great, ESPECIALLY the SAFETY benefits, since there is never a safety risk in the sim. And even though there's bound to be a lot of fun in all that FOR SOME PEOPLE, not everyone is into doing that stuff, anymore than some of us care about doing "airline"-type stuff.

    You're pushing what I suppose (I didn't read ALL the hype) is your sim, but you're doing it as if it would affect real world safety for people who (mostly) are strictly doing this on a computer. And if real world safety IS an actual benefit for someone, they're better off getting the experience for real. AND, you're doing this on the FIRST AND ONLY post you've made on these forums, possibly for sales??

    You paint a glowing picture, but I suspect things won't be quite that rosy in reality. Also, note that this forum isn't really intended as a sales platform. However, Nels DID fix some links for you (giving me a VERY slow refresh of the page while I wait for various resources to load), so maybe he's OK with it.

    In any case a lot of that can be done in FSX and in P3D, perhaps even in XPlane, especially with an add-on or two (I've done it). BUT, you do seem to offer some additional experiences that some folks may enjoy, so hope it works out for you. But please reduce the hype.

    ---Soapbox done---
    Last edited by lnuss; 12-31-2019 at 07:35 PM.

    Larry N.

    As Skylab would say:
    Remember: Aviation is NOT an exact Science!

  6. Default

    sales? what sales? and at least with the soaring sim community almost all are real pilots as am i. i would think many real world o pilots use sims too.
    yes you can soar in fsx with cumulus x addon (i mentioned that) but its not that any way except the scenery. the handeling and weather modeling affecting soaring is pretty poor at best
    xplane soarings only possiible in the soaring training and soaring missions as there is no thermals ridge or wave lift of any kind so the best you can do is glide

    I DON'T SELL ANYTHING i have been a lifelong volunteer.
    i did mention freedoms wings because its a 1 of a kind org that teaches disabled glider pilots (like me)

    and lets take safety out of the equation if we are strictly talking sim pilots and take into account the pure flight aspect, without all the autopilots and everything, without thrust,
    leearning tio fly without relying on all that is invaluable. for instance getting a chance to fly a primary glider thats basicly a controlled fall you really appreciate the control of the plane, being able to maintain a proper approach speed while pointed down at a pretty extreme angle then flare at the right moment for a good landing. being able to fly at high spe4eds without a 400 hp engine you really learn the physics of flight, and know how to react in any non standard situation..

  7. Default

    are you assuming that no simers are real pilots/ because this post specifically says why every PILOT should have glider experience

  8. #8


    Quote Originally Posted by soaringeagle View Post
    ... for instance getting a chance to fly a primary glider thats basicly a controlled fall you really appreciate the control of the plane, being able to maintain a proper approach speed while pointed down at a pretty extreme angle then flare at the right moment for a good landing. being able to fly at high spe4eds without a 400 hp engine you really learn the physics of flight, and know how to react in any non standard situation..
    I don't know what kind of glider is 'pointed down at a pretty extreme angle' during the approach and with the divebrakes etc. you can control the gliding angle and hence gliding distance within a pretty big range.

    It seems that you are severely underestimating e.g. airline pilots and their abilities/training.

    If it's a heavy 777 or a medium sized A320, we routinely do train all engine out approaches, even in IMC with a low ceiling.

    They key to success in this case is crew coordination, not gliding experience

    Furthermore every GA pilot trains engine out approaches as well and with the low LD ratio of a C-152 engine out landing are definitely a challenge and require considerable skills since there's not much room for adjustment.

  9. #9


    Quote Originally Posted by soaringeagle View Post
    are you assuming that no simers are real pilots/ because this post specifically says why every PILOT should have glider experience
    Perhaps you should look up the profile on Iuss. He, like many of us either, is or was a RW active pilot with lots of hours.

    And yes, as a disabled RW pilot, I now fly sims exclusively. But that doesn't put me or any one else in a position to judge others or their point of view.

    Especially since this is a free site, we mostly try to avoid making overreaching statements. Instead we tend to enjoy our hobby/s and try to get along.
    Last edited by Rupert; 01-01-2020 at 12:35 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    San Francisco, California


    I know Larry is tired of stressing this....Lnuss.. small l and last name. We will all get it right sometime in this new year!
    Mr Zippy Sent from my keyboard using "Whackamole", NudgeAKey + 2 Fingers

    Emachines T3418 AMD 3400+ processor 2GHZ/256KB L2 Cashe 2Gig Ram 160Gig HDD NVidia GEForce 6100 GPU Running WinXP Home Can't believe it still works! Running FSX Standard with SP1 and SP2

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