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I’d like to try thermal soaring. What’s a good example setup for that?

Versions: V1 and V2

  • Vario: In Options, turn on the vario sounds under the Sound/Music menu. Turn on the built-in music if you like that too!
  • Sailplane: Pick the Tracon sailplane from the list and use the TacCon Controller.
  • Site: Select the Bryce Field 3D site.
  • Winds: Select Thermal Set 10.
    Image of Wind Selection - Thermals
  • Skyscape: Pick the Foxtrot Oscar sky just because that’s one of the favorites. Tip: The very last item on the sky list has the 40 skyscapes listed in alpha order for quick searching. The thermals are not correlated with the cloud cover.
  • Takeoff (method): Select the Hi-Start.
  • After making these selections, the Single-Player Freestyle page will look like what’s below.
    Image of Single Player Freestyle setup page
  • Click Fly. For the Tracon, push the ‘throttle’ stick all the way up to pull up the flaps/crow. Center the three-position switch to get into cruise mode (no camber or reflex). For more details on how the Tracon is setup, hit ‘Esc’ to exit flying and click on the Flight Manual button.
  • Easy Button: If the thermals are hard to find, see below for the locations of the thermals at Bryce Field for Thermal Set 10. These blue dots in the graphic represent the thermals. Each thermal is different and the updraft and radius through the thermal change with altitude. The image below was taken from FS One and shows the high-quality terrain imagery at this site. The blue dots are not shown in the simulator!
    Image of thermals at Bryce Field - Thermal Set 10
  • Once everything is loaded and the sim is running, press the spacebar to release the sailplane and climb on the hi-start. Using launch camber on the three-position switch might help a little in getting more altitude at launch. The Tracon is a high-performance sailplane and can take a lot of load before breaking its wings in flight (wings break under aero loads), so you can do zoom launches.
  • Pressing ‘V’ will toggle on/off the variometer instrument. Pressing ‘M’ will show the map and it can be used to help locate the thermal shown in the “easy-button” graphic above.
  • When your variometer reads a positive climb rate, you’re climbing. The variometer will also beep faster. And with the ‘H’ key HUD up, the rate of climb will also be shown there. On top of all this, the sailplane will go up which is the idea! To see it all happening up close, press the F5 key when thermalling in a circle.
  • Change the view to the “Shifted Elevation View”, which is F2 to see more of the ground. The sailplane will appear high on the screen in this case.
  • Press ‘T’ to show the timer, which can be use to record the time aloft and also carryout a landing countdown sequence.
  • Press ‘L’ to get a landing spot for spot landing practice, and to see it press the F12 key twice to get the mouseable view to see the spot on the runway just ahead of the pilot position. Move the mouse around.
  • Finally, ‘P’ might come in handy to pause the sim and get a look around with the second F12 view!
  • One final tip, after hitting ‘Esc’ to quit, click on the ‘Save Flight’ button to save the settings. Then later the ‘Load Flight’ button can be used to automatically populate the page with most of the current settings (i.e., aircraft, site, sky, etc).
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