Glider, sailplane, soaring, please!

I love MSFS 2020. However, as I love soaring, whenever I start the simulator, I am singing to myself: “I’m dreaming of a White Glider …” When will we be given the opportunity to fly like birds in MSFS?

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There seems also to be some Adiabatic lift a lower altitudes, In the promotional pre release hype the weather system they described was a complex sounding real world system that I was hoping would produce true thermals, but apparently they were never thinking sailplanes. I don’t know if it was mentioned but Alex at Touching Cloud has a simconnect utility that can inject thermals via little nav map user points.

Alex Marko from https://msfs.touching.cloud/ has a nice little program Kinetic Assistant that can do THERMALS!
Please say hooray to Alex! See my first thermals video at https://youtu.be/hZWOM2-_RXw and my second https://youtu.be/QEhHcOQUqEc

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We are making good progress with soaring freeware gliders in MSFS. Here’s a kind-of open letter to Asobo re things they will need to address when they try and do it themselves:

  • there needs to be a TOTAL ENERGY VARIOMETER calculation designed in to the sim. FSX has the (useless) “VARIOMETER RATE” variable and sim programmers have a long history of being unable to write the 10 lines of code necessary to calculate this compensated sink rate value (so they fall back to an unusable VERTICAL CLIMB value instead). Asobo will discover the MSFS implemention has made calculating the TE in gauge code much more complicated, which will become obvious if/when they try it (there are async timing issues between the gauge code and the simvar updates).

  • The flight model needs to allow negative flaps to improve the glide ratio at high speeds. Currently the flight model design assumes all flaps other than zero add drag and zero is the optimum setting at all speeds above the stall. This was true of FSX. Negative flaps in a glider work because they are low drag and reduce the lift, which reduces the induced drag of the entire wing, something FSX never considered.

  • Working lift from the base of Cu clouds down to the ground (with a radial and vertical lift profile) would be awesome. The lift needs to be the same for multiple players. Please take advice on likely lift strengths in different countries. Average lift above 5knots is relatively rare outside Texas.

  • The “Gusts” implemented as part of the MSFS weather model are basically broken, and working glider instruments make this obvious. The incremental “gust” wind speeds are too high, the frequency is far too fast, and (most importantly) the ACCELERATION of the air mass is off-the-charts too fast. Aircraft read a gust ‘on-the-nose’ as an airspeed acceleration, which appears to glider instruments as an injection of energy. The gust energies are currently HUGE. Keep in mind the weight of air rising in a thermal weighs more than a battleship. It is NOT going to accelerate from 0 to 10 m/s in seconds. If your gusts are wrong by x100, please don’t be churlish and reduce them to x50. Planes are being thrown about by the gusts and it’s not their stability moments that are wrong. Allow the user to dial the gusts down to zero in case you don’t believe they’re broken. This is a serious point - basic glider compensated varios, which are essential for soaring, won’t work with the current gusts enabled (so we’ve worked out how to turn them off completely).

  • The corollary to the ‘negative flap’ issue is FSX/MSFS zero flap gives the best glide performance all the way back to the stall. MSFS positive flap reduces the stall speed, but until zero flap stalls it will still perform better then positive flap. In a glider each flap performance overlaps at higher speeds, well before the stall.

  • Gliders can thermal inside clouds (it is a massive thrill to emerge from the gray into a towering Cu landscape). MSFS Cu’s are actually really translucent currently so you can still see the ground even a couple of thousand feet into the cloud. In real clouds everything turns to gray within maybe 100 feet.

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None of the above suggest any major design flaw or limitation in MSFS, which is a great sim and has awesome potential for glider flying. Asobo is sure to make great glider models that fly really well, but the above are necessary for MSFS to be a great soaring sim.

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Yes please - can we give it to the wishlist please? I was just thinking about how to make it so everybody is satisfied.

  1. list towing events like (menu activities) multiplayer servers according to your preferences: sailplane pilot or towing pilot - location fixed by either ones (fixed location) or (open location)
  2. if sailplane pilot or towing pilot behaves like an idiot - you can push “cancel” and towing procedure is finished by AI (sailplane or towing pilot is then AI)
  3. while flying - easy communication menu for navigation, chat and actions ( hooking eg)
  4. towing planes (horsepower eg) are presorted according to weight of sailplane
  5. deluxe luxury wish- multiple sailplane towing :grinning:

TE and netto calculations already implemented by Ian Lewis as a custom gauge. No license, free to use by any developer or hobbyist GitHub - thealx-eech/msfs-dg808s-upgrade

Flaps and weather complaints are very reasonable.

Tomorrow next update with improved thermals and aerotow.
If some idiot attached to you, you will not have any cancel button, but cable detached automatically when angle to the plane more than 90 degrees. Hope MS will not ban me forever for that.
Multiple gliders can be attached to same tow plane.

Thanks B21 I see you have been here a while and have been quite busy. I’m relatively new to this platform, and I see you have been very active once again crusading for Proper and correct sailplane function within a given sim.
For anyone not familiar with This man, he goes by B21 in sim circles and has over the years made a major contribution to soring simulation in FSX, X Plane, and now MSFS, he has seen fit to design construct and implement correct and functioning gauges and flight computers for various sims and his work is exemplified in most of Wolfgang Pipers FSX sailplanes. In X plane he, with help from some other enthusiasts, convinced Laminar to rush a quick update to their thermal model to make it usable for soaring in X Plane. Asobo should be (if they are not already) consulting this man to ensure that the sailplanes and soaring environment in MSFS is as good as it can be. He has a lot of expertise as well in the modifying of flight models to conform to actual Sailplane performance polars.
I think Asobo has done a remarkable job in creating a potentially superior “world” for soaring, and soaring lends itself perfectly to the what seems to be the sight seeing goals of MSFS. Previously, and initially was very critical of MSFS, It does, however, hold the single greatest potential for superior flight simulation, if Asobo will agree to avail itself of the expertise, waiting in the wings and eager to help expanding the sim to it’s greatest potential. I would include Alex Marko on this list as well as an enthusiastic and talented individual.
I have been quietly converting some sailplanes on my own as a diversion until we reach the time that MSFS can implement some sailplanes with realistic performance into the sim.
Should we expect everything all at once? I think no, but lets hope Asobo will take the necessary first steps to create an accurate modeling of soaring in MSFS, and allow for future upgrades to the system.

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Hello MSGamerTag01. Are you B21? Please tell.
Do you want to send your open letter to Zendesk to give it hopefully more Asobo attention.
I don’t know what I should think about Zendesk. Normally they reach state “solved” in Zendesk in days. But the Zendesk “solved” bugs are not repaired in FS2020 in months - see e.g. the Xbox controller One rudder bug.
At the topic of negative flaps and improve glide ratio: If you postulate that -9° flaps gives your “baseline” glide ratio, you can give a worse glide ratio to say 0° flaps. That is you shift the range to an all positive range and the “flaps can only add drag, but not lift” problem is gone.
At the topic of FS2020 weather system gusts: At wind speed 0 knots and blank input field there are still gusts. The old trick to have wind without gusts does no longer work. Therefore it is necessary to have a gust slider that goes down to 0% gusts.

Well, Asobo/Microsoft delivered beta quality software at full price in August 2020. In the bumpy ride since then they performed the “two steps forward, one step backward” software maintenance dance.

I have FSX:Steam, Aerofly FS2, Acro FS and X-plane 11.5 on my computer. But I think the stall, spin and snap roll of my aerobatics flight model mods in FS2020 feels best. The computational fluid dynamics of FS2020 is not a marketing lie, it is real.
As I look deeper into aircraft design and deeper into FS2020 I see what is lacking in FS2020 compared to the behavior of a real airplane. See for example the following polar chart, measured by SimPolar:

DG808S_polar induced=1.5 parasite=0.4 354kg 600kg

The black lines are DG808C data sheet. The green bars are 30kg/m^2, the purple are 50.8kg/m^2 wing load SimPolar measurement (Alex Marko’s SimPolar 0.3 with my patch) of my DG808S model. You see that FS2020 lowers the glide ratio for high airspeed, but not for low airspeed (stall). This explains the “airplane does not stall, but hovers at low airspeed” complains.
There is an ugly feature in MS-Windows: The decimal point in german MS-Windows is comma not period. And SimPolar ignors the wrong decimal point symbol and read instead of 3.4 the number 34. Therefore the scale was totally wrong.

Aircraft design by Prof. Scholz: Flugzeugentwurf, HAW Hamburg

Just checked profile. it turned out awkward))) Hello, Ian :wave:

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Thankyou Alex, for all your effort, fantastic, I will be trying it out Today.

Hi folks! Yes I’m B21, thanks for asking - that ‘tag’ unsurprisingly wasn’t available on XBox Live in 2020. It’s the UK competition number of the ASW24 I flew for 15 years and on the rare occasion I did well the finish line would call BRAVO…2-1 which still makes me smile.

Top tip: Do NOT change your XBox Live gamer tag (I tried). MSFS gets royally broken and you spend days with Zendesk trying to fix it. The “one change for free” policy turns into something of a liability.

I’m optimistic for soaring in MSFS. Our current efforts with the D808S are definitely usable - much better than the original DG808S in FSX on which it’s based . MSFS has ridge lift plus the prospect of thermals under volumetric Cu’s, and already has designed-in multiplayer. Most soaring is quite close to the landscape and the cockpit is designed for looking out of, so the MSFS scenery really pays off. I expect the mission system will (like FSX) be well suited to packaging soaring/competition tasks. So it seems the support for gliders should be at least as good as FSX and the scenery/clouds/multiplayer will be better, so all good.

If we can put a working glider into MSFS today we stand a much better chance of Asobo raising the bar in 18 months. Otherwise it is possible they will deliver a power pilot’s guess of what a glider should be. It may turn out to be a plus that Asobo did not deliver gliding from the start.

There has been some colossal talent emerge for gliding development in MSFS over the past few months, I won’t embarrass them with names, but it’s a pleasure to be involved.

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Hi Ian, I guessed it was you from the language you used, remember the ASG 29 in X Plane?, I’m Jahn Dee. In any event, I was late to the party here for a few reasons, but happy to see so much involvement already, and I hear you are busy behind the scenes. I have been muddling with scenery and figuring out the SDK so I can hopefully import or reconstruct some of my Glider airfields from FSX in the future.

Ha, we’re getting the band back together!

Another big step forward in the soaring community! Thanks to Ian “B21” Lewis, we get a full pack of precisely working gauges in our DG808S add-on. Even if the 3D model is still in legacy format, flight model and instruments converted into modern form and fully working now.

By NewkTV’s advice, we were able to make it work in VR mode (even if in limited form), and also made installer work without Flight Simulator X assets, so everyone will be able to have it now!

Take it, discover the world in solo flight, or enjoy the freedom with your friends. And don’t forget to get Kinetic Assistant, a must-have util for the glider pilot.

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Hello everybody! I was surprised, too, that a forum message is a forum post. Therefore we can continue in this thread. At the moment we have good old FSX DG808S as our “fruit fly” to experiment with. I made a conversion and Alex made another conversion. I think it makes sense to combine both conversions.
But before the details work I suggest to spend some time with the “decision funnel”. That is first make coarse decisions about what we want to build and what we what not, then more and more fine decisions.
Here is my decision funnel question 1: SHALL the sailplane have engine or not?
Background: I estimate that 90% of sailplane have no engine for self starter or for “Heimkehrhilfe” - a little engine that keeps the sailplane in the air. On the other hand: A sailplane without engine crashes FS2020 if you start the flight on the airport (runway). At the moment you can only start in the air.
My suggestion: Sailplane without engine that delivers thrust, but with enough engine to avoid FS2020 crash.

get water ballast working (i.e. with correct polar) (water dump effect possible?)

I use a very simple solution in my DG808S. I have a “water ballast” passenger. I can give the passenger weight and I can change the weight in mid-flight. This is no rocket science, but it allows me to measure different polars. The location of the “water ballast” passenger does not change the center of gravity between tank full and empty.

My DG808S is on MSFS 2020 sailplane

Wow, this sounds cool. So, do I need anything else but a sailplane and Kinetic Assist to begin to soar?