Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

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Lord_Archon
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Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Lord_Archon » Wed Apr 14, 2021 8:19 pm

Similarly to MFS2020 and simulation in general I got into Condor for fun but I am getting serious about soaring. However I don't have options for real flying/instruction at the moment, and it will probably be a good while until I do. I wanted to get a more experienced opinion about the things I'm trying to do to self-learn and what could be done better. So in a glance -

Practical side
  • I use HOTAS with stick in the middle and throttle to the left for airbrakes and flaps. I use rudder pedals
  • I fly only in VR and with XCSoar pinned inside the virtual environment
  • I use conservative safety limits, outlanding waypoints, terrain-avoiding reach calculations and high polar degradation
  • Keeping distance from ridges, thermalling often, always on MC0 and best glide (Not interested in going fast yet)
  • Trying to keep a good lookout even in single-player (Haven't flown online yet), always turning away from ridge etc
  • Not using the highest-end gliders as it's unlikely I'll every fly in one
  • I always set wind direction/speed at maximum variance, thermal settings on medium variance
  • Constant takeoff/landing practice with aerotow and winch, crosswinds etc
  • Always respecting V-speeds (including for flaps), landing speeds, takeoff speeds etc
Theoretical side
  • Reading the free books (FAA's Glider Pilot Handbook, EASA regulations, FAI Sporting Code)
  • Reading/watching and trying to use pieces of information from lectures/videos/articles (Soaring Economist, ChessInTheAir etc)
  • Looking to buy soaring literature but haven't gotten to that yet
I know simulation is far from perfect esp. when you are missing G's during a turn or the risk of death or airspaces and radio but I want to ensure I'm not doing anything too detrimental for future instruction. So when time comes getting a SPL shouldn't be too hard.
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Mossy
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Mossy » Fri Apr 16, 2021 6:29 am

I second this, sorry I have nothing to add, just would love to read some advice!

keithb77
Posts: 42
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Location: UK

Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by keithb77 » Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:15 pm

You can create tasks with penalty zones mapped to airspace (max 8 zones) - see this thread
viewtopic.php?t=19859
You can get the BGA magazine 1/2 price for a year
https://www.gliding.co.uk/sailplaneandgliding/
Cheers
Keith

Lord_Archon
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Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:54 pm

Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Lord_Archon » Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:06 pm

Thanks Keith, I've heard about the magazine but didn't know about the discount.

I discovered XCSoar's airspace functions so I now use airspace maps where one is available :)
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Sprunga
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Location: Brisbane Australia

Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Sprunga » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:47 am

Here's my 2 cents! I really don't think you can do anything too detrimental to your real life training from using Condor. I actually think that you shouldn't worry about being too procedural whilst using Condor because you will learn a lot from just playing around and doing things you would never do in a real glider. For example pulling too hard in a steep turn at 80knots will teach you that you can stall a glider at any speed! One thing I would concentrate on is using nose attitudes referenced against the horizon rather than using the air speed indicator to target a speed. Particularly helpful when thermalling so you can keep your eyes out of the cockpit.

Secondly I would suggest that when you do start Real Life soaring that you just pretend you know nothing. Anything you have learned from Condor will help you progress a little faster.

Hope that is of some help! Sprunga
REGO: VH-SPR
C/N#: S72

Mossy
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Mossy » Mon Apr 19, 2021 4:53 am

Great advice Sprunga!
I already started to get the feel for some of these naturally, especially nose attitudes referencing the horizon when thermalling.
"when you do start Real Life soaring that you just pretend you know nothing." Dead on.

Lord_Archon
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Lord_Archon » Mon Apr 19, 2021 5:24 am

Good advice. I had my fair share of reckless flying but I was concerned with bad habits and muscle memory. I try to fly at least a couple hours every day (One of those quarantine skill resolutions). If I have thousands of hours of bad habits from virtual flying by the time I do it for real, bad things might happen.
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Sprunga
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Sprunga » Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:07 am

I think you’ll be fine Once your butt is on the line!!
REGO: VH-SPR
C/N#: S72

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Bre901
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Bre901 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:59 am

If you fly cross-country in hilly or mountainous areas, you could also analyse your flights to check that you always remained within gliding range of landable areas :
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=19740
CN: MPT — CondorUTill webpage: https://condorutill.fr/

keithb77
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by keithb77 » Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:52 am

discovered XCSoar's airspace functions so I now use airspace map
Bear in mind you wont be using XCsoar or anything similar whilst training...

Also you can do you checklists every flight and get into that routine
https://members.gliding.co.uk/wp-conten ... S-2017.pdf

And I'd recommend having a least a test flight in a real glider, just so you know how different it is from the sim :)

Filgueiras
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Filgueiras » Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:34 pm

Two years away from RL gliding, almost 6 months far from Condor, I'm now back in business :mrgreen: at least in the simulator :D

Lord_Archon, I love to train basic skills in CS - cheaper and safer than in RL. So, short landings, crosswind landings, and the like; thermaling, in various conditions of speed, CG position, etc.
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Lord_Archon
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Lord_Archon » Sun Apr 25, 2021 10:06 am

Bre901 wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 8:59 am
If you fly cross-country in hilly or mountainous areas, you could also analyse your flights to check that you always remained within gliding range of landable areas :
viewtopic.php?f=29&t=19740
Thank you for veriflocal, have you considered open sourcing the development ?
keithb77 wrote:
Mon Apr 19, 2021 9:52 am
Bear in mind you wont be using XCsoar or anything similar whilst training...

Also you can do you checklists every flight and get into that routine
https://members.gliding.co.uk/wp-conten ... S-2017.pdf

And I'd recommend having a least a test flight in a real glider, just so you know how different it is from the sim
Of course I don't expect to be using PDA in basic instruction but I want to master the flight computer for safety reasons so it becomes second nature. I use checklists, not sure if you have to follow a particular order due to the acronyms but I found it hard to memorize them that way for some reason. I would love to have a test flight but it's impossible right now. Apart from COVID restrictions, the only club I could go to (Athens, Greece) is shut down for an indefinite period of time due to incredulous regulatory reasons that don't even apply anymore due to EASA.
Filgueiras wrote:
Fri Apr 23, 2021 4:34 pm
short landings, crosswind landings, and the like; thermaling, in various conditions of speed, CG position, etc.
Totally, right now I'm mostly doing landings and rope breaks so my thermaling is far from perfect but I figured those are more important to perfect first because of the risks involved.
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lordauriel
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by lordauriel » Mon May 17, 2021 3:02 am

i've said it many times before and I'll say it again
Condor2 + VR + a good stick = absolutely worth every second spent in it when it comes to real glider flying.
I do not think that sims can build bad habits, if taken seriously, tbh. Real gliders I find easier to fly because the real stick has so much more travel and therefore fine-control over any PC flight stick.

2 things that condor doesnt teach that I can think of:

1) When it comes to ridge flying, that is something I approach with a lot of respect. Always gently test a ridge on any given day before going all in, always be aware of the violence that can occur there that you cannot feel in Condor.

2) Looking for traffic. There is a certain habit, or technique, to scanning for traffic that needs to happen subconsciously all the time. In Condor, that is not a factor ( I do not fly MP)

In Condor, try flying thermals too slow, and practice the proper reaction ( easy stick fwd, use rudder to kick the low wing up) - not a big deal IRL if the correct recovery reaction is automatic and intuitive!
Spin recovery excercises in the Cirrus are valuable too

----

Funny story? Never really got taught how to thermal. Just wasn't part of the course. So I started flying with other pilots and they always tried to explain to me when to correct a turn by referring to their bottom cheeks and "feeling". I couldn't work with that. too vague. So I started applying the 270 degree method I knew from flying Condor, where you cannot feel anything.
Using that, I immediately could thermal very well and reliably IRL. Instant success.
Downside? I am dependent on modern varios. Is that a problem? No, not for me. Not at all.

The only thing that Condor does "too well" and that could build false confidence is how reliable the lift is sometimes but to offset that,
I usually fly on either moderate thermals at normal width (light turb, high variability), or strong & narrow (medium turb). I also set low cloud bases to simulate the incredibly annoying low cloud bases I have IRL all the time.

PPPPPS: From what you mentioned, you do things the right way. You are conscientous and careful. I knew one super experienced pilot who got smashed into a ridge he had flown for 20 years because he became careless, and after a great day of XC he wanted to get home - tired and "done for the day" in his head. He died 4km away from home field.

Celestial Buddy
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Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Celestial Buddy » Wed May 26, 2021 11:49 pm

When you are about to build or refine your thermalling skills, be sure to check Eric Carden's page:
https://sites.google.com/site/thermalxc/

If looking for a [more] systematic approach, see Scott Manley's free
https://glidercfi.com/trainingresources ... al-rating/

Last not least, Russel Holtz's lessons
https://www.gliderbooks.com/simulator-t ... p185903566#
He has a free progress record sheet etc

BGA Standard Instructing patter:
https://youtu.be/PixhXPZgasA

Lord_Archon
Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Feb 23, 2021 11:54 pm

Re: Any tips you could spare on using Condor for self learning ?

Post by Lord_Archon » Sun May 30, 2021 9:46 am

1) When it comes to ridge flying, that is something I approach with a lot of respect. Always gently test a ridge on any given day before going all in, always be aware of the violence that can occur there that you cannot feel in Condor.
Totally agree. I remember Bruno Vassel's video about his near death experiences with ridges.
2) Looking for traffic. There is a certain habit, or technique, to scanning for traffic that needs to happen subconsciously all the time. In Condor, that is not a factor ( I do not fly MP)
Honestly I have trouble enforcing this. One day I almost crashed into those damned aerostats that some sceneries have over certain airports. Embarrassing! If I ever make a crack scenery I'll scatter some glider models in the air. Too bad that Condor doesn't support scenery animations, else they'd move around the place too.
Real gliders I find easier to fly because the real stick has so much more travel and therefore fine-control over any PC flight stick.
I was having way too much trouble controlling and thermalling but it took a while until I found the culprit. The stick definitely has limited travel making fine adjustments tricky to the point of being limited by the granularity of the stick potentiometer! After changing non-linearity settings in condor to 50% for ailerons and elevator it finally clicked for me, it was as if my thermalling skills doubled overnight... The tradeoff is that you lose a bit of control towards the middle but that's less important than the low and high ends.
In Condor, try flying thermals too slow, and practice the proper reaction ( easy stick fwd, use rudder to kick the low wing up) - not a big deal IRL if the correct recovery reaction is automatic and intuitive !
Spin recovery excercises in the Cirrus are valuable too
I did loads of thermalling stalls when I started since I had nobody to actually teach me, so that at least is second nature by now. Back then I had no idea of the bank angle relation to stalling. Embarrassing ! And the cirrus is my fave by far, the tailplane makes it so easy to spin!
The only thing that Condor does "too well" and that could build false confidence is how reliable the lift is sometimes but to offset that,
I've read that condor is a bit too static like that so I always set high variability. I'm seeing lift/turbulence/alive air everywhere in gliding videos that I don't get in Condor, but I can imagine how hard it is to model the atmosphere. I'd like to have more control over the weather though because it's weird seeing the same conditions over 100's of km.
When you are about to build or refine your thermalling skills, be sure to check Eric Carden's page:
https://sites.google.com/site/thermalxc/
If looking for a [more] systematic approach, see Scott Manley's free
https://glidercfi.com/trainingresources ... al-rating/
Thanks I will check them out!
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