Frequently Asked Questions
Check most frequently asked questions here, if you still need help then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Results vary quite a bit mainly just depending on how "handy" and "engineery" the user is. Building 80/20 aluminum rigs like this do require attention to detail and patience. If you miss inserting a locking nut or something here or there, you have to burn time to unassemble back through several steps to put it back in. We've done a good job of making clear step by step Lego type instructions - but you the consumer / user still have to pay attention to the details and grind through the assembly. It's like a piece of Ikea furniture with a lot of parts basically. So if you just hate building things and can't be bothered, this isn't the product for you. If you look at this like a DIY project and enjoy building things - you'll love it. So with all that said TWO TO FIVE HOURS is a fair range when it comes to building the thing out. It's of course faster / easier with two people, but can totally be done by one person. The tools are basic. The instructions are good. But you do have to gird yourself for some assembly work and the time needed. That last thing we want is to spend a bunch of money shipping you something only to have you find out later you don't like building it or it is "too complicated". We have full assembly instructions up on the website (bottom of home page, "documents" link) which shows you what you are in for.
We often think of an extra set of controls or some command buttons for the instructor as a great thing for students. Flip it around for a moment and think how cool to have CFI's that can practice on the ground, what taking over flight controls looks and feels like. And yes -they can release from tow, or whatever. What we are going to do (quite soon) is just write an app that we'll sell on the site (for very reasonable price) that will allow you to simply buy a run of the mill Logitech flight stick (these are like under $50 USD), install our app, and then plug in a standard flight stick that usually has loads of buttons on it as well - and those buttons can be assigned to do all sorts of things in Condor (air brakes, flaps, tow release, you name it..) In theory, wouldn't be hard to have two full sim rigs connected to simulate tandem cross country or giving the CFI a full set of controls. We are playing with that idea now - but again, technically not a high bar for us, just need to see if some demand there.
Glider Sim Pro Product Details
NO.. The Glider Sim Pro , glider simulator cockpit, does not include the following items: Computer, keyboard (wireless is best, we think - and many have a touchpad included so no need mouse!), Mouse, Computer Monitor/Display (or video/power cables), and we don't include the actual simulator software - the most common and by far the best - Condor Soaring. None of these things are included and must be purchased separately. Conceptually just think we are like a few windows peripherals/ USB accessories (hardware that talks to software, we do the hardware)
The assembled frame is 120 x 67 cm (or approx 48" x 27") That's on the floor. Depending on your monitor setup, will be wider at the front. With a typical wide gaming monitor you might be pushing 80-ish cm wide and 30 something inches. If you recline the seat in a normal position also adding probably around 25 cm (10") to the length. So call it 145 cm x 80 cm , or 58" by 31" relative to the other bits not on the floor (seat / monitor). You also need to stick the computer / PC somewhere on the front or side of unit.
Yes! We are indeed working on some mounts so that users can slap on 3rd party hardware (the nice thing with 80/20 aluminum!) and enjoy their favorite fighter jet or warbird sims. We'll work up some prototypes soon and get some pics up here and on social media.
When we started out, we were looking at the 80/20 rule, and determined most of the performance flapped gliders out there had either 6 or 7 flap positions - so we designed around that. Of course there is Murphy's Law, which then dictated that that Virtual Sailplane Grand Prix world champion (Ben Fest), who won one of our simulators, likes to mostly fly a Ventus 3 on Condor - which has 8 flap positions. So for now, we are going to keep the 6/7 flaps notch plate in the kit, and then we've made a new universal flaps notch plate (and the accompanying firmware that interfaces with windows and Condor) - this plate has one notch in the front (negative or full forward flaps) and one notch in the rear (usually a landing flap) and then a smooth slide in between. For this universal version, we have a special version of flaps firmware that allows pilots to fly basically ANY glider with flaps regardless of whether it is 3, 4, 5, or 8 positions. If you want to fly something like an ASG29 (which has 7 flap positions), the 6/7 flap position notch plate included will work just fine out of the box. So instead of us creating so many custom flaps notch plates, we just focused on the 6 or 7 flap position gliders, then provide an option for a universal plate that only has detents on the very front and back and is just like a "slide" in the middle. And of course since Condor (or any sim for that matter) reports your flaps position on the screen and also the virtual pilot's hand is quite clear on the screen.
The primary design intent here was to realistically simulate the cockpit experience and flight controls of a performance glider. That said, obviously there is potential, through some accessories or even DIY customization to accommodate other hardware. Sometime in the first half of 2022, we will introduce some mounting brackets designed around some leading brand names doing flight controls (stick, throttle body, etc) for DCS / fighter jet sims and/or warbirds, etc. The common theme there being there is a stick versus a yoke that you may find on a GA sim (Cessna, etc) Out of the box, we already had a couple guys just use the glider's airbrake as a throttle in MSFS and flew a Piper Cub and said it was great. But beyond that, it's going to require some new brackets / mounts and other accessory bits to integrate these other controls (Virpil, VRB, Thrustmaster, etc) And if you are super handy, and capable of machining up your own stuff, well that's the beauty of T slot aluminum rigs - they are infinitely customizable! DO NOT BUY this rig if your primary intention is to fly something other than a glider and you want to just "give it a bash" At least not until we've done some of our own prototypes and integrations and mucked around with it a bit more!
Sure you can! The only caveat is that if you have powered aerobatic or fighter jet flying background, you better learn how to not slap the controls all the way to the stops when doing rolls, etc!!! In order to give you a sub $2,000 USD rig, we didn't do a high end metal core / mech flight stick (most of which retail for $300-$500 USD just for the stick, nothing else) I mean we could have, but then you'd be paying $2,300-$2,500 for something you don't really need! You can effectively do any maneuvers a glider pilot would do - no worries. But like any product, you can break it if you try hard enough. And so yeah if you are slamming the stick to the stops (in any direction) with reckless abandon, you'll probably wreck the core. We've done a lot of lifetime / cycle testing and under NORMAL USE, we haven't been able to break it. But if you put in beast mode / gorilla inputs and jack the stick to the stops, yeah - you can break it.
PC Spec / Condor Related
This has all to do with the simulator software side of things (usually Condor), and anything else you may plan to do with your PC such as general aviation simulation or car racing or just general gaming type stuff. Just remember - we are USB peripheral inputs into Windows, that's it. So nothing on our hardware side is hard, resource intensive, or even special in the Windows world. It sees our rig no diff than it would see a keyboard for instance -just inputs via USB.
You can head over to Condor's website for more - but remember if you plan to do other stuff with your PC, in addition to Condor, then you may need an even higher spec on processor, memory, etc. The requirements for Condor itself are quite reasonable, and in general, we would say less demanding than most shooter games, or say MS Flight Sim, etc Condor Soaring PC Requirements There are many config options, but most people can put together a decent Condor box from anywhere between $500 to $1000 USD (again depending and "your results may vary")
We may in the coming months try to work with a custom PC builder so that for USA customers anyway, you could click a link on our site here and it would pre-load a shopping cart on the PC vendor's end of things and preload all the core bits you'd need for that particular config - and maybe offer a "good, better, best" array of say 3 configs from cheap / minimum up to $$$/over the top.
Just like with the PC spec FAQ - keep in mind our system is just an input device to windows via USB. As for Condor Soaring (the software), YES it does have support for major VR headsets. There are several threads on the forum over at Condor that you may find of interest. VR support related
You might have seen some pics here and there of a triple monitor setup at the Soaring Academy here in California. Indeed we'll be making a triple monitor kit available some time early 2022. The design is done, just building and shipping parts takes time. The max size for monitors on this type of setup is around 32-34" and most importantly, you'll need to have a graphics card (Nvidia has a couple) that actually supports 3 HDMI or 3 DP (display port) out to the monitors. Most graphics cards come with two outputs - but that won't work if you want to go triple.
Over time, lots of people have not really understood how our system works with Condor, Windows, or other flight sims for that matter. Without getting too technical, each function on the simulator (joystick, landing gear, tow release, etc) just corresponds to a button press or game controller deflection that is supported standard in Windows. In other words, our simulator rig, is not much different than a keyboard or a mouse, etc. There is one nuance / exception to that which are the flaps. Because of how Condor/Windows interprets inputs on a linear / analogue basis, in order for us to get flaps that have spacing of the detents and flap positions more similar to real gliders - we had to create some hardware and firmware to get in the middle of our controls and Windows/Condor. So we created a special configuration tool to do this for 6 and 7 position flapped gliders. On other configurations (like 8 flaps, etc), we use a different configuration tool which just basically goes back to a linear / equidistant spacing mode where Windows/Condor just takes the full range of the flaps, and assigns a front, a back, then just moves progressively and linearly with the pilots hands through the range. We haven't (yet) tested flaps on MS flight sim, but we think would work fine using our analogue / linear slide approach (versus using special spacing)
Well they both have plusses and minuses. With VR goggles, obviously once you have them on, you can't see outside of your VR world unless you tilt up or remove your headset (hassle) If you are the kind of pilot that likes to use your real glider's flight computer for simulations, then VR isn't a great way to go obviously because to see your flight computer you have to pull off (or up) your VR goggles (again - hassle) That said some of the top (and world champ) pilots fly VR and just use the native / internal flight computer in Condor and call it good. VR is certainly more immersive than any other solution. But some people also get sick in VR worlds. Personally for me (Mitch here), i prefer head tracking - such as the IR Track Pro (there are also open source solutions you can use with an old iPhone to track your head). But back to IR Track Pro - basically it's a little camera / sensor thingy that sits on top of your monitor. You then clip on a little piece to your headset or hat (forget, but think they are like IR emitting diodes or something). Those two pieces - the clip on to your headphones or hat, and the sensor mounted on the monitor - that's basically it on the hardware (wires in USB) Config a few things in their software, and away you go. As you turn your head, then so does the cockpit view on the screen(s). It's like VR but using external screen - pretty cool! ONLY DRAWBACK , and it's not a minor one if at a flight school and doing lessons in day time, the IR Track Pro type solution is sensitive to light (bright light, it doesn't work great). Again you can get around that with some of the open source stuff that uses phones with good cameras to do the same thing. But that's beyond the scope of this post. And you can go to Condor's forum for more ...
Yes, our plan is to have one or more fulfillment warehouses in UK/ Europe in the next several months.