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HarryO

CumulusX 1.8 Flight Records - duration, height etc

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Although this topic is kinda pointless unless you have installed CumulusX with a real world weather engine like ASE or REX2, I would be interested to see what people have achieved in CumulusX with regards to their flights in CumulusX and also what might be possible. Here are my best:

Height: 10,200 feet (tell me I can get to higher altitudes without cheating. I realise I will pass out from lack of oxygen rolleyes.gif)

Duration: 7 simulation hours 10.30am-5.30pm (c'mon a 6am start and sunset finish must be possible)

Distance: 350km (this has to be bettered by someone please)

Speed: 50km/hr (slow but I am not very good at thermalling and need to spend a lot of time stationary gaining sufficient height to make progress)

Launch: Single winch launch to altitude for the entire simulation day (that was cool wink.gif)

I'm sure people have done better, but how much better and what is possible? Personally I am awe struck by this software. I love cross country flying and am shocked that I can pause FSX mid flight, with ASE, CumulusX, WinchX, Google Earth, TrackIR and FSUIPC all running in the background and simply hibernate the computer into power down stasis. Power back up in a day, a week or month and all that has to be done is to reconnect to the internet for historical weather updates and wake up FSUIPC by cycling it into the foreground and hitting ok (which for some reason is only required for it and not CumulusX) and the flight can be resumed.

That is awesome way to fly cross country simulation style. Modern software is becoming amazing. Becoming...it already is. That said, there is always an exception to the rule when it comes to computers and flight simulation and there is some pain as well as joy.

Cheers

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Oh yeah in case anyone is interested in cross country flying in CumulusX, I think I have stumbled across a quick way to do the maths in your head about whether you can make it to the next milestone in the journey or not:

Flying over an airport aiming for a milestone or next airport at same elevation:

What height are you? Subtract 2000 feet, divide by a thousand and multiply by ten and you have the kilometers you can safely travel in calm conditions. If there is a head wind, do a rough ratio with 50 knots and scale back the distance that can be travelled. To find the point of no return, divide the distance you can safely travel by half and do not go further than that and do not deviate too far from the flight line. If past point of no return, pray for a thermal and develop plan B landing locations in fields or roads (icccch!!!).

For example:

I am 4500 feet above current airport. If the next milestone is the same elevation but 10knot head wind then I can travel (4.5-2.0)*10*0.8 = 20km. Point of no return will be 10km from current location. I can do that calculation in under a second.

How does that compare with the real world!?!? Seems to work in DiscusX/CumulusX.

Cheers!

Harry

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Height: 10,200 feet (tell me I can get to higher altitudes without cheating. I realise I will pass out from lack of oxygen rolleyes.gif)

Duration: 7 simulation hours 10.30am-5.30pm (c'mon a 6am start and sunset finish must be possible)

Distance: 350km (this has to be bettered by someone please)

Speed: 50km/hr (slow but I am not very good at thermalling and need to spend a lot of time stationary gaining sufficient height to make progress)

Launch: Single winch launch to altitude for the entire simulation day (that was cool wink.gif)

Hi Harry,

we had started a similar discussion a while ago, but did not come to a conclusion. I know that, say 5 years ago, Roland Stuck, a RW glider pilot and an authority at the French Gliding Association was assigned by the FAI to evaluate possibilities for virtual championships, and I think "virtual records" is something like that. Alas, I knever heard about a result or conclusions on both.

A fundamental problem in this is cheating, obviously, and by that the accecptance of the results by the community. So far I know only of Condor as a platform, where virtual competitions were regarded serious by the community. I think that was because of its protection against external modifications. It is hardly to be expected, that a similar trustworthiness can be achieved with FS(X). To many options for modifications of plane parameters, wheather settings, landscape. that applies in particular to records. Ian has build in his "sim_logger" checking of the flight files, air-files and aircraft.cfg, etc. so there is at least some basic protection.

Nevertheless, I did some musings about what could be rules for competition or records here:

http://www.forum.aerosoft.com/index.php?showtopic=24622

Regarding records I think it makes only sense in RW weather conditions or in one of the predefined weather themes. Otherwise you could choose any favourable settings (I made a 613 km flight from LIPB to EDKA that way in two sessions of 6 hrs in total).

BTW, endurance records are not logged anymore by the FAI since '52 (Charles Atger, 56h 15 min at Romain les Alpilles) because of safety concerns. All other records have to be flown between SR and SS to be approved.

Competitions could be done with mission files or predefined flight files including weather conditions and the like.

best regards,

Peter

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Nevertheless, I did some musings about what could be rules for competition or records here:

http://www.forum.aer...showtopic=24622

Hi Peter

They are good musings too. CumulusX is wonderful and there could be more community activities around it. The scenery in country areas is photo realistic. I am not sure exactly why not more is happening. The gliding setup in FSX is superb and since we fly in country areas, frame rates are excellent even on modest systems.....Here in Australia we have a wonderful community that has freely given away many custom airports in country areas and navigation challenges (OzX community) but incredibly, nothing on virtual sailplaning has taken off in force that I have seen as yet! It cannot be true but apparently it is...

As for cheating, I have never understood the phenomenon on the web. My logic is simple but is it wrong? If there is no monetary or equivalent reward for virtual competition, and the only reward is personal satisfaction and comparison with the abilities of others, what would be the motivation to cheat? Of course there would still be cheating due to human delusions, but the statistic of cheating should be quite small in the bell curve of the competitors (small enough that it does not destroy the activity). As soon as there is a tangible reward, of course cheating then becomes the dominant element. The virtual environment is bizarre of course. It does test our perception! We cannot know whether any "virtual competitor"is actually true and honest or fabricated. No matter how good the technology is that will not help either. My commonsense just tells me that it does not matter to any large extent so long as there are no rewards other than personal satisfaction.

I'll keep thinking about it.....CumulusX is wonderful for all ages young and old. It teaches us so much about nature as well as flight. What do you say? Something positive will continue to happen with this software. Just keep providing the tools and someone with vision to see that CumulusX is rewarding and enjoyable will use those tools to create public communities of virtual soaring. It is possible that most of the reason why virtual soaring has not really taken off, is that perhaps people do not gravitate towards sailplaning because it is not in the popular culture of flying in general. I cannot fathom it, because I continue to misunderstand how society works. Everything that is done on the web as in society, is always a process of habit and working with what is known and familiar. Gliding seems to remain on the margins of activity even when you supply people with the knife, fork, plate, spoon and three course menu as you have done with CumulusX. smile.gif

Cheers

Harry

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Hi there

Check this situation out in CumulusX. I took off by winch at 10.30am (simulator time) in the DiscusX. Cumulus cloud bases around 3000feet and ground elevation 500 feet. The intention was to go for a cross country flight northwards in a very light tail wind. I knew I was in the simulator not real life blink.gif and thus decided to try the journey with these marginal cloud bases. Everything was ok until about 13km north of the airport I missed a critical thermal to stay aloft (see the attached plot). Struggling for lift I flew above a paddock area suitable for emergency landing but a cumulo at 3000 feet bang overhead was providing lift as low as 900 feet with the ground beneath at only 400-500 feet! I know that in real life I would never be thinking about thermalling Id be planning the landing pattern into the paddock looking for electricity wires etc well before then, but in the simulator it was a heck of a lot of fun to attempt to stay in the thermal (needed a lot of intense concentration).

Question is, would this be theoretically possible in the real world even if it were never to be attempted for sake of survival (to catch a thermal from 500 feet above deck!) Check out the ground elevation and my altitude gain verses the conditions on the attachments. With R/C model gliders that have a wingloading from what I can gather about 10 times less than a full size glider, conditions like this at that height can speck the model out to 2000 feet in a very short period of time as the thermal strength is huge. So I guess a full size sailplane might be able to struggle in the lift and just succeed as happened in the simulator.

Cheers Harry

post-31745-056658700 1291935887_thumb.jp

post-31745-010559900 1291935908_thumb.jp

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Harry your sequence was fairly mainstream for a cross-country soaring pilot - you had a good landing field picked out, and got a bubble somewhere above it and worked it. If it hadn't worked out you'd have landed safely.

From 2000 feet AGL I'd have an area of landing fields selected, but not necessarily an individual field. From 1000 feet AGL I'd have a particular field picked out and would resist the temptation to field-hop until I'm back up at a safer height (e.g. at least 2000 feet AGL). But a bubble of lift while I've got the landable field underneath me is fair game unless I'm on finals. 3000 foot cloudbase does mean the thermals will be more findable near the ground. A 7000 foot cloudbase can mean being below 3000 feet can lead to a land-out.

Experience is a wonderful thing - on a 300km flight on a warm summers day I flew into some moister heavy air trying to turn the NW turnpoint (near Cheltenham in England) and the lift went a bit soggy - I ended up turning above a landable paddock (surrounded by dry stone walls) at maybe 500 feet AGL and got the slightest bubble of lift. 45 minutes later I was still turning this way and that over the paddock, not having managed to climb at all, but somehow managing to hang on a few hundred feet in the air. But the cockpit was getting warm and humid and I was working pretty hard - I was a quite adept young pilot but not much experience of land-outs. Eventually I got to the point that I had to accept a landing, and thought "one more turn and I'll turn in for a landing". So I opened out the turn a bit, turned onto finals. But even with full airbrake I was forty feet higher than I should have been - doesn't sound much (less than a wingspan) but at full airbrake 7:1 glide that meant I touched down into the paddock 280 feet deeper in than I intended. I remember going f*ck f*ck f*ck as I pushed the nose down to get the glider in and stop it before the far boundary. It went ok but I learnt to set up a decent final approach to any field in future.

B21

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Experience is a wonderful thing - on a 300km flight on a warm summers day I flew into some moister heavy air trying to turn the NW turnpoint (near Cheltenham in England) and the lift went a bit soggy - I ended up turning above a landable paddock (surrounded by dry stone walls) at maybe 500 feet AGL and got the slightest bubble of lift.........

Wonderful stuff B21 thanks for sharing that! Could listen to these experiences all day smile.gif. My gut feeling knowing the country and the weather in the real world that the simulation took place in, I think a full size sailplane could have climbed out from 500 feet AGL as happened in the simulator. If it is true what I said regarding the wing loading of a full size sailplane being a factor of ten more than the R/C equivalent, the efficiency of the scaled up wing of the full size sailplane is higher which would compensate for the extra wing-loading to some degree I guess. It comes down to how tight you can turn a full size sailplane at low altitudes without stalling a wing and without loosing the only benefit of the slightest lift. Wonderfully scary unsure.gifsmile.gif The point is that not loosing height or loosing it only slightly is a good thing in these situations! As an R/C sailplane pilot I have definitely experienced situations where coming off the bungee at 600 feet AGL, the lift is so intense that without deliberately stalling the glider or applying fall brakes or doing some radical aerobatics, the bird will not descend the lift is so intense! ohmy.gif

What I did NOT fully appreciate and so thank you for this knowledge is that you mentioned that the probability height to land out actually increases with the increasing cumulo cloud base (dependent on a number of factors of course). It makes total sense because a thermal actually separates from the ground as a bubble in the real world I guess, and so in your example, below 3000 feet AGL there might not be much use-able lift. I think I have kind of experienced this phenomenon even in the simulator that cannot truly model bubbles of rising air but I think I was imagining it perhaps.....

Ok, one thing that you cannot do in the real world that you can in the simulator is put the flight on pause, save it and come back to it a day later refreshed, de-sweated, de-stressed and re-energised. Some compensation at least!

Cheers

Harry

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3000 foot cloudbase does mean the thermals will be more findable near the ground. A 7000 foot cloudbase can mean being below 3000 feet can lead to a land-out.

I remember going f*ck f*ck f*ck as I pushed the nose down to get the glider in and stop it before the far boundary. It went ok but I learnt to set up a decent final approach to any field in future.

It makes total sense because a thermal actually separates from the ground as a bubble in the real world I guess, and so in your example, below 3000 feet AGL there might not be much use-able lift. I think I have kind of experienced this phenomenon even in the simulator that cannot truly model bubbles of rising air but I think I was imagining it perhaps.....

Hi,

indeed, Ian, 90% of the secret of making safe outlandings, is a long final. Students are most afraid to come too short, and eventually they are coming too high. We exercise in our club planning for final at 50% air-brake until you are "in".

CumulusX! weakens the thermals close to ground by default. Since Version 1.8 the default "Weak ground layer" is 500ft, meaning lift decays gradually to zero from the AGL altitude down to ground. As a matter of fact since Version 1.8 CumulusX! shifts also the timing of the thermal cycle along the thermal column. this means that the lift occurs and ends at ground first, while the visible cloud follows. Now, if you are close to the clouds, they give you a good hint where lift can be found. If ceiling is high and your are close to ground, looking for clouds may be the wrong strategy, because frequently the lift may have terminated already here. Another extra difficulty is the leaning, with some limited knowledge about wind speed and rotation at altitude.

So in reality while looking for lift close to ground you should concentrate on orographic features, like small hills or ridges, forest borders, radio towers of smoke stacks, a plowing farmer. In CumulusX! you should concentrate on ridges and avoid forests and water bodies.

Cheers,

Peter

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Regarding the above discussion specifically in relation to competitions, cheating, the apparent lack of participants and the truly excellent state of the virtual technology, cumulus X, simlogger and mission capabilities; I too am staggered at the general lack of response to what I find is an amazing and challenging way to experience the fun and challenges of gliding but without the time and expense of real flight.

Perhaps it is simply an awareness exercise and we are hiding in our technological bubble but have made no serious attempt to spread the word. Even the last mission generated by Spud which I found a really well put together mission attracted only the hard core of people close to the action.

Anyway I agree with Harry O and am not worried about the cheating side. The technology is all there thanks to the great work of Peter, b21 and others and basically I would love to see more mission competitions with an increased number of participants but how to achieve that I am not sure.

Sorry to drift off the thread a bit but as you can probably tell, I'm a bit frustrated and dying for some action! B)

Jeff Hodge

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cmon then Hodge - pick a start airport, some weather, max start height, and a couple of turnpoints (maybe pick airfield turnpoints to keep it simple) and we'll see how many people we can get to fly it...

B21

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Eh Hodge

If you make a simple mission, I'll give it a go too smile.gif. You would be then already one step ahead of me, for I have not a clue how to construct one.

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Embarrassing as it is, I too have not delved into the detail of how to construct a mission. Maybe this is the time for me to bite the bullet and have a crack. I know that you (b21) have put many posts on the subject over time however if you could point me in the right direction with some links to a step by step guide to doing it I will have a go over Christmas.

Up to now I have been loving the flying but have been a bit lacking in confidence to construct a mission so maybe its not as hard as my mind is telling me.

Some time ago "ddrueding" was interested in constructing a mission and was asking b21 for a flight template file and later when he became unsure of whether he could put the mission together he provided a link to his flight files for an "Italian Alps Crossing"

The link is no longer active however the discussion was here: http://www.flightsimulatorxmissions.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=499&highlight=

I was thinking of having a crack at finishing that mission.

Hodge

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The important bit of soaring missions is all the planning - a loadable saved flight with the aircraft in the right start position, Wx, waypoints, without involving the mission editor at all. The flightplan can be built with Plan-G. The creator has to slew around the task and check out the flightpath, and then fly the task to confirm the Wx is just right for an excellent soaring competition - not too hard, not VNE all the way around... it also helps to create a GIF with the task drawn on, e.g. screenshot from FSX or Plan-G, like this one:

dornbirn1.jpg

Then we have a task we can all fly - the actual 'mission' format isn't really needed - just adds a bit of gloss is all.

B21

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