Microsoft Flight Simulator Handbook

by Jonathan M. Stern

Glider Checkout

If you are interested in a taste of the gliding experience, Flight Simulator includes a Schweizer 2-32 sail plane (see Figure 7.10).

Figure 7.10. The Schweizer 2-32 inside and out.

Sail planes use natural resources to maintain flight in a relatively quiet, sometimes peaceful environment. Although an understanding of aircraft power plants is unnecessary, a thorough understanding of the wind and air current aspects of meteorology is necessary to take advantage of the rising air created by thermals and the winds deflected by mountain ridges.

The high-performance 2-32 sail plane meets the following specifications:

Length 26 feet 9 inches
Wingspan 57 feet
Height 9 feet
Wing Area 180 square feet
Aspect Ratio 18.05
Maximum Gross Weight 1,340 pounds
Standard Empty Weight 831 pounds
Maximum Useful Load 490 pounds
Wing Loading 7.44 pounds per square foot
Maximum Operating Speed 150 miles per hour
Stall Speed 48 miles per hour

The layout of the sail plane is beautiful in its simplicity. It has long, slender wings, a relatively large tail, and a slender fuselage. The view is enhanced by a glass canopy. The sail plane is equipped with elevator, rudder, and aileron controls, like the Cessna, and spoilers similar to those found in the Lear. The landing gear is very simple; a single wheel partially imbedded in the fuselage is the sole piece of landing gear.

Flight Simulator includes a video presentation to introduce gliding. To view it, do the following:

  1. Select Video Recorder from the Options menu.
  2. Select Sail plane Soaring.
  3. Press OK in the Play Selected Video box.

Because the sail plane has no self-contained means of propulsion, it is dependent upon the pilot's ability to locate and fly within ascending air. A sail plane flight is initiated by a tow, either by a powered airplane or by a car or truck. With Flight Simulator, sail plane pilots may either select one of the following situations from the Options/Situations menu or take off and climb in another airplane and switch to the sail plane while in flight.

Sail plane Situation Description
Ridge Soaring Places the sail plane above Marin County, California, Northwest of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. Ascending air dominates the West side of the ridge; further West, however, the air is descending; East of the ridge, the air is turbulent and likely to be descending.
Thermal Soaring Places the airplane six miles Northeast of Sausalito above an area of brown fields, which reflect warmth into the atmosphere and cause ascending currents. The trick is to circle within the thermal to gain altitude.

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