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Enjoyable FSX Soaring Flight


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I have created a quite enjoyable flight in FSX that I thought that I would share. I start the flight in the DG-808S sailplane, on the ground in a farm field about one mile inland from Mont St Michel, France.


Mont St. Michel is this beautiful 13-century abbey built on a small island off the coast of France. My objective is to fly cross-country (or cross-ocean!) to the island of Jersey - one of the Channel Islands - and land at Jersey Intl (EGJJ) which is a flight of about 45 miles. I enter the ICAO code for Jersey Intl into the Garmin GPS, so that it will show up in the DG-808's own flight computer. There is no airport at the takeoff point, so I am using just an open field next to the main road; it was easy to get my gliders trailer into there. I have aligned the direction that the sailplane is pointed in the field so that when the tow plane starts its tow, we will fly right over the abbey. After calling the tow plane, we take off and fly right over Mont St Michel, which is an incredible sight to start with.


After towing to ~2000 MSL (I'm over the ocean by then) I release the cable and start looking for hawks. There are usually some hawks soaring a few miles northwest of Mont St. Michel. I fly towards the hawks until I am in the same thermal, and I start climbing at about 800 FPM in the thermal.


There is usually not very many thermals out over the ocean between the coast of France and Jersey, so I make sure that I climb high enough before I get too far away from the French coast to make it all the way to Jersey in one long glide. An altitude of about 8,500 ft MSL usually works well. Once I attain the altitude that I need, I start heading for Jersey. The heading to fly is ~320-degrees magnetic, and I am watching the GPS on the DG-808's flight computer to make sure that I am on course. Then I trim the sailplane for the best speed-to-fly and settle in for about a 40 minute flight.


About 10 miles from Jersey, I call Jersey Tower, and let them know of my landing intention.



They usually want to set me up for right traffic for runway 09, and give me my landing clearance. If I am really, really lucky they won't clear any other aircraft for takeoff or landing while I am in the pattern, and then order me to go around. On my downwind leg I dump the ballast and am working the spoilers, killing any excess altitude that I might have. Depending on the flight that I just had, there may be NO excess altitude. As a matter of fact, I tried this flight once and just barely made it to an empty field near the beach on the very edge of Jersey island. Fortunately I have never had to ditch at sea (so far). Finally I turn onto the right base leg over the coast, and onto final approach for runway 09. The landing is uneventful (the way I like them) and fortunately I have enough speed and momentum to coast off the runway and onto the taxiway.


Then I have to cheat a little and use Slew to park the aircraft. Finally, it's time for a brewski!


I hope you enjoyed the flight as much as I did...

Randy L.


Remember: Any landing that you can walk away from,

is a landing that you can be fined, sued, or prosecuted for.

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Nice flight, and great pics. I have been trying to soar a little in the English Lake District of the UK because of interest in a FS9 slope file. Now with your flight, I know of another nice area in Europe to fly with nice scenery.

By the way, have you given any thought to using Funky's cumulus cloud model for the natural thermal visualization? Check out the following thread http://virtualsoaring.org/iboard/index.php?showtopic=1458 if you're wondering or haven't already. Do you find it reliable or useful to use the default birds, because I never found them (I may have not been looking or recognizing the right indicators), but I'm not saying it's a bad option. I like using the cumulus clouds because I can locate them much faster and stay under them better, especially with the use of FreeTrack v2.1.

One more thing, have you tried this flight with real-world weather? I didn't know if that would make it even more of a challenge. I may try it later.


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By the way, have you given any thought to using Funky's cumulus cloud model for the natural thermal visualization?

Do you find it reliable or useful to use the default birds,

One more thing, have you tried this flight with real-world weather? sf4JC

Hi sf4J,

I have seen the cumulus cloud visualization on flightsim.com, but I haven't installed it yet. I do enjoy soaring with the hawks, but unfortunately it has been my experience that not all areas, or even all thermals have hawks in them. Do all of the thermals in an area have a cumulus cloud above them? I would like to use something that makes it easier to spot the thermals. It's too bad that someone can't make a hack that would allow one to use BOTH hawks OR cumulus clouds at the same time.

I have used real world weather several times in the Mont St Michel soaring flight. It makes it much more challenging. When I originally set up and saved the flight, it just so happened that the tow plane flies through an 800 fpm thermal with hawks in it while we are almost at release altitude. All I have to do when using the default flight is to release in this thermal and I can pretty much rely on a thermal to 8000 ft MSL. This gives me plenty of altitude to make the glide to the island of Jersey, with enough left over to fly a normal landing pattern at Jersey Intl. airport. The airport is on the far side of the island. The last time I flew with real world weather turned on though, I left the coast of France at 6000 ft MSL, and just barely had the altitude to make it to the island. I had to land in an open field near the southwestern coast of the island, as I didn't have enough altitude to make the airport. But so far I have never had to ditch in the ocean. Sometimes though, when I call Jersey Tower they clear me to land on runway 9. Then while I am on my downwind leg of the landing pattern the tower clears someone else for takeoff or landing, and orders me to go around! Grrrrrr....

Thanks for the reply...

Randy L.

"Remember: and landing that you can walk away from

is a landing that you can be fined, sued, or prosecuted for."

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Well, you can have hawks and clouds in a certain ratio easily, say 50/50, by hacking AirObjectVisuals.xml. The problem with a combination of hawks and cumulus in the same thermal is, that the clouds should be scaled to the size of the thermal, while the hawks certainly should not. I think this is not possible with the current autogen-thermal code in FSX, and in simconnect-made thermals.

Instead, you may have a fixed size of the cloud in combination with the hawks, but then they won't correlate with the size of the thermal anymore. At last, there is is one more option with the mission-system, where you could have what you want, but restricted to the mission environment, and hand-crafted for every single thermal.

BTW, the mismatch between the pilots-size in the DG808 and the cockpit always makes me grin. In reality, sitting in a DG is more like a biddy in the egg.



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