A Flight Simulator Odyssey

by Charles Gulick

The Great Glider Chases

1. Midland
Chart: Lake Huron
En Route Coordinates:
   Aircraft: N18384, E19036
   Tower: --
   Aircraft: 3206
   Tower: --
Heading: 235
Time: Daylight

This and the following three scenarios will introduce you to a great new Flight Simulator sport--glider chasing. It's more exciting and more fun than just about anything you can do in the program, with the exception (feasible only in versions with the Tower view) of simulated radio-control flying and its associated aerobatics. Indeed, glider chasing is itself quasiaerobatic by nature (and can involve actual aerobatics to ad-vantage). It is more challenging and more fun than aerial combat in the World War II zone, because your "target" aircraft is three-dimensional and, up close, entirely realistic. Further, be-cause glider chasing is so demanding of you as a pilot, it is without parallel as a training exercise. You will find yourself constantly on throttle, aileron or rudder as you wheel, then soar and dive to get into the best position. You'll do steeper turns than you thought possible, hanging on the hairy edge of stalls, changing out-the-windshield views every few seconds as you jockey your airplane around the skies . . . and all the while searching those skies for those capricious, elusive sail-planes.



The basic premise of glider chasing is this: The gliders are harmless drones, essentially insubstantial. They are pilotless, and you can crash right into and through them without dam-aging them or your aircraft. Thus the objective is to do just that (and do it repeatedly). Literally crash right into and through your target glider, and do that as often as possible in a given time frame.

This exercise is relatively easy the first time. But then the target is behind you, and before you know it's above or below you, too. And then you won't know where it is (I told you they're capricious and elusive). So the major part of your time in this simulated combat is spent looking for and then lining up with your motionless adversary. Once you have the target in your sights, are you too low or too high? If you are either of these, this calls for more power or less power, and/or elevator action. Are you too far left or right, and too low or high? This also calls for work. And if you miss this time, it all begins over again. Wow! I tell you, the only way to under-stand the excitement, challenge, and fun of glider chasing is to experience it. So that's what we'll do in this and the next three scenarios; there are two relatively easy ones, then two that are tougher.

In the present case, you're approaching one of the over-size gliders (I call it the Midland Glider because it's near the Midland VOR) at an approximate 45-degree angle, and a bit above contact altitude, which is what we'll call the optimum altitude for a crash into and through. The contact altitude for the Midland Glider is about 3148 feet. The simulator is not consistent in interpreting altitudes, so the parameters given cannot be guaranteed. If you don't see what the text prepares you to see in this or any glider chase scenario, adjust as required before you make a final save.

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