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Thread: Flying Condor2

  1. #1
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    Flying Condor2

    EDIT (nearly two months later - on 11/29/20)
    THIS THREAD HAS GROWN A BIT. SEE PAGE TWO OF THIS THREAD (POST #13) TO SEE HOW I SET UP MY COMPUTER AT HOME.
    IN THAT REVISED POST I EXPLAIN HOW I SET UP THE CONTROL STICK.



    Many of you are familiar with Condor2 , "The complete soaring simulator", but I had never played with it before. I have seen it talked about in Soaring Magazine.
    It's taken me a few hours, but I'm starting to get the hang of it. I can see the benefits of learning how to use it. Lots of frustrations at first, but I'm getting it.

    I had not talked with Noelle about it, but maybe WSC sells this as well.

    I purchased the software - Condor 2 - cost about $60... and I run it on my desk top computer.
    https://www.cumulus-soaring.com/stor...ry&path=25_399


    I purchased a control stick from Sporty's for about $60 (delivered). (Logitech Extreme 3D Pro)
    https://www.sportys.com/pilotshop/lo...-joystick.html

    I didn't get rudder pedals, and the stick has a twist function to operate the rudders.
    The landscape is remarkable, thanks to Michael Demeyer (from HGC). See the screen shots below. Michael is obviously a talented person and was willing to invest many hours creating a remarkable product and is willing to share it with all of us. He has the link posted, and you may download the 12GB landscape file and put it on your computer.
    See the HGC email :

    Updated Byron Landscape for Condor
    From: Michael Demeyer
    Date: Sun, 31 May 2020 14:17:13 PDT
    If you can't find that email, I will forward a copy to you.

    I've only played with Condor2 a little bit, but I now can take a tow and stay aloft and I'm starting to take some photos (screen shots).

    I launch from WSC every time. I now fly the Duo Discus XL.
    The task I fly with each time is a start at Colusa, TP is Cooks and finish at WSC.
    I haven't actually completed the task yet, but I will once I learn to fly.

    I snapped a couple of photos today. This first one is while heading south overhead the runway, at 2,500 ft, The second one is looking west along Hwy 20, towards 3 Sisters .

    You can see this landscape was after they built the CHP building on Hustead Rd and after Rex had built the big hangar.

    I have the buttons on my control stick device set with :

    pan the view to the left and another button to pan to the right, also one for pan up and one for pan down
    Trim up and trim down
    another changes to the next page being viewed on the flight computer display.
    One other button is the rope release
    and, I use the trigger to take photos.



    Click image for larger version. 

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    This second photo was snapped while I was at 2,200 ft making a left run back to the glider port. It was a good day to fly. As you can see it was a great valley day with plenty of cu, with wide, strong thermals, and no wind. But those clouds do cycle, so you need to watch the 'em.


    Click image for larger version. 

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    end
    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 11-29-2020 at 10:24 PM.
    Peter Kelly

  2. #2
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    I imagine, that if someone hosted a race, using their computer as a server, and a bunch of us wanted to just fly... say take turns launching and orbit in in a nearby thermal and then we could all fly down to woodland together, and then maybe over to the cache creek casino and then home again we could have a fun day of flying together.

    We could set up the program so there was a cloud street, maybe with a slight wind to give the thermals some semblance of order?

    Finished editing at 10:30 PM
    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 09-04-2020 at 11:26 PM.
    Peter Kelly

  3. #3
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Peter thanks for bringing up the topic of Condor2. I've been using it off-and-on for about 8 mos. ( ~100 hrs). As a relative newcomer to soaring, I use it for thermaling practice of course, but also landing practice in challenging wind conditions (under the "weather" setting).

    Re. the latter, I mapped out patterns reminiscent of No. & So. landings at WSC over the Lesce-Bled airstrip (the taxiway, actually) in Slovenia2's landscape. I use the ASW19B. I purchased a used 13" x 32" flat-screen monitor; I think it gives a more realistic feel to flying. I suspect that displaying Condor2 on a larger screen may also help train newer pilots to visualize landing approaches and control and anticipate aim points.

    With the availability of the new scenery, "Byron", I have learned to visually locate, and fly to/from Mendecino features & turn-points (Tree Farm was a challenge), and to identify land-outs. Re. the latter, I've "landed" at the Bear valley & Antelope valley land-outs -- though I assume that the simulator will not accurately represent ground conditions.

    You might want to talk to Pablo about rudder pedals. I find them instructive (e.g., keeping a slight slip in thermals). Pablo, I believe, is also interested in races.
    Leon McCaughan

  4. #4
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Leon,
    Thanks for sharing your experience and thanks for your suggestions.

    I found my first couple of rope breaks to be excellent training, but just like any simulator it is more about procedural training rather than stick and rudder skills. While trying to stay behind the tow plane on my early flights, I had a couple of rope breaks/ back releases while I was below 500 ft and even had one at 1,000 ft. The flying wasn't pretty, but the plan of action in each case was an execution of a well rehearsed exercise. Check the altitude, check the speed, decide on landing area, make a turn as needed to land. In each case I had enough altitude to land back on the runway, but I was simply practicing procedures that I had rehearsed mentally thousands of times. It does no harm to experience that adrenaline flow while bending an electronic control stick while seated in front of your computer screen - it is excellent training.

    In the few days I have used Condor 2, I have accumulated a total 20 flts. The 13 minutes total on the first two flights, were conducted using a mouse and keyboard only (before I ordered the control stick), so they really don't count.

    But, including those first 13 minutes, I now have total of 3 hrs 20 minutes in my Condor Log book. In summary, the flights consist of:

    • 4 aborted takeoffs
    • 3 crashes
    • a total of 6 unintentional rope breaks.. other wise known as "premature termination of the tow", and
    • about 7 good flights.


    I won't be sharing my log book further, but I just wanted to show the readers that starting from scratch, with only my desktop, and no experience using a joy stick, in only about 3 days I have morphed from barely able to launch, to the point I can make a takeoff, stay on tow, do a bit of thermaling and land back on the runway.

    I flew twice today, but rushed into flying. I didn't do a good preflight (and got into the wrong ship) and ended up flying a Blanik instead of the Duo Discus. I had set up a task with a launch from WSC and a start at Colusa, so Mr Towplane-driver took me to the east. But, I had not set the release altitude to above the 2,300 ft default altitude so I was waved off at 2,300 ft. The programmed weather/ thermals were all back to the default settings. I couldn't find a thermal so I landed at Colusa. As it turns out they have "Condor tow planes" at that field so I took a tow back into the air and headed back to the WSC area.

    I saved an IGC file copy of my flight. Here's what my flight track looks like on See You.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I snapped a couple of photos during this flight.

    See the ADM Rice plant on I-5 (five miles south of WSC) and Millers just west of it.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    See the IP (Pattern Initial Point - two barns) as I dip my right wing.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    See the gun club ahead while on the downwind at WSC.
    More critical review of the flight and learning points:
    - I'm on speed at my target speed of 55 kts, but ...
    - I was too slow in closing the spoilers and thus my altitude is 690 feet - about 100 ft below where I usually fly a good mid-field downwind on a no wind day.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    And this last image is while on final, landing to the south at WSC.
    Critical review:
    I'm at 250 feet and on speed at 55 kts while vario is 7 kts dwn, so I must have just taken my hand off of the spoiler handle, but it is best (for me) to keep my hand on the handle while on final approach.
    As Leon mentioned in his posting above, the image resolution "...will not accurately represent ground conditions...", and I totally agree. I estimate that all details below about 300 feet are just not depicted, thus landout fields and even runways may give you a false sense of security (ie negative training), thus you should take flying the last 300 feet AGL with a grain of salt. But it is great for setting up a pattern and flying it down final approach to 300 feet - for sure!

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 09-06-2020 at 02:55 PM.
    Peter Kelly

  5. #5
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    WSC has Condor2 on our Mach .1 simulator located in the pilots lounge.

    WSC rents this procedures trainer for pilots seeking supplemental training and or as a tool introducing pilots to flying cross country to help gain familiarity in the Mendos as well.

    Pablo, Ben and Teddy are happy to assist in getting you started on this device!

  6. #6
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Quote Originally Posted by Noelle Mayes View Post
    WSC has Condor2 on our Mach .1 simulator located in the pilots lounge.

    WSC rents this procedures trainer for pilots seeking supplemental training and or as a tool introducing pilots to flying cross country to help gain familiarity in the Mendos as well.

    Pablo, Ben and Teddy are happy to assist in getting you started on this device!
    Noelle,
    Good info - that is great news. I have never tried that sim, but it just has to be a great training tool. Now that I have tried running Condor in my crude set up, I can see why you have it.

    I could see how the instructors could use this to more clearly demo so many aspect of glider flying. In a past life (as my friend Jim, 1B likes to refer to such examples) I used to teach in flight simulators in the USAF. Although most of the flight training I conducted was in the actual aircraft, on four hour training flights (burning 85,000 pounds of fuel (13,000 gallons), it was impossible (as well as unsafe) to simulate loss of hydraulics, or engine or electrical fires, etc. while in the real airplane. Emergency procedures need to be taught as well as flight checked (annual review and certifications). Nothing beats a sim! Granted, the realism in a sim is not as real as in the air, because it's not a three dimensional environment, just looking at a flat screen, and besides the "Mach 0.1" is not a full motion simulator - as they were in the USAF, but absolutely nothing beats that "freeze button" - that's what they called the pause function in our sims. I assume Condor 2 has a similar function - the ability to pause the flight momentarily, so the instructor can discuss with the pilot how he got into the mess he/she is presently suspended in, how to get out of it (or survive/ salvage it), and more importantly how to avoid getting into such a mess on future flights! Sims are excellent procedural trainers! You'll learn things on just a few sim flights that might other wise take you many many real flights - if ever, to be exposed to, and to learn.

    Yeah Noelle, having that "Mach .1" Sim is a real asset there at WSC.
    I can see you have it on the schedule
    https://www.williamssoaring.com/sche...&area=1&room=5
    but, I don't see it used very often. Seems like pilots would be making the drive to Williams just to log some sim time during these smoky conditions.

    Thanks for the info.
    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 09-07-2020 at 12:55 PM. Reason: correct the amt fuel burned on a four hour fight
    Peter Kelly

  7. #7
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Sunday afternoon update.


    Now, finally, I'm a bit embarrassed that I just jumped into talking about this Condor 2 without learning about it a bit more depth.

    I just viewed the lessons for the first time. I obviously should have started there (viewing the lessons). I had downloaded the manual, but just skipped to the back to see the keyboard commands. Pretty dumb - there are no shortcuts. Just because you may know how to fly gliders does not mean you can't learn a lot more.

    The Condor2 is remarkable. I would guess that every student would be encouraged, if not required to review every lesson in the "Flight School" before they came out to the gliderport before their 4th or 5th lesson in the glider. There are so many items addressed and so many questions that a new student might have. Many questions that new pilots may have are answered in those "Lessons".

    Pilots who are not yet cross-country qualified should be expected to have a complete working knowledge of Section 9 of the "Condor 2 Manual". In the index it is

    "9. 8 SOARING HANDBOOK" with a sub-section called "9.1 Ground school"
    on page 44 the sections are called:
    "9. All the theory you need"
    and
    "9.1. Sailplane performance"
    I can see I will be spending a bit more time reading that manual in detail, and initially watching - not simply flying, the various lessons in the "FLIGHT SCHOOL". Learning points are displayed as text during the videos.
    Peter Kelly

  8. #8
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Peter, do I understand from your earlier texts that, in your opinion, Condor2 best serves the newer glider pilot with respect to practicing procedures (e.g., TO & landing pre-checks, tow-rope breaks,...) but is less valuable for operational aspects (e.g., TO's & landings under various wind conditions, ridge and cumulus thermaling skills,...)?
    In my opinion, C2 will never substitute for the thrill of flying gliders. I don't want to my waste time and build expectations which are not realized from using a simulator.

    Also, regarding Condor2, you might want to take a look at a keypad sold by Cumulus Soaring for about $30. It has what I consider a number of useful functions, e.g., a pause button, quick access to internal/external views, setting McCready, gear up/down....
    Leon
    Click image for larger version. 

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  9. #9
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Quote Originally Posted by Leon McCaughan View Post
    Peter, do I understand from your earlier texts that, in your opinion, Condor2 best serves the newer glider pilot with respect to practicing procedures (e.g., TO & landing pre-checks, tow-rope breaks,...) but is less valuable for operational aspects (e.g., TO's & landings under various wind conditions, ridge and cumulus thermaling skills,...)?
    In my opinion, C2 will never substitute for the thrill of flying gliders. I don't want to my waste time and build expectations which are not realized from using a simulator.

    Also, regarding Condor2, you might want to take a look at a keypad ...
    ...
    Leon,

    I just landed from my third Condor flight in the Duo. I'm ready for a beer. I'll send you my file if you want to play it back on C2. It was absolutely erie / weird how unbelievably accurate the clouds and lift were. Pete-98 and I flew on a day earlier this year with very similar conditions. If I had a video recording of that flight and compared it to this flight I just had, you would see the remarkable similarities in the way the clouds were laid out. Lift was in all the same places! I pushed north from Walker at 5,000 ft and started getting low (just like on the real flight) so I gravitated towards the bigger clouds in the direction of Indian Ranch and hit the same lift that I had on the real flight. I went back to bear vly , found the same lift patterns, and could not get into the wave I had set up in the weather settings (just like on the real flight). Once back towards 3 sisters and Antelope area the same lift was there as in real life. Rather then run back to WSC, I opted to open the spoilers and land at Antelope just for practice.

    As for your remarks....


    1. Condor2 best serves the newer glider pilot with respect to practicing procedures
    2. ...but is less valuable for operational aspects


    I need to admit again that I had not studied C2 enough. See my previous remarks: "I'm a bit embarrassed that I just jumped into talking about this Condor 2 without learning about it a bit more depth."

    but yes - for the newer pilots, C2 is excellent for practicing procedures. Every pilot should be proficient in procedures.
    I was too eager to express my enthusiasm and I wanted to tell every one how easy C2 was to use. With zero opportunity to fly X-C out of WSC these days, I feel that every pilot could get a lot of enjoyment out of operating C2.


    For the more experienced pilots, at least for me, I found today's flight to be excellent practice. it was very (very) similar to real flying. I will admit to doing some illegal cloud flying on this flight today, but I would not intentionally stay in a thermal as the cloud formed as I was doing today in the sim. We just don't do that in the U.S. in real life. So maybe that is a negative.

    Granted, you need to learn how to operate the joy stick, but, with patience pilots certainly could maintain, if not improve their thermalling skills using C2. And, setting up the landing pattern for antelope was excellent practice. I plan to practice that same flight a few more times. I might shift the wind direction a bit more. I can share the weather parameters with you if you are interested, and/ or we could discuss them.

    Back when I had a Pegasus (pre-1997) there was nice wave, but couldn't get higher than 14,000 ft, but I did cruise in the wave up past abeam Willows and then south to Vacaville and return to WSC. I'll have to go back and look for that flight and see if i can figure out what the atmospheric conditions were on that day..

    Let me know if you want the .ftr file

    and, thank for the info on the keypad, but I just use the normal computer keyboard (at least for now).
    Last edited by Peter Kelly; 09-07-2020 at 04:50 PM.
    Peter Kelly

  10. #10
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    Re: Flying Condor2

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Kelly View Post
    ...
    I could see how the instructors could use this to more clearly demo so many aspect of glider flying. In a past life (as my friend Jim, 1B likes to refer to such examples) I used to teach in flight simulators in the USAF. ...
    In a past life (as my friend PK likes to describe my describing of such examples) I had a somewhat different experience (or lack of experience) with flight simulators. The aircraft I flew did not have a full motion simulator (it was 1969). We had full cockpit mock ups that were useful for procedural training but they weren't good for too much else. At the time there were also no two seat versions so the first flight was solo. As a brand new aviator with just over 300 hours total time, pushing the throttle of the A-7 all the way forward for the first time at the takeoff end of KNLC 32R was pretty exciting. It would have been more safe, albeit less exciting, with some prior real simulator experience.

    I did use the Condor simulator software after I bought an Oudie. It was helpful in figuring out how to set up the flight computer. But in general, like Peter, I never paid too much attention to the rise of home based flight simulator hardware and software for soaring. If I were learning to fly gliders now, I think I would take full advantage of a set up like the Mach 0.1. What's not to like? Cost and time effective with the magic pause button. The only thing lacking is the sweaty palms feeling. There were times when I sure wish I had the magic pause button in the real cockpit with me.
    Jim D. - 1B

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